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What are shuttering jams?

Mrrzy 11 Nov 08 - 02:04 PM
John MacKenzie 11 Nov 08 - 02:12 PM
Emma B 11 Nov 08 - 02:15 PM
Emma B 11 Nov 08 - 02:16 PM
John MacKenzie 11 Nov 08 - 02:16 PM
Mrrzy 11 Nov 08 - 02:19 PM
Emma B 11 Nov 08 - 02:22 PM
MartinRyan 11 Nov 08 - 02:23 PM
MartinRyan 11 Nov 08 - 02:25 PM
Amos 11 Nov 08 - 02:48 PM
squeezebox-kc 11 Nov 08 - 03:03 PM
Emma B 11 Nov 08 - 03:08 PM
Newport Boy 11 Nov 08 - 03:41 PM
Newport Boy 11 Nov 08 - 03:46 PM
Noreen 11 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM
MartinRyan 11 Nov 08 - 04:26 PM
Emma B 11 Nov 08 - 04:27 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Nov 08 - 04:36 PM
Noreen 11 Nov 08 - 04:46 PM
MartinRyan 11 Nov 08 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Paddywack 11 Nov 08 - 05:18 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Nov 08 - 05:46 PM
Megan L 11 Nov 08 - 05:48 PM
Emma B 11 Nov 08 - 06:03 PM
Snuffy 11 Nov 08 - 06:06 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Nov 08 - 06:11 PM
Bernard 11 Nov 08 - 06:15 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Nov 08 - 06:30 PM
Emma B 11 Nov 08 - 06:38 PM
Bernard 11 Nov 08 - 06:47 PM
meself 11 Nov 08 - 07:06 PM
Barry Finn 11 Nov 08 - 08:18 PM
meself 11 Nov 08 - 11:08 PM
Dave Hanson 12 Nov 08 - 01:03 AM
meself 12 Nov 08 - 01:06 AM
MartinRyan 12 Nov 08 - 03:12 AM
Murray MacLeod 12 Nov 08 - 03:16 AM
Newport Boy 12 Nov 08 - 04:46 AM
danensis 12 Nov 08 - 06:42 AM
Manitas_at_home 12 Nov 08 - 06:54 AM
meself 12 Nov 08 - 07:03 AM
Bryn Pugh 12 Nov 08 - 07:14 AM
gnomad 12 Nov 08 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 12 Nov 08 - 07:23 AM
meself 12 Nov 08 - 07:23 AM
Manitas_at_home 12 Nov 08 - 07:35 AM
Dave Hanson 12 Nov 08 - 07:42 AM
meself 12 Nov 08 - 07:48 AM
greg stephens 12 Nov 08 - 07:52 AM
Teribus 12 Nov 08 - 09:26 AM
Mrrzy 12 Nov 08 - 11:10 AM
Newport Boy 12 Nov 08 - 02:20 PM
Mrrzy 12 Nov 08 - 02:33 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Nov 08 - 02:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Nov 08 - 02:45 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Nov 08 - 03:02 PM
Newport Boy 12 Nov 08 - 03:38 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Nov 08 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Davie 24 Jul 10 - 09:54 AM
mayomick 24 Jul 10 - 11:37 AM
alex s 25 Jul 10 - 07:23 AM
puck 25 Jul 10 - 09:19 AM
GUEST 03 Oct 10 - 11:30 AM
s&r 03 Oct 10 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Gorgeous Gary 03 Oct 10 - 09:13 PM
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Subject: What are shuttering jams?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:04 PM

i know, it sounds like something to wear in the bedroom with the windows closed... but it appears in songs which mention working on dams - is it just something to rhyme, or is it something else?

(Songs mentioning these jammies include McAlpine's Fusilliers and Crooked Jack.)


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:12 PM

Shuttering is the wooden frames/formers, used to make the shapes for pouring concrete into piles/walls etc.
I'm not sure how they/it would jam though.


