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Javier Baron
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Javier Baron
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The rabelo is a Portuguese vessel typically from the Duero, that traditionally transported Oporto wine barrels from the Alto Douro where the vineyards where located up to Vila Nova de Gaia, Oporto, where the wine was stored and commercialized.


As a river boat, the rabelo had a flat bottom without keel, with length between 19 and 23 meters and beam of 4.5 meters. Made by clinker, it fitted a square sail and had a crew of six or seven men. It used a large oar at stern-espadilla- for its governing that took place from an elevated platform both as much for making easier its handling as to having view towards its bow when it was filled with barrels. In occasions, when it was necessary, the boats where towed from tow rope paths by men or by groups of oxen.


The implementation of the Duero railway in 1887 and further development of communication ways during the first half of the XX century lead to the decline of river navigation by the rabelos, to the extent that in 1961, initiating the hydro electrical benefit program of Duero, there were only six boats of them left in permanent activity. Nowadays, the rabelo has become a tourist attraction and in Oporto there is a whole fleet of them dedicated to give rides by the river to visitants.


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  • Image Comments

    • Hi Mike,
      Thank you for your further explanations!
      I have now a good understanding of the principle of how you made the case. I am looking forward to your additional photos! No hurry from my side, because there is still a lockdown in my country, so I cannot buy materials...
      I intend to make my case 102 cm by 35 cm wide and 75 cm height. I assume that this is close to your dimensions (and weight...).
    • Yes, it took 2 people for the large panels. Most of your statements are correct, the top was done differently. They are only rectangular strips that fit into a shoulder I milled on the outside tops of the verticals deep enough so the strip (when attached) make the outside edge of the glass trough (of the verticals) allowing the panels to slide in and out. Then the cover is screwed to the verticals locking the whole thing together. The total weight of glass would have been ~ 160 lbs so I went with Plexiglass which was only about 75 lbs but more expensive. I under estimated both the weight of material as well as the cost for a case this size. I will try to post (or send to you directly) photos to help explain, however, it is at my sons house so it may be a few days. In the meantime let me know if you have any questions and thanks for your interest.
    • Hi Mike,
      Thank you for taking the time to explain. I understand somewhat better. If you would share additional photos: that would be great!
      I have understood that your horizontal wooden strips have an extenting part at the bottom so that it fits into the base grooves. I assume my milling the excess away.
      Is it the same construction at the top?
      I have seen in your photos that the glass is held in place by clip-skrews. I assume that the horizontal wooden strips at the top are only at the outside, to allow the sliding of the glass?
      Did you need assistance for sliding in the big glass panels, because of the weight?
      Thanks! Andre
    • A screw can pass through the underside of the case up into the post.  #4 1 1/2”.  Cheers.
    • Hi Andre, thank you for your comments. I am glad you like the case! Because I mill my own lumber i mill the bottom of the glass frame so that it fits into the glass trough of the base and the glass goes into the glass trough of the frame (I hope I am not confusing you). You cannot see it from the photos but when the top of the case (cover) is removed the top "stringers" of the case are flush with the out side edge of the vertical stringers glass trough so the glass can be inserted/removed by sliding it up or down. I use mirror clips to hole the top of the glass to the top stringers and when top cover is screwed in place it locks every thing in place. It really works well. If you build your own cases I would be happy to get some photos to you to help explain. Just let me know. Thanks again.......Mike AKA Shipshaper
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