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Louie da fly

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

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A word of warning - DON'T use the foil from Easter eggs to make flags!

 

20190614_144558.thumb.jpg.c7730e3b2f1846e9b6f105d079d2a0b2.jpg

 

Here's the banner I made from the foil - see my post of June 14, 2019.

 

Here it is now . . . 

20200311_084611.thumb.jpg.87ec546f9db17e13ecf030158c645280.jpg

It just disintegrated - no sudden shocks, no cats (or small children) involved, just broke up all by itself. It lasted only 9 months!

 

Oh, well. Back to the drawing board . . .

 

Steven

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3 hours ago, druxey said:

Have you tried SilkSpan?

Not yet. I'm now going to have to look at my options, and maybe silkspan will be one of them. I haven't used it before but I've read a lot about it on this forum. If I got enough of it for a flag or two I might as well get enough for sails as well.

 

But what I'd particularly liked about the foil was that it was fine enough to make really narrow tails for the flag, but stiff enough for even the tails to be pretty much self-supporting. It's annoying to have to re-think it after I thought I had it sorted. 

 

Steven

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I've finished putting the oarbenches in place.

20200317_092749.thumb.jpg.07c9519d7a1f858e489d3498247aca99.jpg 20200317_092826.thumb.jpg.230503d5848d62651198d81686b83265.jpg

My next job is to make 50 tholes and their bases, as found in a Byzantine shipwreck in  Istanbul.

 

image.png.47fc88e3468e3fac6caf47545212434c.png

And I've made and painted another six new shields (the ones in the bottom row - again, taken from original Byzantine illustrations), with two more ready for painting and another one under way, a total of 19 so far - another 31 to go. They each take about a day to make.

 

20200317_110946.thumb.jpg.0a8697ec98dbca1ea91157e6eb1b580b.jpg

 

Steven

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3 hours ago, BANYAN said:

The detail on those shields is remarkable Steven; you have a  much steadier hand than me my friend.

Horses for courses, mate. The detail on your Victoria leaves me amazed. Granted that hand-painting is a different set of skills from making tiny bits of equipment - I have great trouble achieving the level of precision others are capable of in making tiddly little bits. I hope to improve, but I have to balance making tiddly bits to the level of precision I'd like to aspire to, with wanting to eventually actually finish the ship in my own lifetime!

 

Steven

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I've now made the tholes and their sockets for the upper bank of oars. I worked out a way to mass produce them, which seems to have worked nicely.

 

A sheet of wood 0.5mm thick (25mm=1 inch at 1:50 scale) marked into strips, each of several sockets, with 0.38mm holes drilled for tholes. As it turned out there was a fair bit of wastage (ever tried to drill a 0.38mm hole in the exact middle of a strip of wood about 2mm wide with a hand-held electric drill?), so I had to make more strips later.

20200317_123629.thumb.jpg.90810213a473b8448a8ba51f3d0eaa5d.jpg

And cut into strips.

20200317_125133.thumb.jpg.23bca71e7415c022ec895da94a2d0add.jpg

 

Ends tapered in the vertical dimension to make the sockets "hump-back" shaped, and edges smoothed off.

20200318_173156.thumb.jpg.5ae3b13e47c060ff6fb7f796890c8cac.jpg

Tholes with a tenon at one end, cut to length and glued into the holes. Later I found it was better to cut the socket pieces apart before inserting the tholes.

20200318_175340.thumb.jpg.4ef19acd3453ff878dd08555460e0fda.jpg

So now I have 54 tholes and sockets, allowing a few spare in case of stuff-ups.

20200319_144623.thumb.jpg.e485b18831e78d7c900bcaccb9cd7f47.jpg

Next thing is to mark the thole positions on the gunwale to help determine where the uprights have to go for the pavesades (the railings that support the shields) so they don't foul the oars, and the same for the posts supporting the xylokastra (defensive wooden castles).

 

Steven 

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You must feed those 'galley slaves' / Workers well - nice production run (and fast) ;)

 

At this rate you will be finished the ship before you know it; the crew may be another matter?

 

cheers

 

Pat

 

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Thanks for all the likes, everyone.

 

Pat, after a fair bit of trial and error, once I'd figured out how to do a mass-production run it turned out to be pretty easy and fast. The main problem was drilling accurately enough. And then I had to go through and widen each hole with a dressmaking pin - I don't have any drill bits between 1mm (much too big) and 0.38mm (somewhat too small).

