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Louie da fly

10th-11th century Byzantine dromon by Louie da fly - 1:50

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Here is the railing for the ladder to belowdecks. I did one version, wasn't happy with it,and this is version 2.


The uprights:

20190707_103635.thumb.jpg.f3a8e5080fc6e48509d67cdf8b0d475f.jpg 20190707_103702.thumb.jpg.95c71a8631738ce9a917b0f6c80fd9c0.jpg

Side rails in place:

 20190707_172532.thumb.jpg.4720d388c919ef81f70cfaa5c951c64f.jpg 20190707_193622.thumb.jpg.e4f4e23437674d47cb03fb97f35892c6.jpg 

Unfortunately, one of the wooden locating pins broke off the bottom of a post, (see picture above) and I had to drill a hole in the end and put a new one in.



20190707_212518.thumb.jpg.4308e6cde94fa784b53f99f3b4790192.jpg 20190707_212534.thumb.jpg.00fee6f0f11b22996c3ff344b4b72140.jpg

In place on the deck:

20190707_214719.thumb.jpg.2676560b14f7e7f42f4fa32c11269bb2.jpg 20190707_214723.thumb.jpg.b241a19bf8c8ec9382c839852cab6034.jpg 20190707_214727.thumb.jpg.3ffc6bdc2dd48362e67509c7f5d3d917.jpg 20190707_214756.thumb.jpg.c66864746e565970508940ea67594fd0.jpg



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Working on the chain pump.


Here's the sketch I did (to the same scale as the model) to work out the sizes:


Starting on the frame - top of the "box"



And the bottom frame, plus the sides:


Top frame attached to the side pieces - note the locating "pins" at the ends of the side pieces, to insert into the deck.


I put the pins into a piece of styrene foam to simulate the deck so the bottom frame could be at the right level.


Cardboard semicircles to act as backing for the planking on the covers for the drive wheels:


Glued to the sheet of wood with planks sliced into it.


The planked side pieces cut out.


And the holes for the axles added.


More to come.



Edited by Louie da fly

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do you have a reference for this chain pump? I would have thought that simple log pumps would have been used at this time.


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Thanks everybody for the likes.


Dick, the Serce Limani "glass wreck" of c. 1025 had vestiges of a chain pump according to one of the published papers, and I believe (can't remember where from - might be the same paper) that the Romans had them, and as the Byzantines were continuing the Roman tradition the presence of one in the 11th century seems logical. I have thought long and hard about whether to include a chain pump as the evidence is a little thin on the ground, but I ended up deciding to go for it.


And here are some progress photos for the pump:

20190711_165049.thumb.jpg.5b4568af870edc0b2bd5ede5c0e3e321.jpg 20190711_170017.thumb.jpg.ff79bdc76a981e3c71d4a5833e95a755.jpg 20190711_170252.thumb.jpg.4bbe06a274ca18746136f91e547c09be.jpg20190711_173547.thumb.jpg.26c5424113d6389d74314839a2562c43.jpg

20190711_174613.thumb.jpg.83616a6cad97b0dd951e3c64ac7b216d.jpg 20190711_175418.thumb.jpg.34bf0fd41c30f0851451461ca7ac04b3.jpg 

20190711_191759.thumb.jpg.1f41e23a2e3aafca3214966ea10ef1c7.jpg 20190711_212014.thumb.jpg.a2c8f6b4acb85b168f1bde3aa3b20392.jpg 20190711_212557.thumb.jpg.0716822d98b72aefc7ca35180b5a4668.jpg 20190711_215713.thumb.jpg.09cba0a5fe2b93f89e110247281b575e.jpg 20190711_215816.thumb.jpg.afbc3b476819098fcf9b3f9ca23f92cd.jpg

The "box" is glued in place, but the wheel covers are currently just dry fitted. I still have to sort out what I'm going to do about the axles and the crank handles. I also have to cut holes in the ends of the box for the lands.



Edited by Louie da fly

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Thanks everyone for the likes and comments. Much appreciated.


Just a bit of finalizing on the chain pump - the brackets holding down the (spindles?) for the cranks. Cut from the little foil boxes the cat meat comes in. Here's the first attempt: I had to do them twice because I got the sequence wrong


20190729_183207.thumb.jpg.ab6c40f01e993e1840f9a0f0eeefc284.jpg (but I am rather pleased with the little jig I made to shape them).


