Explanation of the Technical Terms


ABAFT, is applied to any thing that is placed nearer the stern than another.

AFT, that part of the ship that inclines to the stern.

AFTER, implies a connection as belonging to the after-body, after-timbers in the ship, &c.

ANCHOR-STOCK, a method of working planks, by which the butts are to be disposed near the middle of those planks which are above or below them, like two strakes or spirketting, which must necessarily be wrought in this manner. It occasions too lavish a conversion to be made use of without absolute necessity. — Though in some parts of the ship, as the wales, &c. it is certainly the strongest work.

APRON, pieces of timber fayed to the aft-part of the stern, from the head down to the dead-woop [sic], the scarfs being generally about one foot long, moulded nearly the same scantling as the knight-heads; above the upper-deck it might be moulded sufficient for the planks on each side to butt against. When the rabbet of the stem is at the aft-part, the apron is frequently sided more than the stem, in order to receive the fastening of the forehoods; but as the fastening must be all drove nearly in one direction, it is liable to spit the apron, and therefore it is much stronger when the rabbet of the stem is in the middle, because then the apron is sided the same as the stem, and the knightheads are fayed close to the stem and apron (except an opening for air is left) and bolted through the stem and apron, then the butt-end bolts are drove into the knight-heads, which are broad enough to admit of their being cross-bored, and secures the butts of the fore-hoods much better than when they are fastened to the apron. The apron is intended to strengthen the stem, and therefore should butt clear of the scarfs of the stem and stemson.


BACK-STAY-STOOL, a short piece of plank fitted for the security of the dead-eyes, and chains for the backstays, though sometimes the channels are left long enough at the after-end, for the backstays to be fitted thereto.

BALCONY, the projecting gallery in the stern of large ships.

BALLUSTERS, placed round the balcony in the stern, and likewise in the quarter-gallery of large ships.

BEAK-HEAD, a small platform at the fore-part of the upper-deck in large ships, generally placed the same height from the deck as the port-sills, occasionally for the use of a gun, but chiefly for the conveniency of the men. At the aft-part of the beak-head is a bulkhead, called the beakhead-bulkhead, which encloses the forecastle. — The beakhead-beam is the broadest beam in the ship, but generally is made in two breadths tabled together. The aft-side must be placed so that the rabbet shall be somewhat clear of the aft-side of the cat-head, to admit of the butts being caulked; and the foreside should be so far forward, as to admit of the stantients of the bulk-head to come an inch and a half under the beam to support it. The foreside of the cathead should correspond well with the aft-part of the beak-head timber.

BEAMS, pieces of timber placed across the ship on the clamps, and fayed to the timbers, except the platform-beams, and some of the after-beams of the lower-deck; which, if they were run close to the timbers, would either require the clamps to sny very much, or else to be cut off, which would not be so strong, as to let the aft-part of the clamps have an easy flight, and to let some of the after-beams and knees be fayed to the planks, as is the customary practice. The beams of the gun-decks are generally disposed to be under the ports, if possible, the better to support the gun. The ends of those beams that will admit of it are left broader at the ends, and from thence to the ends of the knees made straight, at which place the beam has its proper scantling. This is done to make the lodging-knees more without a square, and therefore must be disposed at the same side of the beam. If the beams are in one piece, every other may be disposed with the butt-end the same way, because the butts will decay before the tops. — Those beams that are made in two or three pieces are allowed to be as strong as those in one piece. When the beams are in two pieces, the scarf may be one-third of the length; if the beams are not very long, twelve feet is allowed sufficient for the scarf of any beam; and if the beams are in three pieces, the middle piece may be half the length of the beam. The length of the tablings may be about one-half more than the depth of the beam. — The most customary way of putting beams together, is to divide the tablings in the middle of the beam, and that part which is taken out at the upper-side, to be left at the lower-side; when done in this manner (especially when kersey or flannel is put in the scarfs) the water is liable to lay in the scarfs, and must be the means of rotting the beams; therefore, to prevent that, if the beams were tabled together in dove-tails, and taken through from side to side, putting tar only between them, which hardens the wood, the water occasioned by the leaking of the decks would have a free passage, and the beam would dry again. I believe also that this method of putting beams together is not inferior in strength to the other; however, it is sufficient to the service required. The foremost beam of the quarter-deck, and round-house, as well as the aftermost-beam of the forecastle, are called breast-beams; they are sided sufficient to work the members of the rail in the solid, and deep enough to form a rabbet for the deals of the deck; and sometimes they are left one inch above the deck, to convey the water to the ship's side, instead of a piece sometimes nailed on, which is liable to rot the beam. The rabbet of those beams should be taken so far on, that the wood which is left may be just sufficient to support the strain of caulking; because you have then an opportunity of crossing the nails with the grain of the wood; whereby, on the contrary, you are liable to split the beam, and the deals not going far enough, those beams are frequently canted with caulking.