 

Making the crew, on the other hand - that's going to take quite awhile. A lot of woodcarving ahead, I'm afraid. Still, if I pace myself (and let's face it, I won't be leaving the house much from now on) I should be able to make steady progress. One thing I need to do is work out a way to reduce wasted effort in shaping the figures - sawing each figure roughly from a block of wood and then carving off large bits that are just in the way - so I can get down to the serious stuff of making the figure itself. I'm sure I'll be able to work something out to make the process more efficient in terms to labour and time.

 

Steven

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Steven, the offer is still good to use the scroll saw for cutting/ rough shaping the carving blocks if you are game to travel?

 

cheers

 

Pat

 

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Thanks very much for the offer, Pat. I'd dearly love to take advantage of it, but we've decided to limit our travel and contacts to the absolute minimum for the time being - at least until the situation is clearer. We've even cancelled (or at least postponed) the grandkid's 3rd birthday party.

 

So until further notice I'm restricted to using a coping saw to cut the figures out. What with that and the work still to be done in the garden (we're going to put in a concrete path with decorative stone inserts) I won't have a chance to get bored.

 

Steven 

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I'm starting to work out the best way to make these oarsmen with least unnecessary actions - reducing the sawcuts to the absolute minimum needed, but even more to reduce the carving I need to do to a minimum. Here's the results of my first attempt.

 

Having drawn a side view of the oarsman I made multiple photocopies and glued them to billets of pear wood, two to each piece, each with the head at the outside (top) edge -  if I mess the head up, I might as well throw that figure away - it's impossible to fix it up - so I do that first. The reason for two to a piece is that it gives me a "handle" to hold while I work on the other figure. I found this out from grim experience.

 

I sawed straight cuts approximating the outline of the side view.

 

Then I turned the figure at right angles and marked the outline of the front/back view, and sawed straight cuts around that outline. 

 

Side:

 20200321_202250.thumb.jpg.ab0d5866cee0fe793558a83962ad9044.jpg 

front:

 20200321_202231.thumb.jpg.6cb411810a2cea1b7a25033456413963.jpg

other side:

20200321_202000.thumb.jpg.c132d55aea399c9ef9699d31c5bfa726.jpg

Back:

20200321_201950.thumb.jpg.536a1a6cf63649189a9ec81b147296e4.jpg

Next, carving the head with a No. 11 scalpel. Megatron:

20200321_202708.thumb.jpg.35344dcc628a3f654e37d5d2347b84d5.jpg 20200321_202721.thumb.jpg.24d9731d9fcd648b73cdeece5c807502.jpg

A bit of shaping:

20200321_203318.thumb.jpg.961cedd5e1102710a735723add8bd8bd.jpg 20200321_203421.thumb.jpg.d17586e7f0f4bae872940c82127242be.jpg

And yet more - perhaps a young Robert Redford?

20200321_204554.thumb.jpg.cd7d9ad3d292463b03df6b2a815cd345.jpg

well, maybe not. I don't think Robert Redford has a nose quite like that:

20200321_204604.thumb.jpg.cbac37a13de3ddaed030628acccdddcf.jpg

 

More later. But the system I've worked out seems to work pretty well with a good balance between sawcuts and carving.

 

Steven

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Can you cast a few master figures in the rough and then complete them individually? Impressive work on the tholes using hand-held equipment only.

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That should work well Steven.  Now to set up the production line :)

For those whom may have been concerned of my offer to Steven in these troubling times, I am self-isolating as best as we can and make such offers very judiciously (only to people whom we know well enough to feel comfortable will have taken every precaution and would not travel if there is even the slightest hint of being unwell).

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Thanks for all the likes.

 

Druxey, I investigated casting them and decided it was just not practical (or within the budget). I'd been trying all the way through the build to avoid carving the figures but have finally decided it's the best way to go, at least for me.

 

Pat, thanks gain for the offer, and normally I'd have taken you up on it, but I think Shakespeare was right - the better part of valour is discretion. While we haven't got the facilities for testing the whole population, we can't be sure who's got it - including ourselves - so it's best not to take chances; not only for the sake of ourselves but for other people as well.

