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Oseberg Viking Ship by Jason Builder - Billing Boats - 1:25

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Hello Fellow Model Ship Builders!


I am excited to be embarking on the construction of a model of the Oseberg Viking Ship!   This ship was a ceremonial burial ship built around 800-834 AD and was excavated in Oseberg , Norway in 1904-1905.  My great grand parents came from Sweden and my wife has significant Norwegian heritage, so with our bit of connection to Scandinavia, I thought this would be a fun model to build.....I also love the lines on these fast-looking Viking boats.  I saw the actual Oseberg as a young teenager in the '80s in the museum in Norway, post cards (and entry ticket) from my scrapbook are posted below.  I'm going to take my time, and as always I am not the fastest builder due to work and family commitments, but here goes!

 Wikipedia page on the Oseberg:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oseberg_Ship







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Hei folk som liker å bygge modellskip!


Tonight , I got started building the ship.  I lightly wrote the part# on many of the pieces first using a pencil.  Then, I laid out the keel and glued up what I would call the keel-doublers, which are the reinforcing and thickness-adding pieces added to the both sides of the keel to build it up.  I am using CA for gluing wood together.










Here is the keel with the doubling strips on both sides.  A strip of hardwood is used for the long piece in the middle.  The curved doublers are from the laser cut hardwood sheets:



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The Oseberg has been on my with list for some time now.   Someday I would like to take it on.   It may be awhile though as my current project is the Chaperon (Steamship) and that will take me awhile.  However I am anxious to view your build.   Hope you have fun with it



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God kveld alle sammen,


Permit me a small soap-box train of thought.   I seek to minimize exposed plywood edges in my model,  I also do seek to have reasonably accurately spaced bulkheads.  The model from Billing Boats (Denmark) includes various plywood and plastic parts.  I will be customizing my model, but I believe  that a modeler could build the stock boat from the kit and wind up with an absolutely beautiful and admirable model.  Kit manufacturers need to balance cost and time-to-build, and expectations of builders, and this would be a tough balance to strike.  I am very thankful for the work done by the Billing folks; what a great model.  I will use the pre-cut planks which will be fantastic, and the nice decorative burned scrollwork in the kit, and of course the plans are so nice and essential and hard earned by the designers.  Buying the kit provides me with perfect laser cut wooden templates with which to make solid wood parts.  Thanks Billing Boats designers!!  This said, I will be recreating many plywood and plastic parts with solid wood, and I will be adding the visible parts of bulkheads that are missing from the kit plans.  I utilized the plywood keel for stability and I will use the plywood parts in below-decks spots.  Visible parts will mostly be recreated with solid wood parts, as will be seen in the build log as I progress.  I am not a perfectionist so for example I may use the plywood shields from the kit, because I think they look cool, and also I do not yet know if I will place metal nails along all the hull planks as Von Kassa and Jack P did (their end results were truly amazing!).  OK, enough writing, I will get to the fun part....pictures.


I contemplated using the plywood bulkheads.  They are made from very high quality plywood and are well-cut.  I will not be staining my ship as dark as the ship looks in the museum in Norway, I will be shooting for a caramel colored lighter finish.  I tested a stain similar to what I will use on the end-grain of the plywood bulkhead to see how visible the plys would be, and unfortunately I thought the plys were to visible so I need another solution:


Previous builders whose build logs I have read have done masterful work with veneering the exposed plywood edges.  I decided to make solid wood bulkheads instead of veneering the plywood ones from the kit for 2 reasons:  1. I'm not sure my veneering skills are good enough and I think I would get glue everywhere.  2. I think the time to cut solid wood bulkheads that need no veneering is less than the veneering.  I love looking at all the ideas and outcomes.....we'll see if mine turn out!


The down side is that perhaps my solid-wood bulkheads will expand and contract and be less stable than the plywood bulkheads?  Time will tell.   I traced out all the bulk heads onto solid clear basswood and cut them out.  I looked for Obeche hardwood for the bulkheads, which is the wood that came with the kit for planks etc...  But Obeche is not readily available in the USA.  I found a source in the UK.  Basswood looked similar in color to me, though visibly different grain, and basswood is readily available here, so that is what I will use for my solid wood parts.  I got sheets of 1/4" basswood and planed then sanded them to 4mm exact thickness.


