It should be noted that on the midship frame both surmarks are on the after set of first futtocks, which are superimposed onto the continuous face of the midship floor timber and second futtocks created by notching the floor timber's forward face. This after set of first futtocks was independently fastened onto the rest of the frame's timbers that were already secured together with fastenings.
The notches in all the floor timbers are variable in length as well as quality and do not seem to have been cut to strengthen the scarf or to ensure precise timber alignment. In addition, the overall lengths of the first futtocks vary greatly, and thus, there is no consistency from one frame to another as to where their tops and bottoms are located. Therefore, there is no correlation between any features of these scarfs or the lengths of the first futtocks and the locations of the surmarks. There does seem to have been some attempt by the shipwrights to have the arms of the floor timbers extend approximately one French foot beyond the floor timber surmarks. This is the case for all the mould frames except for VIA, where this distance is approximately half a foot, and frames VIIIIA and XIID, where it is an inch longer than a foot.
La Belle's frames are identified with location labels that follow the same logic as the location labels on the centerline timbers. These location labels appear on all of La Belle's frames and have the same orientation relative to amidships as the surmarks on every third frame. The amidships star is located on the center of the after face of the midship floor timber. All the rest of the floor timbers have the same Roman numeral and letter designations as the corresponding labels on the keel (Figures 2b, 3). In addition to the centerline labels, the ends of the floor timbers and the lower ends of the second futtocks that butt up against the floor timbers are also labeled (Figures 2a, 3). These labels give the frame location number together with a letter designating either starboard, T for tribord, or port, B for bâbord. The labeling of the port second futtocks can only be inferred since none of these timbers survive. Furthermore, there is no indication with the second futtock labels whether the timber is located before or abaft amidships. The orientation of the label or a physical association with other timbers from the frame must have been deemed sufficient. Overall, there are only a few location labels that are missing or barely discernible. In addition, a few of the labels are oriented upside down or the order of the numbers and letters is reversed.
La Belle's location labels were not intended to identify every framing timber; all the first futtocks and third futtocks are completely devoid of labels. Although these timbers may have been labeled in a less permanent fashion such as with graphite or red ochre, the lack of inscribed labeling indicates a clear distinction between them and the labeled timbers. These unlabeled timbers seem to serve as structural backing for the labeled timbers on which the shape of the frame was drawn. NEXT
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