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View Full Version : Dover launch of replica Bronze Age boat aborted



Bill R
05-14-2012, 08:45 AM
Presented without comment:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-18049714

Phillip Allen
05-14-2012, 08:51 AM
may be a good reason not to have boats built by archaeologists :)

Tall Boy
05-14-2012, 10:28 AM
Hmm, I wonder if they unearthed the original right where it sunk the first time..........

botebum
05-14-2012, 10:35 AM
Maybe they should have let her soak for a bit to take up.

Doug

boatbuddha
05-14-2012, 10:39 AM
They had a similar problem when archeologists tried to build a replica on an Egyptian vessel. They soaked it without caulking and it wouldn't stay afloat. After they went back and caulked it with linen and beeswax, she floated fine.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/building-pharaohs-ship.html

David W Pratt
05-14-2012, 10:53 AM
Maybe it is not a boat, artificial reef, fish trap, ...

Canoeyawl
05-14-2012, 11:09 AM
I suspect that when they get it to float they may also have stability issues from scaling it down by 50%

Don't they know what happens when you tamper with designs? LOL

Phillip Allen
05-14-2012, 11:13 AM
maybe the ancients had thicker water to float it in

Flying Orca
05-14-2012, 12:18 PM
Maybe they should have let her soak for a bit to take up.

Doug

What I was thinking.

Paul Pless
05-14-2012, 01:24 PM
Presented without commentyou know you want to!

skuthorp
05-14-2012, 05:10 PM
Bronze age boatbuilders are a bit thin on the ground these days:D

2MeterTroll
05-14-2012, 09:23 PM
bit that irritates me is the plans arent on line so we can actually see what the problem is. I suspect it hasn't taken up and no one caulked it in the first place. I always get a sick feeling whenever these non builders try this sort of thing. to many traps for amateurs in reproducing very old boats. thats why the spants and such have been taken on by actual boat builders, it takes skill to see the tricks.

Paul Pless
05-14-2012, 09:29 PM
I suspect it hasn't taken up and no one caulked it in the first place. I suspect that's part of it. Also, if you look closely in this photo, it appears to be a variation on lap planking with a longitudinal batten backing up the lap seam, all sewn together. This is a very difficult joint to make tight, compared to clench nailing, rivetting or even trunnels. . .

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/60203000/jpg/_60203552_bronzeageboat.jpg

2MeterTroll
05-14-2012, 09:37 PM
looks like lashed batten and i would bet the joints are drawn up with the lashing at different pressures, it makes a huge difference in the join if you get the tension right all along the seam. At the same time i would bet my boots that it was sealed with some sort of tree pitch concoction (having built the Asian types lashed boats). yes the lap is going to be a problem. I am wondering what the cleats on the inside of the boat are for. lots of questions and little data to go on. I will try to get more data from the project.


I suspect that's part of it. Also, if you look closely in this photo, it appears to be a variation on lap planking with a longitudinal batten backing up the lap seam, all sewn together. This is a very difficult joint to make tight, compared to clench nailing, rivetting or even trunnels. . .

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/60203000/jpg/_60203552_bronzeageboat.jpg

2MeterTroll
05-14-2012, 10:36 PM
http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/news/newsRelease.asp?newsPk=1967
http://greenwood-carving.blogspot.fr/2012/03/dover-boat-woodworking-in-1550bc.html

best info is on Woods blog. sent woods an email, fingers crossed he may show up.

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 06:15 AM
ok ladies and gents I got a response from Robin wood, Its below. lot more info about the construction, take a look.
he hopefully will be visiting us. say hello you rats! :)


"had a go at replying but account not activated yet. Perhaps you could post this for me.

I am slightly disappointed to see such smug self satisfied comments. Having worked full time with traditional woodworkers for over 20 years in the UK Japan, Sweden, Norway etc I have always found them to be a tremendously supportive and encouraging bunch, I do hope the same is really true in the US.

