On the Making of a Seaman's Tycke
Unto my comerades and fellowes who
ply their trades upon the Seas;
Greetings and Fair wyndes to thee!
My complimentes to alle and sundrie, and my humblest dewtie be unto the Guild.
As I was requested, here is the method for the making of a Saylors Ticke.
A saylor verie rarely slept upon the Deckes without some padding withal, to ease the harshness of the roughe woode of the decke, or cargoe, uppon whyche the Saylor might be forced to take the Sleep that nature doth demand.
To ease his passayge unto dreaming,
a saylor was oft forced to make a Ticke or mattrasse for his ease. Such a ticke must needs
be easilye stowed in the Forecastle, and be not larger than is the small allotment of
spayce, which given unto each man of the crewe.
A common methode is shewn heere:
Take a measure of old sayle clothe which is the wydthe thou wouldst have thy ticke, plus a broade spanne of thy hande, and in Length, twice the length that thou wouldst have thy ticke, also plus a broade spanne of thy hande. Thou mayst use heavy "Cotton Ducke" fabrick, if olde canvass is not handy. Use not the new canvass, as the master shall have thee at the grating for stealing shyppe's stores! Besides, olde canvass, worked as it has been by the Wynde and the Weather be muche softer and conformable to the purpose than is the new saylclothe.
Folde the clothe lengthe-wyse in double, and take thy needle, thy waxed thread, and palm, and sewe the sides then using such stytching as thy skill permittest ( beste is the use a flat double or frenche seame, such as thou needest to practyse for the repaire of sayles, then the master give thee not grief for thy fayling to practyce thy science for the goode of the shippe. If thy skill has not advanced so, then thou canst use a rolling or whipping styche to sewe up the tycke. If thou dost not use doubled seams, thou shouldst reduce somewhat the wydthe and lengthe of the clothe, or thy ticke will be too thyke. A goode skill to practice would be to darte and square up the bottom of the bagge, which thou art making.)
Once thou hast sewne up the sides of the Tycke, then it must needes be stuffed.
There are many types of stuffing which thou mayest use. Haye, and Strawe are common for landesmen to use, also is Ragging and Wadding possible. Even rawe cotton from Africae is sometymes used, especially for the Officers. All these are mete, but they do goe to mildewe rapidlye if they be not dried and aired out thoroghlye, aye, and right often.
Methinkst the beste material which the common saylor might have to hande for the purpose is picked oakum, for there is alwayes olde rope which needes disposing of. And as there is much old tarre, and other oyles still in the rope, the tickyng should last longer, with less mildewe (still should it be dried and aired out as often as the weather and the conditions doth permit one to accomplyshe this).
Once thou hast enough to fill the bagge halfway, thou shouldst have enough. If thy cooke has olde spices which are no longer suitable for eating, such as cinnamon or cloves, which have been spoilt by seawater, thou couldst meddyl these inne with the stuffing as well, and thy ticke will kepe longer.
Close the remayning edge of the bagge, and presse it flat, distributing the innardes as evenlye as thou canst so do. Now tayke up thy Needle and Palm and "Tycke" the bagge, which is to sewe knots joining one side to the other thorough the stuffing in the myddle, and do so in rows evrey spanne of handes or less, each knot a span or less aparte. This is necessarie to prevente the stuffynge from moving and making hollowe spots insyde, which is less comfortable, and maketh the tyke harder to stowe and use.
Thy tyke is done when the whole surface is evenlie dimpled with knots, and looketh muche lyke a greate Shippes Biscuit.
To stowe it it can now be rolled up as tight as thou can make it, and lashed in a rolle. Put thy blankette, extra gearre, and clothes thence beforre rollyng.
Avoid, if thou canst, rolling thy tycke if it bee wette, if thou wouldst kepe it the longer.
Now that thy Tycke is complete, it will occasionally need to be refreshed, as the stuffing may often become fowle with vermin or mildewe, or smelles unmentionable.
To do this thou needest to take thy
knyfe and carefullye cut out the tycking knots, and the seame alonge the ultimate ende,
and dumpe the contents over the leeward syde of the shyppe. (--Do
not dump it on the wyndward side, or thy mates may dump thee as well!--).
Early on a fayre daie shouldst thou do this.
Thou must next turn thy bagge inside out and let it drie thoroughlye, and then brush it off well with a stiff whisk of Strawe, or Bristle, such as any man hath for his grooming, or fayling that, hang it over the lower spritstay when thou art at the head, and beat it vigorouslye with a rod till the duste fall from it no more.
Turn thy bagge rightwise, such that
the inside is once again hidden, refill, and
seame it and tycke it as before.
That is the methode which I know of.
May it profit the Guilde, and serve the Society which Mothers us.
By my hande and the Grace of our Lorde,
Capt. Elias Gedney
The Wycked Bitche, Lying at Yarmouth Harbor, East Anglia
(-- Illustraytions shall followe as soon as I have the tyme to make them...--)