BEARDING, the diminishing of any piece of timber, or plank, from a given line, or curve, such as, the bearding-line of the deadwood, bearding of clamps, planksheers, fiferails, &c.

BELFRY, a support and covering for the bell.

BELLY, the hollow part of compass timber, the round part of which is called the back.

BEND, the form of the ship from the keel to the top of the side, as the midship-bend, &c.

BEVELLING, the winding of a timber, &c. agreeable to the directions given from the mould-loft.

BILLS, the ends of compass, or knee-timber.

BINDINGS, the iron wrought round the dead-eyes.

BINDING-STRAKES, are generally two strakes wrought near the comings; they are worked all fore and aft, about one inch or one inch and half thicker than the rest of the deck, and let down between the beams and ledges, so as the upper-side to be even with the rest of the deck. The original design of them was to connect the deck so well together, as to prevent its drawing. The ship's deck have such a connection, that they seldom fail, but at the extremes, which cannot be secured too well. The butts in the middle of the decks may sometimes be perceived to strain, but that is occasioned by the ship's taking the ground, or straining by accident, which cannot be prevented by the binding strakes, as performed in the common course of working, and therefore it consumes thicker stuff than is required. Those strakes, in which the stopper-bolts are drove, might be English plank, and let down between the beams and ledges, if thought necessary.

BIRTHING, the working a top-side, bulk-heads, &c.

BITTS, large pieces of straight timber to which the cables are fastened, likewise smaller pieces fixed near the masts, either on the upper-deck, quarter-deck, forecastle, or roundhouse, fitted with cross-pieces and shivers, for the conveniency of the top-masts and rigging.

BLOCKS, solid pieces of timber placed under the keel of the ship; the upper pieces are generally clear of the knots, especially several of the foremost ones; these being the splitting blocks for launching the ship should be as clear as possible. Likewise pieces fitted with shivers, both within and withoutside the ship, for the use of the rigging.

BOBSTAY-HOLES, those in the fore-part of the knees of the head, for the security of the bobstay.

BOLSTER, a piece of timber placed upon the upper or lower cheek, worked up about half the depth of the hawse-holes, and cut away for the easement of the cable, and to prevent its rubbing the cheek; likewise the solid piece of timber that is bolted to the ship's side, on which the stantients for the lining of the anchors are placed; and other small pieces fixed under the gunwale, to prevent the main-sheet from being rubbed, &c.

BOLTS, the principal iron-work for fastening and securing the ship.

BOW, the round part of the ship forward.

BOXING, the projection left on the hawse-pieces, in the wake of the hawse-holes, when the planks do not run through; but this is nearly laid aside in all ships, and the plank is worked through to the stem, both within and without-side, which is a very great improvement; because timber, younger and smaller, will answer the same purpose, and be more durable; and by working the planks through, the bow is much stronger.

BRACES, that security for the rudder which is fixed to the stern-post, and to the bottom of the ship.

BRACKETS, ORNAMENTS; the hair-bracket is the boundary of the aft-part of the figure of the head, the lower-part of which finishes with the fore-part of the upper-cheek. The console-bracket is a light piece of ornament at the fore-part of the quarter-gallery, sometimes called a canting livre.

BREAST-HOOKS, pieces of compass, or knee-timber, placed within-side the ship, to keep the bows together. The deck-hooks are fayed to the timbers, and placed in the direction of the decks. The rest are placed, one between each deck, and as many in the hold as are thought needful; all of which should be placed square with the body of the ship, and fayed on the planks. Breast-hooks are the chief security to keep the ship's bows together, therefore require to be very strong and well secured.

BREAST-RAIL, the upper-rail of the balcony, or of the breast-work on the quarter-deck.

BREAST-WORK, the stantients with rails, on the quarter-deck and forecastle. The breast-work fitted on the upper-deck of such ships as have no quarter-deck, serves to distinguish the main-deck from the quarter-deck.

BREECH, the angle of the knee-timber, the inside of which is called the throat.

BULGE, that part of the ship which bulges out at the floor-heads, to assist the ship when taking the ground.

BULGEWAY, a large piece, or pieces bolted together making one solid piece, which is placed under the bulge of the ship to support her when launching. The support for the bulgeways to lie on, is called ways, which sometimes are placed straight, and sometimes camber; but if they do camber, it should be truly circular; though sometimes the curve is quicker at the lower-part, but this is liable to strain the sheer of the ship. Their extreme distance is generally about one-third the breadth of the ship, but this must depend on the form of the midship-bend.

BULK-HEADS, the partitions in a ship. Those which inclose the magazine are oak-plank and rabbetted, as are those of the spirituous liquor-room; others in the hold are generally oak-plank, the edges are cyphered, to keep the gravel, or dirt, of the ballast in the hold, from getting into the store-rooms, or into the well to damage the pumps.

