Making oars for Sleipnir!

We’re getting close to finishing! This video shows the hull after we cleaned the planks with acid (!!) and neutralized with ammonia… That treatment got rid of the blotchy weathering that built up over time, and needed to be cleaned before we could varnish. We chose chemical treatment over sanding because it’s very difficult to sand the planks with all the rivets: we would have had to go carefully round each rivet which is impossible, and the finish wouldn’t have been good. So, she’s now ready for varnishing!

The main subject of the video is to show how we made oars. We started with 2×6 boards, cut them into square 1 3/4″ lengths, and ran those through a big round-over router bit to take the corners off and so we ended up with round shafts for the oars. To those we glued blocks which we then carved into the shape of the blades. Each oar takes 2-3 hours to make, and they weigh only about 4-5 pounds, so they’ll be easy to handle.

We’re getting quite close to finishing her, next is the varnishing and after that all that remains is completing the rig: we have to shape the mast and make the stays that hold the mast up, as well as place the cleats to which we’ll tie the various lines that control the sail.

Stay tune for more, soon!

Thanks for following us!


Vista Viking Festival and latest pictures… including a test launch today!

Sleipnir had a great time at the Festival over the weekend, with hundreds of people coming by to see her, ask questions and were excited to see her! We met so many interesting people, and so many want to be at her launch and to participate in adventures aboard her!

Sleipnir at the Vista Viking Festival
First time in her element…. Oceanside…

Sleipnir will be at the Vista Viking Festival!

The Sons Of Norway have invited Sleipnir to participate in the Vista Viking Festival on September 17th and 18th! We are proud to bring Sleipnir back to where she was born!

The festival is a yearly tradition at Norway Hall (except for the last 2 years due to Covid!) where up to 10, 000 people attend, many dressed in full Viking gear, to take part in a broad range of activities, enjoy food and beverages, and just have a good time!

Check out for information and tickets! Their website is under construction but will soon have more details about events, times, etc..

We look forward to seeing you there!

We’re in the news (yeah, again…..)))

Out local PBS channel (for those who don’t know, PBS is the Public Broadcasting Service in the US) sent a reporter out to do an interview with us and the ship, and a few days ago aired the video on the Evening Edition.

I really liked what they did, as they included outside footage that they found themselves (I have no idea how they would have found the clip of Munin sailing in Vancouver….!).

I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks again for following my tiny odyssey!

We’ve started a You Tube Channel!

Please check it out! There are now 3 videos on it and we will keep adding new ones as work progresses and events such as launching and raiding parties happen!

And please remember to “Follow” the website so you’ll get notifications of new posts (not too many, I promise!) automatically. FREE! ))))



CBS San Diego put us in the news!

Jeff Zevely and his cameraman Chris came out to the shipyard and spent a couple of hours chatting with me and filming, and yesterday aired this clip… I think it’s great fun, and if I can take the advertising out of it, I will do so…

Row, row, row your boat…!



We’re on CBS San Diego News tomorrow, Wednesday June 1!

CBS Channel 8 in San Diego is airing the piece they did on the ship last week! It will be on the Zevely Zone at 6:40PM tomorrow (Wednesday, June 1). It was a fun interview with lots of video of work on the ship.

If you don’t live in San Diego, no worries: I will be downloading the video and posting it here so you can see it at your leisure!

KPBS said their piece will air on the Evening News program soon, and I will let you know when that will be.

Meantime, lots of work is going on, as I’m working on the decks, tidying up the hull and making sure it’s watertight, and working on rigging details such as cleats and deadeyes…

All the best and ‘bye for now!


A bit of magic….?

Throughout the project I have been very watchful about alignments of the various components, especially that the keel is horizontal, and that the frames are perpendicular and at right-angles to the keel, horizontal, and in good alignment with each other. All these factors are very important in making the ship have the correct shape.

It was a perpetual fight, really, to achieve these alignments, and early pictures show sticks nailed to the frames at “Xs” and braces at the tops of both stems (these are the vertical parts of the keel, one at each end).

More than once I found to my shock that there was something wrong, and that caused a lot of concern as it’s hard to correct once things are fixed in place: as the planks are attached to the stems, they have the effect of “locking-in” mistakes, and the longer they are allowed to stay, the more the effect and the harder it is to fix it.

