There was a long time between the birth of the idea to build the Orm
and his eventual launching.
The first challenge was to create a set of blueprints,
which had to be done by Henri.
The vacation pictures of the Oseberg ship were brought out,
and letters looking for more information were sent off to the Oldsaksamling
of the University in Oslo.
Henri’s replica was to be half the size of the twenty-two meter Oseberg ship,
and that created another problem.
one cannot simply take all the measurements and divide them by two because the speed,
flexibility and stability of the ship are also affected,
and that problem is both arithmetic and geometric.
For example, take a cube of 1 x 1 x 1, which has a volume of 1 m³.
A cube of 2 x 2 x 2, however, has a volume of 8 m³.
The measurements are only twice as big, but the volume is 8 times larger.
So when Henri calculated the flexibility of the Oseberg ship in relation to the replica size,
he found that the skin of the ship, 1.5 cm in the original,
would only be 0.5 cm for the replica.
The Do-it-Yourself-Build-a-Ship Kit!
Because the skin of the ship would only be 0.5 cm thick,
the choice of the wood was critical.
It had to be the best quality because a ship made with such thin wood would be very vulnerable.
Unfortunately, this wood is also very expensive,
almost too expensive for the average person.
Henri was delighted, then,
when the Bruynzeel firm offered to sponsor the building of the Orm
with a significant reduction in the price of their best quality wood.
A truck loaded with wood soon arrived at Henri’s front door,
and the work got underway.
The first step was to draw the necessary pieces on paper and cut them out.
Those became the patterns. From this time on,
Henri’s house was transformed into a shipyard.
Each piece of wood was laid out on the living room floor,
and the patterns were pasted and then traced onto the wood.
Soon everything was ready for the next step sawing.
Henri’s wife, Yvonne,
had been very patient with all this new living room furniture,
but put her foot down on the sawing.
So, it all went up to the garage;
hundreds of perfectly measured and cut pieces of wood all ready for
Henri’s build-a-ship kit !
This wouldn’t be any model, though, but a real, ten-meter, able-to-sail ship.
The garage was much too small to build a ship with all those beams, planks,
and slats taking up so much room.
Henri turned again to Yvonne how could she refuse this rascal with his boy’s-dream ?
And so, back in the living room, small pieces of the ship were glued together,
much to the interest of the whole family.
Even the dog got involved in the shipbuilding,
and took on the job of protecting the keel from any would-be thieves.
Finally, after ten months of hard work, all the pieces were ready to be put together.
For this stage, though, the living room and garage were much too small for
the Orm was about to get much too big!
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