BUMPKINS, pieces fitted above the main-rail in the head, which extend nearly as far forward as the fore-part of the knee of the head, and are fore the use of hawling the fore-tack.

BUTT, that end of the tree which grew nearest the ground. The opening between the ends of the two planks when worked.

BUTTOCK, the round part of the ship abaft, from the wing-transom to the upper water-line, or lower down.


CAMBER, a term for any thing that rounds, but chiefly expressed, to camber the ways for launching the ship.

CANTING, the turning of plank or timber to see the opposite side.

CAPS, pieces laid on the upper blocks, intended to be split out to put the false-keel under; if the false-keel is not intended to be put under till the ship is nearly finished, then it is necessary to leave the caps thicker than the false-keel, to allow for the settling of the ship, the rise of the blocks, and likewise for wedges to be drove under the false-keel, to press it close to the main-keel.

CAPSTAND, a piece of mechanism for heaving up the anchor, and other uses that require a large purchase.

CARLINGS, the fore and aft pieces of the framing of the decks, or fore and aft pieces at the side of the masts, called mast-carlings.

CAT-HEAD, a large square piece of timber fixed at the fore-part of the forecastle for the use of the anchor.

CAULKING, filling the seams full of oakum to prevent the ship from leaking.

CHAINS, links of iron from the binding of the dead-eyes, as low down as the ship's side to where they are fastened.

CHAIN-BOLTS, those bolts which are drove through the upper-end of the preventer-plates, and the toe-link of the chains.

CHAMPHER, to take off the edge of a piece of timber.

CHANNELS, broad planks fastened to the ship's-side, to keep the shrouds at a proper distance from the side. Some channels are secured with knees at the upper-side, by which they are liable to harbour wet and dirt, which rots the channel and the ship's side; others are secured by the preventer-plates going through the channel, belayed at the underside, and the heel bolted to the ship's-side.

CHANNEL-WALES, are those strakes in the top-sides of large ships that are worked between the gun-deck and upper-deck ports, being thicker than the rest of the top-side.

CHEEKS, knee-pieces of timber, fastened to the ship's bow, and to the knee of the head.

CHESTREE, a piece fitted to the top-side, abaft the fore-channel, with a roller, or shiver fixed in the head, to hawl home the fore-tack.

CHINE, that part of the water-way which is left above the deck, that the lower seam of spirketting may more conveniently be caulked.

CHOCKS, pieces fayed to the heads and heels of the timbers, to make good the deficiency thereof.

CLAMPS, the strake which the beams are placed upon. The upper and gun-deck clamps are generally scarfed with a hook in the middle of the scarf. The clamps lower down are not of so much consequence, being less liable to draw. In large ships there are two strakes of clamps hooked one into the other.

CLEAN, the sharp part of the ship under water both forward and aft.

COCK-PIT, a place on the after-platform where the wounded are taken to be dressed.

COMPANION, the birthing round the ladder-way on the quarter-deck, which leads to the cabbin, chiefly in small ships, to prevent the sea from beating down.

COUNTER, the hollow part of the stern of the ship; from the wing-transom to the next rail above, is called the lower-counter; from thence to the rail under the lights is called the upper or second-counter; and the after-most raking timber in the topside is called the counter, or stern-timber.

CROSS-CHOCKS, pieces placed across the deadwood to make good the heels of the lower futtocks on both sides the ship.

CROSS-PIECE, a piece fixed across the bitts, round which the cables or other ropes are belayed.

CROSS-SPALES, pieces placed across the ship, and nailed to the frames, securing both sides of the ship together till the knees are bolted.

CROWS-FOOT, FORK-BEAMS, PRONGS, &c. a cast or crooked half-beam, placed in the main-hatch room, or where the beams must necessarily be at a great distance from each other. The midship-end is tabled and bolted to the side of one of the beams, and the side-end is kneed the same as the beams.

CRUTCHES, pieces of knee-timber placed withinside the ship for the security of the heels of the cant-timbers abaft.

CUTTING-DOWN, is the upperside of the floors at the middle-line.


DAGGER, a piece of timber that crosses all the poppets of the bulge-ways to keep them together; the plank that secures the heads of the poppets, is called the dagger-plank.

DAGGER-KNEES, are lodging-knees, whose side-arms cast-down, and bolt through the clamp, these are placed at the lower-decks of some ships, instead of hanging knees, to preserve as much stowage in the hold as possible.

DEAD-DOORS, fitted to the outside of the quarter-gallery-doors, in case the quarter-gallery should be carried away.

DEAD-EYES, fixed in the channels, with three holes to receive the lanyard of the shrouds.

DEAD-FLAT, the name of the midship-bend.