20190729_183302.thumb.jpg.3e2d2587cba5328aeb15921a29c847bd.jpg 20190729_183455.thumb.jpg.2a91a09ef117a9f2743461182c3053bf.jpg 20190729_183520.thumb.jpg.9bcd7bc7ade635718463febfab5f806d.jpg 20190729_183600.thumb.jpg.8b506c5db1977985547a645e523618e9.jpg

Drill the holes, then cut the foil into strips, not the other way around (foil strips twisted into unrecognisable shapes by the drill bit).


Turned out there was a lot of wastage trying to get the holes in exactly the right places (using a standard carpentry drill - too big and heavy - I have a dremel knock-off but haven't been able to work out how to work the flexible drive to do fine work. I really need to sit down for a while and figure it out.)

20190807_173532.thumb.jpg.c40a613e003fba29991a6a8d64f19f97.jpg 20190807_175425.thumb.jpg.45fdd1de786fecd27df8efc2bb7bdfb0.jpg

That's about all the good ones I was able to get (except for the one that fell on the floor and was transported into a parallel universe).


Here are the brackets in place - glued at the top of the curve with a spot of CA, then when it was dry, using a stylus thingy to push the foil into the the final shape.

20190808_143859.thumb.jpg.2402073f859b2414024918e66a6bfa6d.jpg 20190808_143907.thumb.jpg.436ca3700eab5cb8962023c7169ea5a5.jpg

And drilled through the holes into the top of the pump case and fixed with fine brass pins, glued in with CA. Once the glue is dry I'll paint all this "iron" black.



I realised I should have put the openings in for the dales before I attached the pump assembly to the deck, so I'm going to have to do that in situ, which will be a bit more difficult.






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 Oh, and here is the carved original I intend to cast in resin for the oarsmen for the port side of the ship. It's quite difficult getting him exactly the right shape and with his hands in the right position so that he can sit on the oarbench with his feet resting at the base of the one behind him, while holding the oar so the blade goes in the water and the angle of his stroke is right.  I discovered he was leaning back too far to do all that, so I cut a wedge out of his tummy and glued him back together so he was sitting up more. 


20190725_164720.thumb.jpg.a8bcf90b311a62aedf2ef4d88e9f12ce.jpg 20190725_173504.thumb.jpg.5901aaafd54c6828f5ec972ce3088bec.jpg

I won't be able to check if he's exactly right till I can cast a copy of him and put it in position. A lot of trial and error involved. And though I had made a starboard side oarsman in wax, I wasn't happy with him and I'm going to do him again in wood (which I feel more comfortable with, and which is rather more forgiving). 





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Wouldn't the brackets have been of wood, Steven? When I look at the Dutch windmills the sails' axle still runs through a wooden block which is greased with tallow ... Considering the age I wouldn't have expected metal/brass

Edited by cog

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Thanks for the likes, everyone.



1 hour ago, cog said:

Wouldn't the brackets have been of wood, Steven?

They may well have been, Carl. I have to admit it never occurred to me, but in any case I had to make a decision. Though it involved a fair bit of work to extract, the Byzantine Empire wasn't short of metal, so I think I can feel justified in using iron.



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Painted the metal brackets on the chain pump and cut the holes for the lands. I still have to put an edging around the holes.


Here's the little guy on a mock-up of the rowing bench, with his feet resting on a bar at the back of the next bench. He's still leaning back a bit too much because the stand under his feet is in the way, but I have to keep that because it's needed in the casting process. If you're wondering what's sticking out of his tummy in the third photo, that's a wooden pin I used to hold him together while I was gluing him together at the waist to sit further forward. I only just noticed it, and I've now carved it off.

20190809_191815.thumb.jpg.8ca2fcbdd7e63391b1df58526024e42a.jpg 20190809_191824.thumb.jpg.81865f11ded607e5d942b2516e86503a.jpg 20190809_192004.thumb.jpg.fd0e2a4d58f2cfd911bd7f8b955bfe07.jpg

And here he is with an oar in his hand, held in place temporarily with a dab of PVA glue. The angle's pretty good but I'll need to extend his fingers a bit to curl around the oar handle better. From what I've learnt making this guy I'll be able to do the starboard guy better - in particular if I drill a hole for the oar handle before I start shaping his hands it should be easier to get the angle of the oar correct, and the shape of the hands should be easier to do as well. The oar blade is currently facing the wrong way - it should be perpendicular to the water surface. But this is just a test to get the fit right - it will be fixed when the time comes to put everything together. 

