Sections of the standing rigging on a sailing ship, where they could make contact with other items, were 'Served' to prevent chafing. For example, where the shrouds and stays pass round a mast or along the foremost of a set of shrouds where the sails might contact it.
The work actually involved three separate processes: worming, parcelling and serving:
Model by Harold M. Hahn
Photo Credit: Dave Stevens Collection