DEAD-LIGHTS, shutters provided for the stern and gallery lights, to be fixed without-side the ship in bad weather.

DEADWOOD, pieces of timber fayed on the keel to seat the floor-timbers on, afore and abaft the floors; it is continued as high as the cutting down of the floors.

DECKS in a ship are similar to floors in a house. The gun-deck of large ships is wholly laid with oak plank, nailed to the beams, and treenailed to ledges; those decks that are laid with deal, if intended to have standards to the side, are laid with oak as far from the side as that all the bolts in the standard shall be in the oak.

DOWSING-CHOCKS, pieces fayed across the apron, and lapped on the knightheads, or inside stuff above the upper-deck.

DRAUGHT, the drawing or design by which the ship is to be built, which is generally by a scale of one-fourth of an inch to a foot.

DRIFTS, in the sheer-draught, are where the rails are cut off, and ended with a scrole. Pieces fitted to form the drifts are called drift-pieces.

DRIVER, the foremost spur in the bulgeways, the heel of which is fayed to the foreside of the foremost poppet, and the sides placed to look fore and aft.

DRUXEY, timber in a state of decay, with white spungy veins.

DUB, to work with the adze.


EKEING, a piece fitted to make good a deficiency in length, as the lower part of the supporter under the cat-head, &c. likewise the piece of carved-work under the lower end of the quarter-piece, at the aft-part of the quarter-gallery.


FACE-PIECE, a piece wrought on the fore-part of the knee of the head, to assist the conversion of the main-piece, and to shorten the upper bolts of the knee of the head.

FALSE-KEEL, pieces fitted under the main keel to preserve it from being rubbed, and to make the ship hold better wind; they are generally elm. In such ships as are not intended to be frequently in harbours where they ground, the false keel is slenderly secured, that, if by accident, the ship should take the ground, it may, by coming off, be an assistant in saving her.

FALSE-POST, a piece brought on the aft-part of the stern-post, to make good a deficiency therein. The false-post is generally tabled to the main-post, but seldom sufficiently secured to the keel; if it was lapped about two-thirds down the side of the keel, with a hook in the middle, like the boxing of the fore-foot, it would be a greater security to the main-keel than the dove-tail plates usually put for that purpose.

FASHION-PIECES, the timbers that are fastened to the ends of the transoms.

FAY, to join two pieces of timber close together.

FENDERS, two pieces fitted to the topside a-breast of the main-hatch, to prevent the ship's side from being hurt by hoisting in goods.

FIRE-RAIL, a rail above the plank-sheer on the forecastle and quarter-deck, worked similar to the plank-sheer.

FIGURE, the principal piece of carved-work at the head of the ship.

FILLINGS, pieces of fir fayed to the ship's side between the cheeks.

FINISHING, the carved ornaments of the quarter-gallery; those below the second counter are called the lower-finishing, and those above the upper lights the upper-finishing.

FLARING, over-hanging, as in the topside forward.

FLOORS, the timbers which are placed across the ship, and fayed on the deadwood. The floor-timbers are generally extended as far as the foremast, though it should require some cant-floors, if the square body does not reach so far. Abaft, the floor-timbers are seldom placed farther than where the after-square frame is usually stationed; but in this part of the ship, being often difficult to procure, the floors are made in three pieces, and called made-floors, which occasions a great consumption of timber to little purpose; for the floor being designed to go in its usual place, it is made in two pieces, which butt at the middle line, or at some little distance from it, so as the bolt shall go through one-half of the floor, if thought proper; then a large chock is placed across them, and bolted to the two halves of the floor; the upper-side of the chock must be kept as high as the cutting-down, so that from the upper part of the chock to the head of the floor-timber, there is very little shift of timber to bolt the frame, because the lower futtock must be shortened to step on the chock; therefore it would be stronger to have a floor of a natural growth, which might be procured, if one arm of the floor was no longer than the distance from the chock to the floor, as before mentioned, because the lower futtock would then extend to the deadwood, and might be bolted through it. If a made-floor is approved of in preference to that of natural growth with one short arm (either of which is immaterial in this part of the ship,) it would be best to secure the floor-ribband as far as the aft-part of the square-body, then put in the lower futtocks, which might be bolted through the deadwood, and place the chock at the aft-side of the lower futtocks, and bolt it to them; this would require the second futtocks to be something longer at the heels, to step on the chock, which in this part of the ship are not very difficult to procure. This method would increase the shift of timber — be much stronger — and rather in favour of the conversion of timber; because, the halves of the floor must be cut from the butt of the tree, to gain substance at the lower end; and, therefore, might be converted to a lower futtock; the regular bolting of the floor might also be preserved, as the chock would be in place of the floor. This might be of sufficient strength in this part of the ship, if made more general, when floors of a proper growth could not be obtained.

FLOOR-HOLLOW, an elliptical mould for the hollow of the floor-timbers and lower-futtocks.

