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KrisWood

Oseberg Ship by KrisWood - 1:25 - Wood

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Hi everyone!

 

It's been a while since I posted in these forums, but I'm starting my first wooden ship model so I figured it was time to start a build log thread. :)

 

For this first project, I decided to build the Oseberg Viking longship. So far the best plans I've found are here: 

 

http://oseberg.narod.ru/pages/Oseberg_Schiff_Spiegazioni_Pag_01.htm

 

If anyone knows of any other publicly accessible plans that are better, I'd love to hear about them. This appears to be from a kit model but I think that might make it easier for a first build.

 

I'll post pics as I make progress.

Edited by KrisWood
Changed build scale and which plans I'm using

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As this is my first time building a wooden model, I decided to start with balsa wood because it's super cheap and readily available from the hobby shops in my area. If I mess anything up I don't lose anything but my time, this way, but I'm not sure it'll be sufficiently strong enough to hold the model together.

 

I also bought some basswood that I think I'll use for the keel and frames, since it seems stronger.

 

Are these woods sufficient for a first time model builder, or is it necessary to use more expensive/harder to find woods to get a model to work at all?

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The longest piece of basswood I could find in my neighborhood is a little over half the length of my keel, which would put the scarph joint right underneath the mast step (I think that’s the right term?) on the left side of page 48 of the plans in my first post. Would that weaken the entire keel?

 Thanks!

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3 hours ago, KrisWood said:

The longest piece of basswood I could find in my neighborhood is a little over half the length of my keel, which would put the scarph joint right underneath the mast step (I think that’s the right term?) on the left side of page 48 of the plans in my first post. Would that weaken the entire keel?

 Thanks!

In theory, yes. In fact, most designed vessels specifications expressly prohibit any scarfs below the mast steps. That's not really critical in static models, though, but you won't want to include such a scarf if you were going to let it show in the finished model. Today's adhesives, properly  used, should create a scarf bond as strong as the  grown wood. That said, it appears the keel doesn't require any particularly large piece of wood. I'd certainly urge you to simply obtain a length of similar wood rather than going to the trouble of scarfing one.

 

As you mention this is your first time building a wooden ship model, and as it appears this isn't a kit with precut planks, I feel you should be keenly aware that the lapstrake planking, which is an essential characteristic of this type of vessel, makes planking the model an exacting task. This is particularly so because it is an open boat, so both sides of the planks will be visible. Finally, the shape of the hull and the run of the planking, especially at the ends, should be expected to be about the most difficult planking job anyone could imagine. You may want to start with an easier model to build and then move on to this one, which is one of the most challenging of all.

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Hi Bob, thanks for the feedback!

 

I'm ok with a challenge. I had a family tragedy recently and this model is a bit of a symbolic Viking funeral for me. Messing things up and redoing them is just part of the meditation of the journey for this project.

 

That said, I could use some pointers on the basics.

 

Before I read your comment, I attempted cutting out two halves of the keel to scarf together. After completely butchering my largest piece of basswood with a razor saw, a generic Dremel, and an X-acto knife, I read what you'd written and decided to give it a go at trying it in balsa while waiting until I can order larger pieces of basswood.

 

Now I've got the keel cut out (chiseled with X-acto really) in profile, but the plans show it being curved on both sides when viewed from above. How is this curve achieved with hand tools? I can't find any way to simply glue the printed plan to the top of my keel without distorting the curve.

 

Also, what's the best way to cut out the keel by hand? I read a few tutorials but the best I could figure out was the razor saw which just got stuck every time the back of the blade got into the cut. I've got a handheld coping saw that needs a blade so I'll be running down to the hardware store for that tomorrow to try it instead.

 

Thanks again!

Kris

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30 minutes ago, KrisWood said:

Before I read your comment, I attempted cutting out two halves of the keel to scarf together. After completely butchering my largest piece of basswood with a razor saw, a generic Dremel, and an X-acto knife, I read what you'd written and decided to give it a go at trying it in balsa while waiting until I can order larger pieces of basswood.

Don't waste your time with balsa. It is too soft and your keel is the "backbone" of the entire model. Balsa is for model airplanes, due to its light weight. It is not suitable for ship modeling. I could go on explaining the many reasons for this, but you're just going to have to trust me on this one.

 

35 minutes ago, KrisWood said:

Now I've got the keel cut out (chiseled with X-acto really) in profile, but the plans show it being curved on both sides when viewed from above. How is this curve achieved with hand tools? I can't find any way to simply glue the printed plan to the top of my keel without distorting the curve.

