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Flensing the Whale
Main Title You Wouldn't Want to be a Roman Gladiator!
You Wouldn't Want to be an Egyptian Mummy!
You Wouldn't Want to be a Polar Explorer
Flensing
Whaling
Whale Logo Whale Logo
Introduction
Nantucket Sleigh Ride Trying Out the Whale
Nantucket: Whaling Capital of the World
Flensing
The Whaling Ship Essex
About this Title
Life Aboard Ship
Whaling Links on the Web
Flensing2
There She Blows
Salariya Book Company
Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Flensing the Whale
The whale is towed back to the Essex where the crew tie it to the ship. A platform called the ‘cutting stage’ is hung over its body. The captain and mate strip the blubber (the fatty, outer layer of skin) from the whale’s body. This is called ‘flensing’. A large hook is inserted behind the whale’s front fin. This is attached with ropes and chains to a system of pulleys. A strip of blubber 5 feet (1.5 m ) wide is cut around the whale’s body. The crew pull at the ropes until the hook pulls away a long section of the strip. Known as a ‘blanket piece’, it weighs about a ton and will be cut into sections.
Trying Out the Whale
Stove by a Whale
Alone in the Pacific
Starvation, Madness, and Cannibalism
The Homecoming
Cutting Strips
CUTTING STRIPS
Above, this picture shows the cutting pattern that is used to strip the blubber from the carcass of a sperm whale. The cutting lines form a continuous spiral from head to tail, allowing the layer of blubber to be unwound from the whale’s body – almost like peeling an orange.
Head Spade
Tools
Tools
Tools
Boarding Knife
Blubber Pike
Gaff
FLENSING TOOLS
Above, a variety of different ‘spades’ (cutting tools) and knifes are used to remove the blubber from the whale and to cut it into smaller sections. Pikes and gaffs are then used to lift or drag the lumps of blubber for rendering into whale oil.


HANDY HINT
Right, keep the decks clean. The whale's blood will make them slippery. You don’t want the captain to slip overboard!
Based on the book, You Wouldn't Want to Sail on a 19th-Century Whaling Ship!
Copyright 2004 - the Salariya Book Company
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