FOOT-RAIL, or FOOTSPACE-RAIL, the rail of the balcony that is wrought on the deck.

FOOT-WALEING, the plank within-side the ship, below the lower-deck.

FORECASTLE, a short deck at the fore-part of the ship above the upper-deck, on which formerly castles were erected, or places to shelter the men in time of action.

FORE-FOOT, the fore-most piece of the keel.

FORE AND AFT, from the stem to stern, or in that direction.

FORWARD, the fore-part of the ship.

FRAMES, the bends of timbers that are bolted together. In small ships there are two bolts in every shift of timber, and three in large ships. The bolts should be disposed clear of the chain, and preventer-bolts — scupper — lodging knee-bolts, and port cells.

FURRENS, pieces to supply the deficiency of the timber in the moulding way.

FUTTOCK, every single timber is called a futtock, and distinguished by lower or first — second — third, &c. except the floors, long and half-timbers, top-timbers, stern-timbers, &c.


GAMMONING-HOLE, a hole cut through the knee of the head, and sometimes one under the standard in the head, for the use of gammoning the bowsprit.

GARBOARD-STRAKE, the strake in the bottom that is wrought into the rabbet of the keel.

GRIPE, the lower part of the knee of the head that connects with the foremost end of the keel.

GROUND-WAYS, large pieces of timber laid across the slip or dock to place the blocks upon.

GUNWALE, the plank that covers the heads of the timbers between the fore and main drifts.


HALF-PORTS, shutters to the ports, made of slit deal, with a hole cut for the gun to go through.

HALF-TIMBERS, those timbers in the cant-bodies, which are answerable to the lower futtocks in the square-body.

HANGING, a plank with a hollow edge, and the hanging of the sheer and decks.

HARPINGS, pieces of oak which hold the timbers of the fore and aft cant bodies till the ship is planked.

HATCHES, the covering for the hatchways, made with ledges, and laid with oak or deal, and caulked.

HATCHWAYS, places in the middle of the decks for the conveniency of lowering down goods.

HAWSE-PIECES, the timbers in the bow of the ship, whose sides are nearly parallel to the middle-line of the ship.

HEAD, the upper-ends of the timbers, likewise all the work in conjunction that is fitted before the stem.

HEAD-LEDGES, the thwartship-pieces that frame the hatchways or ladderways.

HEAD-RAILS, the elliptic rails at the head of the ship.

HEEL, the lower-end of a timber, or the position of a ship when she is not upright.

HOLD, the inside of the ship below the lower-deck.

HOOD, the inside and aftermost planks in the bottom.

HOODINGS-ENDS, those ends of the planks which fit into the rabbets of the stem and stern-post.

HOOKING, working one piece into another, to keep them from drawing asunder.

HORSE, a large round bar of iron fixed in the heads of ships, with stantients and netting.


IN AND OUT, sometimes used for the scantling of the timbers, the moulding-way, but particularly for those bolts in the hanging and lodging knees that are drove through the ship's side, which are called in and out bolts, &c.

INNER-POST, a piece brought on at the fore-side of the main-post, and generally continued as high as the wing-transom, to seat the other transoms upon. The inner-post is a great security for the ends of the planks, as the main-post is seldom sufficient before ther abbet [sic] for that purpose, and likewise greatly strengthens the ship in that part; for if the ship should take the ground, especially by swinging, so as to break the stern-post, it might be expected, that much of the after-deadwood would be carried away, because the joints are nearly in the same direction as the planks of the bottom.


KEEL, the pieces of timber laid on the blocks, and on which the ship is built; it is generally elm, except the after-piece, which, on account of its being often wet and dry, is sometimes oak, especially when the ship is expected to be a great while in building. The number of pieces in the keel is not very material, so that it gives good shift to the keelson and the main-mast. The keel is scarfed with a hook in the middle, which should fay very close, it being designed on purpose to bear the strain of caulking the butts, that the bolt in the scarf may not be strained. The keel should not be tapered much, either forward or aft at the upper-part, and from thence it is to be bearded away at the lower edge; for when the deadwood is trimmed, especially abaft, being frequently very thin, it is with much difficulty that the dead-wood can be securely bolted.

KEELSON, pieces nearly the same scantling as the keel, wrought on the upperside of the floors, and bolted through the floors and keel. The scarfs are, if possible, disposed clear of the main and fore-mast, and likewise the main-hatch, as the scarf may be injured by accident in lowering goods and heavy matters. As every other floor-timber is bolted through the keel, and every other through the keelson and keel together, it requires that the middle of the scarfs of the keelson be disposed over a floor-timber, that is designed to be bolted through the keelson.

KEVELS, to answer the purpose of timber-heads, sometimes fixed to the spirketting on the quarter-deck, where the timber-heads are deficient.

