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Updated: Nov. 24th, 2007

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H&W / Author’s collection

Laying Wood Decking - In this September 1898 photograph, shipyard workers lay wood decking aboard the Oceanic. The tools of their trade can be seen lying around the deck among the stacks of planks awaiting installation.
H&W / Author’s collection

H&W / Author’s collection

Bridge Deck (B) - Britannic - In this image of Britannic under construction, temporary wooden staging supports the beams of A Deck above, while construction continues on B Deck.  H&W / Author’s collection

Planing Machine. Author’s collection

   Camber - A ship’s decks are horizontal platforms which extend across the hull at various heights above the inner bottom. The decks within the hull are bounded by the shell plating and are connected to the beams and to trunk and hatch openings. The beams and plating are arched upward; this arching is referred to as camber, or “round of beam.” Camber is built into a deck so any water on it will run to the scuppers and drain overboard. Camber is usually measured in inches or fractions of inches per each foot of the breadth of a ship. Titanic’s decks had an overall athwartship camber of 3 inches. Technically speaking, her decks had a camber of 3 inches in 92 feet, meaning that. . . (continued)


Image above, Planing Machine - A typical electric deck-planing machine. Not many years before the building of Titanic, wood decks were planed by hand, by wood shipwrights working on their hands and knees. With this invention of this electrically powered tool, the job was made easier and considerably faster, with only the tight spots having to be done by hand.
Author’s collection


   Wooden deck planking - Titanic used two types of pine for her deck planking. Yellow pine was used throughout except in areas that would undergo excessive wear; these latter surfaces were laid with pitch pine. (One exception was the area of the Forecastle Deck in the area of the chain runs; here, teak planking was used.) Pitch pine is distinguished from yellow pine by its peculiarly rough, dark bark, and by its abundance of resin. The planking was laid running longitudinally and was secured to the steel deck by galvanized iron bolts and nuts. With the deck planks tightly held down from above, the bolt holes were drilled from below, the previously punched holes in the steel deck plates guiding the drill. After the holes had been drilled through, they were counterbored from the topside of the decking in order to provide recess for the bolt heads and deck plugs . . . (continued)


   Interior deck sheathing - While wood planking could be laid directly onto the coated steelwork of the decks, deck materials such as those just enumerated required some form of substrate material to be laid beneath them. This substrate layer served in some cases to protect the steelwork below from the effects of moisture, while in other cases, it served to insulate the spaces it was laid in from noise and heat which might be transmitted through the deck; in all cases, this sub-layer also provided a fair, even surface on which to lay the “finished” deck coverings and partition joinery. Beneath ceramic and brick tiles, a layer of Portland cement was laid down over the steel deck; the thickness of this layer of cement could be up to 2 inches depending on the thickness of the plate seams beneath. The tiles were then bedded in a thin mortar troweled over the cement, after which the seams were grouted. Beneath other types of deck coverings, where constant wetting or high heat was not a consideration, magnesite compositions of one type or another were generally adopted. Such materials were as easily mixed and applied as Portland cement, but were only half as heavy, and were also better at insulating against the transference of noise and heat. In the case of Titanic, the composition chosen was Harding’s patent Litosilo, supplied by C. S. Wilson & Co. of Liverpool . . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter:
Steel deck construction - Waterway and scuppers - plus general specifications of sheathing and waterways for individual decks

Copyright 2007 Beveridge, Hall, Andrews, Klistorner and Braunschweiger.

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