JM


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:15 PM

I think it's 'shuddering' Mrrzy
a jam occurs when water builds up behind a blockage.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:16 PM

I've worked till the sweat near had me bet with Russian, Czech and Pole
On shuddering jams up in the hydro dams or underneath the Thames in a hole
I grafted hard and I've got me cards and many a gangers fist across me ears
If you pride your life, don't join, by Christ, with McAlpine's Fusiliers


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:16 PM

Just a thought, it may be alluding to the shuttering jamming onto to concrete shape, when they want to remove it after the concrete has set.

JM


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:19 PM

Emma, I thought it was shuDDering too, until I saw the lyrics. In several places, it's shuTTering, and I haven't seen shuDDering anywhere.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:22 PM

the original poem was written by Dominic Behan

I can't do a clicky at the moment but the lyrics, as he wrote them, are given here http://celtic-lyrics.com/forum/index.php?autocom=tclc&code=lyrics&id=324

As down the glen came McAlpine's men with their shovels slung behind them
It was in the pub they drank the sub and up in the spike you'll find them
They sweated blood and they washed down mud with pints and quarts of beer
And now we're on the road again with McAlpine's Fusiliers

I stripped to the skin with the Darky Flynn way down upon the Isle of Grain
With the Horseface Toole I knew the rule, no money if you stop for rain
When McAlpine's god was a well filled hod with your shoulders cut to bits and seared
And woe to he who looks for tea with McAlpine's Fusiliers

I remember the day that the Bear O'Shea fell into a concrete stairs
What the Horseface said, when he saw him dead, well it wasn't what the rich call prayers
I'm a navvy short was the one retort that reached unto my ears
When the going is rough, well you must be tough with McAlpine's Fusiliers

I've worked till the sweat near had me bet with Russian, Czech and Pole
On shuddering jams up in the hydro dams or underneath the Thames in a hole
I grafted hard and I've got me cards and many a gangers fist across me ears
If you pride your life, don't join, by Christ, with McAlpine's Fusiliers

I think it's another infamous 'mondegreen' Mrrzy


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:23 PM

There's a detailed discussion around here on Mudcat - somewhere!

Regards


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:25 PM

THIS ONE answers it well.

Regards


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:48 PM

I always thought it was "shattering jams"--the sort of jam (strawberry, boysenberry, etc.) that will break a window to smithereens when thrown at a man's head (but misssing). Mainly because they are still in the jar.

Just shows to go ya, dunnit?


A


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: squeezebox-kc
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:03 PM

jambs are the name of the frames that bolt together to make a shutter wall the pins and bars hold the shutter sides apart simple as that they can be moved up as the wall increases around the steel reinforcing bars within the shutter. any other is purpose made timber formwork for odd shapes in the required concrete structure


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:08 PM

it isn't a 'jamb' it's a jam and the original poem - not the words sung by The Dubliners - uses shuddering - ie the effect that you'd get from a dangerous blockedge of water when building a hydo dam

Then again Amos's window shattering bottled preserve sounds about as likely as 'shuttering jams' :)


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:41 PM

I'm not convinced by a lot of this. A lot of words are used in different ways on construction sites, and the use by labourers may not be technically accurate.

What I am sure of, celtic-lyrics.com notwithstanding, is that the phrase is "shuttering jams". 40 years ago, anything you cast concrete in was called shuttering - the terms 'Formwork' and 'Falsework' came into more general use in the 1970's. If there's any shuddering in dam formwork, I'd run for the hills PDQ. And when a dam is under construction, there's no water to cause a blockage.

Brian Behan's song Building up and tearing England down includes:

I was on the shuttering jam on the day that Jack McCann
Got the better of his stammer in a week
He fell from the shuttering jam
And that poor old stuttering man
He was never ever more inclined to speak


So I go for either the shuttering jam(b) as the vertical supports to the dam shutters, or the general use of 'jam' in the sense of wedging - the shutters for dams are fixed by bolts and wedges from the part already concreted. (gnu suggested this in the other thread).

Phil


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:46 PM

A little off-topic, I'm reminded of the Irish labourer who was asked by a interviewing foreman whehter he knew the difference between a joist and a girder.

