Wood 'Grown to shape'

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sams93

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I am a lifeboat crew member on the south coast, and it is the RNLI's 200th year anniversary on the 4th March. As part of the run-up to this, stations have been posting historical accounts of their rescues and boats etc.

Newhaven Lifeboat posted this the other day Link Here

Picture 1: On Tuesday 7 July 1931 Prince George visited Newhaven to christen the ‘Cecil and Lilian Philpott’, the first lifeboat of the late Mrs Lilian Philpott of London, a great benefactor to the RNLI. When loaded with crew, equipment and fuel the lifeboat weighed 20.5 tons. Fitted with an iron keel 9inch deep and 12inch broad, weighing 3 tons. Stern post in oak, grown to shape with bent Canadian elm timbers, self-draining cockpit, two 40hp engines, speed 8.25 knots, range at full speed of 110 miles, consumption 104 gallons, or 7.5 knot cruising speed range of 158 miles.


I've highlighted the bit I thought was interesting: "Stern post in oak, grown to shape"

Was/is this a thing, growing wood to shape? I know that historically shipbuilding used a lot of the better quality timber available, though I have never heard of growing it in a specific shape other than as straight as possible. I would have assumed that growing something in a curve or other shape etc would cause nightmares when it came to drying it out and working with it etc.

I wondered if anyone here would be able to tell me more!
 

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They would go around a forest with a template of the stem and find an oak bow that fitted the shape and cut it down!

I have a picture in a book, where the book is I'm not sure probably at my parents!
 
I went to Tregothnan, Lord Falmouth's estate, some years ago and was told that the thousands of Quercus petraeas (Cornish Oaks) on the slopes going down to the Fal used to be prized by the boatbuilders. They selected them to suit the curves they needed. They also seasoned Tsudosuga Menziesiis (Douglas firs) for masts seventy, eight feet and more long by floating them in the river for two or three years before towing them down to the shipyards.
 
Was/is this a thing, growing wood to shape? I know that historically shipbuilding used a lot of the better quality timber available, though I have never heard of growing it in a specific shape other than as straight as possible. I would have assumed that growing something in a curve or other shape etc would cause nightmares when it came to drying it out and working with it etc.

I wondered if anyone here would be able to tell me more!
It probably wasn't so much growing to shape as making the most of natural variations. I did see an article on someone growing chairs a while ago, though.
https://fullgrown.co.uk/
 
There was a time when the woodsmen working an area would have known just the right trees for a particular job. Met a Sussex woodsman some years back who could tell you just where the right trees for a cruck frame were in his patch
 
Yes as said. Now what was grown to shape, (if I could remember what the hell it was lol,) was it hockey sticks,or briar pipes, walking sticks, or perhaps the other thing I can’t remember.
Ian
 
I've highlighted the bit I thought was interesting: "Stern post in oak, grown to shape"

Was/is this a thing, growing wood to shape? I know that historically shipbuilding used a lot of the better quality timber available, though I have never heard of growing it in a specific shape other than as straight as possible. I would have assumed that growing something in a curve or other shape etc would cause nightmares when it came to drying it out and working with it etc.

I wondered if anyone here would be able to tell me more!
The reason for either growing to shape or selecting trees/branches that have grown naturally to the shape required is they are much stronger. They are stronger and will spring back to shape under pressure because all of the grain is long and interwoven. If you cut a bow shape through a section you create short broken grain which is then very weak. As Cabinetman said, walking sticks that are one piece will remain strong under pressure at the curve on the handle because the grain despite being in a tight curve is long and unbroken. The original arches for the dome roof in St. Geoges chapel at Windsor Castle were one piece 'grown to shape'. After the fire it was impossible to replace them so the cabinetmakers made the replacements with laminated oak.
 
The ribs and other curved structural members for traditional Adirondack guide boats are cut from flitches milled from the stump section of spruce.

The buttresses and stump section these days is removed as waste, even though it contains valuable material for curved work.


19650760005.jpg


Milled flitches of spruce stumps.


19650760018.jpg


Stern, bow and ribs.

Guide boat ribs.jpg
 
Most parts of a boat come from curved timber, even the planking came from curved butts, IE boatskin larch, all the knees are from grown timber and the stem and sternposts too. Many plank shapes when transposed to 2d are very curved or s shaped and if cut from straight stock would have too much short grain to be strong enough.
 