KNEES, crooked pieces of timber that secure the beams and the shipside together: forward and abaft, where wooden knees cannot be procured of a good growth, they are made of iron; but seldom recommended in that part of the ship where strength is principally required, because the bolts cannot be drove tight in the iron-knees, and, therefore, if the ship strains they will work. The lodging-knees are generally disposed on that side of the beam, which makes them the most without a square; and the hanging-knees placed clear of the ports, and of standards on the deck below. The hanging-knees are likewise placed on that side of the beam, where riders occasionally may be introduced in their stead. The lodging-knees are hooked in the beam, in general near the toe of the knee where the wood is short-grained; therefore it is better to leave a tenon in the crown-part of the knee, at a proper distance from the end of the beam, which will be strong enough to bear an iron wedge drove in that side that is nearest to the ship's side, after the knees are properly bolted.

KNEE OF THE HEAD, the projection before the stern that supports the figure.

KNIGHT-HEADS, or BOLLARD TIMBERS, the timber on each side nearest to the stem, and continued high enough to secure the bowsprit.

KNUCKLE-TIMBER, the foremost top-timber in the ship that forms the beak-head, the timbers abaft it, as far as the angle is continued, may be called knuckle-timbers.


LACING, a piece of compass, or knee-timber, fayed to the back of the figure and the knee of the head, and bolted to each.

LADDERS, for the conveniency of walking from deck to deck.

LADDER-WAYS, places in the deck where ladders are fixed.

LAP-SIDED, when both sides of the ship are not equal.

LARBOARD, when looking forward from the stern of the ship, it is that side of the ship towards the left-hand, or the opposite side to that usually drawn on the draught.

LAUNCH, signifies the ship where the ship is in building. To launch, is to convey the ship from the slip into the water.

LAZARETTO, an hospital-ship for the reception of the sick. In some merchant ships, it is the fore-part of the lower-deck parted off for provisions and stores.

LEDGES, the thwartship-pieces of the framing of the decks.

LIMBER-BOARDS, short pieces of plank fitted from the limber-strake to the keelson, which pieces should butt at the sides of all the bulk-heads, that they may be easily taken up.

LIMBER-STRAKE, the strake of foot-waleing nearest the keelson, from the upper-side of which the depth in the hold is measured.

LOAD-WATER-LINE, the mark on the ship which the water makes when the ship is loaded.

LONG-TIMBERS, those timbers in the cant-bodies which reach from the deadwood to the second futtock-head.

LUFF, the roundest part of the bow of the ship.


MAIN-BREADTH, the broadest part of the ship at any particular frame.

MAST-CARLINGS, large carlings at the side of the mast-rooms, that are left deep enough to receive the cross-chocks.

MIDSHIP, signifies the middle of the ship.

MIDSHIP-BEND, the broadest frame in the ship, called deadflat.

MUNIONS, the pieces that part the lights in the stern and quarter-gallery.


NAVEL-HOODS, pieces of plank, or thick stuff, wrought above and below the hawse-holes.

NOG, a tree-nail drove through the heel of the shores which support the ship on the slip.


ORLOP, the lower, but temporary deck in large ships; small ships have a kind of platform in midships, chiefly for the use of the cables, which is likewise called the Orlop.

OVER-HANGING, any thing of great projection; not generally, but sometimes expressed for the raking of the stern.


PARTNERS, are thick pieces fitted into a rabbet in the mast-carlings, to receive the wedges of the mast; likewise temporary pieces nailed on the deck round the pumps.

PILASTERS, fluted ornaments with base and capital fastened to the munions between the lights.

PILLARS, pieces fixed under the middle of the beams to support the decks.

PINS, are fixed in the drum-heads of capstands, through the ends of the bars, to prevent their unshipping; sometimes put through the bitts to belay a rope, and called belaying-pins, and sometimes the main-bitts are called bitt-pins.

PLANK, all superficial timber, which is four inches thick and under, except inch, and sometimes inch and half, which come under the denomination of board.

PLANK-SHEERS, pieces of plank laid over the timber-heads on the quarter-deck, forecastle, and round-house.

PLUMB, signifies to be perpendicular.

POPPETS, the perpendicular pieces that are fixed on the fore and aftermost parts of the bulgeways to support the ship when launching.

PORTS, the holes in the ship to run the guns out.

PORT-LIDS, shutters to the ports.

PREVENTER-PLATES, plates of iron below the toe-link of the chains.

PREVENTER-BOLTS, those bolts which are drove at the lower-end of the preventer-plates to assist the strain of the chain-bolts.

PUMP, a machine to draw water out of the ship's hold.

PUMP-DALES, pipes to convey the water from the pump-cisterns through the ship's sides.

PUMP-CISTERN, to receive the water from the pumps.


QUARTER, the after-part of the top-side.