If I can give a little background to the project it may be of interest, I would also suggest jumping to conclusions on the the basis of a short press article is rarely wise.
Boat 1550BC was a difficult brief for the builders. It's prime purpose is to be the centrepiece of a museum exhibit showcasing bronze age culture and the fact that 3500 years ago the culture on both sides of the English Channel had strong similarities. Not surprisingly perhaps at a time when crossing the channel was probably easier than getting from Dover to London. The thing that made the brief hard is that the museums the exhibition tours to have small doorways so the boat has to be dismantled to get it in. Coupled with that we were on a very tight deadline with no time to test float before the actual press launch. The seam that leaked was done at 2am after working 36 of the previous 40 hours. Difficult conditions to get things right but a great team working hard to do their best.

The boat was not built by archaeologists or boatbuilders but professional green woodworkers with many years experience of early woodworking technology. We did also have advice on site from archaeologists and long time experienced professional boatbuilders though frankly they had little understanding of how the thing would work and were as much in the dark as anyone else, the boat and joints are unique so it was an experiment in how they worked. My only previous boatbuilding experience was working on the replica Oseberg ship. http://greenwood-carving.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=oseberg Though others involved had experience of contemporary sewn plank boats.

For folk experienced in modern clinker or carvel building the Dover boat probably appears a bit odd but then it was built at the same time as the last phase of Stone Henge, over 2000 years before Oseberg and is apparently the oldest surviving seagoing vessel in the world. There was no calking, no pitch or pine tar, all these things relate to completely different and later technologies. The joints on the original are rough hewn with axes and adzes and the central seam is simply butted together. It is held together by skewed cross wedges penetrating a rail on each timber. between these central rail is a gap which was filled with moss (not in the seam only over it and not including any fat, wax pitch etc just moss, all clearly recorded and also available for us to study 50 yards from the build site) The moss was held compressed in place by cleft oak laths in turn held down by the wedges. We would have liked to experiment with this system but did not have time or budget. There was also the doubt of whether the joint would work at half scale. Instead we kept the laths and wedges but aimed to waterproof with a bead of sikaflex. It would have been easy to produce a watertight boat by running sikaflex into the joints as they did with the only other bronze age sewn boat replica of the Ferriby boat but we would not have been able to get the seems apart to get it into the museum. Instead we kept the sealant above the seams in the same place as the moss in the original. Some of the laths were not as perfectly straight and flexible as they could have been and where they undulated there was possibility of leaks. Some of these we spotted and fixed some we didn't due to time pressure. It has since been sorted and goes back on the water briefly on Friday before being dismantled and sent off to it's exhibition.

There is an excellent publication giving full details of the original find full dimensioned drawings, analysis etc.

The Dover Bronze Age Boat
Clark, Peter
ISBN: 1873592590 / 1-873592-59-0"

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 06:17 AM
my response to him via e-mail cause i have a captive audience and cant shut up.


not to sure of smug and self satisfied as much as surprised that; in this type of work folks dont ask for help from the other folks who collectively probably have a few thousand years experience in boat building.

my comments are those about seam caulking and after having done several lashed boats as well as innumerable kayaks with traditional tools I have a few insights into primitive tech. the moss in the seams is an important thing and yes that is caulking
under the battens you say did someone have a bryoligest look at the type of moss? I would hazard its probably a moss that takes up water and expands greatly, sphagnum or something like it I can think of a couple other ides that might work especially if mixed with lichen. Not to many folks on the list do green wood working but there are a couple of us I learned form a british bodger that did several classes here in the us for cob cottage company in coquille oregon. Any how dont take the comments personal some of the guys/ gals can get snippy but they will help you as much as they can regardless.

thank you for taking the boat on and getting it as far as you did its great work.


I will include this response to the thread as well. I look forward to seeing you on the forum.

Tall Boy
05-15-2012, 10:23 AM
my response to him via e-mail cause i have a captive audience and cant shut up.


not to sure of smug and self satisfied as much as surprised that; in this type of work folks dont ask for help from the other folks who collectively probably have a few thousand years experience in boat building.

my comments are those about seam caulking and after having done several lashed boats as well as innumerable kayaks with traditional tools I have a few insights into primitive tech. the moss in the seams is an important thing and yes that is caulking
under the battens you say did someone have a bryoligest look at the type of moss? I would hazard its probably a moss that takes up water and expands greatly, sphagnum or something like it I can think of a couple other ides that might work especially if mixed with lichen. Not to many folks on the list do green wood working but there are a couple of us I learned form a british bodger that did several classes here in the us for cob cottage company in coquille oregon. Any how dont take the comments personal some of the guys/ gals can get snippy but they will help you as much as they can regardless.

thank you for taking the boat on and getting it as far as you did its great work.


