Modern Wooden Ship — Design And Construction Subject Of SNAME Philadelphia Section Meeting

The Philadelphia Section of The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers last technical meeting of the 1976-77 program was at the Mallard Inn, Mt.

Laurel, N.J.

A paper titled "Modern Wooden Ship—Design and Construction," was presented by co-authors John F. Christensen, project manager from the Moorestown, N.J., office of the J.J. Henry Co., Inc., and Joseph Angerer, vice president of engineering, Peterson Builders, Inc.

The paper amply described some of the terms and methods which are unique to wooden ship construction, and to which the designer and builder of steel and aluminum ships are not generally exposed.

Wooden ships, the authors note, have been built and used by men since primitive times. In the early days of this country, shipyards were located near timber supplies.

A typical yard was founded and owned by a master carpenter, who also acted as designer, selector and purchaser of material, and supervisor of construction. Under him were employed a few craftsmen and apprentices who served interchangeably as hewers, sawyers, dubbers, borers, liners, trunlelers, fasterners, joiners and calkers.

It was not until the 1880s, when East Coast timber supplies became exhausted and steel became available, that the wooden ship industry in the United States began a rapid decline.

During World Wars I and II there were revivals of wooden ship construction due to steel shortages, high freight rates and government-sponsored orders for ships. More than 100 private shipyards were engaged during World War II in the construction of wooden subchasers, minesweepers, patrol boats, tugs and salvage vessels.

Today, very few yards are engaged in wooden ship construction except for a few small yards devoted to fishing and pleasure craft.

Various kinds of wood are used in the construction of the many wooden ship members. Woods such as white oak, Douglas fir, yellow pine, Port Oxford and Alaskan cedar, Philippine mahogany, and teak are selected for specific members and applications.

Wood characteristics such as moisture content, specific gravity, shrinkage, swelling, and bending qualities must all be considered in the selection of the material. Careful examination of the lumber for wood defects caused by natural growth and insects is necessary before the wood can be used.

The paper also describes the various fasteners used, as well as the preliminary operations and construction details.

The presentation concluded with the showing of colored slides of the various operations used by Peterson Builders in forming the various wooden members and subsequent assemblies.

David F. McMullen, director of commercial marketing for the J.J.

Henry Co., Inc., acted as coordinator for the technical meeting.

Chairman A.C. Brown presented both authors with a certificate of appreciation.

The following members were elected to serve the Philadelphia Section for the 1977-78 season: chairman, F.W. Beltz Jr., vice chairman, G.C. Swensson, and secretary-treasurer, K. Gyswyt.

Past chairman A.C. Brown, along with W.S. Gaither, will serve as members of the executive committee.

Other stories from June 1977 issue


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