Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Wooden Ships, Iron Men

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Wooden Ships, Iron Men

    Never thought about it this way:

    In the 17th Century, a large ship would require the timber from as many as 2,000 trees. Constructing a large ship required as many as thirty skilled trades: master shipwrights, maritime carpenters, caulkers, ropemakers, sailmakers, blacksmiths, block makers (medal strapped wooden pulleys), joiners, painters, instrument makers.... It took 200 workers four to six months to build a major sailing ship.
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

  • #2
    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
    Never thought about it this way:

    In the 17th Century, a large ship would require the timber from as many as 2,000 trees. Constructing a large ship required as many as thirty skilled trades: master shipwrights, maritime carpenters, caulkers, ropemakers, sailmakers, blacksmiths, block makers (medal strapped wooden pulleys), joiners, painters, instrument makers.... It took 200 workers four to six months to build a major sailing ship.
    That is why "Live Oak" was particularly prized here in the US by both ship builders both here and overseas. If properly handled, aged and treated, its composition made it nearly as strong as iron in its finished state.

    When the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) was hauled in for a major reconstruction overhaul a number of years back, it was found that a large percentage of its wooden hull dated back to the 18th century and much of it was still in above-average condition, meaning that it would continue to "sail-on" well into the 21st Century.
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

    Comment


    • #3
      Over here parts of the country was totally ravaged by deforestation due to the Navy in that era. We actually imported most of the timber from Germany and Poland. We even when out on expeditions to find trees that had grown in special angles to be able to form certain details on the hulls.
      Also consider that it took about 150-200 years for an Oak-tree to grow into the dimensions that where suitable for men-of-wars. All domestic Oak in the country was of course the property of the Crown and well protected.
      "The secret of war lies in the communications" - Napoleon Bonaparte

      Comment


      • #4
        Good points, thanks.

        It was cheaper for Britain (and France) to buy an American ship (and they were better built) than transport wood and build the ship at home.

        Parenthetically, when we put iron, American sailors in warships, they turned out to be better gunners.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

        Comment


        • #5
          One of the neatest things going here recently is the underwater slavage of hardwood timbers. Many of the logs being pulled up have been underwater for over 100 years. One of the links below references a "Dirty Jobs" episode and I believe that I have seen something on Discovery or the History Channel as well.

          Small hardwood operation

          softwood salvage
          Tray Green

          www.abandofgamers.com

          Battlefield Tours for Wargamers
          Normandy 2007
          ACW Border Wars 2008
          Bulge 2008

          Comment


          • #6
            A couple of civilizations have taken nosedives by using up all their available wood.

            Comment


            • #7
              By 1806 the Royal Navy had a total tonnage of 776,000 tons. The amount of oak required to build and maintain so vast a fleet was staggering.

              The stats for HMS bellerophon a 74 gunner was,

              trees required; 2000(50 acres)
              paint;5 tons
              iron bolts;100 tons
              tar;12 tons
              copper bolts;30 tons
              linseed oil;400 gallons
              treenails;30,000
              copper sheets;4,000
              sails; 10,000 square yards
              shot; 80 tons
              powder; 20 tons
              total cost; £30,232 14s 4d

              Of the foreign crew on HMS victory at Trafalgar were;
              African;1
              Americans; 22
              Brazilian;1
              Canadians; 2
              Danes; 7
              Dutch; 2
              French;4
              Germans; 2
              Indians; 2
              Jamaican; 1
              Maltese; 6
              Norwegians; 2
              Portuguese; 1
              Swedes; 4
              Swiss; 2
              Last edited by Post Captain; 23 Jul 07, 10:52.
              Never Fear the Event

              Admiral Lord Nelson

              Comment


              • #8
                A navy Buddy I knew from Maine, says the are STILL Oak trees in the forests of Maine marked by use for the Royal Navy, and the fledgling USN! He also went on to say that some of the older pines still bear the same marks. From what a have read about shipbuilding, expert woodsmen and shipwrights would walk the forests looking for certain shapes and growths of these trees then mark them in some way so later crews could come and harvest them for ship building...The marks also showed ownership by the Government so people didnt harvest them for other reasons....I never did find out how they were marked whether they cut marks into the trunks or branded them or what. I know that around here in Central Illinois it it not unusual to find a Oak tree with a knotted branch.....sometimes in HUGE knots due to hundreds of years of growth.....these used to mark Indian trails, the Indians would tie knots in small branches to show others of their tribe the trial they took.......many of these knots still exist!


                I saw on Nova or one of those shows like that they are still trying to figure out how some of these great wooden vessels were built. In a wreck of a 3 master in the North sea....the show said they found a box of tools, that no one today has any clue what they were for!

                I did see the Viking Longship that was built in Hawley Minnesota. That was neat. The man And I think his name was Bob Ast or Ash took most his life to recreate the ship as accurately as the one found at Gokstad. He did and he died before it ever sailed.....They sailed it from the great lakes to Norway....had a big show on TV about it but it made it!
                Now it's ten years later but he still keeps up the fight
                In Ireland, in Lebanon, in Palestine and Berkeley
                Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland's Thompson gun and bought it

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another way to put it in perspective is that when England set up the first royal dockyards, they employed 600 tradesmen. The largest commercial enterprize in the country at the time employed 20. The building and supplying of navies was the foundation of almost all modern western management structure and principals. For most of their history, navies have been comprized of the largest things that moved acrossed the face of the earth and were the most complex organizations of their time. Even far more complex than contemporary armies.
                  Boston Strong!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If anyone is interested in any reading on this I strongly suggest N.A.M. Rodgers two volumes:

                    The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain 660-1649

                    The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815

                    He covers not only the usual tracing of the development of ships, strategy and battles, but provides a good bit of history on the development of the logistical and administrative system needed to maintain a standing Navy and particularly a standing Navy on station.

                    The second volume is slightly flawed in that he ventures into analyzing the US political scene in the period. He is a premiere naval historian. He is misinformed on many aspects of US political history.
                    Boston Strong!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A fabulous work is Six Frigates by Ian W. Toll, on the Constitution and her sister ships. Amazing what (1) live oak, plus (2) some creative internal hull bracing, plus (3) frequently brilliant - and sometimes completely incompetent - leadership can do for a young nation.
                      "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                      -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

                      (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

                      Comment

                      Latest Topics

                      Collapse

                      Working...
                      X