Bronze Age boatbuilding part 5

Now the outside profile of my ile plank is looking pretty good. You can see the profile nearest the camera needs a bit more cutting from the left hand side to let it sit down so the top edges of the profile templates all sit parallel.

With the outside finished I turn it over and get stuck in to the inside. I have developed confidence in the bronze now and am swinging the tools with speed and power, surprising what they can take.

 rough hollowing leaving sections unhollowed where the cleats lie.

smoothing out note this is a very small light adze handle with lots of whip in it. Received wisdom has been to handle these tools with big heavy handles to make up for perceived lightness of the head which was seen as a drawback.


 At this stage all the check I need is using fingers as a guide. Nearly 20 years of bowlturning gives my fingers a pretty good idea and I was able to take it down to 35mm + or – 5mm

 marking the cleats ready to skim off the sides.

 and now a few shots of rapid hollowing with a big bronze adze on a flexible shaft.

 see the size of shavings that fly.

 the trick seems to me to be entry angle, steel tools like to enter the wood at around 45 degrees, bronze seems to work much better entering at a lower angle say 35. I don’t know why, perhaps the thicker edges won’t penetrate far at 45 but at 35 they start a cut then split off the chip.

 hollowing this way is fast, effectively between each cleat I have a big bowl, 12″ wide and about 40″ long and starting with 6″ of wood proud. I can hollow one of these in about an hour.

 see the flex in the handle, using light flexible tools like this with relaxed loose wrists is far less tiring than heavy tools and tense wrists.

 the shavings allow me to feel my way into the tree by tearing strips of fibre.

 The roughly hollowed Iles bit more to go on the right, that one is being saved for some folk who are coming filming.


 and then with the small adze I clean off the sides of the cleats.

 last job is one which no bronze age boatbuilder would have to do but then we are trying to make an exact replica of an existing vessel which is different. With calipers I measure the thicknes and using a bit of Dover’s white cliff chalk mark the high spots to take it down to a uniform 30mm

This may or may not be important when we come to steaming we suspect thick spots may cause kinks rather than sweet curves but don’t know if we need to be 30mm + or – 1mm or 5mm

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2 Responses to Bronze Age boatbuilding part 5

  1. rika March 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    I love seeing the process of historical reproduction! So interesting to watch! Thanks for blogging this.

  2. Gorges Smythe March 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Keep up the good work.

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