QUARTER-DECK, the short deck abaft, whereon the officers usually walk.

QUARTER-GALLERY, the projecting conveniency and ornament of the topside which is connected with the stern.

QUARTER-PIECES, the carved figures at the aft-part of the quarter-gallery, which joins to the taffrail, and forms the boundary of the stern.

QUICK-WORK, the short pieces between the ports within-side the ship.


RABBET, that part of the keel, stem, and stern-post, which is cut for the plank of the bottom to fit into; likewise the edges of plank, or deal, for bulk-heads, that are lapped one over the other, and wrought square, making each side of the bulk-head a smooth surface.

RAILS, the moulding ornaments in the topside; likewise in the head and stern, &c.

RAKE, an obtuse angle, such as the stem and stern-post makes with the keel.

RAMLINE, a small rope, or line, sometimes used to form the sheer of the ship, and to set the beams of the deck fair.

RANGES, pieces fixed to the inside of the ship to belay the ropes, and sometimes expressed for those between the ports whereon the shots lay.

RECONCILER, or TOP-TIMBER-HOLLOW, a mould sometimes used to form the hollow in the top-side — called the reconciling-mould.

RIBBAND, pieces of fir nailed to the timbers of the square-body, under which the shoars are fixed.

RIDERS, large timbers, similar to the bends of the ship, placed within-side the ship.

ROOM AND SPACE, the distance from the joint, or moulding edge of one floor-timber to the other, which, in all ships that have ports, should be so disposed, that the scantling of the timber of each side the port, and the breadth of the port fore and aft (the openings between the timbers of the frames, if any, included) be answerable to the distance of two rooms and spaces.

ROUND-HOUSE, the uppermost deck in the ship abaft, and is sometimes called the poop.

RUDDER, or ROTHER, the principal matter which guides the ship. The main-piece, and the bearding-piece, is always oak, and the rest generally fir. The rudder should be bearded from the side of the pintles, and the foreside made to the form of the pintles; but when they are bearded to a sharp edge at the middle line, which is the customary way, it reduces the main-piece more than is necessary, which is easily perceived in large ships, for when the rudder is hard over, the bearding will not be close to the stern-port by nearly three quarters of an inch.

RUDDER-IRONS, or PINTLES, the irons which are fastened to the rudder, in order to hang it to the stern-post; sometimes there are two of them cut short to work in a socket in the brace, which makes the rudder work easier.


SADDLE, a piece fitted on the upper end of the lacing.

SCANTLING, the dimensions given for the timber and plank.

SCARF, lapping the ends of plank, or timber, one over the other, to appear as one solid piece, as keel-pieces, clamps, &c.

SCREEN BULK-HEAD, the aftermost bulk-head under the round-house.

SCUTTLES, holes cut in divers parts of the decks, exclusive of hatchways and ladderways, likewise holes cut through the ship's side for air.

SCUPPERS, holes cut through the ship's side for throwing off the water that is shipped. They should be disposed clear of the guns, standards, the ports below, gang-ways, &c.

SEAMS, the opening between the planks when wrought.

SHAKEN, plank or timber, which is full of clefts, and will not bear caulking nor fastening, generally called Shakey.

SHANK-PAINTER, a chain bolted to the topside abaft the cat-head to lower the anchor.

SHEER, the hanging of the ship's side the fore and aft way.

SHEERSTRAKE, the strake under the gunwale in the topside; it is generally worked thicker than the rest of the topside, and scarfed between the drifts.

SHIFT, of timber or plank, is over-launching without either piece being reduced, as the timbers of the frame, or plank in the bottom.

SHIVERS, the wheels in the blocks.

SHOLES, pieces of plank put under the shores where there are no groundways.

SHORES, pieces fixed to support the ship.

SLEEPERS, or TRANSOM-KNEES, fitted within-side the ship abaft, one arm laying on the foot-waleing, and the other extended up the transoms.

SNYING, a circular plank edgeways to work in the bow.

SPANSHACLE, a large bolt drove through the forecastle, and forelocked under the forecastle-beam, and under and upon the upper-deckbeam; on the forecastle it has a large square ring for the end of the david to fix in.

SPIRKETTING, the strake wrought on the ends of the beams; or, where there are ports, it is the two strakes worked up to the port-cells; in which case the middle of the planks should not be reduced, unless it occasioned the butts to be less than six inches.

SPURS, pieces of timber fixed on the bulgeways, and the upper end bolted to the ship's side above water, for security to the bulgeways.

SQUARE-TUCK, when the planks of the bottom are not worked round to the wing-transom, but end at the fashion-piece, similar to the boats.

STANDARDS, in the form of knees, with one arm on the deck, and the other fayed to the ship's side.

STANTIENTS, the upright pieces in a bulk-head, breast-work, &c.

STARBOARD, that side of the ship generally shewn on the draught.

