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Trireme "Olympias" by Richard Braithwaite


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I started with a  piece of wire to get an approximate shape that looked about right and then made up an (again approximate) pattern in balsawood. The vertical timber is loose, held in place with the steel square  (set on a piece of balsa sheet resting on the aft platform) to confirm the fit to the first stanchion.

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I'm not sure how the original was made up, but I'm planning to make it rather like a grown frame pair, with overlapping "futtocks" so that the grain follows the curve and gives the fairing piece some strength. I machined a plank 0.8mm by 12mm (max depth for my fine circular saw blade) and set out the sections as shown below (I've drawn around the sections so I can duplicate the arrangement for the starboard fairing):

 

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Edited by Richard Braithwaite
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Completed stern fairing shown alongside the relief carved beside the steps leading to the Acropolis in Athens,  John Coate's interpretation (extract from his drawing No 12) and a picture of the full size reconstruction. John Coates drew his reconstruction from a number of sources (there is surprisingly little, given the impact of the trireme on Athenian civilization, and how well they documented other aspects of their life...) and managed to come up with something that actually worked and also looked (I think) very elegant. Not a trivial task given that the Athenians invested a huge effort in developing these ships over a number of generations...

The geometry of the stern is quite complex, involving a number of curves in 3 dimensions coming together. Precise offsets for these curves are not provided in the design definition that Coates provided (in fact the form of the stern is shown slightly differently in each of his drawings) and so some hands on setting out and fairing is involved. So my model, inevitably, will differ from Coate's drawings (and from the full size reconstruction). The photo of my model is also difficult to compare directly with the drawing due to perspective effects.

 

 

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Edited by Richard Braithwaite
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Starting to plan the first of these projects...

Extract of plan 26 - looks quite involved...

The timber frame is covered with leather on the sides and back and has leather strips for the seat "upholstry"

Would be nice to make from real leather, but not sure if I can shave it down thin enough for 1/24 sale...

 

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Really nice work on this build Richard; sorry for being a bit of a 'looker on' for so long.  I have enjoyed following without making a comment.  I managed to shave some nice 'kid' leather down for use at scale 1:64 so you should be OK if you tried?

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Hi guys, I came across a really unique process of constructing framed hulls. It seems extremely suitable for a smaller scale or miniature trireme model because of its exposed hull in final construction. It allows for the really small and thin internal ribs of a trireme to be made at small scale without the risk of breaking when planked over. The solid carved hull also provides a base for the ribs to be bent around maintaing the grain direction maximising strength. I just think this is really cool to share and might just give a bit of inspiration for anyone thinking of building a minitare olympias or any ship with an exposed hull of the sort with similar construction methods of a larger model. As such, I have my own eyes set on pursuing a miniature olympias model in the future.

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On 10/1/2019 at 11:26 AM, Roger Pellett said:

Unlike modern “high tech” rowing, this appears to be all arms and backs with short strokes

The crew in the video is new so the first order of business is to be synchronized. Form would come later. An eight man crew takes a month or two before proficient and longer to be competitive. (That’s based on my personal experience from the 1980’s.)

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/5/2021 at 9:30 PM, Johnny.D said:

I'm just curious to know Richard, how did you replicate all the posts for the outrigger and top deck supports with their high part count and complex shape.

Unfortunately the shape of the hull changes so that these timbers have to be shaped individually. I used the jig shown in the photo below to ensure that the outer canopy supports would line up with vertically above the outrigger at the correct height...I cant find a photo of the arrangement I used for the outrigger supports, but the issues are very similar...

DSC_0070.thumb.JPG.2143d561e9bd6be2b50d9416db233fd4.JPG

Edited by Richard Braithwaite
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On 10/22/2021 at 1:00 AM, BANYAN said:

Really nice work on this build Richard; sorry for being a bit of a 'looker on' for so long.  I have enjoyed following without making a comment.  I managed to shave some nice 'kid' leather down for use at scale 1:64 so you should be OK if you tried?

 

cheers

 

Pat

Pat

Thanks for the comment. Yes I was thinking that split pigskin lining shaved down might work. It needs to be about 0.25mm thick to fit in the recess in the arms of the chair...

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Hi again Richard, the other trick I have tried was to print a 'skin type' light pattern (which included the nail/tacks on the edges) onto brown paper, and pasted in place with a matt varnish.  if the leather idea doesn't work out, this may also be worth experimenting with.

 

cheers

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN
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I am using holly for constructing the Trierarch's chair. Its a remarkably fine grained hard wood that can be machined rather like a soft metal such as aluminium and I hope to be able to mill scale joints in accordance with the drawing. I have a large amount of holly from an 8 inch diameter tree that I cut down about 30 years ago (!!). I cut the (5 foot) log into 1 inch planks, painted the ends and stacked them to dry out in our garage. As you can see from the picture below they warped a bit while seasoning, which makes it a bit awkward to cut pieces from it, particularly as my circular saw (https://www.byrnesmodelmachines.com/) can only cut a maximum depth of 15mm...so I've been cutting chunks out of it with a handsaw...

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Here are some timbers machined to size from this log ready for final shaping and jointing to make up the various components for the chair. PB012835-small.jpg.9214301e376bf130d7f1fcc319d0da83.jpg

 

Edited by Richard Braithwaite
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Marking out and machining the chair back timber. I've purchased a set of 0.5mm engraving end milling tools which I'm using here to cut the base of the back and accurately cut the sides so that the width of the chair will be correct. As you can see the tool is very slender and delicate, I broke one by being overambitions about the depth of cut (0.2mm cut and a slow steady feed is tops for a hard wood like holly...). The cutting part of the tool is only 5mm long so I had to finish the cuts with a saw (maximum cut shown in the picture), but still a great improvement over me trying to do it freehand...

m also hoping to use the tool for cutting mortices for the various joints as its is the right size

Chair-back-1.thumb.jpg.6bf3511d00e9f7c22964b3d9c764adbc.jpg

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13 hours ago, Richard Braithwaite said:

my circular saw (https://www.byrnesmodelmachines.com/) can only cut a maximum depth of 15mm...

?

That is a surprise. Can I ask what size blade are you using? I ask because I want to know if there is a limitation on the saw that I am not aware of. I have cut 22mm oak on mine, am I possibly exceeding spec?

 

I like what you are doing with this build.

 

Bruce

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6 hours ago, bruce d said:

?

That is a surprise. Can I ask what size blade are you using? I ask because I want to know if there is a limitation on the saw that I am not aware of. I have cut 22mm oak on mine, am I possibly exceeding spec?

 

I like what you are doing with this build.

 

Bruce

I think you may be right. With my 100mm saw blade I can do a deeper cut. So I don't think you will be exceeding the spec if you can make the cut. It wont cope with a 5 foot long 1 inch thick holly plank though, so at some point I shall have to get/borrow a larger saw to cut some usable pieces for model building.

Edited by Richard Braithwaite
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