 

Steven

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My latest shields:

20200322_215354.thumb.jpg.44e692bed335a0d865789f8f13864848.jpg

Of these the last three are among my favourites of all Byzantine shields - they're all from an enamelled gold ikon of the Archangel Michael in St Mark's, Venice.

image.png.1ff6a727cbd1296c48049b6be46b7f1b.png

 

Around the border are several military Saints - for those who can't read Greek, the shields are carried by St Theodore Tyro (on the right)

image.png.f0df75097236ab99175a9503e4b46e70.png

Saint Nestor (on the right)

image.png.e47cffd9648079f70d2076f822247c47.png

and Saint George (on the right). Note the saint next to him (Prokopios) is carrying his shield by its handle, with its back facing the viewer.

image.png.25d0c3e466afca724353ca6c2c96261f.png

The best sources for Byzantine shields are illustrated manuscripts - mostly either historical or Biblical - and representations of military saints, in ikons or in frescoes on the walls of Byzantine churches. The only problem, I've realised, is that if I concentrate on the attractive shields I'll be going for those of military saints, who were always portrayed as high-status warriors (the nobility), and the crew rowing a dromon certainly wouldn't fit into that category. So I'm going to have to go against my inclinations and do a lot more (simply decorated) shields as carried by common soldiers in illustrated manuscripts.

 

But I'll keep the ones I've got - they're far too pretty not to . . . and even the "simple" ones are actually quite decorative  - see shields 5-8 and 10 in the top row and 1, 4 and 5 in the bottom row in my post #1085 above. I have to say it's very enjoyable doing these and seeing how good I can get the detail at this scale.

 

Steven

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Kudos to u Steven,  the attention to detail is inspiring to all, I've no doubtsabout that. 

The benches and shields are fantastic. You must be making Thols and shields in your sleep.

On the subject of small drill bits. I use ( WISH ) An online store for all ur needs, well for all your needs if u want mainly Chinese junk. But in all seriousness for the cost of a few dollars u can order 50 or 100 bits of various size bits which have served me greatly drilling into timber. If nothing else just download the app and have a look it may be worth ur while. I also got some 3mmx1mm magnets which have been handy. They were $4 per 100 including postage.

Cheers.

Peter.

15849064492107531841937271657447.jpg

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Thanks for the likes and comments.

 

Peter, thanks for the info on WISH. I'll have to chase up and see what they've got. Currently I'm ok for drill bits except I'd like some about 0.5mm - I'll have to see if they stock anything that size.

 

Oh, and the answer to 24 across is "decor" ;)

 

Steven

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I've been busy.

 

Here are the first steps in mass producing my oarsmen.

20200323_111057.thumb.jpg.1d1a9008639e0ccb557e38e8c55d795f.jpg

This lot makes up just under half the number needed for the ship. Now I just have to carve them all . . .

 

The book "Early Ships and Seafaring" by Sean McGrail contains a lot of interesting information, including the maximum and minimum distance for oared vessels (from archaeological finds) between the thole and the front of the oarbench.

20200323_153928.thumb.jpg.0133127273d3f98027ec163192bb3913.jpg

I tried one thole at the minimum distance (5.6 mm at 1:50 scale) and one at the maximum (8 mm ) to see how it all worked


20200323_115007.thumb.jpg.3edd0a6c340c9d127ba776ff619d49bc.jpg 20200323_115016.thumb.jpg.ca9d48348c6054ef17ee26319b11a4b4.jpg

I've added the footrests at the back of each oarbench, for the oarsmen to push their feet against as they row. I cut strips from offcuts from deck planking etc. 

20200323_133309.thumb.jpg.4b16df5f16304f1355fbbb9c37858a34.jpg 
then cut them to length, trimmed the outboard end to follow the angle of the waterway

20200324_192508.thumb.jpg.f0d0a20ffd5ae2b5240f7b072ecca289.jpg

and started gluing them in place.

20200324_192743.thumb.jpg.56d6e65574150cf2c3c84d7361e16f48.jpg

20200324_192822.thumb.jpg.d970cd9b3e82a07396cf38c991eafb22.jpg

Here's one side complete (a bit hard to see - in the picture they're on the right hand side)

20200324_195304.thumb.jpg.7323350d9b911d922125a93c7027bdaa.jpg

I've put the first upper oar in (temporarily) to test which thole distance to use (turned out the minimum distance was best).

 

Also to determine whether I've got the oarsmen right, and the correct configuration for their arms.

 

Getting the upper oar at the same angle (from above) as the lower oars, (I used a block of wood as a spacer to get the oarblade at the right height) -  

20200325_105909.thumb.jpg.d8f358b76f7c24a315aae7097d79f3e3.jpg

as well as in a straight line between the oarsman's hands, the thole and the surface of the water.