"For sure" he said, "Goethe wrote 'Faust' and Joyce wrote 'Ulysses'"

Phil


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Noreen
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM

Emma, I doubt that Mr Behan posted his lyrics to celtic-lyrics.com himself... and I can't see any evidence on that site as to where the lyrics were sourced, so I expect whoever it was posted what they heard, not understanding the meaning.

Shuttering jambs makes sense to me, as mentioned above and in the earlier thread linked to by Martin.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 04:26 PM

Newport Boy

Nice one!

Regards


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 04:27 PM

ok - just check out any other number of sites quoting his poem - but it doesn't really matter I suppose what the original is if the oral tradition has taken over :)


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 04:36 PM

Emma, it isn't a question of oral tradition taking over.

Websites have a horrendous habit of regurgitating the mistakes of other websites.

In this case, the phrase is "SHUTTERING JAMBS" and the jambs are the reinforcing members, usually of folded sheet metal on large pours as in a dam, which are bolted round the sheets of sheathing plywood to prevent the shutters from buckling outwards under the pressure of the concrete while it is being poured and vibrated.

End of discussion.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Noreen
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 04:46 PM

>...but it doesn't really matter I suppose what the original is if the oral tradition has taken over <

It most certainly does, Emma, (although it doesn't to some people) or we wouldn't be spending time discussing it here!

I have checked out several other sites just now, and they all say shuttering jams. I'd be delighted to see an authenticated set of the original words.

BTW, Wikipedia says According to remaining members of Behan's family ... the song was written with The Dubliners in mind.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 04:57 PM

Didn't Frank Harte sing it on "There's Gangs of them digging.."? I can't find my copy at the moment. Can someone check the sleeve notes, please?

Regards


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: GUEST,Paddywack
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 05:18 PM

Stick to the music lads and leave the graft to the pincers.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 05:46 PM

would I be correct in assuming that I am the only Mudcat member who has actually worked on large scale civil engineering projects involving massive concrete pours ?


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Megan L
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 05:48 PM

Probably not lad theres always Gnu


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:03 PM

I doubt it Murray but - am I the only mudcatter who's worked down a salt mine? :)

p.s. I don't really care about the lyrics now I've got the link for that Frank Harte CD - he's a folk hero of mine!


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Snuffy
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:06 PM

And Bob Bolton in Australia


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:11 PM

I would be amazed if any other Mudcatter had worked down a salt mine, Emma. I thought they only existed in Siberia, to be honest ...

are there any salt mine songs ?


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:15 PM

Murray, I've always known it as 'shuttering jambs' since the early 1970s, and understood the explanation to be exactly as you've given it.

Misheard lyrics sometimes become assimilated into the tradition, but there are times like this where inaccuracy of terminology distorts the sense of the song.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:30 PM

d'accord, Bernard.

between you and me, I have always thought that nobody should be allowed to sing "McAlpine's Fusiliers" unless they had spent at least a day working on a civil engineering project.

I fully expect to see a Mudcat thread one day asking what a "sub" is ...("'twas in the pub they drank their sub")


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:38 PM

I've had to listen/cringe to versions of Stan Kelly's 'Liverpool Lullaby' talking about Jeanie working 'at the loom' LOL!


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:47 PM

Murray... I thought someone had already done it... I seem to remember they didn't even realise 'The Spike' was a pub...!


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: meself
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 07:06 PM

sub: short for 'submarine sandwich'













Okay, just kidding. As for 'spike': is/was it not a slang term for a workers' flophouse (I've still got the callouses from reading Road to Wiggam Pier).


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 08:18 PM

Dominic Behan liked the phrase, he's also used it in his "Crooked Jack"

"I've cursed the day that I went away
To work on the hydro dams
For sweat and tears or hopes and fears
Bound up in shuttering jams"

Mick Maloney explained to me ages ago what the "shuttering jams" was & it didn't sound like it was/has anything to do with construction or concrete but, 'dam' I can't remeber what it was. Sorry

Barry


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: meself
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 11:08 PM

How could it NOT have something to do with "construction or concrete"?


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:03 AM

Despite Murray Macleod giving the correct explanation, why are people still saying ' jams ' it's ' JAMBS ' ffs.

eric


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: meself
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:06 AM

Yeah: Kick out the jams, mothers and fathers!