Above are the bulkheads and other parts traced out onto my 4mm basswood sheet.  I cut these on my Dremel scrollsaw.  I traced these with a regularly sharpened pencil and when I cut them out I cut them to exactly remove the pencil line  but not more.  I checked vs the templates and am happy with the accuracy.  I am keeping all original plywood templates!


I used an extremely flat and level 3/4" x 5.5" x 36" piece of poplar for a base for the hull-building jig.  I used my 3foot steel straight edge to lay out the location and width of the keel on the base, along with the location of the vertical supports.  This is a big ship model....about 3' long.



and I put little felt feet on the bottom of the jig for a nice smooth steady rest.


Here are the 4mm thick basswood bulkheads and a couple other little pieces I made tonight.  All there were traced from the 4mm thick plywood laser cut kit pieces.  1 night job including gluing up the jig-base.





Edited by Jason Builder
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Short time to work tonight, but I did get the rest of the cleats cut out of solid basswood and also the cradles for the oars.  At this point , I have all the 4mm ply wood pieces that could have had exposed ply wood edges, cut out of 4mm basswood.  Next I will glue up the bulkheads to the keel.


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Wonderful model Ed!  I hope mine turns out as well as all these build logs and photos I'm seeing.  It is indeed a fun model to build so far, and I even like the way the frame looks at this point in the build.   Now I need to chamfer the bulkheads.   I did get a bit more work done this evening; I built the frame that supports the inverted hull for planking.






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  • 2 weeks later...

Bonsoir Mes Amis,


Not much work on the 'ole ship lately but here's an update!  This continues to be a very enjoyable project.


Before planking I marked plank locations (measured from the print and marked on both sides of the keel stem & stern) on the keel and also chamfered the bulkheads.  I also feathered in the transition from the plank-feel doublers to the curved plywood ones:






Then I used a hopefully-just-right-sized, and properly located, drops of gel CA glue to glue down the planks.  I will stain the hull planks and any glue on the outside of the planks will screw up the finish.  The first planks did not have any ooze-out of glue, which is good.  The plank end-to-end butt joints will be symmetrical looking at the hull from the bottom.  


The plank-joints wind up in open air, not on a bulk head, so I am gluing on a backer-plank behind each butt-joint:




Bon Soiree!




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Hello Everyone,


I am planking away, slowly.  Planking this model is not difficult or time consuming, as the laser cuts planks fit very well, but I have had very limited time, so when I get a chance to plank, I plank one complete row of planking on both sides on the same night.  This is to attempt to prevent warping of the framework while planking.  So tonight, for example I glued on the third row of planking on both sides.  Very fun model. 







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  • 2 weeks later...

Happy Monday Everyone!


Haven't posted in a while, but I am still alive and kickin and making progress as limited time allows.  Planking continues and now that I am 4 planks away from completing the lower planking section, I marked out the locations of the last 4 planks to ensure good spacing.  I have been overlapping the planks by about 3/32" so far.




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Gosh I do like the weekend!


Nice cold morning here in Wisconsin.  Bottom of the hull is planked.  Now I will go back over the planks and glue and clamp the few areas were there was not glue between the planks, this will be a quick easy job just to make sure the planks are tight together along their whole lengths.  Then I will attach the remaining planks to the sides of the hull.





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Update from today:


Here is the 1.8mmx3mm filler piece glued in place:



And here it is, pictured from the inside of the hull:


Once glued in place, I carved/shaped the filler piece to fit the bulkheads, adjacent pieces, and overall hull shape:V39.jpg.87fcaffbb1feac2f0d47cef876c01ed5.jpg


1st shear plank glued in place:



After gluing the first side plank row in place, I noticed a gap in the cutout of some of the bulk heads; I filled this with wooden filler pieces:




And after filling with filler pieces made of basswood:


Final Top side plank being glued in place:




Next I will trim off the excess/tops of the bulkheads.   All going well so far.






