Yes, you read that right. The guys at the Project have started work on their first frame. As this is the first major update to the ship build in a while, I’ll be uploading quite a few pictures and going into this part of the build in a little more depth than usual.
As I’m not a shipbuilder, I decided to see if I could have a chat with the shipwright to see how this part of the build would progress and how they were moving forward. Although Chris Conway is an extremely busy man, he was happy to sit down with me for a while and talk me through how frame 20 would be built. I didn’t take notes or make any record of our chat, so for all you boat building types out there, please excuse me if I make any mistakes.
If you look at the drawing in my last post, you’ll see some numbers along the bottom. Each of these numbers is a separate frame and you can see that frame 20 is midships. The frames of the ship are the ribs which will see the the body of the ship starting to take shape.
Frame 20 is being made from Oak that is already in the Project yard. It will also be using some wood sourced from Grimsby. Although the project has tons of wood available to them in their yard, they need logs with a curve to allow them to cut the curved futtocks (sections of the frame) with the grain. Cutting a curved futtock from straight grain will result in a week section, which could snap under stress.
The pictures below show the oak being cut and each separate futtock as it makes up the frame. As you can see, the frame will be double width with the top futtocks overlaying the join of the bottom sections.
Any picture can be clicked on to get an enlarged version.
The image below shows the positioning of the section of frame pictured. This drawing looks along the ship and shows the completed frame in cross section. Drawing used with permission of THMP. original source, Graham Westbrook
The section of frame shown in my photos is the part of the frame between ‘A’ and ‘B’. The green lines show the sections (futtocks) on the bottom of the frame, while the purple lines show the futtocks on the top of the frame. The ‘floor’ of the frame and some further sections may (as already mentioned) be sourced from a Grimsby woodyard.
Once again, thanks to Chris for taking the time to explain this to me and for providing extra pictures. Content: James Kelly. Photography: James Kelly/Chris Conway.
Work continues at the Project as the shipwrights work on the frames. The frames (‘ribs’ to non shipbuilder types) will be hoisted atop the keel and will form the skeleton of the Mayflower. Once erected they will see her beginning to really take shape. This picture shows Chris, one of the shipwrights, working on a template of a frame on the lofting floor. For those of you not familiar with ‘lofting’, please take a look at my earlier post on it. Photography and content: James Kelly.