You are on page 1of 1

Book H.

  • 1736. " We spake before of squaring ; and I would now recommend the quartering of

Buch trees as will allow useful and competent scantlings to be of much more durableness

and effect for strength, than where (as custom is and for want of observation) whole beams

and timbers are applied in ships or houses, with slab and all about them, upon false suppo-

sitions of strength beyond these quarters.

  • 1737. " Timber that you have occasion to lay in mortar, or which is in any part con-

tiguous to lime, as doors, window cases, groundsils, and the extremities of beams, &c.,

have sometimes been capped with molten pitch, as a marvellous preserver of it from the

burning and destructive eflects of the lime ; but it has since been found rather to lieat and decay tliem, bv hindering the transudation which those parts reipiire ; better supplied witli loam, or strewings of brick-dust or pieces of boards; some leave a small hole for the air.

15ut though lime be so destructive, whilst timber thus lies dry, it seems th.ey mingle it

with hair to keep the worm out of ships, which they sheathe for southern voyages, tliough

it is held much to retard their course.

1 738. " For all uses, that timber is esteemed the best which is the most ponderous, and which, lying long, makes the deepest impression in the eartli, or in the water being floated

also what is without knots, yet firm and free from saj), which is that fatty, whiter, and

softer part called by the ancients utbumai, which you are diligently to hew away.


I.ord Bacon (Exper. 6.o8.) recommends for trial of a sound

or knotty piece of timber, to

cause one to speak at one of the extremes to his companion listening at the other; for if it be knotty, the sound, says he, will come abrupt."


1 739. The preservation of timber, when employed in a building, is the first and most im- portant consideration. Wherever it is exposed to the alternations of dryness and moisture, the protection of its surface from either of those actions is the principal object, or, in other

words, the application of some substance or medium to it wliich is imperviable to moisture; but all timber should be perfectly dry before the use of the medium. In Holland the ap-

(ilication of a mixture of pitch and tar, whereon are strewn pounded shells, with a mixture

i)f sea sand, is general ; and with this, or sinall and sifted beaten scales from a blacksmith's

forge, to their drawbridges, sluices, and gates, and other works, they are admirably ]3ro-

tected from the effects of the seasons.

Semple, in his work on aquatic building, recom-

mends, that "after your work is tried up, or even put together, lay it on the ground, with

stones or bricks under it to about a foot high, and burn wood (which is the best firing for the ])ur])ose) under it, till you thoroughly heat, and even scorch ii all over; then, whilst the

MTood is hot, rub it over plentifully with linseed oil and tar, in equal parts, and well l)oiled

tt)gether, and let it be kept boiling while you are using it ; and this will immediately

strike and sink (if the wood be tolerably seasoned) one inch or more into the wood, close all the pores, and make it become exceeding hard and durable, either under or over water." Semple evidently supposes the wood to have l)een previously well seasoned.

  • 1740. Chapman (on the preservation of timber) recommends a mixture of sub "ulphate

of iron, which is obtained in the refuse of cojiperas pans, ground up with some ch^ap oil,

and made sufficiently fluid with coal-tar oil, wherein pitch has been infused and mixed.

  • 1741. For common purposes, what is called sanding, that is, the strewing upon th«

painting of timber, before the paint dries, particles of line sand, is very useful ill the pre- servation of timber.

  • 1742. Against worms we believe nothing to be more efficacious than the saturation of

timber with any of the oils; a process which destroys the insect if already in the wood, with

that of turpentine especially, and jirevents the liability to attack from it.

Evelyn recom-

mends nitric acid, that is, sulphur immersed in aquafortis and distilled, as an effectual ap-


Corrosive sublimate, lately introduced under Kyan's patent, has long been

known as an effectual remedy against the worm.

Its poisonous qualities of course destroy

all animal life with which it comes in contact ; and we believe that our readers wlio are interested in preserving the timbers of their duellings may use a solution of it without

infringing the rights of the patentee.

But the best remedy against rot and worms is a

thorough introduction of air to the timbers of a building, and their lying as dry and as free

from moisture as


Air holes from the outside should be applied as much as

];ossible, and the

ends of timbers should not, if it can be avoided, be bedded up close all

round them.

Tiiis jiractite is, moreover, advisable

in another respect, that of being able,

without injury to a building, to splice the ends of the timbers should they become decayed,

without involving the rel)uilding of the fabric; a facility of no mean consideration.

1 74.S.

The worm is so destructive to timber, both in and out of water, that we shall not

apologise for closing this part of our observations with Smeaton's remarks upon a species of

worm which he found in Bridlington piers.

" This worm appears as a small wliite soft

substance, much like a maggot ; so small as not to be seen distinctly without a magnifying

glass, and even then a distinction of its parts is not easily made out.

It does not attempt