Choosing timber – building an Oselvar boat

By Harald Dalland

Oak is used for the keel, lot, stem and oarlocks, the rest of the boat is made of pine. To ensure the best timber, the boat builder goes out into the forest and picks out the best trees.

Harald Dalland has been a master teacher and professional supervisor at the Oselvar workshop since it was founded in 1997.

The oak must be good and straight, grown in good soil, and with no knots. When the oak is so heavy that it sinks in seawater, it is of good quality. Oaks can be felled in the summer, and should not be trimmed until the leaves have withered. I still prefer to cut the wood in the winter.

Pine must be felled in winter. If you can also wait until there is a waxing crescent moon and a rising tide, you will get better results. The pine to be used for the planks and capping must be soft and tough, to produce a boat that is flexible and good on the water. Slightly stiffer wood can be used for the oars and mast.

The wood that is used for the planks is from 180 to 250 years old, and only the butt log is used for planks. The part where the trunk meets a branch is used for oarlocks and frame. The trunk and root, or trunk with branches that hang downwards, are used for the “rong” or rib.