I am wondering if the floor timbers of Vasa were fastened to the keel before the keelson was fixed. Witsen, describing the bottom first method, does not mention any fastenings and Van Yk, describing the frame first method, mentions that the floor timbers weren't fastened to the keel but only nailed to the garboard strake. The E81-wreck only shows a small section with exposed floor timbers, the rest of the floor timbers is covered by the keelson. The exposed floor timbers show no fastenings (see picture). I know that the English used to bolt every other floor timber to the keel and, after placing the keelson, bolted the keelson to the keel through the other floor timbers. (Endsor describes it beautifully in his 'Restoration Warship'.) This does not seem to be the case in the Dutch/Vasa method. In the E81 wreck the keelson is bolted to every floor timber with two adjacent fasteners; using as fasteners wooden pegs and iron bolts.
This is actually difficult to determine in Vasa, since the ship is still assembled and the bottom surface of the keel is obscured by the keel blocks on which it sits. Back when more the keel surface was visible, I do not remember seeing lots of treenails suggesting that the floor timbers were fastened. The keelson is fastened in place by iron bolts which are driven through the keelson, floor timbers and keel. There may have been temprary or light fasteners, such as toenails, to hold the floor timbers in place while the holes were being bored for the plank treenails (we see this technique in lots of internal timbers in the ship), and some of these might be in the keel.
In Vasa, the floor timbers do not sit on the keel, but on a second timber which rests on top of the keel.
Thanks for the answer. Any chance of lifting the keelson of Vasa soon? Just kidding. I tried to find something on this subject in Kroum's 'Framing of seventeenth century men of war' of 2002, but came up with nothing. I guess I have to wait for VASA III to get the final answer. Anyway, I am going to try to persuade the 'Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed' to allow me to lift a section of the keelson of the E81-wreck. Let's see how they will respond. I will keep you posted.
Yes it is. The wreck is at Willemsoord, the former 'marinewerf' in Den Helder. I published a photo from inside the glass case some time ago in the 'framing revisited'-thread. Is there something I can do for you during my visit next week?