Before timber was used, it was stored in sheds to allow
it to season, or dry. The louvers on the building allowed for ventilation
into the shed, and the timber itself was stacked with adequate room for
ventilation between the pieces. A few of the survivors of these formerly commonplace
buildings can be seen at Chatham.
Before the construction of timber sheds in the
1770s, lumber was piled up wherever it was convenient and would sometimes rot
before it was used. When ship construction began on the slipway (or in the
dry docks for larger ships), the lumber was ideally allowed to season further
during a somewhat leisurely building process.
A quick fleet building program to deal with wartime needs
was therefore impractical. Ships built with unseasoned wood during the
Seven Years War ended up being a poor investment, being generally unserviceable
during the American Revolution. A properly built ship, however, could last
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