I am a lifeboat crew member on the south coast, and it is the RNLI's 200th year anniversary on the 4th March. As part of the run-up to this, stations have been posting historical accounts of their rescues and boats etc.

Newhaven Lifeboat posted this the other day Link Here

Picture 1: On Tuesday 7 July 1931 Prince George visited Newhaven to christen the ‘Cecil and Lilian Philpott’, the first lifeboat of the late Mrs Lilian Philpott of London, a great benefactor to the RNLI. When loaded with crew, equipment and fuel the lifeboat weighed 20.5 tons. Fitted with an iron keel 9inch deep and 12inch broad, weighing 3 tons. Stern post in oak, grown to shape with bent Canadian elm timbers, self-draining cockpit, two 40hp engines, speed 8.25 knots, range at full speed of 110 miles, consumption 104 gallons, or 7.5 knot cruising speed range of 158 miles.


I've highlighted the bit I thought was interesting: "Stern post in oak, grown to shape"

Was/is this a thing, growing wood to shape? I know that historically shipbuilding used a lot of the better quality timber available, though I have never heard of growing it in a specific shape other than as straight as possible. I would have assumed that growing something in a curve or other shape etc would cause nightmares when it came to drying it out and working with it etc.

I wondered if anyone here would be able to tell me more!
Historically folk took a longer view of supplying the trees & timber that would be needed for the future...especially for the construction of naval vessls. In the New Forest around the once thriving ship building centre at Bucklers Hard side branches of oak were frequently pegged into a curve to help supply the huge number of curved frames, especially along the turn of the bilge, that were needed. You can see the density of framing used in the Orkney boat thread. There are still relics deep in the forest of these large curved side branches. Some 40 years ago I was able to wander around the timber stack of an old saw mill in the Forest & get some beautifully large curved branches that the yard skillfully wedged & cut along the bend/grain to give me frames to repair an old fishing boat. See the book 'Ships of British oak' for more info.
 
One of the original purposes of the New Forest was the provision of oak for naval ships.Not only did each ship consume hundreds of oak trees,but naval engagements inevitably meant that lots more was needed for repairs.A fairly grisly side effect of naval battles was that more sailors were injured or killed by flying wood fragments than by direct gunfire.Any of the textbooks on wooden ship construction or modelling of historic ships will have details about the use of patterns from a lofting floor to apply to sections of tree in order to obtain the best run of grain.I'm reasonably sure that some forms of carriage building would have sought out conveniently curved sections too.
 
I am a lifeboat crew member on the south coast, and it is the RNLI's 200th year anniversary on the 4th March. As part of the run-up to this, stations have been posting historical accounts of their rescues and boats etc.

Newhaven Lifeboat posted this the other day Link Here

Picture 1: On Tuesday 7 July 1931 Prince George visited Newhaven to christen the ‘Cecil and Lilian Philpott’, the first lifeboat of the late Mrs Lilian Philpott of London, a great benefactor to the RNLI. When loaded with crew, equipment and fuel the lifeboat weighed 20.5 tons. Fitted with an iron keel 9inch deep and 12inch broad, weighing 3 tons. Stern post in oak, grown to shape with bent Canadian elm timbers, self-draining cockpit, two 40hp engines, speed 8.25 knots, range at full speed of 110 miles, consumption 104 gallons, or 7.5 knot cruising speed range of 158 miles.


I've highlighted the bit I thought was interesting: "Stern post in oak, grown to shape"

Was/is this a thing, growing wood to shape? I know that historically shipbuilding used a lot of the better quality timber available, though I have never heard of growing it in a specific shape other than as straight as possible. I would have assumed that growing something in a curve or other shape etc would cause nightmares when it came to drying it out and working with it etc.

I wondered if anyone here would be able to tell me more!
Oak grown in open parkland would have a spreading habit resulting in low hanging boughs with a natural curvature. Trees in closely spaced woodland grow straighter with fewer side branches. Hockey sticks were made from Ash cut from old coppice stools which gave them a curve at the base. Horses for Courses.
 
Yes as said. Now what was grown to shape, (if I could remember what the hell it was lol,) was it hockey sticks,or briar pipes, walking sticks, or perhaps the other thing I can’t remember.
Ian
Walking sticks from hazel
 

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