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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Asymmetrical Duck Boards


martin_sole

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Could anyone explain why Great War era duckboards seem to be constructed asymmetrically? 

One side always has the supporting beam much closer to the edge than the other side. Every photo shows the same thing. 

 

Any ideas? 

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So they fitted together end to end if the beams were parallel they would not interlock.  Lay one one way and the next the other they then butt up to each other.

 

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18 hours ago, 303man said:

So they fitted together end to end if the beams were parallel they would not interlock.  Lay one one way and the next the other they then butt up to each other.

 

That makes perfect sense. Thankyou. 

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In example to above:

 

During WW1 duckboards were used to line... - WW1 Living History ...

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I'm thinking this might give a better demo of the principle. Here you can clearly see a Duckboard being carried and how the runners underneath are specifically placed off-set. By cropping and spinning a portion of the board you can see how one would meet up with another to interlock them.


David

Trench_at_night-e1557934007364 (1).jpg

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Does anyone know what size of boards were used to construct these? I want to build my own replica and would love some dimensions so I don't have to just eye-ball the photos.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, my replica duckboard has been built and is now going through an aging/weathering process. My goal is to have a unique piece for my office I can hang field equipment off of. 

 

In other news, after studying period photos it seems there was a big variation in buckboard construction. It seems many did not have the "taper" of the two runner boards, and there was variation in how many of cross planks were used. It seems once the Sgt turned his back the men making these things took some shortcuts or made due with the materials they had. I doubt many of the folks building them had access to the RE blueprints like we do.

 

Thanks for the help folks!

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On 03/05/2020 at 19:25, ANZAC_Andy said:

In other news, after studying period photos it seems there was a big variation in buckboard construction. It seems many did not have the "taper" of the two runner boards, and there was variation in how many of cross planks were used. It seems once the Sgt turned his back the men making these things took some shortcuts or made due with the materials they had. I doubt many of the folks building them had access to the RE blueprints like we do.

 

 

I would agree with you Andy. I wasn't aware duckboards were ever constructed with tapered runners until that diagram was posted. Most photographs I have ever seen, seem to me to clearly show two parallel runners with one runner set in about twice the distance the other is on the opposite side. I would suggest that this pattern would have quickly become a standard because it would be considerably easier and quicker to make, and when made up, two could be stacked back to back with ease.


David 


David

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Remember that the quality of construction would have been pretty rough. Mostly using whatever timber was available from allocated forests in UK & France. Timber getting by Army Forestry Companies. Rough sawn using steam driven circular saws, probably not too concerned at the quality of timber and accepting pieces salvaged from the flitches. Green timber would have been used to make the duckboards, without any attempt at kiln drying or ageing.

Cheers

Ross

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