Ship Building Tools

Ship building has seen many advances since the days of the wooden vessels of the Vikings, which required craftsmen with the best skills and ship building tools to build a vessel that would be able to sail. Today their technology has almost vanished, only being kept alive by hobby seekers and enthusiasts who carry on the practice for fun and to recreate the vessels they sailed in for tourism among other reasons. To understand the difference of tools then and today we will explore the ship building methods, materials and tools they used than and the ones we use now. This will provide a simple illustration of the differences that have taken place over time.

Traditional ship building

With the little technology they had ship builders mostly learned through trial and error and by means of observation. By them small scale iron work had began and they were able to manufacture ship building tools using iron. Iron is good for tool making since it is strong and easily moldable or malleable when hot. As mentioned before traditional vessels when made of wood, this would automatically mean that carpentry tools were used to craft vessels.

The tools that were used were cross cut saws, jack plains hammers, nails, a king of water proofing agent, clamps and vises. These were some of the tools used at the site were the vessels were constructed. The work was all manually done and people were the primary work force with each ship taking up considerable time and labor to build. Since the building material used at the time “wood” may be flexible and easy to work with but it is also weak and requires sufficient support to keep the vessels together.

Another added problem they must have faced with these huge wooden vessels would be the problem of leakage. The craftsmen would slowly solve this by improving on the wooden joints as well as adding a water resisting substance in between the joint before assembly. Wax and resigns were used to water proof the vessels.

Modern ship building

Today ship building tools consist of heavy machines which do the heavy work. With the industrial revolution and the invention of mechanically powered tools, ships began being built using iron and steel. Since iron is heavier than wood, machines were developed to assist during the construction. The size has also largely increased since those have. Today ship building tools mainly consist of computerized robotic equipment with skilled worker only doing the final touchups and quality checks. Giant cranes and welding machines put the main structure of the ship together with man power being used only to check and do the final touched.

Thing have changed drastically since those days but we have managed to build ships that would have never even come to the imagination of the Viking. This has only been possible due to the development of modern ship building tools and technologies that assist in creating these monsters that float on water.


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