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Fundamentals of Traditional Norse Boatbuilding

May 31 - June 3

During this four-day, intensive class, participants will learn the fundamental boat building methods of the Viking Age. On the first day, the instructor will review Norse history and tool origins, as well as discuss tool use and safety. On subsequent days, topics covered will include cleaving a log, using fire to bend a plank, and riveting. Each student will have a first-hand experience of Norse boat building and will take home a Gransfurs-Bruks broad axe, included in the tuition.

Your instructor, Matthew Barnes, is a boat builder and lead shipwright on the restoration of the Mayflower II in the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport. During the summer of 2016, Barnes spent 12 weeks apprenticing at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark. Using only tools from the Viking Age, he worked alongside master boat builders to reconstruct the Gelinge boat, a 7.7-meter Norse fishing boat dating back to ca. 1130 AD. He also used this time to travel to seven different countries researching and documenting the westward expansion of the Norse people and the effect it has had on wooden boat building throughout the ages.