tarred fiber

Oakum is a type of rope made of tarred fibre. It is normally used to fill gaps.[1] The main traditional use of oakum was in shipbuilding. It was used for caulking, It was used to fill areas between timbers in wooden vessels and the deck planking of iron and steel ships.[1] Oakum was also used in plumbing to seal connections in cast iron pipe and in log cabins for chinking. In ship caulking, it was put into the seams using a hammer and a caulking iron, then sealed into place with hot pitch.[2]

Oakum and tools for caulking.
Prisoners picking oakum at Coldbath Fields Prison in London.

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Oakum" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 935.
  2. Kemp, Peter (1979). The Oxford Companion to Ships & the Sea. Oxford University Press. p. 807. ISBN 978-0-586-08308-6.