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Author Topic: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS  (Read 5621 times)

Neil

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WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« on: July 08, 2012, 10:22:35 am »

Now, I know this question won't have been asked before so think I'm safe???

I picked this up after finding it half burried in mud on the salt marshes at Lytham St Annes about 25 - 30 years ago...........it was on the mud banks opposite the site across the Ribble estuary where the German Barque Mexico and two lifeboat crews met their end in the disaster of 1886.

the question is, is is a "treenail" from such a ship's planking or in fact anything to do with a ship for that matter.........any ideas from our sailing ship guru's please.........it looks from surface damage to be a red wood in colour but I definately don't want to cut into it to find out.

thanks for any help.
neil.
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Tug-Kenny

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2012, 10:25:47 am »


Do you think it's worth 'Carbon dating' ?

ken

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Andyn

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2012, 10:42:59 am »

Medieval tent peg %)
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Netleyned

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012, 10:49:33 am »

Could well be a trenail or trunnel.
Never seen one with a head though.
They were normally a straight peg, split at one end so a small wedge could be hammered in
to help the grip and then sawn flush with the plank.
Once moisture got into it, it would swell tightening it even more.

Ned
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TheLongBuild

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 11:15:51 am »

Is it a  " Dibble "

a wooden hand tool with a pointed end; used to make holes in the ground for planting seeds or bulbs, I used to have something similar at the allottment

Circlip

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 01:09:01 pm »

A "Fid" ?

  Regards  Ian.
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furball

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2012, 01:20:44 pm »

A tree nail (trennel, trunnel whatever...) was what immediately came to mind, but I thought they were parallel rather than tapered, as they swell in the joint locking things together - I can't see how this would work with a taper.

It looks like a proper taper as well, rather than just wasted away.

I'm sure I've seen unused ones with heads on, as it just gives the mallet a bigger area to hit when driving them in, and stops the peg splitting  - it would be sawn off as Ned said when installed.

The 'dibber' as they're known in this neck of the woods usually have a proper handle on, so you can push & pull them into the ground easily.

Lance
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furball

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2012, 01:21:50 pm »

A "Fid" ?

  Regards  Ian.

That's a better idea.

Lance
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Neil

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2012, 01:37:59 pm »

what's a "Fid" guys...........never heard of that term.
cheers,
neil.
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John W E

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2012, 01:41:58 pm »

Hi this may help with the "FID"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qU0XnazuQTo

aye
john
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Neil

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2012, 02:03:04 pm »

it certainly looks like the 3rd one that the chap shows in the video with the palm rest..........think I could go with that? but how old would this article be then, as it looks very very basic??
thanks for all the input....has fascinated me for the last 20 odd years.
neil.
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Bryan Young

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2012, 02:57:47 pm »

Was any shipbuilding ever done near where you found it? If so, I'll go for the trenail before the head was cut off. Could just have been dropped and not picked up. Any ideas on what kind of wood?
A "Fid" is a seamans generic term for anything that resembles a marlin spike, but larger. They are still extensively used when splicing rope....fibre or metal. Some of the large wooden ones can be up to 3ft long and 4" dia at the thick end. Metal ones are used in wire splicing. Both sorts used to seperate the strands of the rope so another bit of the rope can be pushed through the hole. BY.
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john44

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2012, 03:16:33 pm »

Could it be a small sailors wooden leg? {-) {-) {-)

john
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Neil

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2012, 03:28:11 pm »

Was any shipbuilding ever done near where you found it? If so, I'll go for the trenail before the head was cut off. Could just have been dropped and not picked up. Any ideas on what kind of wood?
A "Fid" is a seamans generic term for anything that resembles a marlin spike, but larger. They are still extensively used when splicing rope....fibre or metal. Some of the large wooden ones can be up to 3ft long and 4" dia at the thick end. Metal ones are used in wire splicing. Both sorts used to seperate the strands of the rope so another bit of the rope can be pushed through the hole. BY.

yes, Bryan.......there was a lot of ship building done just a mile up river at Lytham shipyards.....some very famous old ships built there including a lot of old sailing ships, paddlers, iron and steel ships, and one particular boat called "African Queen".......all listed in a little paper back book ( which I have lost somewhere down the way) called Lytham St Annes Ship builders.

