How did Noah build the Ark?
Some of the details of ancient ship building are covered in the list below from AiG…
- Diagonal planking (cold molded): This is the definitive way to build a strong wooden hull. This technique was used in minesweepers for the U.S. Navy (1990s). Modern adhesives and a fiberglass skin helped of course, but the British did the same in 1855 . Also, as already mentioned, diagonal planking appeared in World War I wooden steamers. In 1998, another old ship, the USS Constellation, was switched from carvel to diagonal planking to avoid using clumsy steel beams in order to repair hogging strains.1
- Mortise and tenon planking: Greeks and Romans used this spectacular (almost unbelievable) solution to shearing between planks. The method goes back well before the fourteenth century before Christ, but then it disappeared for centuries until rediscovered conclusively by modern underwater archaeology.2 This lends credence to the records of Ark-sized wooden ships of antiquity. For example, Athenaeus discussed a large warship that was 427 feet (130 m) long! It was built by Ptolemy Philopater around 250–200 BC.3 It proved quite capable in war, no less. Then there was the Leontifera—based on the specification of eight tiers of oarsmen, it is estimated at about 393 feet (120 m) long.4
- Multiple layers of planking: This method was clearly used in Chinese ships, which includes the treasure ships of Zheng He (1400s) with a reported length of 444 chi (137 m or 450 feet).5 Also seen in Greek and Roman ships (c. 80–90 BC).6 More recently (1800s) multiple layers were employed for impact with floating ice.7 Each successive layer of overlapping planking dramatically increases the shear resistance of the planking system. Even a double layer is “vastly superior to single carvel.”8
- Edge bolting: Vertical pins (drift bolts) connected horizontal members (strakes) together. This technique was used in late American ships to fasten ceiling strakes and keelsons together.9
Another problem for these “oversized” carvel ships was weak frames.10 To make the curved frame profiles, many short segments were bolted together, resulting in lateral flexibility (i.e., they could go out of shape). This could have been addressed by installing lateral shear walls at regular intervals (transverse bulkheads). The Chinese were doing that at least fourteen centuries earlier, which is twelve centuries before Benjamin Franklin “invented” it.11
So maybe Noah used ancient bulkheads and ancient planking.