New forward beamshelves on Hawila

Two pieces of solid oak, each of them measuring no less than 12m long.

After the 6 hours of steaming necessary to make the timber pliable, the heat and moisture softened the wood fibres enough so that the beamshelves could be bent and stretched to hold their new shape once cooled down. 

The manoeuvre was challenging due to the size and length of the plank. The movement had to be fast, yet precise and synchronised, as the wood can easily crack when it cools down under such pressure. 

Here is the video showing how we managed without a hitch!

Rebuilding the entire forward half of Hawila

In the beginning of November, Ben and Bleuenn, our shipwright friends with their amazing ship Swallow, came into Holbaek Harbour from Brittany. Beating to wind, they manoeuvred the ship under sail and moored alongside Hawila. They used only their huge sculling oars at the stern of the boat to steer the bow away at the last moment, as the vessel came to a comfortable stop.

Ben and Bleuenn were our master shipwrights last spring, leading the project of replanking much of the mid-section, forwards below the waterline, and our galboard. We were awaiting them to start on the next big step of the refit – the forward upper hull: replacing stanchions, beam shelves, upper frames, ceiling, shear planks and covering boards.

With their arrival, chainsaws and axes emerged, and worn-out, tenacious  timbers were removed at exhilarating speed. In a single week, so much was removed from the bow that our naval architect noted  the stern was sitting  in the water a centimetre lower than before. When major deck beams were removed, we had to install temporary supports to maintain the boat’s shape and integrity.

Deconstruction was followed by re-construction, and it came with similar velocity. The process of reframing a ship like ours, with double sawn oak frames, can be approached in various ways. 

Stay tuned for a technical post coming soon, detailing the process that we have used for each frame, from templating to roughing out, fairing, and fixing in place. 

Shipwrights, boatbuilders, or carpenters with shipbuilding experience wanted for S/V Hawila!

[EN] Hawila is an 86-year-old, wooden built galeas of 35 m length, in renovation in Holbaek, Denmark, since September 2020.

From December to March the ship will be on the local slipway where we will change bottom frames from forward to mid-ship. Afterward we will continue with mid-ship upper frames, stanchions, beam shelves, beams, covering boards, and decking.

If you have professional experience in boatbuilding or carpentry and can stay with us for at least 1 month, we’d be excited to hear from you.

You’d be hosted on site and become part of a strong community of professional craftsmen who’ve been dedicated to this project for more than one year.

Does this sound interesting?

Then send us a mail to or call Johan Bech at +45 22 89 18 02


Hawila er en 86 år gammel, træbygget galeas på 35 m, der nu er under renovering i Holbæk, Danmark.

Fra december til marts vil skibet ligge på den lokale bedding, hvor vi vil udskifte spanter fra for- til midtskibs. Herefter vil vi fortsætte med at forny dækbjælker, dækplanker, skanboards, midtskibs bjælkehylder etc.

Hvis du har professionel erfaring med disse, eller nogle af disse opgaver, og har tid og lyst til at prøve kræfter med vores spændende projekt vil vi meget gerne høre fra dig.

Du ville blive en del af et stærkt fællesskab af internationale professionelle håndværkere. Mulighed for at blive indkvarteret på stedet.

Lyder dette interessant?

Så send os en mail til apply@hawila.orgeller ring til Johan Bech på +45 22 89 18 02

Come on board!

[English below]

Lørdag den 27. november inviterer Nationalmuseet, Kystliv Holbæk og Hawila Project til et åbent arrangement.

Programmet står på rundvisninger på skibene Hawila, Anna Møller, Bonavista, Swallow, og Ruth, korte sejlture i fjorden med sejlskibe fra Kystliv Holbæk (hvis vejret tillader), samt spændende foredrag og et serigrafiværksted.

Vi sørger for god stemning, frokost, snacks og lidt godt til ganen.

Sæt kryds i kalenderen og inviter dine venner.

Vi offentliggør snart det endelige program for dagen. Det bliver spændende og alt er helt gratis!

Vi glæder os til at byde jer velkommen på Holbæk Ny Havn!

On Saturday the 27th of November, the Nationalmuseum, Kystliv Centre and Hawila Project invite you to a free full day’s programme with guided tours around the ships Hawila, Anna Møller, Bonavista, Swallow, og Ruth, short sailing trips around Holbæk fjord (only in good weather), exciting lectures, and a printing workshop.

We guarantee good vibes, warm lunch, cakes & snacks, cold and warm drinks.

A full update on the programme will follow shortly, but mark your calendars and invite your friends – it will be fun and for free!

We are looking forward to welcoming you at Holbæk New Harbour!

We joined the Copenhagen Folkets Klimamarch!

