Small Things: Worming, Parceling and Serving

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park


First is that. Well, first is tallow, then that (worming). Then pine tar. Then fabric. That’s the parceling. Then this line, thin line to hold the parceling down. And then more tar. Then this. (Growling). That’s the service. Ah. I see. I see the worming right there. That’s the worming. Very cool.


Seasonal deckhands are learning a traditional skill of maintaining the ropes on a sailing vessel. At San Francisco Maritime NHP, in addition to preserving historic ships, traditional skills are preserved. From apprentice to captain, everyone and every skill were relied upon to get the ship safely to port. Sometime during a voyage when things were reasonably routine, experienced seamen turned their attention to mending sails, reeving new running rigging or splicing lizards among a myriad of things that can be done at sea. In this video, a deckhand describes the process of worming, parceling and serving a steel line to keep it from getting wet and corroding. For a more detailed description of Worm, Parcel and Serve, visit our website,


33 seconds


Lou Sian

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