20200325_105915.thumb.jpg.0195cf39114684158d863b5e60e5a6ce.jpg 20200325_105947.thumb.jpg.e27a01b333825151acf918516505a799.jpg 20200325_110031.thumb.jpg.42570972745844bd74e2a695ee775398.jpg

Looks like I still have some adjusting to do on the oarsmen's sitting position so their arms will be correct (compared to the photos I have of upper oarsmen on the trireme reconstruction Olympias).

210360403_oarsmenOlympias8.jpg.1e0a2a531123a4c3a5e33e3b51c8250e.jpg

And here are the benches with all the footrests in place.

20200325_150126.thumb.jpg.ba2a1a4d62f2877edf4f41f7807f5a06.jpg

Slow but steady progress.

 

Steven

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Hi Steven

 

Is the oar shape speculative? I'm just interested, as I row for pleasure & am amazed by how relatively small differences in oars make a lot of difference to the person.

 

thanks

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1 hour ago, Mark Pearse said:

Is the oar shape speculative?

No Mark, it's based on contemporary pictures. See my post #91 on page 4 of the build log. I started out with blades copied from the book Age of the Dromon, but decided to change them all to mirror more closely the picture in post #91. A lot of work, too, but I think worth it. Even then, perhaps I haven't got it exactly right as the taper in the picture seems to go a long way up the loom.

 

Steven

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Mark, I'm very interested in the effects of oarblade shapes.

 

I note that the blades of the Olympias were sort of leaf-shaped, (see 0.52 and onward at 

 

 

but ancient Greek representations of oarblades (usually on pottery) show them long and straight-sided:

Image result for ancient greek pottery ship

 

or short and straight-sided:

Image result for ancient greek pottery ship

 

many renaissance galleys seem to have had blades that tapered very gently and went quite a long way up the loom: 

image.png.047522ef8656de82c445215102c8cc88.pngimage.png.a45413957135c9debb0686a7449638de.png

similar to those shown in Byzantine representations:

image.png.b8c12d8bc3d5fcda2de5e8f31546d438.png image.png.6b18983762bba61e847887c20f9d8f47.png

   I'm very interested in the mechanics of all this - I wonder if there are any publications relating to it.

 

[Edit: Silly me. Of course there are - a quick google search turned up this:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/245524939_A_review_of_propulsive_mechanisms_in_rowing

 

- very good for those of a scientific/engineering mind-set; not so much for people like me. The thing I'd really like to see is a a follow-up to this research, giving a scientific analysis comparing the performance of different-shaped oar-blades

 

Steven

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Slow but steady? More like an Olympic paced sprint Steven (oh sorry that has been postponed hasn't it)  ;)  Some great progress you are making - the model is really looking good.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Thanks for the likes, people.

 

Latest progress - stuck at home, so apart from the work needed around the house and garden I'm free to work on the model.

 

Now I've got all the tholes glued in place:

20200325_200523.thumb.jpg.d95e5d13a42a7501fb88992f9342e49e.jpg 20200325_200434.thumb.jpg.7255f7d9a09f4213f52b2fe2dea23a66.jpg It certainly adds to the "look" of the model, but now I'm going to need to be more careful picking it up so I don't break anything.

 

And now I've been able (finally) to get the relationship sorted out between the ship, the upper oars and the oarsmen, I've discovered that the first few oarsmen are the wrong shape - they have their legs extended too far, which means they can't fit properly between the oarbenches without their bottoms overhanging at the back:

20200325_165808.thumb.jpg.827c011ce895a4e47a591d876259a892.jpg
So I made another guy with his knees bent more (the one on the right - you can see the difference between him and the guy on the left):

20200325_165647.thumb.jpg.e2fad400e8e71330983d2b556047d9f8.jpg

And he fits nicely:

20200325_165843.thumb.jpg.a87c9da18f7415a2c04059691084448d.jpg

So I now have half a dozen oarsmen with the wrong legs:

20200325_170742.thumb.jpg.2384c6601fa9fde45be4ceec40b9fe2b.jpg

My first impulse was to toss them out and start again - but that would have wasted all the effort I put into modelling their heads, faces and torsos, which are totally ok. It's only from the waist down that they're wrong. So I'm going to cut each of them in two and make new "below-the-waist" bits for them. I can glue them together with a rod between them and everything should be hunky-dory.

