Vikings are known as fearless warriors, but they wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without being great shipbuilders. Norse ship design was passed down from father to son from generation to generation as the art was developed and refined.
According to Jorn Loset of Norway, most skills and knowledge were passed down verbally without any drawings or diagrams. Traditional boat making before the Vikings involved the use of timber formed into strakes or ribs.
The Vikings built the shell first and added strakes and internal timbers at the end. The earliest boats were waterproofed with animal guts, which also served to bind the strakes together. Eventually iron became available for boatbuilders around the eighth century.
The following video shows the building of a present day Viking ship using the same techniques as originally used. Types of tools used by Vikings are discussed.