rapidly knocked together with coarse planks

enkidu68

Senior Member
turkish
Hi folks, this is cited from Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)

Q: what I understand from this (rapidly knocked together with coarse planks) that these bunks were covered with those planks, right?

Accordingly, besides the usual number of casks on deck, rows of immense tierces were lashed amid-ships, all along the between-decks, forming a sort of aisle on each side, furnishing access to four rows of bunks,--three tiers, one above another,--against the ship's sides; two tiers being placed over the tierces of water in the middle. These bunks were rapidly knocked together with coarse planks. They looked more like dog-kennels than any thing else;
 
  • Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm not sure why you think water tubes were placed on the bunks?

    I think a 'pipe' is a measure, in this context, not a tube.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Tierces, I just found out, are very large casks. What he's saying is there was a line of casks lashed along (some portion of) the length of the ship on either side of the center line in the middle. Opposite them were the sides of the ship. Against the sides of the ship, three levels (tiers) of bunks where built. Opposite those bunks, two tiers of bunks were built on top of the line of tierces. It was only two because the tierces already occupied the space the lowest tier of bunks would have taken.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Perhaps we are lucky the ship didn't also have male birds of pray on board to control the rat population. Tiers, tierces and tiercels could become very confusing indeed. :)

    Tierces are barrels, containing a tierce (one third of a pipe, a volumetric measure, but exactly what this is in modern units I would not like to say). Presumably they are a different size to the casks mentioned earlier although, again, I would not like to say whether they are larger or smaller.

    Kentix and RM1 have described the layout as I see it: four rows of bunks along the length of the ship; the outer rows being against the ship's sides and having three bunks; the inner rows being above the tierces and having only two bunks, the space where the bottom bunk would be being occupied by the tierces. Between the inner and outer rows of bunks (but not between the middle two rows of bunks) were aisles for men to walk along.

    The bunks were made out of coarse planks. This suggests that planks formed the supporting frames as well as the bases on which each man slept. The bed frames being made of planks perhaps explains the dog-kennel look; dog kennels also typically being made from coarse planks.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Tierces are barrels, containing a tierce (one third of a pipe, a volumetric measure, but exactly what this is in modern units I would not like to say). Presumably they are a different size to the casks mentioned earlier although, again, I would not like to say whether they are larger or smaller.
    A pipe, or butt, is half a tun. Per Wiki, "[t]he tun (Old English: tunne, Latin: tunellus, Middle Latin: tunna) is an English unit of liquid volume (not weight), used for measuring wine, oil or honey. Typically a large vat or vessel, most often holding 252 wine gallons, but occasionally other sizes (e.g. 256, 240 and 208 gallons) were also used." So the typical tierce would hold 42 wine gallons.

    33472
     
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