20190809_203909.thumb.jpg.320b7b3498c945343120e461074269f0.jpg 20190809_203914.thumb.jpg.f9aba77de2af10d35c5f8ca34b43d0d3.jpg 20190809_204131.thumb.jpg.455c93573b789db0d7281981943cd09a.jpg 20190809_204141.thumb.jpg.7997c25d7c431a4fc5840c93324cdd50.jpg 20190809_204152.thumb.jpg.017082283b25200650f7f533ae7ee909.jpg


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Thanks everybody for the likes, and thanks, Mark. Actually he's leaning too far back because that rotten stand is getting in the way. I based him on a lot of photos of upper oarsmen on the Olympias trireme reconstruction, and at the end of their stroke they are hardly leaning backward at all.


I only added the stand so the figure would be easier to cast, but I figured that at the moment it was more important to check that his "angle of lean" was correct, so I cut the stand off. I can always replace it or put another one on.


Here are some photos of him with the correct posture (oar temporarily dry-fitted with a peg holding it in place).

20190812_182246.thumb.jpg.eeabd2c0488ccf2cf2e28ebada2916a0.jpg 20190812_182319.thumb.jpg.b7153cff1890288a28f150bc602f3d28.jpg 20190812_182348.thumb.jpg.4222257c44ddcd8e03162846021e4de7.jpg  

The reason his hands are all fuzzy is that they were a bit too small and in the wrong place so I've added a bit of glue and sawdust filler to make them bigger. I'll tidy this up on the first resin copy I cast - the filler's a bit too hard to work with and get fine detail.


The oarblade comes down to about 2 centimetres below deck level, which converts to a metre between the deck and the bottom of the oar. That's probably not quite enough, but I can adjust it down a bit by slightly altering his grip on the oar handle, and it should reach the surface of the "water". I still have to smooth him off somewhat before he's ready for casting, but that's ok - I don't yet have the stuff I need to do it anyway.


And I've finally had an idea of how to align the level of the oarblades with water level without having a surface that stops the blades reaching far enough down. Instead of a flat surface to stand in the place of water level, I can use a relatively open wire mesh, which will allow the blades to go through the holes to the correct level. (Don't know if that all makes sense, but it'll be easier to understand when I post photos - in the fullness of time; I'm not yet ready to do that.)


And I've been thinking about a comment Woodrat made about the possibility that the forrard crutch for the yards might foul lower end of the foreyard when it is moved from one side to the other as the ship tacks. I've slightly reduced the rake of the foremast and moved the crutch forrard a bit. I've had to remove parts of two planks to repair the change, but I'd been unhappy with that part of the deck anyway because I'd had a patch in it where I'd already moved the crutch.


Hole for the mast elongated aftwards enabling me to reduce the rake, and starting to remove the planking. You can see the patch in the deck just forrard of the mast opening, the slot for the old crutch position and the new slot furthest forrard:  


Planking all gone and a scarph joint cut in one of the remaining planks


First new plank cut and being shaped to fit the gap. (I've cheated by putting a concealed joint in the planking below the relocated crutch).


First new plank in place and second plank shaped and ready to insert.


Second plank glued in place.


Mast-hole cut in new planks, mast dry fitted, and relocated crutch glued in place.



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So it's now all tidied up and fouling should not be a problem any more (not that I'm going to be doing it in the real world - this is in what you might call "model space" (in-joke for people familiar with AutoCad).


Progress slow but steady.



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Thanks for the likes and comments. Carl, there's an old story (Ancient Greek?) about captives having their thumbs cut off so they couldn't hold a weapon but could still be made to pull an oar . Not sure if there's any truth in it . . .


I'm working on exactly where to put the upper oarbenches. Pryor's book Age of the Dromon specifies that to avoid fouling between the two banks of oars, the upper oars should be 330mm forward of the lower ones. This translates to 6.6mm at 1:50 scale. But then you have to allow for the horizontal distance between the thole (the oar-pivot at the gunwale) and the front of the oarbench, which is a fairly complicated thing in itself.


The thole has to be located in the best position relative to the oarsman to make it comfortable and mechanically efficient to use the oar. I've looked at a fair bit of information on the theory of all this and it's all a bit confusing - and complicated by the fact that modern oared vessels (racing shells) have sliding seats. 


Looking at vessels with non-sliding seats (whalers, and of course Olympias), there seems to be a fair bit of variation as to what is believed to be the best position. In the long run I decided to approximate as best I could the distances on Olympias, adjusted in accordance with the little guy I've made (also based on Olympias). Based on that, I put the guy on the deck and measured the distance between the thole and the front of the bench. It comes to about 6mm. So, adding that to the 6.6mm specified by Pryor, each upper bench should be 12.6mm forrard of the corresponding lower thole.