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:12 AM

Jam? You haven't a leg to stand on!

Regards


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:16 AM

Barry, you are, I fear, unintentionally helping to propagate a misquotation (doesn't really qualify as a mondegreen imo)

I know the verse you quote above is as it appears in the DT, but we all know how inaccurate the majority of DT lyrics are (eg. Dougie McLean's "coattails" were still flying somewhere in the wind last time I checked)

I would bet a pound to a penny that what Dominic Behan actually wrote was

"I've cursed the day that I went away
To work on the hydro dams
Our sweat and tears, our hopes and fears
Bound up in shuttering jambs"

That makes a great deal of sense, whereas the verse as it appears in the DT makes no sense whatsoever

I have taken the liberty of altering Behan's incorrect spelling of "jambs", as he very likely thought, as would 99% of the workforce on any site, that "jams " was indeed the correct spelling.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:46 AM

I go to bed for a few hours, and there's more points raised than enough!

First, what was written - probably 'jams', as Murray says. Dominic was not a construction man, so he probably got the phrase from Brian. As far as I know, Brian never worked on a dam. He did work on the Festival of Britain and Shell Centre sites in London, and would have met many men who would have worked on dams.

Yes, Murray - I first worked for Sir Robert McAlpine on major sites, and four 150 cubic yard pours a day was quite normal. I first saw the words of McAlpine's Fusiliers in the firm's magazine.

The best story about a 'sub' comes from my first job at Llanwern Steelworks. McAlpine had 3000 employees on site - I was the most junior of 300 engineers. Apart from the travelling men, most of the labourers were ex-miners, out of work in the early 60's.

Wages were paid a week in arrears, and the ex-miners were baffled at the end of their first week when the timekeepers came around asking if they wanted a 'sub'. A brief explanation was all that was needed - South Wales miners are bright. Tradition in the mining area was that the man handed over the unopened pay packet to his wife, who gave him his spending money and kept the rest for housekeeping.

Suddenly, they could double their spending (drinking) money - they had a sub every week. The payslip showed deductions - Tax, National Insurance, Holiday Stamp, Sub. The wives never knew what the sub was.

And EmmaB - I haven't worked there, but I've been down a UK salt mine - will that do?

Phil


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: danensis
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 06:42 AM

The only problem with the above "shuttering jambs" explanation is that the word "jamb" is not a phononym of "jam" but is pronounced to rhyme with "form".

As someone who has worked on shuttering on a large building site I can tell you is is quite easy to get it jammed if your banksman (the person instructing the crane driver) gets it wrong. Although you can get inside and give it a good belt with a sledge hammer before the concrete is poured, once you get to the removal stage that option is no longer available, and you have to separate the shuttering in precisely the right order, or you end up resorting to an awful lot of sawing.

John


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 06:54 AM

I've never heard it pronounced any other way than jam and my dad was a carpenter. The on-line Webster gives the 'jam' (as in ham) pronounciation.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: meself
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:03 AM

Of course, Webster would be giving American pronunciation. Still, I find it hard to imagine "jamb" as "jorm". Certainly it's not pronounced that way in the Dubliners' recording I've heard. I suppose "dams" must be pronounced as "dorms" for that rhyme to work ...


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:14 AM

Having just left school (1961) I worked for a bit on the M62 to be at Warrington, as one of Sir Robert McAlpine's surveyor's labourers, at the princely rate of two shillings and twopence farthing per hour. Mans rate was four and fourpence, boys rate half of that.

'Sub' comes from 'subsistence money' - ale, prozzies, bets, bacon butties, and any sub was deducted from your weeks pay.

You worked a "week in hand" as I remember.

I heard the disputed phrase as "shuttherin' jams", which was explained to me as Murray MacLeod explains it above (his post of 0436).


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: gnomad
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:16 AM

Re pronunciation of 'jambs', I too have heard it pronounced jawms, but also as jams. I suspect that the difference might be regional, but there may also be a generational contribution as all those I remember as using jawms would now be in their 70s.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:23 AM

I've never heard that pronunciation - but, given the word's probably root in the French "jambon", it may not be all that surprising. Any regional information?

