HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

4 April 2015

Crooks and knees in shipbuilding.

 What are crooks and knees?

A ships knee, is a curved piece of wood, it forms a brace and used to strengthen a junction of major components, especially frames and deck beams in boat building.

A crook, is a natural bend in a tree, used to make knee’s,  it’s regarded as the strongest type of natural joint,  a natural crook was considered to be stronger than a joint created by bending straight timber using steam.

Shipbuilders would scour the forests around Jervis Bay looking for natural crooks to use in their shipbuilding, commonly taken from the junction of a trunk and a branch, a naturally formed curved branch, or from the large side roots growing off a tree.

132-Crooks-on-caterpillar-1942Crooks collected from the forest being transported to the shipyards behind an old caterpillar.

456-Siding-a-crook-with-broad-axeHere we see a man siding a crook with a broad axe.
A very labour intensive and skilled job, requiring a keen eye and a steady hand.
Imperfections were often discovered after the siding was well under way,  which meant the crook would have to be discarded.

941-Ship-constructionIn this photograph you can see crooks that have been sided in the pile of timber in the foreground.

135-Stern-construction-of-Jeanette This photograph clearly shows the use of knee’s for bracing made out of natural crooks.

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