The best material for decks, in respect to strength and durability, is the Dantzic or Memel fir, but these are commonly very full of rough knots, and these knots being harder than the other parts of the wood, project up when the deck is worn a little, and make a very disagreeable surface to walk upon.
The American yellow pine makes an excellent deck; it stands the heat well, and is almost completely free from knots; it therefore wears equally, and always presents a smooth surface.
The method of fastening the deck down to the beams, was frequently complained of — this was done with iron nails or spikes; but the recess made by punching the heads of the nails down into the plank, lodged water about the nail which soon corroded it, and rotted the deck around it, and therefore the deck leaked at the nail holes; but sometimes the hole above the head of the nail is filled up by putty, or a small piece of wood, in the form of a diamond, is sunk into the deck above the nail heads, to answer the same purpose.
The deck-nails are now generally made of a composition of copper and tin. I have seen a ship's decks all fastened down to the beams with wooden pins, or small treenails, which make an excellent fastening; but as the end-wood does not wear so fast as the side-wood, these pins stand up when the plank gets wore, and of course they require to be dressed down. I have no doubt that this way of fastening is superior to the common method by nails, all things considered.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius
Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives | Shipbuilding.
© Copyright 2000 Lars Bruzelius.