The five-masted schooner Harwood Palmer is under construction in this photograph. Here the frames are all up and planking is beginning. Note the iron straps that hold the frames together and strengthen the hull. In the foreground, on the right, there are five masts being shaped. The schooner was built in Waldoboro, Maine in 1904. Schooners like this primarily carried coal from from Virginia to northern cities.
This diagram shows how the frames or ribs are built for a Maine schooner. Because one cannot find a big enough tree that has exactly the right shape for the entire length of the frame, it is built in many pieces, called timbers and futtocks. The frame is double thickness, so that there is overlapping wood at the end of each futtock. The frames are built on a platform, then raised on the keel.
This image is from Basil Greenhill and Sam Manning, The Evolution of the Wooden Ship, 1988, p. 107. Used by permission of the artist, Sam Manning.
After the hull structural members are in place for the deck, the planking may be layed. In this illustration, the planking is held in place with clamps while it is bolted into place. The deck planking is then caulked and the seams payed with tar, so that the deck is watertight.
This image is from Basil Greenhill and Sam Manning, The Evolution of the Wooden Ship, 1988, p. 152. Used by permission of the artist, Sam Manning.
This cross-section of the four-masted schooner gives a good idea of the great amount of lumber used to build a ship. Note that many of the timbers are 12" X 12" in section, and that most of the planking is 4" thick and ceiling lumber is 4" to 10" thick! Note how the hanging knee and stanchion provide structural support for the deck beam.
Image drawn by Sam Manning for the book The Schooner Bertha L. Downs, written by Basil Greenhill, 1995, p. 71.