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Medieval long-ship by bolin - 1:30 - based on reconstruction Helga Holm - Finished

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The riveting is now mostly complete on one side. I have built an inverted hedgehog 😀



Now I will continue with adding the washers. I ended with selecting black card stock (120g/m2) for these. They are cut as 1x1 mm squares and I use a metal pin to push a 0.5 mm hole. The rivets are about 0.3 mm so its not to hard to get the washers in place. I will put a drop of dilute glue under to fix them and then cut away the pin.


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  • 4 weeks later...

I have taken a bit of a break from this model as I found more interest in continuing with my other build, the Sloop from Roslagen. I also was a bit tired of rivets after I had made all of them. Adding the washers is even more tedious, and requires more focus when threading the tiny holes over the pins.


Anyhow, a bit of progress has been made.



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I have had a bit of flow the last couple of days, and have almost finished with the rivets on one side. I have found a method that is somewhat efficient.


First I cut about 1 mm wide strips of black card stock. From the strips I cut small square washers. I use a pin to punch a 0.5 mm wide hole in the middle of the squares, and push the pin through a hole in a wood strip to widen the hole in the washer.


The washers are threaded over the rivet pins and a drop of diluted PVA glue is put on the pin before i press the washer flush with the plank.



In between the riveting I have started with the oars. I'm still experimenting a bit with the most efficient way to make all 16. I think I will end up proceeding with the way I have started, using my new whittling and cutting knifes. Regarding the form of the oars, especially the oar blades I don't have any definite sources. I have searched around a bit, and have opted for something similar to what the viking ship museum in Roskilde have used for their reconstructions. The length of the oars is the same as is used on the reconstruction.






Edited by bolin
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Sooner you than me, mate :D.


By the way, some time ago I was wondering what effect the "pointy at both ends" shape of Viking ships would have on whether the oar lengths would need to be different. So I asked someone (Cap'n Atli) who regularly rows a Viking ship reconstruction, and here's his reply. Thought it might be of interest to you in your build:





Edited by Louie da fly
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Thanks Steven,


My own experience from rowing the reconstruction for a fair number of hours is that the length of the oars on different position has no effect. We have a rather wide variety of oars with different length and weight. It's much more important on how close to the side you sit, how strong and tall you are, what technique you have etc.


It's not much left of the riveting now. Soon I can proceed with other, much more fun, stuff.





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9 hours ago, bolin said:

My own experience from rowing the reconstruction for a fair number of hours is that the length of the oars on different position has no effect.



That was pretty much Cap'n Atli's conclusion, as well. That shows the difference between mere theorising (where it seems logical that oar length would be an important factor) and practical experience, which shows that it really doesn't make much difference.



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I might add that the this ship only has oarlocks in the middle of the ship, where the sides are somewhat parallel and the distance to the water is relatively even. The difference in angle to the water for the oars on the different position is in practice not that big. On another ship the situation might be different. I'm not sure that my experience can be generalized, but Cap'n Atli's experience seem to support it.


In the build I have completed the majority of the riveting. Only a few hard to reach ones in the narrow parts of the fore and aft remains. I have cut the pins close to the washers with scissors. This leaves a small peg sticking up. To flatten it (and to mimic a real rivet) I melted the peg with a soldering iron and flattened it using flat steel rod (I think it's called a mandrel in English).




With all the rivets done I have started with installing the frames. First I glue them, then I will drill holes and add tree nails. After some thought I think that it is easiest to wait with the stain on the frames until after the tree nails are installed (so that they can get the correct color as well).


To the left some of the last rivets in the fore have just been installed and the washers have just been glued in place.




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Thank you for your kind words.


I look forward to your Sutton Hoo ship @Schrader. After your earlier projects it will certainly be well worth following.


I have glued a few frames, and started to tree nail them. The hull, which is surprisingly stable even without the frame, quickly becomes much more rigid when the frames are fixed at just two points.



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Yes I used the card trick. The frames where prepared before I started with the rivets. Now I actually need to press the hull to fit the frames. When I put on the stain, the hull shape shifted slightly.


On 12/28/2020 at 9:45 PM, bolin said:

Regarding the building I have started sawing out the frames.


To find the shape I use five cards and arrange them to find the angles.



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21 hours ago, Louie da fly said:


What a wonderful idea. I'm not sure if you already know about the Sutton Hoo Ship's Company, who are building a full-sized replica in the UK? https://www.facebook.com/saxonship



Thanks Steven


yes I know the place and even more I am subscribed to their news letter. Jejeje


I am amazed with that ship. In the meantime.... fighting with my Quanzhou

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Hi bolin,


I just went through your whole build, a fascinating subject & you are doing a beautiful job. The builders of this really boat seemed to know exactly how light they could go - the method of frame supports (Post 70) for the upper planks is so delicate & beautiful. 


The very shallow cross sectional shape appears somewhat unlikely & earlier there was some brief discussion on just how seaworthy this craft might have been - however that photo of the heavily loaded Norwegian vessel shows just what similar vessels are capable of. Also, I have come to appreciate how seaworthy a shallow light craft can be.

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Thanks Mark,


Yes the construction certainly has just enough stability, it only weighs about 4500kg. The clinker built hull means that a lot of the strength lies in the shell, the frames only helps to keep the form. When sailing in higher waves you can see and feel how the hull twists through the sea. For a first timer this can be nerve wrecking.


The seaworthiness of the ship was certainly one of the topics that interested the archeologists when the reconstruction was made. In the report that documented the reconstruction it was for example suggested that an extra plank might have been installed outside the oarlocks to prevent waves to reach over the railing when not rowing. I don't think that it was ever tried in practice.



Another topic that is mentioned several times in the report is how much ballast that would be needed. The radical answer is: none. After about two years of sailing with ballast it was concluded that it did not provide any benefit in this ship. Due to the shallow hull the center of mass will not move much when the ship rolls, so the righting momentum is low. A better solution is to use a movable ballast, the crew, to trim the ship when sailing. This is a typical situation when going high into the wind:



Even so, the conclusion after many years of sailing the reconstruction seem to be that, while it has been crossing open sea to Gotland in the middle of the Baltic, and Åland between Sweden and Finland, it is not risk free. This ship was built for sailing close to the coast, in particular on the lake Mälaren and in the Stockholm archipelago.




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Thanks, an interesting photo. That scenery brings many memories to me, I went to the large island of Avenamaa (Åland) by small motor cruiser, as part of a 2 week trip through the Finnish south western archipelago from Helsinki. I later found out that the sailing trading vessels to & from Australia/Europe still operating after WWII were owned by a person or business on that island.


Another fascinating thing was the video earlier in your blog; you can see that the square sail is very adaptable & the shape can be easily tweaked - flattened etc.


When the boat was sailed without ballast, did you find that it rolled more suddenly? Say when a wind gust came along.

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  • mtaylor changed the title to Medieval long-ship by bolin - 1:30 - based on reconstruction Helga Holm - Finished

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