In this framing arrangement floor timbers are underbeveled, but the first futtocks have to be laid out with standing bevels.
All the archaeological examples of "marked" vessel remains have the relative placement of first futtocks to floor timbers that is depicted in Figures 49i and 49l. Before amidships the first futtocks are placed before the floor timbers, and abaft amidships they are placed abaft the floor timbers. It would seem a foregone conclusion that in vessels with stepped framing the adjoining face would have to be the design face since it is the only continuous plane. With the first futtocks placed on the side of the floor timber distant from midship frame, it is indeed reasonable to conclude that their shapes must have been drawn out on the adjoining face and underbeveled.
In order for the first futtocks' design faces to be in line with the floor timbers' design faces, the floor timbers would have to be laid out with standing bevels relative to the adjoining face (Figure 49l). However, on all the "marked" vessels except the 1738 chayka-type vessel, the design marks and in general the frame numbers appear on the open face of the floor timbers oriented toward the midship frame. Similarly, the early-seventeenth-century depiction of a midship frame by João Baptista Lavanha shows surmarks on the open faces of the floor and second futtocks (Figure 4b) (Lavanha ca.1608–1616:fol.71r).
Visible surmarks on the open faces of the floor timbers may have been useful during construction. They allow for symmetry to be easily checked during frame raising and would guide the positioning of ribbands. Such ribbands would have been used to hold the design frames in proper alignment as well as to define the shape of the hull to aid in shaping and fitting of additional timbers. Visibility is certainly the reason why La Belle's shipwrights carved surmarks on the after faces of the after first futtocks of the midship frame versus the after design faces of the floor timbers and second futtocks, which are completely concealed at the bilge (Figure 1).
Since the open faces of the floor timbers would be the logical place for surmarks in terms of visibility, the presence of design marks on the open face cannot be simply used to identify it as the design face. However, the issue of visibility does not explain why on "marked" vessels centerline marks and almost all location labels also appear on the open faces of the floor timbers. Along the centerline both the forward and after faces of the floor timbers are equally visible. It would seem logical, although it cannot be presumed, for the shipwright to have carved these design marks and numbers on the face of the floor timber on which its shape was originally drawn. Furthermore, as in the case of La Belle, transferring surmarks onto the design faces of the timbers of the predetermined frames would be essential for laying out the bevels. At these points the shipwright could determine the amount of change in curvature to the opposite side of the timber and draw the back curve with the aid of the same template. NEXT
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