how to make oakum
And please don’t stop sharing these little stories because I find them interesting and enjoyable. [4], In modern times, the fibrous material used in oakum comes from virgin hemp or jute. They also suffered tendonitis, bursitis, nerve damage, and all those other conditions that result from repetitive stress motions. It's a matter of time before no one can use it. Interesting as always. Get Free Videos Start Free Trial Members Sign In, Get Instant Access as a Member to the Entire Site, OffCenterHarbor.com is a membership website with over 1,000 videos and articles. Geno's expertise makes caulking the JACOB PIKE's two-inch planks look easy; watching him spin the material while multitasking with a lecture on the subject secures his status as a true master. Picking oakum was used as a punishment in prison, and in workhouses as a way of able-bodied inmates earning their board and lodging. Oakum is mainly used as a carrier medium for hydro active foam resins for use in wide openings to seal leaks. It was also used to seal joints on lead water pipes (and doesn’t that sentence just make you shudder). That’s called picking oakum. Oakum is hemp fiber, loosely twisted together, and mixed with tar. Thank the gods I don’t live in Dickensian London…. I often remark to my husband, that it is a wonder that humans survived as long as they have, with the many horrible things that they have done to others. One, or several relief holes may divert water pressure during the oakum placement, Clean the surfaces to which the oakum will be applied, Place oakum in a container and saturate with SealBoss Water Stop Foam, For minor leaks or dry cracks or joints dip the resin soaked oakum into a pail of water to begin the reaction process and expansion, Pack oakum into the joint or crack with a large screwdriver or any tool suitable for the task, In cases of severe water pressure you may want to use a wooden board or other suitable product to mechanically support the applied oakum from being pushed out. Ropes give out. No one would have wanted to be poor in Victorian times. Ancestry.co.uk have now transcribed the entire collection of Essex parish registers. But there is another source for that hemp fiber: old ropes. [3] Over the age of 16, girls and boys had to pick 1 1⁄2 and 2 pounds (680 and 910 g) per day respectively. 3. *     *     *. I believe that sharing in the experience shows us just how difficult life was in the past, thus giving the present a since of just how hard life actually. They actually make lead now that is safer to use. We are very fortunate to live today. If you have ancestors who were in prison or in a workhouse during the 18th and 19th centuries, then they may well have been employed at junk and oakum picking. 13 Comments on "Prisoners, Poverty and Picking Oakum". For this application Seal Oakum is soaked in SealBoss foam grout leak-seal resin and the saturated product packed into actively leaking cracks and joints as a compression seal. If necessary, wet joints or voids with water to prime surface for saturated SealBoss® 1500 Seal Oakum. At first glance picking oakum may not seem that hard. It was always my understanding that they packed them with oakum, melted a pot of lead and just poured it in.   And clattered with the pails. We tore the tarry rope to shreds What you told me is that you held a 6' level against the wall. Link below already formatted for Essex and Postcards. You see there were increasing numbers of poor in the cities. To seal minor leaks, dip saturated SealBoss ® Seal Oakum into water to start reaction. Visit our Parish Registers of Essex page for more information. The work was monotonous, unpleasant, and created sores on blackened fingers. They wrapped the rope around the pipe, poured the lead, took the rope off and then it looks like they used a hammer and some tool and packed the lead in. I don't remember what thread it was but someone had mentioned how they got to see some plumbers working with cast iron drain lines 30 years ago and they were sealing them with oakum and lead. The Essex Record Office 'ERO' are custodians of the parish registers of Essex. They then had to uncoil, unravel, unpick, and shred the rope into fibres. Contact Us. If advised, a SealBoss Injection Needle may be used to inject grout directly through the oakum. With Part 3 being entirely dedicated to this wondrous material, you're sure to walk away with enhanced knowledge and skill. I have never made one of these joints, but I did disassemble one to tie in new ABS plumbing to the old plumbing. Picking oakum at the House of Correction. With Part 3 being entirely dedicated to this wondrous material, you're sure to walk away with enhanced knowledge and skill. Really interesting. Love your posts. I've poured about a dozen vertical lead joints, mostly for toilet flanges, in the past 5 years. Also, they've been putting together cast iron hub and spigot with gaskets instead of lead since before I was born. And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank, Labouring for 10 or 12 hours a day they could unpick 12 or 14 pounds of rope making 6d or 7d. I have seen this done a few times over the years. OffCenterHarbor.com is a membership website with over 1,000 videos and articles Prisoners serving hard labour would cut the rope into two foot lengths and then strike it with a heavy mallet to remove the very hard tar in which it was coated. At the Braintree Workhouse each person "had to pick ½1/2lb of oakum in return for the ½lb of bread in the morning, which is refused in case the person refuses to do the work." In plumbing and marine applications, the fibers are impregnated with tar or a tar-like substance, traditionally pine tar (also called 'Stockholm tar'), an amber-coloured pitch made from pine sap. It makes your fingers bleed. Watch Queue Queue A forum community dedicated to professional construction and remodeling contractors. It offers major benefits for many leak sealing jobs by keeping injection resin in place prior to cure and thus