Fast forward to just 3 months ago, when the planking was nearing completion, when I started to notice that the stems were not lining up! I had to force the forward one to one side while locking the after one in place (vertical). I worried that this problem would persist and even get worse with completion of the planking, as each plank attached would lock in the problem. My “solution” was to put in ratchet straps from the keel frames on the left (port) side to the top of the planks on the starboard side, and force the planking into shape. The idea was that the port side was “correct” and the starboard side had to match. This has significance in many ways, as overall shape, width of each side from the centerline and even the height of the sheer line (the top edge of the final plank) is affected. And, of course, the alignment of the stems! I strung a line inside the ship from front to back and compared the widths from the center to the edge at several places, and tightened the straps to make them match.

The idea was that the straps would remain in place until all the permanent frames were in place, as that would lock in the final (correct) shape.

I was very anxious about all this, because if it didn’t work, I would end up with a ship that was twisted and that would not be possible to correct without a LOT of taking apart and redoing.

So I carried on, installing the frames first on the port side and then started on the starboard side.

There came a point in which I just had to know if it was working, so I went back to checking alignments and widths, and, to my utter amazement, EVERYTHING WAS FINE!

The stems were perfectly perpendicular, and shape of the sheer line on both sides matched, the half-widths were matching, in other words, Sleipnir was nice and symmetrical!

My relief was immense! I had dreaded that things were going to be wrong. It seemed to me that Sleipnir was responding to my work, saying “you’re doing good… carry on!” Of course, that was all in my imagination. Nevertheless, I have felt much closer to her, if that were possible, and today I gave her a pat and smooch on the top plank.

My friend and fellow shipwright Eric Friberg, who lives in Anacortes, Washington and builds lovely traditional boats, said about this story “sometimes we get lucky”. Well, I think it was something more than that, but that’s between me and Sleipnir….



Thanks and acknowledgments!

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the people who have helped and supported me in my voyage…

First, my wife and my family have stood behind me and cheered me on, something that I really appreciate because without their support, the project would have been impossible. In particular, my team leader, my wife Pia, who is the love of my life, was the one who put this website together. She’s a wiz at all things to do with computers… tack!

The Sons Of Norway in Vista, who so generously offered me space to start my project, and have continued to support me! I could not have done it without you!…. takk!

Ivar Schoenmeyr has helped me build the ship, in more ways than I can name: not only did he do the majority of the rivets, but he has also advised me on many aspects, and been there when I was in doubt about even finishing the project. An engineer, his eye for precision and his analytical mind have been invaluable… tack!

Ray Reifel is an indefatigable force of nature! He has lent me a huge amount of tools, especially clamps (can’t have enough clamps!) and a surface planer, both of which have been essential during construction. He has frequently brought his good cheer and broad laugh to the shipyard, lifting our spirits… tack!

I have been honored to have frequent visits from Njal Undheim and his wife Diane, who sadly passed away recently. Njal has always been positive and supportive to me, which I have appreciated very much. AND of course, the avocados!…. tack!

My principal suppliers of materials are J&W Lumber of Escondido and Vista, who provided me with the lovely Port Orford Cedar which has been such a wonderful wood to build my ship. That wood is very rare, and to find it in our area in the first place was a huge boon, and the fact that it was of such good quality (clear, straight and beautiful) was a bonus, to say nothing of the price I was offered… that was in 2020, and I was So Lucky to purchase almost enough to finish the project!…. tack!

San Marcos Hardwoods provided the white oak that went into the keel and other parts of the ship where toughness is necessary. Again, to find such quality materials locally, in the right sizes and quantities, at excellent prices, was another excellent surprise. If I tried to purchase those materials now I would certainly pay about 5 times what they cost just 2 years ago… tack!

RW Rope provided me with a very generous discount on a whole spool of rope I need for the ship! Their Hempex looks very traditional, but is durable and tough. I will use it for all the standing (mast stays) and running (lines that control the sail) rigging on the ship…. tack!

Bob and Jenny P (I hesitate to name them because they are private people and I don’t want to “leak” the location of the shipyard) have been unbelievably generous in providing me the space to build the ship, and are unfailingly friendly and supportive when they visit, as are their children. When they told me they wanted me to build the ship on their property, they said it was a gift to me, to help me in my quest. So generous!…. tack!

There are so many more, including Pam Kragen and Charlie Neuman of the San Diego Union Tribune who wrote the article about the project, Alexander Nguyen for KPBS who interviewed Ivar and me and is producing a piece which will air on their Evening Edition (date not yet determined, but I will let you know in another post), and last but by no means least, all the people I have met only online through Next Door and this website, who have been invariably supportive and encouraging: I cannot express what a good feeling it is to know there are many people who are following my project from a distance, but letting me know from time to time that they are there, and are waiting to see the project completed! Tack!