Ancient wood working term

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  #1  
Old 03-21-16, 04:04 PM
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Ancient wood working term

I'm reading the "Diary of Joshua Hempstead" written between 1711 and 1758. Hempstead was primarily a farmer and carpenter (he made a lot of coffins) and one of the earliest settlers of New London, CT.

In several of his 1711 diary entries he describes spending the day "emboing" rails for a ship under construction or "I will go to the shipyard tomorrow to embo rails."

Google has nothing. Anybody here old enough to know what it means?
 
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Old 03-21-16, 04:22 PM
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The best I can think of is that he is referring to "embalming" rails for the ship. I assuming his meaning to be preserving them in some fashion.

However, I did find this. I'm betting you already have seen this.

Full text of "Collections of the New London County Historical Society"

By doing a Ctrl-F, I did a word search and it comes up on several occasions. But it's all in that old English and I can't understand any of it. It seems as though it might be a sir name.

Good luck.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 04:59 PM
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Old 03-21-16, 05:05 PM
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Another longshot would be imbue or imbuing, which had a mystical connotation in that period and there are some reference in connection to coffin nails....
 
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Old 03-21-16, 05:07 PM
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Aww. Have to subscribe to a free trial. No thanks.

Why not just tell us the meaning?
 
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Old 03-21-16, 05:17 PM
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It worked before.Try this:Embow | Define Embow at Dictionary.com
 
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Old 03-21-16, 05:24 PM
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Sounds reasonable considering it's refers to a ships bow.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 05:35 PM
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I think guyold has the right definition. It probably refers to the job of bending the planks in preparation for building.
I don't know how they bent the boards, today some use steam.
 
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Old 03-22-16, 07:59 AM
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Thanks for the responses guys. I agree that guyold has the right answer. It makes sense since most ship rails were bent. I think they were bent in steam boxes. I searched using embo as Hemptead spelled it in his diary. Since he misspelled about half of what he wrote I have no doubt that embow is correct.

Norm you are right that the diary is difficult reading but it is packed with insights on what life was like here 300 years ago. An example - nearly every Sunday entry in the diary is the same - "Mr Adams preached all day".
 
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Old 03-22-16, 08:31 AM
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I have been monitoring this thread myself and I think you are right in what you say cwbuff especially about the definition of the word. However spellings have changed over the years such as the word for jail at one time being spelled gaol and is sometimes spelled that way in Britain to this day. Could be though that he didn't spell very well as you assume because some jobs along the docks in those days didn't require much knowledge of spelling or grammar. I was waiting to hear back from a former boat builder but I haven't heard anything.

I think you are definitely right though about the term used by Hempstead as I have watched a boat repair show a few times and while they didn't use that exact term for some of their repairs it just seems logical. The show is long gone now but it was interesting to watch on those days when nothing else was on and the weather was bad.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 07:55 AM
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Here's a photo of Hempstead's house built around 1678. It is still standing and is one of the oldest houses in CT. It's amazing the number of centuries old houses that are still around despite being built without power tools and modern materials.

Here is an excerpt of his bio in the "History of New London County"

"It's author was a remarkable man--one that might serve to represent, or at least illustrate, the age, country and society in which he lived. The diversity of his occupations marks a custom of the day: he was at once farmer, surveyor, house and ship carpenter, attorney, stone cutter, sailor and trader.


Sounds to me that he was an avid DIYer, though he probably didn't have much choice.



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