This has been bugging me for a long time, and it's nice to have sorted it out. The eagle-eyed among you may notice that I'll have to lose the forwardmost upper bench. I'll probably also lose the aftmost one, because the steering oar gets in the way. Part of the learning process. If I did it again, I'd be making the ship longer to take these problems into account.


In the original Byzantine galaea found in Istanbul, each bench had a tenon slotted into a mortise in the upper wale. However, it appears that the upper deck on this model might be too high for that and I may have to add another wale above the existing one to take the mortise. I'd been a bit concerned that I might have to do that, but this is also part of the learning process. Had I my time over again, I'd make the upper wale just that little bit higher - it would also have allowed both the forecastle and the poop to be higher as well, which I would have preferred. It would have made distance up to the poop to be more than a single step, and might have allowed me to put the Greek Fire apparatus below the forecastle as described in the contemporary sources.



Edited by Louie da fly

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Thanks everyone for the likes, and thanks for the comment, Pat.


I've worked out how to solve the problem of the gunwale being slightly too low for the bench to be slotted into it - currently with everything at the right height the bench rests on top of the gunwale. So I've decided to put in another, thinner, stringer (I suppose that's the right name) on top of the wale, and I'll be carving slots into the bottom of this stringer, with the top of the gunwale forming the bottom of each slot.


I've temporarily added a couple of bits of wood at the top of the gunwale to test this out and it all seems to work ok - you can see them next to the oarsman.

20190814_175730.thumb.jpg.cbff4f3c37e24aa1df622eb75148ea23.jpg 20190814_175802.thumb.jpg.9ae674e1d3a632f86285dbdf3cff4926.jpg 20190814_175808.thumb.jpg.ce802d33565d51f628776463673223c5.jpg

I've cut the stringers and I'll add them shortly.


I've also been working on the relationship between the lower and upper banks of oars. By rights, at any moment both upper and lower oar blades should be at the same level horizontally (so they're both be in the water at the same time) and the same angle in relation to the axis of the ship (so they don't foul each other).


I've pretty much set up the level of the lower oar-blades by putting in a frame below decks to glue them to, so as a preliminary I've glued in my first lower oar. And I've set the lower oar's angle to the axis to follow that of the upper oars (which is mostly determined by the position of the upper oarsman's hands).


20190815_181644.thumb.jpg.ce194ea71eeee0900636d5c622eb529c.jpg 20190815_181657.thumb.jpg.cbff71541f844a34ec0f2200fd199b88.jpg

Now we get into the fine adjustment; until now I couldn't predict where the upper oar blades would end up in relation to the lower ones. it turns out the angle of the "test" upper oar is too shallow, so its blade has ended up higher than that of the lower oar.

  20190815_181613.thumb.jpg.d62b2d473343f58d8e759a7e763d0fdc.jpg 20190815_181617.thumb.jpg.fbe5e95ed1f874fb2fa5dd3dc8e7c248.jpg

As the levels of the thole and the oarsman's outboard hand are pretty much set, the only way to alter the angle is to raise his inboard hand. So - more filler to build it up higher, and I'll carve it to shape later.


I had originally intended to insert the lower oars blade-first from inboard, which is why I left a bunch of planks off the deck. But with all the other stuff up there now, it looks like it will be better to insert them handle-first  from outside. So I've had to carve the handle-ends so they'll go through the oarports - 50 of them. Just finished doing that.


So I'll soon be putting the lower oars in and gluing them into place. It's been a long time coming, but if I'd put them in earlier there's have been too much chance of accidentally breaking them off as I worked with the other stuff.


When I put the upper oarsman in place it was only a temporary measure to work out the angles and heights. I placed him at random without reference to the lower oarports, so I'm going to have to take off again. But that's a fairly minor issue - I still have to make 50 oarbenches, cast 50 oarsmen, put the all benches in position 12.6mm forward of the lower tholes etc etc



Edited by Louie da fly

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WRT to the upper stringer/strake on top of the gunwale - that was just 'planning for the future' wasn't it ;)  Far easier to carve/place the mortices in the new strake for the bench tenons, then cutting slots :)





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Here's the starboard stringer with the slots carved out of it.