STEELER, the foremost or aftermost plank in a strake, which is dropped short of the stem or stern-post.

STEERING-WHEEL, a wheel to which the tillar-rope is conveyed for the conveniency of steering the ship.

STEM, the foremost piece of timber in the ship.

STEMSON, a piece wrought on the aft-part of the apron, continued as high as the middle-deck, or upper-deck in small ships, the lower end lapping on, or scarfing into the keelson.

STEPS for the masts, are large pieces fitted across the keelson, into which the heel of the mast is fixed; the holes for the mast to step into, should be cut in proportion to the steps, so as to leave sufficient wood on each side the hole, to answer in strength to the tenon left at the heel of the mast; and if that should be rather too little, the hole may be cut more thwartships, to answer the deficiency the fore and aft way. There are likewise large pieces called steps of the capstands, likewise steps on the topside for the conveniency of getting on board.

STERN, the aft-part of the ship.

STERN-POST, the straight piece of timber at the aftermost part of the ship, to which both sides of the ship unite; the lower end is tenoned into the keel; it is generally worked with the butt-end upwards, being most suitable to the conversion of the timber; but in some ships which trade to a hot climate, it has been preferred to work the butt end downwards; because in large ships it requires a piece of such growth, whose juises towards the butt are nearly exhausted, and therefore it is supposed to last longer under water; whereas, by the heat of the weather, when the butt is worked upwards, it decays with a dry rot for want of moisture.

STERN-FRAME, that frame of timber that is composed of the sternpost-transoms and fashion-pieces.

STOOLS, pieces of plank fastened to the ship's side to receive the birthing of the gallery.

STOPPER-BOLTS, large ring-bolts drove in the deck before the main-hatch for the use of the stoppers.

STRAKE, one range of planks all fore and aft.

STRING, the strake under the gunwale within-side, generally worked the same thickness as the sheer-strake, and scarfed in the same manner; the string and sheer-strake are bolted through the ship's side, between the main- and fore-drifts, as that part of the ship requires all the security that is possible to assist the sheer of the ship.

SUPPORTERS, the knee-pieces under the cat-head.

SURMARKS, the stations of the ribbands and harpings, which are marked in the timbers.

SWEEP, or TILLAR-SWEEP, a circular plank fitted to support the foremost end of the tillar, much improved lately by conveying the tillar-rope round it, keeping it always tight, which in the former method was never tight but when the tillar was in midships.

SYPHERED, lapping one edge of a plank over the edge of another for bulk-heads, making the edges of the planks, and likewise the sides of the bulk-head, plain surfaces.


TABLING, letting one piece of timber into another in the same manner as the beams are put together. — Vide BEAMS.

TAFFRAIL, the carved work at the upper part of the stern, the ends of which correspond with the quarter-pieces.

TERM, a piece of carved work, placed under each end of the taffrail, at the side-timber of the stern, and extended down as low as the footrail of the balcony.

TICK-STUFF, a term for all plank which exceeds four inches in thickness.

THROAT, the hollow part of a knee-timber.

TILLAR, a piece of timber fitted into the head of the rudder to steer the ship with.

TIMBERS IN THE HEAD, pieces with one end bearing on the upper-cheek, and the other extended to the main-rail of the head.

TOP-TIMBERS, the uppermost timbers; the first general tier of timbers that reaches the top of the side are, or should be, called top-timbers; those which scarf on the heads of the upper futtock, are called short top-timbers.

TOP AND BUTT, the general method of working the English plank (except in the topside) to make good work and conversion, which is by disposing of the top-end of every plank, within six feet of the butt-end of the plank above or below it, leaving all the planks to work as broad as possible, so that every other seam is fair.

TRAIL-BOARDS, the carved work between the cheeks, that is fastened to the knee of the head.

TRANSOMS, the thwartship pieces of timber, in the form of breast-hooks, that are bolted to the stern-post.

TRUSS, short pieces of carved work, mostly in small ships, fitted under the taffrail, in the same manner as the terms.

TUMBLING-HOME, the falling into midships of the topside above the main-breadth, to bring the upper-deck guns nearer the center of the ship.


UNSHIP, to take a thing out of its place.


WAIST, the uppermost part of the topside.

WALES, strakes of thick stuff wrought on the topside, which are always made black.

WATER-WAYS, the planks of the deck which are close to the timbers.

WING-TRANSOM, the uppermost transom of the stern-frame.

WINDING, twisting, or an uneven surface.

Marmaduke Stalkartt: Naval Architecture or the Rudiments and Rules of Ship Building Exemplified in a Series of Draughts and Plans. With Observations Tending to the further Improvements of that Important Art.
Printed for the Author & Sold by J. Boydell, & J. Dodsley & J. Sewell, London, 1787 (2nd).

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1998 Lars Bruzelius.