A carvel-built ship refers to the method of constructing its wooden hull. The hull-strakes (planks) are butt-jointed along their edges, instead of overlapped (see clinker, below). It allows the use of thicker, shorter planks and double planking where required. Hulls are easier to clean, are less given to fouling, and there is less water-resistance when under-weigh.
There is evidence of its use going back 4000 years, however the method came into its own with the development of the caravel during the 15th century. At that time carvel-built vessels were also being developed in northern Europe for the Hanseatic League.
Clinker-built refers to a wooden hull where the strakes (planks) overlap along their edges. Except for certain exceptions in the Mediterranean region it was the sole method of wooden hull construction until the development of carvel-built ships in both southern and northern Europe during the 15th century.