What Are Carlin Joints?

Here’s an update from the Hammond Shop, home of Felicity Ann during her restoration at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. You can read more about the ship and Ann Davison’s Atlantic crossing at NWSWB’s website: http://nwboatschool.org/felicity-ann-history/


Hello from the Hammond shop! This week, the FA crew fit and installed new carlins for the ship. Carlins are structural members that run fore and aft in a ship wherever the deck structure calls for an opening that cuts across deck beams, such as for hatches or cabins. They are notched into deck beams on either end, and supported athwartships by spur beams notched into the carlin.


The carlins we installed this week are the longest on FA, and will support the cabin of the ship. They are made of douglas fir and held in place by the sapele deck and spur beams. The joint used to attach the carlins is… a carlin joint! The shape of the carlin joint can be seen in the picture to the right. A simple 90 degree notch has the potential to snap under weight from above, but the wedge shape helps spread out the weight, making this a strong joint to resist both compression from the sides and the load from the deck.


After the notches were cut and the beams fitted into them, we applied “boat sauce” to prevent the ends of the beams from drying out and checking. Finally, we fastened the carlin joints with screws and bolted the ends of the beams in place. There is still a lot of work left to do, but it feels good to be two steps closer to sailing!


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