Pictures help a lot with questions like this one. It sounds like the keel is somewhat trapezoidal in cross-section, which would be expected. There are many ways to shape it. Lay out a centerline all along the length of the top and bottom of the piece. Then lay out the shape of the bottom, turn it over and lay out the shape of the top. Then shape it to the top and bottom outer lines. Of course, you will also have to lay out your rabet and carve that into the top edges of the keel. This should be shown on the plans. You should also give some thought to a building jig. These Nordic vessels, I believe, were built "planks first" on a few temporary molds and the frames and floors were installed after the planking had defined the vessel's shape. You will have to build on some sort of a jig or forms, or you will have nothing to hang your planks on.

 

41 minutes ago, KrisWood said:

Also, what's the best way to cut out the keel by hand? I read a few tutorials but the best I could figure out was the razor saw which just got stuck every time the back of the blade got into the cut. I've got a handheld coping saw that needs a blade so I'll be running down to the hardware store for that tomorrow to try it instead.

A jig saw could shape the larger dimension, and the rest of the keel could be developed by planing the sides thereafter. Obviously, you've discovered the limitations of a razor saw, which is generally useful only for crosscutting straight stock. A coping saw or the like is required for curved cuts.

 

I don't want to hurt your feelings, but in the interests of honesty, it's apparent from your questions that you lack the basic tool skills and knowledge of boat building to get anywhere at the rate you are going. These longships were very sophisticated in their design and execution. The plans you have, assuming you speak the language in which they are written, are not suitable for a beginner. They are not easily built hulls. There are many longboat kits commercially available. You should use the search engine in the forum to read all the build logs of them, read all the kit reviews of them, and decide which best suits your needs and skill level. There's nothing worse than biting off more that you can chew. Start with the "baby steps" and build upon what you learn. You'll master the skills quickly enough. It's not a subject that anyone at your skill level should attempt to scratch-build. Don't feel bad about that. Just accept that the learning curve is greater than you first imagined. There's no shame in that!

 

 

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Tool wise, my work horses are an old coping saw and a scalpel with a #11 blade.  An X-Acto or an Excel brand equivalent are good too.  The Excel blades are a little sharper and last a little longer than the X-Acto.

 

I would discourage the use of balsa because of the coarse grain and the lack of strength.

 

I use basswood a lot because it works easy, is a little stronger and looks good once painted.  I also use card a lot because it is easy to work and looks good when painted.

 

As far as tool familiarity goes, I learned woodworking by building Model Shipways Sultana.  I strongly recommend it.  You scratch build a lot of it.

 

Otherwise, I would recommend taking your time and just remember to make small cuts while shaping pieces.


There are many tutorials on basic carving techniques on this site and around the web.

 

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@Bob Cleek, I've created several historically accurate videogame models and have a good understanding of plans and historical ship components. What I lack of understanding of basic woodworking techniques. I won't be using balsa on the actual model. I've just got a stockpile of balsa in the correct sizes, but no supply of basswood, so I'm using the balsa to learn to use the tools until I can get hold of the basswood.

 

@GrandpaPhil, thank you for your reply, that's very encouraging! I haven't used a coping saw since learning piecework in metalsmithing class in college decades ago, but I think I'll pick up that part quickly enough. I definitely want to start with the Oseberg ship because as a viking burial it fits well as a symbol for this time in my life. I know it'll be harder and take more time than the Sultana, but that's part of what I like about this project. If it wasn't mind numbingly difficult, it wouldn't be the symbol that it is.
 

My remaining question is, how does one transfer both the top view and side view curves to the same piece of wood, when the paper won't fit on the wood once one of the curves has been cut? The best I can figure is to use a micrometer to measure the distance of the curve from the centerline at each frame, then mark it on the wood in pencil and draw in the curve between the dots by hand.

 

 

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1 hour ago, KrisWood said:

The best I can figure is to use a micrometer to measure the distance of the curve from the centerline at each frame, then mark it on the wood in pencil and draw in the curve between the dots by hand.

Yes, but once you have points of the curve laid out at each "station" in the lines drawing (these are not necessarily the positions of the frames,) use a "batten" (a flexible piece of wood or metal strip) bent so it curves, contacting each point, to draw your curved line on the wood.

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The batten idea is brilliant! 
 

That said, what tool would you use to cut the curves of the top view along the extremely narrow piece of wood of the keel? Is it still a coping saw, or is it better to sand or file it into shape?

Edited by KrisWood

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The other day when I was looking for better plans I found a book on the Oseberg ship. I didn't look too closely at it at the time, but my wife asked me what I want for Christmas today and I thought of the book.

 

Does anyone know of a relatively recent book on the Oseberg ship, the Saga Oseberg replica, or any good books on Viking ship construction that may or may not contain line reconstructed plans of the Oseberg ship? Thanks!

