A wooden ship’s mast for a Viking ship isn’t the kind of thing you can
just go and pick up in a store,
and Henri had to solve the problem of where he was going to find a long,
straight tree trunk.
Sometimes, though, luck gives you a helping hand,
and that’s what happened in this case.
Henri is a land surveyor and, by sheer chance,
he found out that the telephone poles in a particular area of the city were
about to be replaced.
He was able to buy one of the old poles, and that was another problem solved.
The telephone pole was put aside to dry,
and about a year later Henri was finally able to start working on it.
The whole outer part of the pole had to be planed down, right to the heartwood.
After one year of duty the mast become to tear in the longdirection, till the centre of the mast. It appears that the old telephone-pool who had served for so many years, has been soaked with rainwater,that one year of drying wasn’t enough. The forces on the mast can be enormous, specialy with gusts of wind. To rule out the possibility of a mast-break Henri has made a new mast, from new and good dry wood.
Once the trailer was complete and the Orm’s hull built, it could be put on the trailer.
This was accomplished with the help of many people.
After that, Henri started working on the inside of the Orm,
measuring and making all the parts that couldn’t be made in advance because
of the need for exact measurements: rowing benches, deck planks, cupboards and planking.
It was a repetitive procedure; climb in, measure, climb out, saw, climb in,
fit,climb out, adjust....
At last the work was done - well, almost done. The entire ship had to be varnished to protect the wood from the weather. A couple of layers wasn’t going to do the trick, though, because the wood was only 5 mm thick, which meant that nothing could be sanded and re-varnished. In the end it took nine layers on every plank and in every nook and cranny. All the work, the time, the cost, and the effort it took to build the Orm was worth it to Henri. This was the fulfilment of his dream. He knew that if he were given the choice of starting again, knowing what it would take, he would do it again, setting out with the same passion and commitment.