Regards


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: meself
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:23 AM

Okay - so "forms" is pronounced "fawms"? And, presumably, "dams" "dawms"? This is getting confusing ...


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:35 AM

Well I can't understand why my dad would be using an American pronunciation!


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:42 AM

Have look in a building or joinery reference book and find out what ' door jambs ' are.

eric


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: meself
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:48 AM

I was simply pointing out that Webster might not be an unimpeachable authority in this instance. So, by implication, your dad IS an unimpeachable authority in this instance.

Note, by the way, that I did not say that the American pronunciation is necessarily any different than the British ...


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:52 AM

Surely sub comes from subvention?


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Teribus
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 09:26 AM

"would I be correct in assuming that I am the only Mudcat member who has actually worked on large scale civil engineering projects involving massive concrete pours ?"

No, although if size counts Shell "Troll" gravity based structure, largest moveable man-made structure ever made was poured concrete, but slip-formed in a continuous pour.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 11:10 AM

What? "End of discussion. " from a Mudcatter? That's a little, well, full of yourself, isn't it? Even when you're right? Or even more especially when you're right?

So, the shuttering of the jamBs is not a malfunction? I would have thought from the rest of the song that it was something to fear, and not to expect...


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:20 PM

Ah, Mrrzy - you have a misunderstanding there. 'Shuttering' is not part of a verb - a shutter is something against which you pour concrete, shuttering is all the shutters together.

Now if you'd said the jam of the shuttering was a malfunction, it would have been another interpretation.

And before any other pedantic construction worker picks me up - I know that you don't pour concrete - you place it.

Greg - you're probably right, but I doubt that anyone on a construction site would know that. Well, maybe a quantity surveyor!

Phil


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:33 PM

Ah, the jambs are shuttering as an adjective, it is merely descriptive, OK. Sounded scarier than that...


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:42 PM

Yes, you are right Mrrzy, "end of discussion" is not appropriate from a Mudcatter and I apologise unreservedly.

I guess I have been picking up bad habits from some of the other, more confrontational, forums which I sometimes frequent.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:45 PM

Maybe that Goethe and Joyce fella might...


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:02 PM

..."Surely sub comes from subvention? " ...

I do hope you were being ironic there, Greg, because I find the concept of a labourer receiving a "subvention payment" quite hilarious.

It is of course quite possible that the firm received a subvention payment before paying the labourer his subsistence allowance.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:38 PM

I don't think the 'sub' referred to is the 'subsistence'. I never heard the latter abbreviated.

The 'sub' which was drunk was the advance on the weeks pay, often paid on the Friday, and deducted from the pay packet the following Thursday.

I never wondered why it was called a 'sub' - some things just are. But 'subvention' would fit the bill - a grant of financial aid. It's the sort of word that the finance department might use.

The subsistence allowance was most often referred to as 'the lodge' - which is what it paid for in the case of the travelling men. On many of the biggest jobs, when they lived in site accommodation they never got their hands on the 'lodge', which was paid direct on their behalf.

Phil


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:15 PM

Phil, my guess is that the "sub" is in fact an abbreviation of "subsistence allowance" and that the phrase just transferred by osmosis to mean the advance at the end of the first week, as opposed to the more specific meaning of the allowance paid for accommodation food and drink.

In the days when I worked on building sites, it was quite common to hear "sub" used as a verb, eg "could you sub me five pounds until payday ?" I believe it is still quite a common usage to this day, in Scotland at least, although it is a long time since anybody has approached me for a "sub".

Getting back to "shuttering jams" for a moment, it has just occurred to me that one more nail in the coffin of the theory that "shuttering jams" might somehow refer to the shutters sticking to the concrete and having to be forcibly removed, is the fact that the shuttering was always removed by joiners, not by labourers.

The labourer's job was to spread the concrete and operate the vibrators, under the direction of the "ganger". This would of course involve on occasion walking along the "shuttering jambs", from which they would occsionally fall off, in the bad old days before the HSE got a grip of the situation ... but labourers never ever erected, or dismantled the shuttering. And McAlpine's Fusiliers is all about labourers, not tradesmen.