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Several thoughts:

 

I agree that making a good Viking ship model is a challenge, even for an experienced modeler.

 

A tricky part of any lapstrake construction is the point where the planking ties into the stem and sternpost.  The Vikings made things easier for themselves by erecting large carved stems and sterns with the laps carved into them.  The planking fits on to these posts and matches up to the carved laps.  A good book on Viking ship construction should show this feature.

 

Most lapstrake boats feature lightweight steam bent ribs sprung into the hull after it is planked.  Viking ships are different as their ribs are much larger and notched to fit the planking laps on the inside of the hull.  

 

A daunting for some and enjoyable for others part of scratch building is planning the method to be used to build the model.  When you buy a kit this has supposedly been done for you.  I would suggest that you attach a number of bulkheads properly spaced as well as your carved stem and sternpost upside down to a flat building board.  You then “line off” the planks using a batten as described above.  The location of each plank where it crosses the bulkhead should be marked.  The plank shapes are derived by marking the points on the bulkhead on transparent material bent around the bulkheads.

 

After you have planked the hull it is removed from the building board and permanent frames carved to fit the laps are inserted.  The bulkheads are not permanent.

 

Good luck!

 

Roger

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Hi all!

 

I’ve been doing more research and acquiring materials and I’m almost ready to start cutting again. First though, I have some questions...

 

First, can anyone recommend a good online tutorial on drawing The various parts of the ship based on lines plans?
 

I found the lines of the 1:1 reconstruction, Saga Oseberg, in the PDF in this article:

 

https://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/professions/boatyard/building-projects/the-oseberg-ship/


It turns out the previous 1:1 reconstruction, Dronningen, sunk shortly into its first test because it was based on the incorrect lines from the museum display of the ship the way it was assembled in 1907, the same configuration used for my kit plans. Since I need my model to float, this is a problem.
 

I contacted the author and she said the "original" plans are available from the Viking Ship Museum, and they are detailed but not her reconstruction.
 

I found the plans in the museum's database and they're very highly detailed indeed. The actual ship is in fact much simpler in construction than the kit plans I was working from.
 

What I'd like to do now is redraw the frames based on the lines from the reconstruction in the link, using the original plans to determine how each part should be shaped and using the lines to determine only the dimensions.
 

Please don't naysay me on this. I'm an engineer by trade and have no problem understanding the plans or physically drawing the parts. The part I need is how to draw the parts in a way that can be cut out of three dimensional pieces of wood.

 

The next question is, how would you cut out the T shaped cross section of the keel?

 

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12384245&type=jpeg

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Oh also, is there a significant difference in difficulty between building a larger model or a smaller one? Since I'm now planning on drawing my own plans, I'm not stuck with 1:48 scale. I think I'd like it to be a little larger than the kit plan I was working from, but not sure how physically difficult it gets with size or whether a larger size might actually be easier.

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According to the author of the above article on the Oseberg ship, the following are the most accurate plans following the ship's excavation.

 

  • The 1933 drawing of the keel by Fr. Johannessen (the main conservator of the ship at the museum) linked above
  • The in-situ drawings of the boat during the excavation in 1904 (before the pieces shrank and cracked in the museum) by the engineer J.M. Glende:

'Oseberg, Tomb': Scale, section 1:25. Drawing by J. M. Glende:

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12448337&type=jpeg

 

'Oseberg, the ship'. Drawing by J.M.Glande. Dimensions: W: 55 cm, H: 21 cm.

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12417098&type=jpeg

 

'Oseberg, Ship': Various details (with measurements), designed by J.M. Glende

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12384238&type=jpeg

 

'Oseberg, Ship': 'Oseberg drawing no 55'. Scale 1:25. Line drawing by J. M. Glende

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12384237&type=jpeg

 

'Oseberg, The Ship': Scale 1:25. Main drawing, by J. M. Glende

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12384236&type=jpeg

 

'Oseberg, the Ship': Scale 1:25. Final revision. Main drawing, by J. M. Glende

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12384236&type=jpeg

 

There are also dozens of incredibly detailed drawings of various parts of the ship during and after its conservation from 1907 to 1933 by Fr Johannessen. I think my best bet is going to be adjusting the dimensions of the parts shown in Glende's drawings to the dimensions shown in the reconstruction's lines drawings.

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Less accurate drawings by Fr. Johannessen (conservator) during the conservation of the ship after it came out of storage.

 

'Oseberg, the ship - frames etc.': Scale 1:5. Pencil drawing by Frederik Johannessen, July 1932.

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12460548&type=jpeg

 

'Oseberg, the ship - frames etc': The Oseberg ship in 1:5. Pencil drawing by Frederik Johannessen, July 1932.

