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Egyptian Seagoing Ship “Byblos” by Hellmuht Schrader - 1:32

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I want to start with a new log.  George just finished his project related with an ancient Egyptian Seagoing Ship, dated 2500 years BC.  It brought to me a lot of curiosity.... so I decided to start my own.....so many steps,  documents to read, CAD to build my own plans an so.


Amati has the same model, but it comes with a lot of simplifications, as George already mentioned and from my point of view, with some mistakes....


LET’S START !!!!!!!!

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First we have to know, that there is a lot of literature about the Egyptian ancient ships. I tried to gather an read as much I could. Having in consideration all those that George sent to me, plus others that really brought my attention 
Must of all are regarding/related to “river” boats or even to funerary boats.  But taking in consideration the era - Fifth Dynasty - and some information collected in all these articles, I came to the conclusion that all construction methods are pretty much the same for all those boats, with some differences that make the Seagoing Egyptians ships more resistentes.
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In the book Ships of the Pharaoh, there is chapter dedicated to this kind of ships, where based in some draws found in Sahure king tomb, where we can see a lot of details, and will help us (as they helped George) to build it as much accurately possible



In the log, we will be finding and building as much elements as we can

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We can not start to build this model without talking a little bit about history.



The wood came pretty much from Byblos ( Coast city from Lebanon).  The wood found in those tombs is Cedar from Lebanon, which is a kind of coniferous, and today there are a lot of questions about the transportation method.  Ships, Barges or even towed in the water.  Having in consideration the drying process they have, that was slow, in open space and with natural change of temperature (avoiding damages), did not make sense that the wood came to Egypt floating on the water.



By these times, the hull structure was very heavy.  Planks were sewed with ropes no nails were founded



the idea behind it was.....It looks like the ships were built near the Nile river, deassembled - transported to the read/see and assemble again.


The structure was pretty much based in the planks.  So thick and heavy.  The frames were installed after the hull was completed and they had to be accommodate to the battens ( they were used to help the hull tightness)



The discussion about keel or not keel is another story.  But for this era looks like that the keel was not existed yet.




Note we will going in more detail to the hull once we start to build it

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Let’s see some other hull elements.....not without mentioning that these information has come from



As I mentioned because the era, the hull construction is the same.

Above the frames, a stanchion that support the central girder........




Here is where we come with the ¨keel¨!!!!!..... according with the documentation the ¨first¨kell in these kind of ships were these three girders.....




My nightmare is ¨configuring¨ my mind in order to achieve as much detail as I can  !!!!



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¨Nightmare number one........How the stanchions are fixed to the frames?


Here the answer......book Ships of the Pharaoh



same picture is coming with details about my “second” nightmare......How the frames are fixed to the planks.....


”Nightmare” number three......how the planks are sewed one each other?...... Well.......


We can se some “V” channels (Number 2) in the picture above....those were used to pass through the rope...so....


HOW TO MAKE THEM? If in the scale I am working on the plank width are only 4.2 mm?  (In scale 1:1 are 14 - 17 cm)....... well..... we will see.



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Something we as a modeler have been custom to see, are planks that go from stem to stern....... but here that is not the case. Even though some symmetrical “appearance” is between both sides, look like the forms are completely out of any logic......




In the picture above we can see how the planks are looking like in the Khufu ship. Let’s remember that we are talking about the same era (Fifth Dynasty) so for our model, we will be taking the same idea.

Planks were very thick piece of wood. In this case, the bottom had 8 planks, up to 7 m long and 14-16 cm thick. The sides also 14-16 cm thick but up to 23 m long.

By this time, the ships belonged to the “SHELF-FIRST” tradition. Which meant that the lateral and longitudinal strength resided in the hull. Take a look about the scarfs.....the intention behind was to increase the length of the “joint” between planks increasing the strength of the hull.

Mortice and tennos were used to align the planks




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Let’s work a little bit in the real model.....


In the Ships of the Pharaoh I found a plan/picture related to this model.



