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27,000 hours to build a ship

In the first decade of the 21st century a reconstruction was made of the 30-metre-long warship Skulderlev 2, which was found in Roskilde Fjord in Denmark.

The work took 27,000 hours, of which about 14,000 were devoted to cutting, shaping and transporting the timber. The actual construction of the ship took about 10,000 hours. A construction team of one master and ten builders could have built a ship of this size in about seven months.

The reconstruction required enormous amounts of natural resources. In addition to 150 cubic metres of oak timber, 7,000 rivets were made from approximately 400 kilos of iron, which in turn required the production of a large amount of charcoal. In addition, 18 cubic metres of pine wood for tar production was needed, along with 2,000 metres of hand-made plant-fibre rope, cordage, and 120 square metres of sail.

The result was a ship which could be rowed at 5 to 6 knots or sailed at a top speed of 10 knots and an average speed of 7 knots. At this speed the ship could sail from Scandinavia to Great Britain in a few days.

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