Carvel versus Clinker

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The front-cover difference between clinker-built hulls and carvel-built hulls is illustrated in figure 1.5. The front cover does not represent the whole book, however, but like hull planks, or strakes, is what you see on the outside. Carvel-building probably came firstt and originated in the

*The reason for this behavior is discussed in chapter 5.

tCarvel-built vessels were standard for the first millennium BCE in the Mediterra-

eastern Mediterranean region. It was a natural extension of the ancient Egyptian way of building barges, with short planks fitted edge-to-edge, and seems like the natural way to construct a hull. Carvel planking was long, perhaps extending the length of the hull in small ships. If the planks were not as long as the hull, they were butted end to end. Planking was sawn to shape, and the planks were fitted snugly side by side. The strakes of early ships were held in place by ropes that passed through holes (stitched together, as Homer put it), but later, strakes were attached to each other via the mortise and tenon method (see fig. 1.5). The key point here is that the main strength of the boat came from the frame, and not from the manner in which strakes were connected to each other. To construct the boat, first the keel was laid down, then the stem and stern posts and transoms were attached to it, and then the ribs and the rest of the frame—the ship's skeleton—was fitted. Once the frame was complete,* then planking was fixed to it, following the line of the keel and stem/stern posts (so that the strakes rose up at prow and stern). Once one strake was in place, the next strake was fitted to it and fixed to the frame.

Carvel-built ships were more streamlined than clinker-built boats because the hull was smoother. They required more caulking, however, to make them watertight and were more labor-intensive. The main advantage of carvel-built ships, which led in time to the spread of carvel-building techniques across Europe, was that they could be bigger than clinker-built boats. As we will see, there was a fundamental limit to the size of clinker-built vessels; no such limit applied for carvel-built ships. Also, carvel planking could be thicker, and therefore stronger, because it did not have to be bent into position. (In many parts of the world, clinker planking is called lapstrake, because the strakes overlap.)

Clinker-built boats were made in northern Europe. The boat-builders in these wilder and less civilized fringes possessed no saws, or no saws that were precise enough to make squared-off, close-fitting planks. One advantage of clinker-building was that it required only adzes. First the keel, stem, and stern posts would be laid down, and then rough-hewn nean. The first clinker-built boat known to archaeology is the so-called Nydam ship; it is dated to 350 CE and is about 82 ft long.

*To be pedantic, sometimes only that section of the frame that lay below the waterline was completed before planking was attached, with the rest of the frame put in place afterwards.

Clinker Frame

Figure 1.5. (a) Clinker, or lapstrake, planking vs. carvel planking. (b) The mortise and tenon joint connecting two carvel planks. The main strength of carvel boats, however, came from the planking attachment to the frame. For clinker hulls, the strength was in the shell. Carvel hulls created less drag, but were more difficult to construct.

Figure 1.5. (a) Clinker, or lapstrake, planking vs. carvel planking. (b) The mortise and tenon joint connecting two carvel planks. The main strength of carvel boats, however, came from the planking attachment to the frame. For clinker hulls, the strength was in the shell. Carvel hulls created less drag, but were more difficult to construct.

planks (riven timber, or split wood) would be attached. These planks ran from stem to stern, were bent into place, and then were nailed flush to the posts. Boat size was limited by the fact that the planks had to run the length of the hull.* The overlapping planks were fixed to each other by

* Consequently, clinker building continued until a much later date for boats than for ships.

nails that were driven through the overlapping sections from the outside, and then turned back on themselves (clinched, hence ''clinker'') to form a hook shape, before being driven back into the inside plank. Rivets achieved the same task more effectively in later boats. For larger clinker boats with thick planking, oak spikes called treenails (pronounced ''tren-nels'') were driven into undersized holes to hold the strakes together.

The strength of clinker-built boats lay in the outer shell of planking. The internal framing timber was added after the outer shell (bent into shape by steaming) had been built. This contrast between carvel and clinker vessels echoes the prehistoric difference between skin and bark boats. In one case the hull strength resides in the internal frame; in the other it arises from the outer shell.

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How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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