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Thank you for the encouraging words Killckthere and John!


With planking done, I have cut out and fit the little stub bulkheads and glued them in place in the incorrectly large spaces between bulkheads in the kit.  See photos below.  I also cut solid filler pieces for the mast-step and glued those in place.    I started building the mast partners; I will build the kit plywood version of the partners, and use it as a pattern to build a solid wood piece.


Cutting bulkhead stub pieces:



Glueing mini-bulkheads in place



Here she is with all the little stub-bulkheads glued in place.   Now after planking, it will look like the ship has correct bulkhead spacing throughout.  The kit does not come with these extra little bulkhead stubs.




Here is the mast partners, which I am building up from kit pieces, and next I will fashion a solid basswood one:







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Greetings from Wisconsin!


I have completed installation of the plank support strips on either side of all the bulkheads.   I have more bulkheads that the standard kit, so I ran out of the little strip material and used small basswood strips after the kit material ran out.


  • Next, I will build up the tops of the bulkheads with wooden strips so that the tops of the bulkheads are flush with the tops of the planks; see photos below.  This is a deviation from the kit, but is more accurate vs the original.  The Oseberg ship has small planks that run from bulkhead to bulkhead and which are staggered in lengthwise alignment with the planks between the next bulkhead....ie the mini planks are not all in one big aligned row down the deck of the ship.   


Deck of the Oseberg can be seen below.  Also, I note the shape of the bulkheads above the deck, I will carve mine to be more similar to this.



And here, a replica viking ship showing the staggered small planks, the top of which are flush with the tops of the bulkhead:



  • Also, sidenote, from looking at sketches and photo's it seems the Oseberg was not built with solid bulkheads but with thwarts that would run from starboard to port that supported the deck.   I think this would have been lighter and allowed for more storage space and storage of longer objects.   Various viking ship cross sections can be seen below. I still need to build the arched "bulkhead/thwart" that partners.  



photo of Oseberg Bulkhead assembly:


Edited by Jason Builder
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Hello Again!....two updates in one day:


I bought a bunch of 1/16" solid basswood sheets to finish the bulkheads with, and to make the planks from.   I am now adding a 1/6" strip to the tops of the bulkheads.  As I go I am also carving down the bulkheads so that they taper to a point at their tops.  The photo below shows the strips that will be the exposed tops of the bulkheads, and also what the carved tops of the bulkheads look like vs the uncarved ones.


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God kväll,


This evening I have worked on the mast step and partners.  I built the kit version from plywood and used it as a template to make a solid basswood version.  I also built a solid one piece vertical mast step/support belowdecks.  Here are the steps I took this evening, and also the handcarved current status of the parts.  I will sand these prior to finishing.  I also include a photo of the Oseberg mast support itself.




















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  Ahoy Jason !   'Love the way you are making the mast step ... makes sense that there is a removable piece to lock the mast into vertical after raising it from the back.  The locking plug would not get stressed as they sailed with the wind (at most a nearly broad reach) so the mast was pushed against the solid part of the base piece.


  'Always thought the rise in the middle thwart (seen in a photo of the ship in situ) going towards the mast step looked odd, since it made an upward  'bulge' across the deck ... and my presumption was that settling of the ship under the immense weight of burial earth caused most of this deformation - with the solidity of the mast step more resistive to downward deformation.  I've rowed and sailed on a reproduction Viking boat (having thwarts but no deck - it did have footlings in the bilge to protect the strakes below), and the crew moved fore and aft as needed during voyages.  Any cross-wise bulge amidships on a decked vessel would be an inconvenience, and rowers on a decked craft would likely sit on sea chests or the equivalent.  Thus a fore-and-aft bulge (deck deadrise?) amidships would make seated rowing in that area very difficult.


  When I get around to my stashed Billing Oseberg, the plan is to make the deck flat fore-and-aft.  You provide fresh ideas on the work done thus far on your fine build.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Planking Begins!!


Looking at the photo's of the Oseberg's deck, I believe they feature random width planks.  One can also see the orientation of the planks.   I am planking my planks cut by hand to random widths, with a razor, from 1/16" thick sheets of Basswood.



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