Link of the week

Regia Anglorum – Viking Ship Construction

The fierce warriors who terrorized large areas of Europe during the middle ages are commonly known today as Vikings.  What made them so noteworthy?  Their awesome fighting ability?  The fear they struck into coastal communities?

No, it was their ships.

Viking longships were skillfully built in order to be tough and flexible.  Their shallow drafts allowed them to navigate up rivers, yet their broad beams made them stable enough to cross large areas of the north Atlantic.

This web page covers in detail the processes used to build these amazing craft.  From the log to the final product, you can see each detail of the construction.

One thought on “Link of the week”

  1. Hey Tom,

    One of the reasons that the viking ships, and boats, are so successful and attractive to the eye, is that they never pushed the wood to do something that it wasn’t comfortable doing. By that, I mean that their boats were defined by what we would call a “fair” curve. This characteristic is so inured in our lexicon that a shape enclosed by fair curves is often referred to as, “boat shaped”.

    I remember reading on account of a U.S. boat builder visiting a shop in Norway, who discovered that they had no plans for any of their boats. Instead, they had one piece of wood, cut to define the angle of the bilge at the center point of the keel. From that, all of the other dimensions were derived by using a standard plank width, and the length of the boat. The shape was simply defined by the way the wood wanted to bend between the three points of bow, stern and midships. Nothing else was needed.

    So organic was the resulting design, that the shape of the planks could be roughed out with a hatchet. The bandsaw was only used to resaw the planks to the proper thickness.


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