I ventured back to the Mayflower Project today and was lucky enough to see the shipwright and an apprentice working on the Sternpost. The sternpost is fashioned from a single piece of English oak that was sourced from Cornwall in the South West of England. For those of you (like myself) that are not too familiar with ship building or its terms, the sternpost is an upright support that fits into the keel at the tail-end of the ship. Again, if you can’t quite visualise that or are still unsure where this will end up, here’s an image that should be of help. Please note, this image is a generalisation and not an indication of the finished ship.
You can see from the image that the sternpost will eventually be fitted upright into the keel. A slot will be cut into the keel and the sternpost will be placed into it using a mortise and tenon joint.
This type of mortise and tenon joint is probably the same joint used by the original shipbuilders on the Mayflower. The picture above shows the shipwright and the apprentice chiseling away at the stub to get it to the correct dimensions to fit the slot in the keel.
I spent some time wandering around the site, taking a few more pictures of the oak trees being cut into planks, ready for use on the ship
Well that’s the latest update for you. I’m hoping to have another post up within the next week. Photography and content: James Kelly.