The beauty of building a replica of the Bronze Age boat in Dover is that we are just 100 yards away from the 3,500 year old original. Whilst it has been studied and drawn in great detail there is no way every detail can be recorded but we can go and check fine details on the original boat as we are working. The boat is kept in temperature and humidity controlled environment so being allowed in close like this is a very special experience. It's difficult to put into words what it feels like being in there with the oldest sea going boat in the world.
Whilst inside I took plenty of photos of details here are a few just to show what woodworking was like 3,500 years ago. This shows the base of the boat made of 4 wide planks two central planks are held together by wooden wedges and the curved side planks are stitched on with twisted yew withies.
close up of the wedges holding the central seem together.
and a close up of a stitch.
The top plank had been salvaged before the boat was abandoned, to do this they had to cut through the yew stitches and measuring the length of the protruding stitch gives us an indication of the joint and the distance to the stitch hole in the missing upper plank.
This shows the four bottom planks, there is much debate about how such complex boats evolved, they are so very different to the dugouts of the time and there is no parallel anywhere else in Europe. One theory is that they developed from the dugout canoe tradition. Bronze age and neolithic dugouts are surprisingly common finds no less than six have been found on a single site currently being excavated at Must Farm
Some dugouts split and are repaired with laths and stitching, the theory goes that its not a huge step from there to cutting a dugout down the middle and putting an extra bit in to make it bigger, hmmmm.
Here are our templates cut out and finding the best fit on the rough hewn planks.
woodworking-marathon-continued-just 18 hours to go.