Having begun to set up the molds on the backbone last month, we have continued through October to work towards the completion of the backbone of the ship.
Both the forward and aft underloutes (the extensions to the keel which begin the curve up into the stem and the sternpost) have been completed and the scarfs by which they will be joined to the keel have been cut.
Throughout the construction of the Ship volunteers are learning the techniques necessary to build the ship as we work on each component. Thus, the bow underloute was cut from the log using a chainsaw back in the Spring and finished with a combination of axes and chisels.
After looking carefully at the drawings produced by Southampton University and taking into account experience gained in building the 1:5 scale model of the ship, we also took the decision (midway through construction of the bow underloute) that we would deepen the section at the bow to take account of what appears to be a weak section where the ship will ground on the beach when run ashore. This has meant re-profiling the underloute and the adjoining lower section of the stem and re-cutting the bevels where the garboard plank will sit, all of which has added to the time taken to construct this section.
If we find during sea trials that the original section would have had adequate strength then the extra depth inserted can be removed to allow the originally designed profile to be shown and tested.
By contrast, using the experience gained, the stern underloute has been worked from the curved log entirely using axes.
We are now also preparing to join these pieces together with oak trenails. Trenails are little used – if at all – in modern boatbuilding and so we are using the experience of the folk who built the reconstruction of the Nydam ship, “Nydam Tveir” and also experimenting with how best to do this and with which materials.
The “Recording Crew” have begun to write up the build in the form of written documents, drawings, photogrammetry, and laser scans – all of which will contribute to the final publication of our experiences in the final phase of the project.
There have been many visitors to the Longshed this month – both specifically to the Ship, but also to view the various exhibitions in the mezzanine gallery. People seem to be fascinated by the work that is going on and the skills on display.
Once again, many thanks to all our volunteers, in all the different crews, for your dedication and commitment to the project; it wouldn’t be happening without you!