Watching a show about uncovering an ancient Roman barge and the diggers
were excited about the fact that the floor boards were joined (along
the lengthways edge) by "mortice and tenon" joints. I'll try to
describe. Assume 18" X 2" planks maybe 15' long running along the
bottom of the barge from side to side. Every 2' or so there is an
arrangement whereby a mortice about 1" X 6" is cut into the side of
each adjoining plank, a piece of wood a touch smaller than 1" X 12" was
slipped into one plank then the next plank was slipped over the other
half of the piece. Then holes were bored through each plank about 3"
from the joined edge and two dowels were driven in to hold the two
planks together. Very neat! But the question is whether this is
actually a mortice and tenon joint. (Can you have a floating tenon?)
Would it be possibly more properly called a double spline? Actually,
come to think of it, it was really very like a rectangular biscuit
joint! 2000 year old biscuit joints. Those clever Romans.
Well, the ones below the waterline aren't floating but they're trying
hard to float. The ones above the waterline aren't floating, they're
supported by something else that is floating.
Are you sure he didn't mean , "Damn near", " pretty close", or
I believe it would be called a spline joint. The benefit is that the
spline can be made with the grain at right angles to the planks, adding
strength to prevent cracking the joint under stress. Those storms at
sea can get ferocious! <G>
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