I took it, imported the PDF to my Autocad,  scaled  it to 1:32........




Based in this final plan, I went to the “frames” picture I did the same......



Then.... I built a “ship” with false frames and false keel........all puzzle pieces in three dimensions........




Put them apart .......




and here we go.......


with 5 mm MDF I got it!!!!!! The “mold” to start with the real construction.. 17 frames










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After studying, making questions... and thinking how to solve the “nightmare” “V” channels ( to hold the seams). I decided to “copy” some idea that a friend of mine from Spain Vladimir Herrero had when he built his Keops....

Well it sound very simple but.... believe me it is not...... double planking..... the interior is the one that will have “all” the work....V channels (2), battens (8) and frames




The thickness for this scale will be about 4.2 mm. So I took to lumbers 2.1mm thick with double face tape.....to make “identical“ pieces.....

But first.....and after seeing how “strange” forms those planks had.... I made a sketch of it.



Cut the templates (double lumber jointed with double face tape)



Adjusted and separated...




We have two “Identical” twins....!!!!!!


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But...... after taking it to my sight.... I realized that the planks “sketch” was out of scale.... so decided to repeat it ...... this is the new comparing with the old one....





The new one is looking better....So I decided to move forward. Using the same methodology...... this the result...



I made these littler channel in the joints to insert the battens and in the back side I made some other channels to ”hide” the seams at the time we have to install the exterior hull.



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After working with my “second” attempt I realized that:
  1. The choice about using two equal thick planks for the two hulls (interior and exterior) was not the best.....The channels left no wood to work with so the lineal holes drilling was a disaster. In conclusion I‘lol keeP the two hulls but the interior will be in 3.2 mm an the exterior will be in 1.2 mm.
  2. The “forms” I was using for the planks were not accurate according with the documents I found. Even though we need to create as much “lineal” contact between planks to create “more“ resistance and strength, I was working with “curves” and should be with straight lines....









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With the 3.2 mm I was able to work the channels an lineal holes.....





This face is the one that at the end will be hidden....

Finally I was able to put it in the mold to configure the curve and forms...




It is time to start with the laterals...... it will continue

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  • 2 weeks later...

17D8FFB4-D927-4901-A631-2BCA1ACDC35C.thumb.jpeg.1f0a436881f271ed604356a2c8e42c8d.jpegHere I am again.....


After doing mu research and many attempts, I realized the the Egyptians were right 😀😀.  The sides planking with planks 3.2 mm thick was so tough.  So I took the image above and went to “copy” more or less the distribution and..........BINGO!!!!!  They fitted.... But before I needed to have somehow, the way I could fixed the planks without attaching them to the mold.  Let’s remember that the frames were something that were installed after many tasks so the planks needed to “stay” there by themselves.


I built a couple of pieces.....





Longer that it was needed and I glued them to the base an to the mold.  The idea was to glue the planks to these pieces.... Let’s see.....




Geometrically the planks fitted right.  Just one “line” to go and it will be finished.......Just exterior sanding.  Once the other side is finished we will be able to take the mold out and start to work in the holes and channels.  


Really was difficult to keep the planks in its place.  Wood glue,  presses and waits 20-24 hours per plank...🙄

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here I am......

After taking the “mold” out, the result wasn’t the one I expected..... the hull lost its forms and it looked like a “bath tube”😟. So I took my time to analyze how to solve it.



In this picture.....




In the magnifiers, there is a rope called “HOGGING-TRUSS” and as its name says..... is for keeping the hull bottom curvature. Once it is installed, I guess, I’ll be able to bring the hull to its real form. Also I learned that the frames had their function too....




In the way they are tide to the planks, they should work in the other way around......


In the mid term I decided to use the false frames to keep the hull forms....




This also taught me that the planking needed to be reinforced since to many Stresses in the process.....

Next chapter we will see how this little issue was solved.........


Let’s remember that these ships had in their planks had tenon joints to keep the planks in site....




Bt in this scale they would be just decorative......

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