Restoration of Brottsjø 7

This week we removed the “egnerhus”. There are parts from different periods, from the 1960 to the ’90. Under the glass fiber roof cover, probably from the 70’s we found small nails indicating that there was originally a canvas cover on the wooden roof. The sink and poorly made table are from the 90’s and have to go. When Brottsjø was used for fishing there was also a second stove standing in the “egnerhus” used for cooking and drying cloth, you can still see the round hole.

Click here if you want to read the Introduction/first post.

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Restoration of Brottsjø 5

Click here if you want to read the Introduction/first post.

This week we started taking away the old “skandekk”, that is the construction at the side of the deck that prevents water that’s coming from the deck to leak in-between the ribs and so in parts of the boat that you can’t inspect and thus potentially can cause serious damage. Another important function of the “skandekk” is preventing the deck to get wider and wider, the way we make these decks water tight is by forcing hemp into the different seams between the planks, by doing this you create enormous forces sideways and the ” skandekk” stops these. At this picture you see how I check if the deck is straight or slightly curved. The “randplank” between the straight deck and the curved “skandekk” gets special attention because of its shape.

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Restoration of Brottsjø 3

Click here if you want to read the Introduction/first post.

Brottsjø in the sliphall. I made fixed points in the slip hall and use these as a reverence for the grid you see here on the boat. The grid can help to position the different parts of the boat later when we start rebuilding the boat. This is one of the new things we use on this project, in the past a reference point sometimes got lost because it was taken away, like a stem.

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Restoration of Brottsjø

Almost 10 Years ago I worked for the Nordnorsk Fartøyvernsenter og Båtmuseum in Gratangen Norway as a wooden boat builder. There are three of these “fartøyvernsenter”, (boat preservation center) in Norway, two are specialized in restoring wooden boats and one is specialized in steel or iron boats.

I started working in Gratangen in 2006 as a boat builder and in 2010 I was responsible as project manager for the Restoration of Brottsjø together with the help of the other experienced boat builders. Because my Norwegian writing skills were not good enough I started a blog where I wrote in English and kept a relative detailed rapport on what I was doing on a weekly basis.

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Day 652, Perspective in boat building.

Day 652-1

I restore wooden boats for a living. The technics and tools we use have not changed much the last view hundred years and some of the tools and technics go al the way back to the beginning of boatbuilding. One of the most important tools in boatbuilding, one that has been used for thousands of years, are our eyes. We off course use our eyes for most jobs we do but in boatbuilding we used them not only for seeing the quality of our work, we use them also to see the lines and shape of the planks we use for the hull or the masts.  Boatbuilding is not an exact science where you can put measurements on a piece of wood and cut it out. A lot of lines on a boat are not straight end even if you manage to lay out a nice plan and line up everything nice and straight, time and humidity will warp the wood and ruin your careful laid out plan. If I make a plank to wrap around the ribs I can make some measurements but the final line, a line that is often a few meters long with a slid curve, will be made with my eyes. And like in real life I have to walk around the problem/plank, lower my head for another perspective, till I have seen it from all sides and adjust the solution/line till it looks right.

I use a thin lath to “find” the shape and dimensions  of the next plank. This plank bands in all directions and you need to move around to find the right shape.


On this picture you see 3 tools we use that are as old as mankind. In front you see a T Bevel Square, we use this to measure angels, then you see a hammer and a carpenter’s compass. In front you also see some measurements I made from where the new plank will go. Those are the angles and dimensions of the plank every 50 a 60 cm. 
The measurements are put on the plank and then we use a thin lath to see if the measurements form a smooth line or that we have to adjust it, we do this with our eyes and look from different sides because the shape changes when you move around.
We use steam to make the wood flexible, so we can bend it without breaking it. Steam has been used for hundreds of years, it is very easy, the only thing you need is a big watertight box and a pan with water. You cook the water and in the lid on the pan you mount a hose and that hoe goes into the box. You can also use direct fire under a plank to bend a plank but steam is easier.
After steaming you have to force the plank in to his place. We use hydraulic presses for this but there are also other methods. In this picture you can clearly see the stresses in the plank when it goes from vertical to almost horizontal.
Some other planks.

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