[Dansk nedenfor]

On Saturday, our volunteers joined the Copenhagen Folkets Klimamarch which aimed to bring climate change into focus 10 days before the communal elections in Denmark.

It was important for us to share this day with others and combine our voices to fight for a sustainable future.

Inspiring encounters, enriching conversations and a few familiar faces made us forget the rain. Maybe our homemade cakes helped as well.

It was nice to meet you all!

I lørdags deltog vores frivillige i København Folkets Klimamarch, som satte fokus på klimaforandringer 10 dage før kommunalvalget i Danmark.

Det var vigtigt for os at dele denne dag med andre og bringe vores samlede stemmer i spil for at kæmpe for en bæredygtig fremtid.

Inspirerende møder, berigende samtaler og et par kendte ansigter fik os til at glemme regnen. Måske hjalp vores hjemmebagte kager også.

Det var dejligt at møde jer alle sammen!

Our crowdfunding video is out!

[Dansk Nedenfor]

To everyone, far, wide and near – here we present our amazing crowdfunding video!

Under our motto: ”Trade, education and culture by sail” our mission is to engage and bridge coastal communities using an innovative combination of CO2-free maritime transport, united with an onboard platform for cultural exchange and education.

And right now we ask for your support to help us finish the final stage of the current refit of our beautiful ship Hawila!

Visit our crowdfunding campaign here:

Thank you from the whole Hawila Crew!

Hej alle fra nær, fjern og fjernere – vi har nu færdiggjort vores crowdfunding-video!

Hawilas mission er at engagere og bygge bro mellem kystsamfund gennem en nytænkende kombination af CO2-fri sejltransport, samt en sejlende platform til kulturel udveksling og læring.

Lige nu beder vi om din støtte til at afslutte den sidste fase af Hawilas ombygning.

Dette kan du gøre gennem vores crowdfunding-kampagne:

Mange tak på forhånd – Hawila Holdet


Last summer we faced a dilemma; how best to go about ensuring Hawila’s main mast was fit for purpose. Unfortunately, rot had developed in the top of the mast, and it would therefore be incapable of withstanding the huge pressures and strains that it would be subjected to when undersail. We had to decide whether to repair or replace, and ultimately we chose to repair. We found  it was better to make an extensive repair as we were able to preserve a part of Hawila, keep costs down, and save a tree.

We first cut into the mast in little sections to investigate how far the rot has spread. From this we saw how much of the mast had to be replaced and we calculated the length of the scarf required.

A scarf joint is effectively a wedge  which has a long gradient which allows for a greater surface area for glueing. This distributes the loads over a greater amount of glue and keeps the loads safely within the manufacturer’s specification of the glue’s capabilities. 

 It was necessary to cut into the mast on two planes, making it ready to marry up with the new section. We cut the two planes into the mast with a chainsaw by means of a carefully constructed jig, and then planed it to its final dimensions.

To produce the material for the new section of the mast we made two lengths of stock with a gradient on one side, roughly corresponding with the required ratio of the scarf, by laminating together lengths of pine with epoxy glue . These formed the basis of the two opposing sides of the repair, and we then cut and planed the scarfs to correspond perfectly with those prepared on the old section of the mast.

The two sections of the repair and the original mast were then bonded together with epoxy and clamped with custom made clamps: This part of the process had to be done during the night as it was too warm in the daytime for the epoxy to cure properly.

The new section of the mast then had to be rounded to join the shape of the old section of the mast. This is achieved by first planing four new faces into the new section to produce an octagonal or 8 sided object, and then this is repeated to produce a 16 sided object. These 16 sides are then blended into the required cylindrical shape of the mast by sanding. 

The mast now awaits its return to the ship, and meanwhile it is being well looked after. Our dedicated volunteer Johanna has spent the last few days making sure the mast and its new repair is well oiled and tarred and looking its best.

Crowdfunding: HAWILA NEEDS YOU!

[Dansk nedenfor]

Hello everyone far, wide and near!

One year into the refit of our beautiful ship Hawila, we would like to ask for your support to bring the wind back into her sails!

We have created a crowdfunding campaign where you can choose different perks as a form of our appreciation. Here is the link to it:

Let’s come together for a more sustainable future on land and sea!

We thank you from all our hearts,

Your Hawila Crew!


Hej alle fra langt, bredt og nært!

Vi er nu et år inde i ombygningen af vores smukke skib Hawila og vi har brug for det sidste pust før vi kan få vind i sejlene igen!

Vi har derfor oprettet en crowdfunding-kampagne, hvor du kan støtte os.

Her er linket:

Lad os gå sammen om en mere bæredygtig fremtid på land og til vands!

Vi takker dig af hele vores hjerte,

Dit Hawila Crew!