creating a barrier to prevent active water infiltration in larger openings, cracks and joints. Making rope, usually from hemp, was a difficult and labor intensive process. Its perfectly possible to make oakum from virgin hemp. If you’re using brown oakum you shouldn’t leave any loose fibers protrude into the lead. The task of picking and preparation was a common occupation in prisons and workhouses,[1] where the young or the old and infirm were put to work picking oakum if they were unsuited for heavier labour. But there is another source for that hemp fiber: old ropes. We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors, [1], Oakum can be used to seal cast iron pipe drains. It was also done by the very poor and desperate in shipping communities. Our kits consist of 2kg of the finest shipwrights oakum, a Making Iron (itself a work of art) and a pot of lime finishing putty. For help in researching Essex workhouses, see our article: Workhouses, and for life in the new Chelmsford Prison see Chelmsford Prison 1842 and 1848. Pour the molten lead into the vertical soil pipe joint. This legislation gave rise to the Victorian workhouses. It is. - believe it or not - the NYC School Construction Authority still requires that all underground be done in XH, bell & spigot! Which meant you could hold off starvation. I don’t think i want to visit that place either. [1] Its main traditional applications were in shipbuilding, for caulking or packing the joints of timbers in wooden vessels and the deck planking of iron and steel ships;[1] in plumbing, for sealing joints in cast iron pipe; and in log cabins for chinking. Junk was the name given to old ropes and cables once used on ships. After setting the pipes together, workers pack oakum into the joints, then pour molten lead into the joint to create a permanent seal. British sailors, most of whom were pressed into service aboard those wooden ships, were sentenced to pick oakum for all sorts of minor infractions. Some prisons stopped oakum picking entirely, swapping it for the treadmill or solitary cells, while others still enforeced it, particularly for women. Picking oakum at the House of Correction.Image from 'The criminal prisons of London, and scenes of prison life' by Henry Mayhew - PD 1862. Haven't poured one since about 1967. The oakum swells and seals the joint, the "tar" in the oakum prevents rot, and the lead keeps the joint physically tight. Check out this clip from The Worst Jobs in History. Why? Injection should be performed through preinstalled packers. *     *     * For most people, sadly not all, the modern world is an easier place. In this segment of our wooden boat caulking series, we talk about oakum. The reactive oakum is now packed into joints and around leaky pipe penetrations where it creates a watertight seal between the outside of the pipe and the wall of the structure. Yarn and pack the oakum into the hub 1” from the top. per pound. It was called picking junk or picking oakum and if you were a criminal and/or very poor in Victorian England (or an orphan in a Charles Dickens’ novel) there was a good chance that you had to do it for eight to twelve hours a day to earn your dinner. You may also spray saturated oakum surface with water to speed up the cure process. but somehow we keep civilizing oursleves. Picking oakum is not for wimps. Seal Oakum is an untreated, strong, dry and oil free jute based fiber capable of absorbing copious amounts of SealBoss ® chemical grouts. It was a punishment officers gave out instead of a whipping or a caning or possibly when they had seams in the boat that needed caulking. Rope making goes back thousands of years but it peaked as an industry in England in the 1800’s. Here is the place to do that. Always wanted to travel and visit interesting places. In this segment of our wooden boat caulking series, we talk about oakum. Ebay is a good source of old images of Essex towns and villages. Sailors undergoing naval punishment were also frequently sentenced to pick oakum, with each man made to pick 1 pound (450 g) of oakum a day. It would be something I'd like to see. A very poor income for the work involved. Not everyone picking oakum lived in orphanages and workhouses. Members: Sign in Here Watch Queue Queue. 'The criminal prisons of London, and scenes of prison life, The criminal prisons of London, and scenes of prison life, Search Essex parish registers on Ancestry, Help me find my ancestors - example search. Thankfully here in Maryland they let put about anything in the ground. Instead, he amused himself by pulling out the oakum from between the logs of the cabin. That means you have to pick it with fingernails down to individual fibers. Newspaper archives are now a very important source of information for researching your family tree. ", But as can be seen from the image at the House of Correction, Coldbath Fields, London, in 1862, the chance of immoral conversation was very limited under the watchful eyes of the warders. Sign up above to learn more, and get 10 of our best videos. [2] Accounts and papers of the House of Commons, 1864, on Google Books. Its rope that’s been in use, been compacted and stressed. 2. Punishment by the treadmill should be preferred to oakum picking. It is recommended to drill packer holes and set packers prior to oakum use. In Herman Melville's novella Benito Cereno, crew members of a slave ship spend their idle hours picking oakum. Glad you liked the history ramble. The oakum picking starts around 2:40. This thread sure brings back memories. Imagine making something like this with a hand crank and a rope walk! In some dockside areas, entire families of oakum pickers bought the old rope from marine store dealers at 1½d. Hemp was harvested and processed and some of it went into making oakum (and still does today) while most went into making rope. Luckily I had a big case of oakum downstairs. We strive to provide the most comprehensive packer selection in the industry.

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