Saturday, August 8, 2009
The first stitch and glue boat in the world
Stitch and glue is the most used boat building technique by amature boat builders.
It is simple, boat hull is assembled fast, requires no special tooling or skills, and the spare material is minimal. It is also my favorite boat building technique.
I worked in year 2007 in Zadar, a city at the north of Dalmatia, and there was one great restaurant and cocktail bar in the old town. It was actually a former Venetian military ammunition warehouse build in 16th century, a huge mono-space building, being restaurated in a classic-avantgarde stile today.
On one of the walls there was a part of an antic ship hull hanged.
The 2000 years old wreck was found buried in the sands at island Pag. It was a «liburna», one of the fastest and lightest boats from the antic time. It was build and used by the Liburnian people, the habitats of the northeastern Adriatic coast at the time of Roman Empire what is Croatia today. It was not a small boat, similar to later viking warships. It was powered by both the sails and rowers sitting in two rows. There is an reconstruction picture of the boat at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Liburna_Rome_BC31.jpg
Liburninas were excellent boat builders. All the later roman ships were copies of the Liburnian ships. The Liburnians developed and build the world first mechanical driven boat. It was driven by two paddlewheels, one on each side, powered by a couple of oxen on the deck. It is interesting that more than thousand years hat to pass, for a paddlewheel to be reinvented.
If you look at the photo of the wreck, you will see that the planks are stitched whit some kind of rope or an narrow piece of leather together, and then glued with resin. The so stitched and glued skin was then nailed on the frames from inside the hull.
With the fall of Roman Empire the Liburnians also disappeared and their boat building techniques have been forgotten.