I will include this response to the thread as well. I look forward to seeing you on the forum.

And this smug mug gives you a hardy thumbs up..............

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 02:00 PM
From Robin:


"I think it is rather naive to suggest folk have not asked for help simply because they did not turn up on your forum. There are a few folk out there with specialist knowledge of early shipbuilding and the main advisor on this project was Ole Crumlin-Pedersen founder of the Viking ship museum at Roskilda he sadly died before the project was completed but there was probably no one who had better knowledge of early European shipbuilding both practical and theoretical knowledge.

I am not a boatbuilder I am just a woodworker who is particularly good with an axe and adze. No doubt there are regional differences in terminology but the terminology used by the numerous UK and Scandinavian folk that have been consulted was caulking for stuff that goes in between a joint and luting for stuff that sits across the top of a joint. There was absolutely nothing in between the joints on the original. Yes 6 species of moss identified and they are in the report, no lichen I know my trees but not my bryophytes. It would have been fun to have the time to experiment with moss. The prime purposes of this experiment were
1 to look at possible shapes for the end pieces and upper planks and how they meet as these are missing from the original.
2 to produce a museum quality half scale replica and learn about the tools and techniques that would have been required (for this it did not have to float) When it goes into the museum the synthetic lashing and mastic will be replaced with withy lashings and moss.
3 they had hoped to do some trials to get an idea of the boats capabilities, there is a chance this may still happen in 18 months after the museum tour is finished.
The normal route in experimental archaeology is to first draw plans, then do a 10th scale model then a half scale all of which are learning experiences which inform what will hopefully eventually be a full scale. To build the full scale without having first done this half scale would have been a huge step in the dark."

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 02:01 PM
From me:

Ole was a good man and he built one of the first spants. I dont think it naive this is the largest collection of traditional boat builders you are going to find.I would be looking at your primitive tools groups if i had a question about primitive tools. the hugely educated as well as the guy knapping in his backyard are going to have information that is different just like the bodging groups have information I would never find from a single source.
the moss was held over the joint by a batten that makes it caulking, luting would be the batten in this case. its a matter of semantics at this point.
how tight was the seem under the batten covered? see if you stuff the space under the batten with dry moss then lash it down the moss will swell the amount would be important.
Six hmm. that might mean that there was several with one dominant in the unsorted mix, where they true mosses or did the folks find a liverwort in the mix? was the boat made of green wood? was it hot when the boat was built? lots of questions.
I can see the upper plank shapes in the excavation (I can see the shape they would need to be in my minds eye) Getting the lower edge would be easy with spiling but the upper edge would be hard since the sheer is almost always an artistic judgment.


We would love to see the plans (hopefully they are not proprietary). Really nice bowl on your site by the by.
I am having fun with this and i suspect other folks will have fun looking at this stuff. I would bet that if you asked and had the plans you would find one or two folks that would take on a full sized replica. The guys on the forum (the bilge is kinda the hang out) but the other forums are much more serious and knowledgeable and i think it would be taken as a fun challenge by several folks, me included. here i have tamarack, pine, and fir to work with.
I will have to ask my lady Erica.


Any ways let me think on this a bit; i might do some fiddling and see if i cant make a seam that is water holding.

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 02:03 PM
From Robin:

all the questions you are asking are answered in Pete Clark's book. I suspect you would enjoy it. I would love to have time to play with the moss joint but sadly after 3 months on this have rather a backlog of work to catch up on. The original is made from oak with one alder lath presumed to be a repair and yew withies, yes obviously lashed down tight over compressed moss. We have experimented a little with the withies, each part of the jigsaw could take months of research and experimentation to cover properly and since traditional woodworking doesn't pay too well in the UK we had to do the best we could with the small time we had available. Things are complicated by compression of the wood over 3500 years, this compresses some sections particularly in a vertical plain more than others so there was a huge amount of work just working out what shape the existing timbers were originally before they could start looking at what might have gone on top and the ends.
best wishes Robin

Paul Pless
05-15-2012, 02:05 PM
Pity they let a deadline get in the way of doing a proper job.