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12460547&type=jpeg

 

'Oseberg, the ship - frames etc.': Stem in 1:6. Pencil drawing by Frederik Johannessen.

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12460546&type=jpeg


Stem Detail by Fr Johannessen

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12417757&type=jpeg

 

Stern by Fr Johannessen

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12460545&type=jpeg

 

Mastfish & Mast Foot by Frederik Johannessen

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12417396&type=jpeg

 

Description of Frame Timbers by Fr Johannessen

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12417393&type=jpeg

 

Rudder: Fr Johannessen

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=9548485&type=jpeg

 

Stem and Stern Frames:

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=9528239&type=jpeg

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=9527001&type=jpeg

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=9526166&type=jpeg

 

They also have the 1954 plans by K.E. Lundin, which appear to me to be the ones used in the Amati Oseberg kit, and which were used in the 1:1 Dronning replica which sank during its first trial in 1988:

 

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12384243&type=jpeg

http://www.unimus.no/felles/bilder/web_hent_bilde.php?id=12384242&type=jpeg

 

Between all of these and the Saga Oseberg lines, I think I should have enough to work with.

Edited by KrisWood

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If you use the system that I suggested above- plank over a form made from temporary moulds taken from lines drawing stations, remove from form and insert permanent frames, you really don’t have to loft the frames.  You can determine the shapes with cardboard patterns inserted into the hull made by the cut and try method.

 

Roger

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Treenails... easy.  Drill your hole for the treenail.  Then you can fill with wood putty or just dip a toothpick into a bit of glue and put it in the hole.  When the glue dries , clip it at the plank and then sand the hull.  

 

Several ways of doing the T-shaped cross section or rabbets.   If you have a mill, you can mill it.  If not. laminate pieces together. Another way is using a hobby table saw (you may need to "stack" blades) to cut the rabbet.  If you go the saw route, use a fence and push sticks. Keep your fingers away from the blade.

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@mtaylor, I don't have a mill but I do have a generic rotary tool that resembles a Dremel. I had planned on doing the rabbet with an X-acto knife using the curved scalpel blade.

 

@Louie da fly They used both, actually, but I have no good way to fabricate rivet heads on the outside of the hull. The original conservator's plans clearly label wooden trenails in the keel, stem, and stern joints. It'll be more water-tight if I use wood anyway.

 

I made an attempt at cutting the bulkhead templates and a keel template out of my otherwise useless stockpile of balsa last night using the coping saw last night and immediately saw why everyone cautioned against it. The wood was so soft that it just splintered under the blade, and the blade tended to go wherever it wanted, carving chunks out of the lines instead of following them. I tried scoring the wood with the X-acto in hopes that the saw would follow that instead but no luck. It's all basswood for me from here on. I'll try my templates again in cardboard today.

 

Thanks!

Kris

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I once built a Viking ship that was 4 feet long for a simulated Viking funeral. Some of the deceased ashes were placed in the model and then the whole thing was set afire and pushed out into the river. I used 3/4" pine for the keel.1/4" ply for the ribs and what they call end skins for kitchen cabinets for the planking. The end skins are high quality 1/8 inch ply and work very nicely for planking.At the present one can get some very nice 1/8" ply in 4x8 sheets form Home Depot. I have also built a Billings Oseberg ship which was a medium difficulty level. Nice thing about it I didn't have to make a million cannons. Just a lot of shields. Be sure to use the internet to search out detail work. Specially on the shields.

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@reklein Thank you for your reply. It's good to know that I'm not alone. Which ship did you use for your viking funeral? I had planned on using 1/8" basswood for the planks. If that doesn't work out I'll try the end skins.

 

The Graupner plans I started out with on this project are about 2ft long (1:48) but the floor timbers are tiny and difficult for me to work with. I've printed out the lines from the research paper linked above at 1:24 (about 4ft) and 1:36 (about 3ft) but it seems like a huge model at that point, which is daunting in its own way. I'm thinking the 1:36 might be the best mix of less-tiny parts and not-so-huge a model. What do you think of this choice of scale? Maybe I'll go with 1:32 to make it just a little smaller. Maybe I'm overthinking things. I'll make another attempt at the templates tonight, this time in basswood.

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12 hours ago, reklein said:

Be sure to use the internet to search out detail work. Specially on the shields.

The best and most informative site I know of for Viking shields is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shield/shield.html - Chris and Peter are friends of mine from way back when I was a re-enactor. On the other hand, there were no shields found on the Oseberg ship, so if you don't want to add them . . .

 

Kriswood, interesting about the treenails. I didn't know about that.

 

Steven

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