20190816_162133.thumb.jpg.af64ef18374c25c7138164ae9aa8dbd0.jpg 20190816_162128.thumb.jpg.2aeaca77c607e9778ee6cc809c8fa4be.jpg

And the forward end glued in place.

20190816_202734.thumb.jpg.99e1b9523248c6ec9d5453f1fc1c2f25.jpg 20190816_202746.thumb.jpg.231e04e406b18fbe0ef6a56a1822e7b1.jpg 

And the stringer curved and glued in place bit by bit:



Here are the upper oarbenches under way:


The blank, with a line cut into the end for the beginning of the tenon:


Cutting the tenon to shape:

20190817_214201.thumb.jpg.490ee60adc0f3498876fa1cece5a4f15.jpg 20190817_214230.thumb.jpg.c1d5e3f4951e1a00350b8ebc7032029d.jpg

And thinning the tenon to fit in the slot: 

20190817_214304.thumb.jpg.87c7ef07adc156e5f07e65176b10458f.jpg 20190817_214330.thumb.jpg.27ecb1208f96bb2163127f6156f73f06.jpg 20190817_214357.thumb.jpg.5475c7c7eb4476d9927cb05323c58539.jpg 

Fifty benches:20190817_221442.thumb.jpg.09a9867847d66f6144648cf67fbeed17.jpg


Scarph joint for the second half of the stringer:





More to come . . .





Edited by Louie da fly

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Steven you are genius. Congratulations.

But just a small question... do you have asthma,?  The silver tray you uploaded in EU its the package of a very good asthma inhaler... I use it a lot..😊  

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Thanks everyone for the likes and comments. Messis, that's a cat food container . . . 


Here's the starboard stringer nearing completion - I had to make it thinner at the end to cope with the extreme curve at the tail.


20190819_192039.thumb.jpg.c39971993c64c187a6d0ca1279338e6f.jpg 20190819_192047.thumb.jpg.67dc3106c5cf18440714bb35f4ae5af7.jpg

And here's the port stringer attached at the forecastle

20190819_160610.thumb.jpg.1b3c32da94dbdfd0e59551b1ca127e32.jpg 20190819_160615.thumb.jpg.7c72ff9e3602bd6b4b05ee7ff3b0e65f.jpg

And further along the hull

20190819_192013.thumb.jpg.837ba891d18b43d89361cdbdc2123e38.jpg 20190819_192024.thumb.jpg.5e4dbcf01544bdbdf89040f2db768453.jpg

 And here's the scarph joint

20190822_121551.thumb.jpg.835f5b9da0ebc7110e8318407823a267.jpg 20190822_121602.thumb.jpg.015128ff82689db5fea28697b4e023e2.jpg 20190822_121620.thumb.jpg.36df9de9382a7d37d2b5201efc269f1b.jpg20190822_151547.thumb.jpg.6f9cf2fe979c1993a7f35acacb0f3144.jpg


And the curve at the stern for both stringers




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I've been carving the prototype for the upper oarsmen for the port side, so I can then cast 25 of them in resin. The starboard one was done some time ago, and I've applied to this one what I learnt from carving him and fitting him to the hull (see post of Aug 15 above), to make a "mirror image". 


Still in progress. I haven't done the legs properly yet, but coming along nicely.


Here are the two oarsmen facing each other - the existing starboard oarsman is on the right.


Rather difficult to carve, particularly getting the scalpel blade into the space between the arms and the head and chest to get rid of the "negative space" there. So difficult that I managed to snap off one of the arms while I was trying to do it. I was about to glue the arm back on, when I suddenly realised - problem solved! I now had room to get the scalpel blade in where it had been so difficult. So I left the arm off and carved the chest and head while I had the chance. Now the starboard oarsman is on the left.



Here he is "in rough". I need to smooth him off a fair bit, but he has a face and the main features are in place.

20190906_132654.thumb.jpg.de68a71ceae7242e5e2d29e5ac66b54c.jpg 20190906_132725.thumb.jpg.9c0ac4eb278f6e2baae456649f0a80a3.jpg


And then, while I was working on the legs, I broke off the other arm! But again, this posed an opportunity rather than a problem - I'd been a bit worried I'd carved the hands too far apart (the oar handle is pretty short). So now I have the chance, by slightly swivelling the arms when I glue them back on, to get the hands closer together.


It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good (or as Mark Twain said, a clarinet is an ill wind that nobody blows good . . .*)


More pics when I've progressed further.




*He'd obviously never heard the Mozart clarinet concerto played well . . .  or Weber, for that matter.

Edited by Louie da fly

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