Jules wanted to know a bit more about my Essex project that I am just starting.
A little background. Essex was authorized by President Lincoln shortly before he was assassinated and was built by Donald McKay as one of the last wooden warships of the U.S. Navy. It was burned for its fasteners in the 1930's in Duluth, Minnesota and the remains of it are still on the Minnesota Point beach. It is the only known fragment of a McKay built ship anywhere. To me this makes it historically significant and my model building could inspire some extra interest in preserving it.
By studying the pictures of the wreck, and sizing the drawing of the existing framing to other line drawings, I found very strong evidence for the wreck being oriented stern first to the beach, not bow first as it was burned, and more or less convinced my archaeologist friends who had previously thought the opposite that this is right. So here are some pictures of my project, along with a draw of the framing:
The oldest known picture of Essex (1876):
Picture of the remains:
A drawing of what is left of the framing (notice how solid it is and how the different floors and futtocks vary in size):
And the start of my model. I will replicate what is left of the framing in the cut out part of the hull:
My reconstructed Essex framing. It consists of floor timbers and first and second futtocks to form a very solid hull framing pattern. There are only a couple second futtocks on the wreckage on Minnesota Point, but they have their lower ends touching the outer ends of the floor timbers, so I made all of mine that way.
It is quite symmetrical since the floors are more or less centered on the keel. The floors do vary a bit in length, and what complicates it a bit is that quite a few of them are broken off or have had their ends chewed up by lake ice, so it is not actually easy to tell how long they were originally. In some places, the floors appear to be a quite uniform length, but in other places they aren't.
Even though the framing resembles Vasa's bottom framing, I am sure that this ship was built with the frame first method. Would have been interesting to know what the builders were thinking when they decided to build such a solidly framed hull.
Would also be nice to have at least an idea of what the framing looked like up higher, but unfortunately no one knows exactly.