the timber does look, from scrapes along it, like some Mahogany dirivitive, it has that colour, and even with it's age, and the fact that it has now fully dried out over the years............it is still very solid and hard.

thanks for the input.

as for you John 44....................well I haven't a leg to stand on as to that argument....... {-) {-) {-) {-)........If I were going down that line I'd have to say a wooden leg for the captain's pet monkey..... %% %% %%
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John W E

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2012, 03:33:04 pm »

hi, I dont think (or shall I say I very much doubt) this is a trenail; too much taper - if you think about the holes were bored/drilled into the frame and planking with a parallel drill or brace n bit; very, very early days the holes in the timbers were burnt in with a red hot round iron ba.   The princlple is for the trenail to swell into the hole and tighten up.  This would be difficult if the trenail is tapered, as this one in the picture is - it would still remain a loose fit.  

The alternative is if they had tapered drill bits in those days; they could have done it - I am sure on the continent they use a similar trenai but this one has a near enough parallel shank with a taper on the end to facilitate lining up the 2 holes as the pin is driven into the holes.  My dad used a similar method when he was repairing a fishing boat way back - but this time the trenail didnt have a head on it - it only had 2 slots cut at either end of the pin where a wedge was driven in, to swell the end of the pin up and then lock it into place.

aye
john e
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Bryan Young

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2012, 06:47:06 pm »

Much as it goes against the grain.....this time, after a bit more thought, I guess I agree with Bluebird.
Open minded as ever! BY.
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gondolier88

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2012, 09:14:43 am »

It looks like a bung to me- probably to stop a knot that had fallen out of a plank. The reason I suggest that is it looks very much like a white lead and oakum doughnut on the taper side of the head- if it was a trunnel it wouldn't normally have any sort of goo on it.

Greg
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Neil

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2012, 11:32:22 am »

hi greg....that white stuff is/are barnacles.sorry.
neil.
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davidm1945

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2012, 05:08:58 pm »

Hi All,
   I think that gondolier88 may not be far off saying that it is a bung. Years ago (1950's) my dad had a pub, back when the beer came in wooden barrels. As soon as I saw the picture it reminded me of a type of bung that he kept a few of in a box in the cellar. I don't remember what was special about them but the ordinary ones he used were quite a bit smaller and shorter. All got chucked out when aluminium casks came in of course. Sorry that I can't be more helpful...

Dave
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pettyofficernick

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2012, 07:06:13 pm »

Here is an example of a Swedish fid, after the strands of rope have been parted by the taper, the working part of the splice can easily be slid through the channel. As regards the dibber idea, could be, I remember my old uncle in Wisbech had one exactly like the item shown.
Regards,
Nick.



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dodes

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2012, 09:27:55 pm »

It is definitely not a trenail, they had a very slight taper made out of old seasoned timber, they where driven in flush with the hull and when they got wet they swelled and they where water tight and very strong better than any rivet, looks very much like a very old bung, used for a variaty of reasons at sea, even fitting a hole for a failed rivet as a temperary repair on a small vessel.
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Neil

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2012, 09:58:41 pm »

I don't think it's a bung for stopping a leak in a hole......the pointed prongue isn't round...............but oval, and as such would leak around the flattened sides.
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John W E

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2012, 10:34:04 pm »

Is this it
 a tar brush
aye
john
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Circlip

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2012, 10:37:26 pm »

Quote
Years ago (1950's) my dad had a pub, back when the beer came in wooden barrels. As soon as I saw the picture it reminded me of a type of bung that he kept a few of in a box in the cellar.

  In the days of proper beer and barrels, there were two types of bungs used in the cellars. When the barrels were delivered, they were put on racks and the sealing bung (a hardwood one about 5/8" diameter) was driven into the barrel to vent it. You then inserted a soft bung which was a porous type which allowed the contents to breathe but stopped any contaminents getting in. After the contents were drained, the barrel was resealed with a hard bung in the vent and a larger diameter one in the tap hole but neither were a headed type.

  Regards   Ian.
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Neil

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Re: WHAT IS THIS.....ANY IDEAS
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2012, 10:43:07 pm »

you could be right there John!!

mind you would ruin my dreams of finding something of wonderfully historical importance,  {-) {-) {-)
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