Keel tree for Gokstad replica has been felled

We´ve been searching for a keel tree large enough for our Gokstad replica for more than a year; in Norway, Denmark and Germany. Finally, it has been found – some two kilometres from our Viking shipyard! 

Keel oak is down: Front, from the left: Boat builders Egil Sagerøy, Bård Kjølsrud, Alexandr Smyk and Jan Vogt Knutsen. Standing: Forest owner Nicolaus Wedel Jarlsberg. (Photo: Ola Harald Flåten).

It´s not just any oak we´ve been looking for; it had to be at least 17,5 meters long and straight, with minimum top diameter of 0.35 meter. Also, due to protective regulations, it could not have a larger diameter at its lower end than two meters. 

Such trees do not grow on trees – joke intended. Admittedly, we finally received news that a good candidate had been located in Northern Germany, but had no possibility of inspecting it due to present travel restrictions. It would also cost close to NOK 200,000 before it reached our Viking shipyard.

Solution to the problem came from a lot closer to home – again – from nearby Jarlsberg Mansion Hall and its owner Nicolaus Wedel Jarlsberg. Just as he did when we started building the Saga Oseberg, Nicolaus donated yet another great oak tree, perfect for shaping the keel to our Gokstad ship replica.

Friday March 3 our head boat builder Jan Vogt Knutsen and his crew of builders started felling the tree, and landed it professionally exactly where they had intended. The first report says that the tree appears to be in perfect condition for its purpose.

Shortly, it will be pulled out of the forest by horses and transported to our shipyard, where the enormous task of transforming it into a keel will commence. We have started!