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Way Strip?

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    Way Strip?

    On 6 May 1804, preparing for their expedition, Lewis wrote to Clark, “Pray send down the small perogue on Monday; I think she had better have way-strips put along her gunwals.” (Lewis was in St. Louis and Clark was upstream at Camp Dubois, both on the Mississippi.) What are “way-strips”?

    *RE: 'Way-strip' on wood boats*
    Morning, Steamboating colleagues and others,
    Harlan, you ask a good question with no doubt others on here who would know the complete answer. I don't know much but will attempt something of an answer RE: 'way-strip' as mentioned above on "the small perogue." Boats of that kind were generally built upside down staring with the keel and side framing. These 'way-strips' as I know it were usually cedar wood but could be other woods. The strips were cut very thin in strips and then 'laid' on the frames forming the outside hull. These 'strips' were not the wider planking we often think of with a lap-strape boat hull. The idea was the thin strips gave better strength and, if damaged, could be replaced without cutting on site a larger plank. Also with boats used then [the peroge being one] they often would add or heighten the sides up higher to increase free board for more protection of men and their gear stowed inside--actually raising the sides of the boat up as they knew they would possibly be paddling in much larger bodies of water with higher waves. Now, how they secured the 'way-strip' planks then I have no idea other than boat nails, pegs etc. They did have glue or mastics then but how good I have no idea. The one wood boat I saw with 'way-strips' being added to the sides was done with the craftsman using present day marine glue in squeeze containers looking like white ELMER'S GLUE. Their boats on the exploration party then were all important with them very particular in the size, shape, height above water, materials used and craftsmanship. I have no doubt then they even packed aboard on the bottom some repair strips and boat tools for a long, demanding exploration party like that. Those men were also skilled in boat work in wood as they had to be. Heck, what do I know? Somebody may chime in here later.

    R. Dale Flick
    Old Coal Haven Landing, Oho River Cincinnati