This month, after finishing mid-ship framing and beam shelves, the team of German shipwrights left and were replaced by the French team with Ben and Bleuenn, who helped put the forward and mid-ship bilge stringers in.
Bilge stringers are large structural timber pieces supporting the inner hull, mid-way between the keelson and the beam shelves. On Hawila they are located in the turn of the bilge, and will be used as support for the floor beams.
Our engineer and shipwrights chose to make them of 3 pieces of oak about 90mm thick covering the length of the inner hull. The individual pieces of maximum of 11 m in length are scarfed together in two places to cover the inner hull length of about 24 m, and then bolted together for a total width of 80cm. Fitting was challenging at the bow for the 11 m long pieces, even with carefull steaming, so it took the whole team’s focus over the month, in addition to further dismantling in the aft.
In the aft, we plan to let the bilge stringers run slightly higher than they were originally located. This way we can maximize the curved wood slabs we have available, and it enables us to let the bilge stringers go past the stern post, which will bring additional reinforcement to the overhanging stern arch and fork.
We chose to fasten the bilge stringers with stainless screws for now. When the planking will be replaced, we will complement it with additional crossing treenails and bolts from the outside hull.