The aft cargo hold’s sole is ready to welcome visitors next weekend!

Although the surface is still temporary, the beams are all new and fixed.

One of the main prerequisites here was to make enough space available underneath the sole to accommodate sufficient internal ballast, which is essential on a sailing ship like Hawila. It provides stability as it keeps the ship upright and steady, especially when under sail. The solution we found was to mount a large oak wedge on the keelson, which rises from 0 to 15cm over the length of the cargo hold.

Once the wedge was in place, we started templating, cutting and putting on the first and last sole beams. These were measured and cut with a compound mitre, to fit the position and angle of the frames they are attached to. This must be done carefully, as between them, they establish the plane of the sole. It must be level in relation to the waterline of the boat and not twisted.

We then added new ceiling planks on both sides for the intermediate sole beams to rest on. For this we first used two pieces of oak, protecting them with tar underneath, sanding and oiling them on their visible face. Some of Hawila’s old deck planks were used for the ceiling planks below the sole. Made of pine, they were coated with bitumen lacquer to protect them from the water and humidity in the bilge. Before screwing the planks to the frames, we overlaid the latter with a mixture of linseed oil, tar and limestone chalk powder, which has antifungal properties and beds the components down.

Stretching from one side of the ceiling to the other, whilst also sitting on the keelson and wedge, the intermediate sole beams were positioned in reference to the first and last beams. It was here of great importance that the beams were straight and had three support points, two on the ceiling and one on the keelson, as the sole will have to support 35 tons of cargo.

The method, commonly used by carpenters for ensuring that the beams follow the plane established by the first and last beam, is to nail a taught string line between the two, sitting on top of a 4mm plywood packer. This means that the exact position for the intermediate beams is 4mm below the string line. By placing a 4mm packer below the string line we can see if the beam is too high or low if the packer fits nicely without a gap. Once the beams were attached and painted with bitumen paint, we cleaned the entire bilge and painted it with boat soup as the frames were very dry.

Finally, we built a temporary floor out of plywood, with access hatches strategically placed above the bilge pumps. The final floor will likely be made of oak, although the exact thickness and material of the sole boards are yet to be determined.

OPEN BOAT DAY – visit Hawila in Holbæk!

[English below]

Kære venner,

I et år har Hawila været i Holbæk under ombygning og det har været en spændende tid, som vi gerne vil fejre med jer alle sammen denne lørdag den 23. oktober!

Fra kl. 10-16 vil der være ture rundt på Hawila, et printværksted, et oplæg fra kaptajnen om den igangværende ombygning, snacks, kager, drikkevarer og en masse god stemning – så kom og vær med!

Vi vil også kickstarte vores crowdfunding-kampagne samme dag, så hvis du vil vide mere om Hawila’s fremtid, så kig forbi og spørg os om alt det, du gerne vil vide!Vi glæder os til at byde dig velkommen om bord!


Hvad er Hawila Project?

Hawila er navnet på et 32 m langt norsk tomastet træskib, der blev bygget i 1935.
Det svenske Søfartsmuseum gav Hawila status som et kulturhistorisk værdifuldt skib, og hun blev også medlem af Træskib Sammenslutningen (T/S), den danske træskibsforening, hvis hovedformål er at fremme bevarelsen af gamle skibe.

I øjeblikket er skibet under ombygning i Holbæk Havn, så det kan blive ombygget til et kommercielt sejlende fragtskib.
Vores mission er at engagere og bygge bro mellem kystsamfund ved hjælp af en innovativ kombination af CO2-fri søtransport, forenet med en platform om bord til kulturel udveksling og uddannelse.

Dear friends,

For one year has Hawila been in Holbæk for her refit and it’s been an exciting time, which we would like to celebrate with you all this Saturday, October 23rd!

From 10 am – 4 pm there will be guided tours around Hawila, a printing workshop, a presentation by the captain about the current refit, snacks, cakes, drinks and a lot of good vibes – so come by and say hi to the crew!

We will also kick-start our crowdfunding campaign that same day, so if you want to know more about the future of Hawila, swing by and ask us everything you want to know!We can’t wait to welcome you on board!Your Hawila crew


What is Hawila Project?

Hawila is the name of a Norwegian 32 m long two-masted wooden Baltic trader, which was built in 1935. The Swedish state Maritime museum gave Hawila the status of a cultural-historical value vessel and she also became a member of the Træskib Sammenslutningen (T/S), the Danish wooden ship’s association whose main purpose is to promote the preservation of old vessels.

Currently, the ship is undergoing a refit in Holbæk Harbour for her to be converted into a commercial sailing cargo vessel. Our mission is to engage and bridge coastal communities using an innovative combination of CO2-free maritime transport, united with an onboard platform for cultural exchange and education.