How to build a Viking Ship

A talk by John Adamson

We have now restarted our monthly Saturday workshops and talks.

At our October meeting John talked about a visit to the Viking Ship Museum, near Copenhagen, Denmark.  A link to the English language pages of the website can be found here –

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde is the home of five world famous Viking ships and it is the Danish museum for ships, seafaring and boatbuilding culture in ancient and medieval times.

The museum includes an interactive environment, where you can experience reconstructed Viking ships. John talked us through a slide show of ships currently in construction.

Viking ships are clinker built this is a method of boat building where the edges of hull planks overlap each other. Where necessary in larger craft, shorter planks can be joined end to end into a longer strake or hull plank.

The keel is built first, with stones and weights being used to adjust and straighten the shape, the planks are then added next, with the ribs being custom made and fitted once the planks are in place.

Linden bark is used in rope making process.  Woollen sails are woven in short panels that are then stitched together.

Oars are different sizes dependent on their position in the ship.

Although ships are regularly depicted with dragon mastheads there have been none recovered.  They are inferred from contemporary drawings and engravings on broaches.

To complement the talk Stuart brought in his ‘Viking’ seat that he has created from wood chopped down near Hollingworth Lake.  Stuart continues to add carvings to the seat, a selection are below.