It's been about two years since the death of my father. He died unexpectedly and suddenly. Him and I were working on our jointly owned boat in Cordova, Ak and he got a stomach ache. A few days later he was diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Ten days later he died.
We had a few days to say goodbye. The very last beer I shared with my Dad was sitting on the flying bridge of his Boat in what was going to be his retirement home in Florida. I asked him what he wanted done at his funeral. In my Dad's characteristic humor he said he wanted me to build a Viking ship and put him on it, pushing it out to sea. i laughed and said that I'd probably go to jail for that.
Then we hatched this plan.
My family are commercial fishermen from Cordova, Alaska. We lived on the water. My dad always hoped he was of Viking descent. He was intensely disappointed to find out we were not when DNA tests became available.
I wanted to share these pics and the video with you guys (my brothers in craftsmanship), but it was too close to the event. It was too personal. Enough time has passed, and I think it's okay to show you what we did.
I say "we," because this build was like a long goodbye to my Dad. He was the woodworker. I was the metal guy. I had never built anything more complex than a small cabin out of wood. I had a lot of long conversations with him during this build. Most of them were in the form of: "I know, Dad! But we don't have time to redo that bit. Your funeral is in like seven days!"
My buddy Shane Harvey designed this scale model of a Viking Longship from blueprints obtained from the Copenhagen museum in Denmark in CAD and then cut the keel and ribs on his CNC plywood cutter. He also did the dragon head and the small shields with my Dad's initials (RS) on them.
The cutting of the cedar planks (each one cut on a table saw by me), the glue up, etc. took almost 20 days of intense work. I totally underestimated the amount of time it would take. All the lessons I had to learn as I went . . .
Just in time I had it stained, varnished, and loaded onto my truck for the ferry ride to Cordova. We loaded the boat up with things my Dad loved. Including the very first sword I ever made when I was 12 with his help (ground from a long file), his favorite hat, a jar of peanut butter (his favorite food), and a gin and tonic in a viking horn (not traditional, but it was his drink).
And then we set it on fire.
It burned until it swamped, and then we sunk it in a bay that he loved.
Anyway, hope you like the build. It's not a blade, but I know you guys well enough to know you'll be okay with this off topic post.
PS: Drone footage by Shane Harvey.