Viking Ship Models

About 500 years ago shipbuilders began to make models to use as guides in constructing full-sized ships. Sailors made ship models in their spare time at sea, often as gifts for those at home. Soon ship models became popular as decoration in the home and a hobby. People who were not sailors took up the art making ship models. They got their information from models used in the actual construction of ships, from plans, pictures, and sketches. They visited museums where ship models were exhibited to show people ships of other days. Today there are plans, tools, books, kits, and other material easily available to those who want to make ship models. You can buy a kit that contains all the parts cut and ready for assembling gluing, or you can construct the entire model yourself. Most modelmakers take pride in doing the whole job.

The first step to make a model is to select the type of ship you wish to make. If you are a beginner, choose a simple design. After you have some experience, you may to make more complicated ship models. A good model to start with is one of a Viking ship. Many museums display models of Viking ships. You may want to visit one of these museums to see the models and to learn more about Viking history. Following are the directions for making a simple model of a full-size Viking ship found in a grave mound at Gokstad, Norway, in 1880.

The hull of the model will be 13 3/4 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide. (For this you will need a piece of white pine 14 inches long. 3 1/2 inches wide, and 1 1/8 inches thick.) In the hull plan here you will see the outline of the ship drawn over squares. On a sheet of tracing paper slightly larger than you model is to be, draw a straight line down the center. From that line draw 1/2-inch squares over the surface of your paper. To make the outline the size and shape required for your model, draw in each square of your paper the section of the hull outline that appears in the corresponding square in the hull plan. In this way you can increase the size of the hull shape and still keep the proper proportion.

Next, take the block of pine and draw a line down the center of its surface as you did on the paper. Place your paper pattern. Place your paper pattern on top of the wood, taking care to match the center lines. To make sure it stays in position, tack the paper to the wood outside the hull'so utline. Slip a piece of carbon paper under the pattern, with the shiny side next to the wood. Trace the curved outline over your pattern, and draw the lines through on the hull plan.

After the outline has been transferred to the wood, use your coping saw to cut around the outline. Remember to keep the blade straight up and down as you cut.

The bow and stern of the Viking ships are slightly higher than the center. To get this effect on your model, get two pieces of whitepine 2 inches long and 3/4 inch thick. Place the hull pattern and carbon paper on one block. Cut around the outlines. Place the two pieces in their positions on the bow and stern. Glue the pieces to the hull. Be sure that the sides of the pieces match the hull exactly. Clamp them together, or place heavy weights on top of them. Let them set for as long as the instructions on the glue container indicate. Do not use nails to attach these, since the blocks have to be shaped, and nails would ruin your tools. The diagonal lines appearing on the stern and bow block sketches indicate what will have to be cut away to secure the proper shape.

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