George F. Campbell
The neophyte shipmodeller`s jackstay
Very thick wales were sometimes stepped down gradually in two ledges, Fig. 26. H.M.S. " Victory" is like this.
Before 1720 the wide main wales were made with two thick strakes and a space of thinner plank between. The upper strakes were also narrow. Fig. 25. These strakes were only one plank in width whereas the broad wales were anything from 3 to 5 planks in width. The arrangement of wales is a good guide to the approximate date of an old ship.
It frequently happened even well into the 19th century with power driven wooden vessels that through insufficient knowledge in their designs, some shipbuilders found their ships had not enough stability when being fitted out. To alleviate this, the ship's beam was increased by adding very thick planking all around the hull at the waterline. This was called girdling and gave the appearance of thick main wales, and was usually passed off as such.
Also very old ships with worn and leaky sides were often given some few years more life by adding a complete new skin of additional planking over the old, from the keel to above the waterline. Notice that in Fig. 24 the level of the fore and main channels is higher than in Fig. 25 and also the chains themselves in Fig. 25 are much shorter. This change came about in the British Navy as a result of experience gained on Anson's tamous voyage around the world in 1745, when heavy weather damage was caused to the channels and also the rigging attached to them being so close to the waterline.
Strakes and walesare applied to the sides with glue, using bent pins to hold the strips in place until the glue dries. Fig. 27. Start at the how and work aft applying glue as each section is drawn in to the hull.
WALES are more difficult to apply, as they are wider and do not readily bend to the curves and sheer line of a small hull. For this reason it is best to shape a heavy paper template and transfer the shape to the wood sheet, ending up with a timber somewhat like that shown in Fig. 27. To ease the bend at the bow, shave the wale a trifle thinner, and give it a preliminary steam bending (at the spout of a tea kettle). If hand-holding the wale in place is necessary, a tast drying cement is called for. Where there is space between the wale and the hull, due to curvature of the sides, fill with plastic wood or like filler. Finally the wale can be lightly sanded to bring it to uniform outer shape.
Alternatively the wide wales may be built up from several widths of 1/16th" or 1/8” strip, filling the seams before finishing. A BILLBOARD was often fixed to the topsides, just aft of the cathead. This timber protected the sides against chafing of the bills of the anchor as it raised to the deck. Fig. 28.
In the latter part of the 19th century the billboard was often covered with an iron plate which extended over the top rail. The earlier form of billboard in the 17th, 18th and early 19th century was made with thick planking to bring flush the space between the raised wales. If the fore channel was well forward a portable board called an anchor lining was fitted underneath it from the edge of the channel to the top of the wale beneath, which enabled the anchor to be hoisted up and on to the channel without catching under it.
The position of the billboards should not be too close to the cathead. Imagine the anchor hanging just below the cathead and swung in an arc towards the top rail. The arc described by the swing of the flukes will locate the billboard.