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

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Today a call was made from the boat club where we have the reconstruction. "Your boat is sitting on the bottom!" 😟


I went out after lunch, and there she was:


This is not the first time this happened. In the spring, before the wood has swollen the cracks shut, there is always leakage. Today the pumps had both stopped; one was clogged with sawdust from the ship builders, and one had fallen so that the switch deactivated it. A quick fix and when the pumps stared she started to rise from the bottom.


In the smaller shipyard I have continued with preparing the rigging.


In the find there are four pairs of holes below the stringer on the upmost plank. These has been interpreted as fastening for the shrouds, and is the basis on which the rig has been reconstructed. The rig reconstruction was made by experts from the viking ship museum in Roskilde Denmark, and the reconstruction report does not have so much details about sources etc. for it. Through each pair of holes there is a loop of rope.


From this loop the shrouds are attached either using an L-shaped "shroud needle" (direct translation of the Swedish word) or a pin, see below.


The foremost and aft shroud line goes through blocks so that it is easier to adjust the tension. This is the aspect of the rig reconstruction that I would like to have had the sources and motivations for. In practice, when the tension needs to be adjusted, you will change all four lines, not just the fore and aft one.


I have started with the "shroud needles" and some blocks.





Edited by bolin
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21 hours ago, Mark Pearse said:

it must make some interesting moments for the helmsman when making a sharp turn.

😁 it sure does. You need to lean as far out as you can. Mostly, sharp turns are needed in calm seas and when rowing, so risks are low.

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Before I continue with the rigging I need to mount the model on its final base. After considering different options I have bought material for a case with wooden frame and acrylic glass panes.


As a bit of practice I made a drawing in a free CAD program (QCAD). I have limited experience with similar programs, but felt that this one was easy to use. At least on the basic level of drawing a box. I could of course have used pen and paper for this, but I have some future projects planned where I think that a CAD program will be useful. So I took the opportunity to practice.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks @vaddoc!


My best guess as to why the sides are so low is that it gives the rowers better angle towards the water for the oars. I don't think that cargo handling was a major concern. The hull shape is so narrow that cargo transport was probably not the reason for building the original. It is more likely that it had some patrol or defense role.


The building has been paused while I have built a case. Finally it is ready!


My first idea was to stain the wood to give it a aged look. But then I thought that the model, with its dark brown color, would stand out more against a slightly off-white backdrop.





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... and with the case I can mount the model on its final stand and start rigging it. Most of the details for the rigging was already ready, so it was not so many hours work. (This rig is not very complicated 😀)


Some of the lines need to be tightened a bit, but otherwise I'm happy with the result.



In the end I decided to do the shrouds in the same way as on the reconstruction. It uses a combination of "shroud needles" and blocks for adjusting the tension.



The anchor is made from wood and paper and is placed in the aft. This is from the practice that we follow on the reconstruction. Anchoring is always done with the stem towards a steep cliff with the anchor some boat lengths straight out. So the anchor is handled from the aft deck.



The next step will be sail and the running rigging.





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I'm working on the sail. I have decided to try making it of thin paper that is painted with acrylic for a strength and color.


I have tried several different papers, with different results. From left to right in the picture below: Pattern making paper for sewing (I have a life time supply), silk span, rice paper.



Of these the pattern making paper looked best. The silk span wrinkled to easily, and the rice paper was to easy to damage.


I'm looking for a worn look on the sail, similar to this.


And this is so far as I have come.



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Very nice work,


Re: Paper sails.

 Two years ago I completed a scratch built Royal Navy Longboat with rigged silkspan sails and rice paper flags.  As you say, both of these are delicate easily damaged materials.  I made a simple “picture frame” and taped the paper or silkspan to it.  I then lightly sprayed it with water and it dried drum tight.  It could then be sprayed with thinned acrylic paint.  The sails and flags were cut from the prepainted material.


I am currently using paper to simulate plating on a steel hulled ship.  Before cutting the plates I have been spraying the paper with shellac from a spray can.  It makes the paper much more durable and doesn’t seem to have any effect on subsequent painting.  There are a couple of areas where the plating curves in two directions, like a sail.  I found that I can wet the untreated paper and form it over the curved area of the hull.  When dry, I then spray it with shellac.



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By this post I declare the model of the reconstruction Helga Holm of the ship 5 in the archeological excavations at the Helgeands islet finished.


It has been a very enjoyable, albeit at time tedious, journey. And I'm quite happy with the result.







Thank you everyone who has followed, commented and supported with advice and encouragement. You have been a great help.

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This is the happiest and the saddest parta of the hobby…….


the happiest…. Because the satisfaction of a really well executed job!!! And is finished


the saddest….. because is like at the end you are feeling like empty. Is like…..NOW WHAT?  after you have done a big effort and a hard job is nothing els to do 


CONGRATS BOLIN. Magnificent job!!!

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Thank you all for the kind words.


I think that what I mostly feel now is satisfaction. Satisfaction that the model turned out the way it did and that I was able to complete it. I will now finish my Sloop from Roslagen. That one I started before this, with the more or less explicit intent to use it as practice for clinker hull and scratch building. I think it was a necessary step in practicing my skills to be able to complete this, which was the one I wanted to build.

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  • mtaylor changed the title to Medieval long-ship by bolin - 1:30 - based on reconstruction Helga Holm - Finished
22 hours ago, Cpt_Haddock said:

I also need to make a show case - what type of glass (thickness) did you end up with?

I used acrylic glass (plexiglass) 3mm thick. I used ordinary hand tools to cut it: a Japanese type saw and a plane to smooth the edges afterwards. 

The frame was made from 10 by 10 mm ribs, and the slots for the panes where cut using a hand held router.

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