Francis Liardet: Professional Recollections on Points of Seamanship, Discipline, &c., 1849.

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Coal tar.

This tar, from drying much quicker, and giving a smooth and glossy appearance, is often too much used on that account, for the purpose of tarring the standing rigging; but as the heating and searching nature of coal tar tend very much to dry up even the very heart of rope, and thereby destroy it, this practice should be discontinued as much as possible, as it is the opinion of many good seamen that vessels have often lost their spars and rigging, from too frequently using coal tar. Stockholm tar, which is the tar allowed for the purpose of tarring the rigging, on the contrary, nourishes and revives the rope throughout; but coal tar dries it up, and deprives it of the very nourishment which the rope is made with, viz., Stockholm tar. After the inside yarns become dry, from frequently using coal tar, the rope then imbibes the moisture more freely, and consequently sooner decays. If a ship had to be worked off a lee shore in a gale of wind, the same confidence could not be placed in rigging which had been continually blacked with coal tar, as if the same rigging had always been tarred with Stockholm tar; and this is made more evident in tropical climates, where the heat of the coal tar, acting with the heat of the sun and heavy dews at night, all work together to destroy the rigging; whereas Stockholm tar fosters the rope and makes it impervious to the weather.
Francis Liardet: Professional Recollections on Points of Seamanship, Discipline, &c.
William Woodward, Portsea, 1849. 8vo, frontisp., (6), x, 319 pp, 1 col. plate of signals.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1998 Lars Bruzelius.