A strake is a section of iron laid around the rim of a wooden cart of wagon wheel.  The purpose of the strake is to protect the wooden rim from damage.  The manufacture of the strake is the domain of the blacksmith, where the construction of the wheel itself if made by the wheelwright (also known as the wagonwright, or wainwright).

The word also applies to mining, where a strake is a trough or (originally) a pit with two boards laid across the bottom, used for washing ore.

A strake for washing ore.
A strake for washing ore. Photo courtesy of

The word is also used in shipbuilding, where the strake is the planking (wood) or plating (metal) forming the outer skin of the vessel.

Strakes on a ship's hull.
Strakes on a ship’s hull.

Additionally, “strake” is used in the aviation industry to refer to a type of aerodynamic surface mounted on an aircraft fuselage to fine-tune the airflow.

Strakes in the aviation industry.
Strakes as aerodynamic devices in the aviation industry. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Hm.  Even though most of us have probably never heard of it in our lives, “strake” seems to be a pretty crazy useful word.

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