 

Next steps:

1. sort out how the oarsmen's arms are going to work - I'll use plasticiene (modelling clay) to get the shapes roughly correct, and then make some in wood and try them out.

2. Put in the oar-racks (vertical posts at each bench, between the side of the ship and the oarsman).

3. Make the pavesade (the support structure for the shields at the side of the ship).

 

Not necessarily in the above order.

 

4. Once all that's done, I can get onto putting the upper oars in place.

 

Each of these will take some practical experimentation, and quite a bit of work, so I won't be getting bored.

 

Steven

 

 

 

 

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It just keeps on coming - I'm on a roll!

 

Trying out the prototype for the pavesade.

 

Front view:

20200326_191528.thumb.jpg.3e3595289a0c2fa4480694707c87c2aa.jpg

Back view:

20200326_191519.thumb.jpg.52853e2c4d70c8f0336b7234f7a8d7af.jpg

The lower beam represents the gunwale - the uprights will be stuck in holes in the gunwale, in line with the oarbenches. 

 

And held in place by hand, to line up with the oarbench and the thole:

20200326_191748.thumb.jpg.4308cbf3edabcffc313a3a6907cd0698.jpg 20200326_191907.thumb.jpg.3313466b50dd199dc31687c9f83ad4cc.jpg 20200326_191914.thumb.jpg.15da88c8d8dbc85a24334e61effaccf9.jpg

Looks like it'll work - just enough room between the shields for the oars to move unhindered. So I'm happy to go ahead with this arrangement on the ship itself.

 

Steven

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I've made all the uprights for the pavesade: 

20200327_215547.thumb.jpg.d3d8cc18dc147d2f28bea845a0e61d0a.jpg

Drilling holes in the port gunwale to take the uprights (using a brass pin about 0.5mm diameter as the drill-bit).

20200327_212832.thumb.jpg.684781b2f2565ca489b24c0967b7379b.jpg 20200327_212757.thumb.jpg.c2543e238f733181e984ae8cfd834bd3.jpg 

First upright in place:

 

20200327_213005.thumb.jpg.4c443734ae996c52dbcb38ad9453c0d6.jpg 20200327_213015.thumb.jpg.3d11eb0b4887c7383b6eff5c5b7f2566.jpg

And all done on the port side:

20200327_215515.thumb.jpg.ef30b73cfa750ce1626f698a8958e54c.jpg 20200327_215521.thumb.jpg.05eae04cb07836fc4985bc5fb17cc6d9.jpg

And adding the railing. First section:

20200328_104252.thumb.jpg.6fe722815be233a7d12a9a9c498e5863.jpg  20200328_130225.thumb.jpg.d896ca5e61d839f06ff0b06572957cd3.jpg Second section -joined to the first with a scarph joint.20200328_132122.thumb.jpg.b56af762821438c8e180bec519200857.jpg 20200328_161014.thumb.jpg.7ebe83d61784878f3cea575059f90eb4.jpg

More to come on this.

 

Now I'm working on the arms for the upper oarsmen. I've been dreading this - difficult to get exactly right.

 

I worked up a couple of arms in plasticiene, then using that as a guide I cut out some very rough and oversize arms from pear wood. Shaved one down at the shoulder-end until it fitted to the body,then stuck it in place with a wooden peg joining the arm to the body. Sorry, I didn't take photos at this stage.

 

Then started carving the arm till it fitted, holding the oar handle with the oar in place. 

 

20200328_161034.thumb.jpg.aa6bdec72a847b070b489fd39e70a3a6.jpg  20200328_161057.thumb.jpg.c559287460e52f380db5e8cf9b83f9ef.jpg 

Not a perfect job - I cut too much off the hand and the shoulder is too wide (unless he's Superman). I can't do anything about the shoulder without trimming off the wooden pin that holds the arm to the body, and the hand will have to be re-done as part of a new arm. But that was to be expected - this was the test piece, and will serve as a model to make the others from.

20200328_161448.thumb.jpg.c9c8635da04aa7ae43fd008533a4238c.jpg 20200328_161359.thumb.jpg.0d4023d7c0bbbf23eb23d6b3223e4f47.jpg

 

Steven

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Steven,

 

Everytime I log onto your build I'm always impressed - I also read the written contributions from fellow historians (I'm not haha) but the learning is much fun as well

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