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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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