Many an Ocracoke Island home was built from lumber salvaged from wrecked sailing ships. One highly prized item was the ship’s “knee,” a sturdy right-angle timber hand hewn from the Hackmatack tree which grows in Canada and the northeastern United States.
Because the root of the Hackmatack tree grows at a right angle to the trunk, this section of the tree has great strength. Called "tension wood," it was widely used to make "knees," which have a long history of use by builders of wooden ships, to join ribs to deck timbers.
Salvaged ship's knees were often re-purposed to be used in island houses to secure floor joists to the outer beams.
|Ship's Knee used in 1865 Island Home|
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the dramatic story of life-saver Rasmus Midgett and his rescue of the crew of the barkentine Priscilla in August, 1899. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052116.htm.