A dutchman, or for some uses, graving piece is a repair technique section for replacing small sections of a damaged area. The term is used in woodworking, masonry, railroading, boatbuilding and theater.
In construction and woodworking, a dutchman can refer to an inset wood patch used to repair wood. Typically a square inset is cut into the damaged area and a new piece of wood is glued into the inset.
A rail repair dutchman is typically a 4–6-inch (100–150 mm) long piece of rail that is cut in advance for the purpose and carried by a section crew. If the gang finds a rail with a chipped or broken end, they remove the connector plates (fishplates), cut out the damaged section, replace it with the dutchman, and bolt the connectors back in place. This is often only a temporary repair.
When welding rails together using the Thermite process began at the start of the 20th century, a section of railhead approximately 3⁄4 inch (19 mm) long, also called a dutchman, was often placed between the sections being joined, with only the web and foot of the rail being new Thermite steel.
The term is also used in theatrical scenery construction, where a dutchman is a strip of material, usually canvas or muslin, used to cover the joint between two adjoining surfaces (such as flats). The strip is then painted or textured to match the adjoining pieces and create a seamless effect. Warp or weft threads can be removed from the edge of the dutchman to allow the edges to feather into the surrounding surface. On canvas flats, dutchman is usually applied with diluted white glue or paint.
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- Where Did the Term 'Dutchman' Originate?
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