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 02:06 PM
from me, These guys are important and skilled so supporting them is an important thing for our boat building; these are the folks who know where to get apple wood knees and such. can carve blocks and ornamentation, make rungs for rails, Ect.

I will get the book since i think i would love to build one of these after my big boat. an idea for you on how to make some money on wood working; not all of us are from the us on the forum we have a large number of UK folks. there are parts of boats that can be made by hand in fact must be made by hand and a good hand making them is always appreciated. Knees, breast hooks, blocks, stems, chip carving in the name plates, Etc. If you would like i will send you some stuff about those parts that your skills would be wonderful for, and boat builders pay pretty well to get this sort of thing. currently the best source is in AU, might be a thing to fill the gaps. Since i am a natural builder i dont like to see good folks out of work. follow the link below and take a look around. Erica and I try to support others in our work as we grow our business.


Its now 10:00 here and not 3:00 in the morning. :) take care and we would love to see you on the forum.

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 02:26 PM
I think its the nature of the organizations involved that the time limits are observed. sounds like Ole died in the first part of the build (sadly) so i think from the reading that Robin was in the dark and trying his best. from the looks of the finished project Robin did a damn fine job with what information he had. yes i would think it should be so labeled but i am sure it will not be. As i posted in my email we have several thousand years of collective experience. It is my belief that our experience trumps single experts when it comes to boat building. I think it was devastating to loose Ole. his guidance would be invaluable, I am trying to figure out who would be as good at this sort of building and a name does not come up, however i have a memory of someone building viking boats in puget sound.



Pity they let a deadline get in the way of doing a proper job. Will there be an asterisk on their museum exhibit tableau, stating the boat is not a faithful nor accurate representation of what a real bronze age boat would have been because we did not take the time to build an authentic replica, so this is basically just a guess based on expediency?

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 06:27 PM
punt

ChrisBen
05-15-2012, 06:34 PM
Ernie, we've got a couple of guys here involved in building traditional Viking vessels in Norway. Not quite Bronze age techniques, they are using power tools where necessary, and certainly no mosses for caulking, but still... Lagspiller and TapSnap do a search using their names.
NEWS FROM THE SHIPYARD (http://den.vikingkings.com/PortalDefault.aspx?portalID=117&activeTabID=1000&parentActiveTabID=891)

2MeterTroll
05-15-2012, 08:45 PM
Will do Chrisben I will also send the names to Robin; He seems to be a really nice guy. I figure as abrasive some folks here can be (my self included) he might be put off but i think he could do a great deal of good work for the various boats that folks have across the pond. Never did understand why the carvers arent all over the place here; they have as much a role in boat building as the plankers.


Ernie, we've got a couple of guys here involved in building traditional Viking vessels in Norway. Not quite Bronze age techniques, they are using power tools where necessary, and certainly no mosses for caulking, but still... Lagspiller and TapSnap do a search using their names.
NEWS FROM THE SHIPYARD (http://den.vikingkings.com/PortalDefault.aspx?portalID=117&activeTabID=1000&parentActiveTabID=891)

ChrisBen
05-15-2012, 09:03 PM
Will do Chrisben I will also send the names to Robin; He seems to be a really nice guy. I figure as abrasive some folks here can be (my self included) he might be put off but i think he could do a great deal of good work for the various boats that folks have across the pond. Never did understand why the carvers arent all over the place here; they have as much a role in boat building as the plankers.Here's a few links you can send him.

NEWS FROM THE SHIPYARD (http://den.vikingkings.com/PortalDefault.aspx?portalID=117&activeTabID=1000&parentActiveTabID=891)
Traditional west-norwegian rowboat project (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?88201-Traditional-west-norwegian-rowboat-project&highlight=)
Oselvar Faering Build (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?106857-Oselvar-Faering-Build&highlight=)
Rebuild of Norwegian Pilot Cutter (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?114428-Rebuild-of-Norwegian-Pilot-Cutter)
Restoration of MINDE, a 1903 Pilot Cutter (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?147176-Restoration-of-MINDE-a-1903-Pilot-Cutter)

2MeterTroll
05-16-2012, 11:35 AM
punt

Paul Pless
05-16-2012, 11:37 AM
puntit really has more of dory look about it, to me at least. . .;)