View Full Version : Who invented planking?

09-28-2000, 10:34 AM

Could any of you knowledgeable historians out there kindly expound on the history of planking? Where did lapstrake and carvel planking originate (that we know of)?
And when?

I know that the Norse people used lapstrake and (I believe) that they learned about carvel from somewhere in the Mediterranean. But that's all. Any thoughts? Thanks,


Art Read
09-28-2000, 12:59 PM
Don't know, but I bet everybody told him it wasn't a "real" wooden boat... ;-}

09-28-2000, 01:13 PM
If I may add another question, When Please did double diagnal planking first get usedThankyou

Don Maurer
09-28-2000, 02:17 PM
In Europe, the change from hulls made of hewn logs to plank on frame construction began around the 2nd Century AD in the Mediterranian. Lapstrake developed in Scandanavia around the 8th or 9th century. Sewn timber and bark boats have been in use around the world since pre-historic times.

Alan D. Hyde
09-28-2000, 02:29 PM
Tim Severin re-enacted the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts in a replica boat, which I had thought was planked.

My impression is that he researched things pretty well. He wrote a book on the voyage, which shouldn't be too hard to find.

I'm guessing that he placed the time of the original voyage in the sixth century B.C., but I may be wrong.

At any rate, I'd be surprised to learn that Achilles, Odysseus and friends sailed on the wine-dark sea to Troy in hollowed-out logs.


[This message has been edited by Alan D. Hyde (edited 09-28-2000).]

Don Maurer
09-28-2000, 03:24 PM
The Greeks did have "planked" boats prior to the 2nd century AD, but the construction was not what we consider plank on frame today. They used logs hewn into planks, mortise and tenoned together in a self-supporting structure. Ribs were added after the hull was completed. It was a very expensive method in terms of material and labor. When plank on frame construction became common, it was considered a great advancement in naval architecture (in retrospect at least).

Scott Rosen
09-28-2000, 06:18 PM
I'm no historian, but there was this guy named Noah, who got some pretty good plans from this other guy named God. The plans specified some sort of plank on frame construction caulked with pitch. This all was supposed to have occured long before the second century C.E.

It doesn't matter whether you belive the story. What counts is that the tellers of the story at the time it was in its near-final form knew about plank on frame construction and pitch caulking. I think most historians agree that the story was in its current form at least several hundred years B.C.E. I think that this form of construction must have been well accepted and very common at that time, as the story was part of the history of the ancient Israelites, who were, after all, a desert people and were unlikely to have been experts on building boats.

But whahdooeyeno?

Ian Wright
09-28-2000, 06:33 PM
A boat was found near Dover(UK) around 40 foot long from the bronze age, 5000 years old (ish). Carvel planked with a mixture of trennel fastenings and lashings, no epoxy or ply. The Old Gaffers Asoc is lookig for the last owner to offer him free membership,,,,


09-28-2000, 07:55 PM
thanks Don Maurer. Confirms my suspicion that "stitch-'n-glue" (sewn timber and bark) is the earliest form of boat construction http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by John058 (edited 09-28-2000).]

09-28-2000, 08:16 PM
hay Scott, I ran across those plans ( called "the Ark" I think) and at the top right hand corner it said "Glen L" . I didn't gewt them 'cause I couldn't find an out board to push it....hehehe

09-29-2000, 11:37 AM
Sewn timber and pitch? Just because their glue wasn't as good as the modern glues doesn't mean that wasn't stitch-n-glue. Wonder if they had to take a lot of flack from the dugout log traditionalists.

09-30-2000, 07:22 AM
Anyone know about the Polynesians?
Asian cultures used bamboo...
What about that part of the world?
They were first in using boats I think, but were they first to develop planking?

09-30-2000, 10:08 AM
When was the Australian island contenent first inhabited? 50,000 B.P. or more. (Pre Polynesian?) No land bridge there to cross.

Its interesting, though futile, to speculate on what sort of pressures or attraction caused those people to leave sight of land, in some sort of vessel, for parts unknown.


09-30-2000, 11:25 AM
Your right about the austrailian having no land bridge but the gap between islands in the indonesian archepeligo was quite narrow but deep. there is a thought that was inspired by the iceman found between ittaly and austria the 5000 year old natural mummy. it is sugested that he might have been a fugitive who was trying to escape when he tried to cross the alps in mid winter.

What if insteed of the usual thought of wandering tribes fallowing the pull of plentiful and easily hunted game in front of them were actually the less sucessfull weaker tribes being driven by stronger tribes behind them... this idea carried backward might indicate that the people that remained in africa were better evoutionary speeking than those that left?
best wishes

Todd Bradshaw
10-02-2000, 02:37 AM
It's so nice to read through an entire topic without anybody mentioning C.P.E.S. -- 'course, I suppose they all would have used it if they could have found a distributor.

10-02-2000, 08:50 AM
God would have put CPES in trees instead of sap if She could have afforded it. Cleek told me so.


On Vacation
02-12-2004, 06:32 AM
A little bit of boat talk.

Ian McColgin
02-12-2004, 06:49 AM
Planking was brought to earth at the head of Clew Bay by Angus Ogg on the morning of the winter solstice, 14,368 BC.

Ian Wright
02-12-2004, 07:07 AM
Originally posted by NormMessinger:
God would have put CPES in trees instead of sap if She could have afforded it. Cleek told me so.

--NormOh Norm,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :(


02-12-2004, 07:32 AM
Two thoughts, one on 'land bridges'. I live on an island that until just a few years back had no coyotes. How did they arrive from the mainland? by crossing on pack ice!

Second thought, Beothuk Indians (now extinct) built birch canoes, and oddly enough, lashed planking to the outside to protect the hull from rocks and ice.