Wool rope battening arrived today. It with the pine tar will be used to help as a seam sealer between the wood planking. Logs were due early this week but afraid the endless rain may delay that. The bark spud and bark draw knife arrived last week. A bunch of us are headed up to Mystic Seaport for a day to take the tour of “Drakken” the largest Viking style Longship built in modern times. Hope to get some pictures and look see in 3D lol of planking, nail heads, basic construction, etc. The ship is there for tours until Labor Day weekend.
First Hammer for splitting logs arrived today. Its exactly like what I was hoping it was. It is massive but light. A great hammer for swinging without totally tiring oneself out from the swing or not even being able to swing it because its too heavy for those of us with smaller builds (and arms LOL). Its a very hard wood and handle and supposedly will take a lot of abuse plus the wire rings help keep the head from splitting. Other two hammers are on 2 week back order.
Just ordered wool roping/matting to use as sealer between the planks. It with the pine tar is what was used though they probably used various animal hairs depending on locale and what was available. Horse and reindeer come to mind as examples of horse rope/blankets have been found. Reindeer well again depending on locale may have been relatively prevalent? Finished a 3D design for a hewing broad axe that matches what we found in online resources. Sent it to blacksmith (JB Creations) to work on for us. This one is 1/4″ thick but will also ask for one 1/8>3/16 thick blade. Trying out 2 sizes for weight and ease of use just like we are doing with the mauls/sledge hammers.
During our kickoff meeting and in the video we showed at it we acknowledged Thomas Finderup for his expertise on riving and viking ship construction. Indeed we had at least one photo of him showing how to get straight splitting of large oak logs. We recently contacted him for further information on techniques. He responded immediately including providing us a photo to help. We want to thank him for doing that and to subsequently acknowledge him for his guidance and continued help. Thank you!!!
We just ordered 3 sizes of wood mauls for splitting the oak. They all have 3′ handles but the head sizes and weights are different to accommodate the size and strength differences of people. If you use a lighter sledge but can swing it it easily it hits with great impact versus not being able to swing at full speed a heavier one. They all have wood heads so as to not damage the log if one misses plus it helps absorb the kickback to you when it strikes the wedge
Headed out tomorrow at 8am to look at trees before they are cut. This to prevent cutting down trees that might not work for us. AND! To talk to the trees about what we are doing, why we need them, who we will be honoring (including them), and how they will become part of something bigger than all of us, but that we are all part of.
Great news! Loggers let us know today they have several trees matching our needs and are going back to look at another today to help give us the best available. Yea Odin! Yea loggers!
We may have to cancel this project as it is already mid July and we still have not been able to get the right size (length&width) or type (white oak) logs needed for construction. Have not given up yet but we can not count on the weather either as another day of rain today shows. Even with lots of people the process is time consuming to do it right and without fear of it costing more than is reasonable/allowable. If we can not get the logs here by end of 1st week of August then its 90% probability of cancellation.
The sample nails we received while made in traditional manner are not IMO exactly what we need/want. The heads are not round and broad but rather have 2 sides which are straight thus reducing the surface area on two sides. These would it appears be made to sink into the wood and then not spin. OK but not what they should be. Either we will find someone to make nails from scratch or perhaps these can be used with a reheat and proper head forming done. It would, if this is possible, save a lot of work for a blacksmith versus starting with raw rod/bar.
The pine tar is due here tomorrow. It is appropriately enough a product of Sweden and distributed by Viking sales 🙂 Pine tar comes in different varieties. Differences being how its cooked and what may be extracted or not. Type used for soaps and some antiseptic needs is made in a closed (no oxygen) kiln with impurities removed. This to eliminate potential carcinogens from forming. Another is made likewise but not refined as much and the atmosphere in the kiln isn’t as regulated so some carcinogens may be in it. This is usually what is used for horse hoofs to treat them and other open sores/wounds and some stains/paints. Last but for us definitely not least is open kiln with only crude chunks filtered out. This has various oils, tars, etc in it just like back in the day when our ancestors used it. This version is great for sealing and protecting wood along with imparting a dark stain to it. Rubber gloves should be worn while using but one should really wear protective gear with any paint or solvent, even water-based, IMO.
Bill & Jenny of JB Creations got back to us on making a replica Viking axe matching like the one we showed in the kick off meeting video. Waiting for pics & or dimensions/weight from ship builder that was in it. Would like to have several styles and weights so may still order some from Europe perhaps to reshape or use as starting point for making new ones.
A local non-profit camp we often work with is initiating a ‘tinker program’ as part of their summer curriculum this year. Since no power tools will be used, and they can learn about the Viking culture as well as wood working – ship building techniques, we may have them here for a day trip or more(?) as part of the ‘tinker’ certification process