Use of Pine Sheathing on Dutch East India Company Ships

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In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) or Dutch East India Company outfitted all its ships with a protective layer of wooden sheathing -also known as sacrificial planking. This application was intended to shield the hulls from the ravages of marine borers such as teredo worms. Pine or fir sheathing planks were fastened to the exterior hull with iron sheathing, or filling, nails. Shipbuilders hammered them in close together so that, as they corroded, they formed an iron oxide buffer thought to be toxic to marine organisms. This method of sheathing was used in conjunction with wax, resinous paying materials (tar or pitch), and animal hair. Prior to the application of pine sheathing, a coating of wax and a resinous material was smeared onto the exterior of the ship’s hull below the waterline, as waterproofing and shipworm repellent, after which a layer of animal hair was added. The latter served as a bulking agent for the resinous paying material, a deterrent to wood rot, and it kept teredo worms from getting at the bottom planking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBetween Continents
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Twelfth Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology, Istanbul 2009
EditorsNergis Günsenin
Place of PublicationIstanbul, Turkey
PublisherEge Yayınları
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9786054701025
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventTwelfth International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 12 Oct 200916 Oct 2009
Conference number: 12


ConferenceTwelfth International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology
Abbreviated titleISBSA


  • Pine sheathing
  • Copper sheathing
  • Dutch East India Company
  • Shipwrecks
  • Western Australia
  • Batavia shipwreck
  • Vergulde Draak shipwreck
  • Zeewijk shipwreck
  • Zuytdorp shipwreck
  • Filling nails
  • Anti-fouling
  • Teredo worms
  • Age of Exploration


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