Ergo, the theory that the protagonist in "Mcalpine's Fusiliers" was somehow involved in dismantling a recalcitrant piece of shuttering doesn't hold up.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: GUEST,Davie
Date: 24 Jul 10 - 09:54 AM

"This would of course involve on occasion walking along the "shuttering jambs", from which they would occsionally fall off, in the bad old days before the HSE got a grip of the situation ... "

Spot on! Back in the days before Health and Safety went mad, projects like building a dam would mean building a near vertical wall with very little fall protection. It's not so bad for the first pour but as you continue up the fall get's higher and more likely loss of life. People generally climbed up the back of the shuttering Jamb instead of using a ladder(some still do). Labourers would have been climbing all over the Shutters when they were pouring the concrete. These shuttering frames were always made from timber by carpenters. Hence the name Shuttering jambs. In the same way that carpenters used to call door frames,door jambs.

Never in my twenty years as a shuttering carpenter have I heard anyone refer to getting a shutter stuck as a "Jam".


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: mayomick
Date: 24 Jul 10 - 11:37 AM

Murray and Davie are right about shuttering . In my time, shuttering carpenters on sites were not usually considered real chippies by carpenters who had served apprenticeships . I hope that has changed since Davie because the sort of rough shuttering described was often very skilled , but usually learnt the non-city and guilds way. It was more essential to that type of work than fine sandpaper ever was.

I remember actually having to sign a form once when I was working a week in hand and asked for a sub. The form told me that I was signing for a "subvention" ahead of my next weeks wages .I always thought that sub meant subsistence up until then, as well .There was always something demeaning about asking for a sub wasn't there - even though you had already earned the couple of quid they gave you when you worked your week in hand .

Somebody wrote earlier that the Spikes was a pub.Not true. The spikes (always a plural for some reason) were cheap doss houses for men working on large civil engineering projects . There was a network of spikes around Britain - built originally in the nineteenth century I was told - and they were supposed to be in a days tramp of each other.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: alex s
Date: 25 Jul 10 - 07:23 AM

For excellent first hand info on spikes read Geaorge Orwell's "Down and out in Paris and London". A great book.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: puck
Date: 25 Jul 10 - 09:19 AM

There is no doubt at all that Murray Mcleod, Newport Boy, Davie and Mayomick, know what they are talking about from personal experience.
I have lost count of the number of times I have tried to learn a new song from a cd or orally and got the lyrics completely, though unintentionally wrong. It is a very easy thing to do. I have often been corrected and it can be a little embarrassing sometimes, nevertheless it is good to understand the lyric properly in order to deliver the song correctly.
This discussion has come about because someone in the past collected a word or phrase, and either misheard it, or wrote it down phonetically, and that then becomes the accepted 'norm'.         Maybe accent had a part to play. An Irish accent might well 'convert' a 't t' to a 'd d' [and ADD an unnecessary 'h' into the bargain. The Irish are well known for their generosity!!!]
I love folk music because it contains so many phrases, nouns and verbs that have fallen into misuse or disuse, and it's only through research and discussions like this that you get to the truth. I always get a big buzz from 'discovering' the true meaning of an antiquated word or phrase.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 11:30 AM

Agreed. And my shoulders still suffer from the 'well filled hod'.
Disappointingly, one of the buildings I carried brick and poured concrete for when I was a student is now being demolished.


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: s&r
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:53 PM

Two jambs and a lintel make a door frame. The lintel reers to a load bearing piece - if not load bearing it's called a head trimmer or header


Stu


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Subject: RE: What are shuttering jams?
From: GUEST,Gorgeous Gary
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 09:13 PM

Fascinating thread! Especially since I just went and learned "Building Up and Tearing England Down" for the FSGW Getaway. Being a structural engineer myself (though no mass concrete pours -- just typical footings and slabs for low- or mid-rise buildings), it seemed like a good idea.

Looks like there are at least two "sister" songs I need to learn though... 8-)

-- Gary


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