Tuesday, July 3, 2012

21st WoodenBoat Show @ Mystic Seaport_1: Planking the CW Morgan

 A plank exits the steam box after about 3 hrs, cook time.

Picked up by the fork lift, the planks limberness is evident.

It's brought into the shed to be fitted.
 The new plank is lifted into place by many crew members. The popularity of this demo is apparent here, I could barely squeeze in enough to get a photo.

 These are all new planks save the very first visible
Drilling for the silicon bronze spikes...
and hammering it home.
The new plank in place.
The crew.
View of the large shed where much preliminary work is done.
Same again, you can see this is where the spars are being worked on or fabricated.

all the photos above copyright Thomas Armstrong
Morgan launch. A friend sent me a link to a page of early photos of the Morgan.

View aboard.

The two photos above courtesy PTLDME via John Brinton, thanks John.

This years WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport was, as always, a great experience. One of the features of the show I enjoy most are the demonstrations, and this year they hit a home run. On both Friday and Saturday the CW Morgan crew demonstrated steam bending and planking for the big whaleship's restoration. A wow. The Morgan is being planked in a mix of white oak and longleaf yellow pine. These planks are 36' long, 14" wide and 3" thick and weigh in at an average of 500lbs. though there must be a bit of difference in the two species. I was unable to determine which I was photographing, but my money is on the pine. The plank is steamed for about 3 hrs. to make it pliable enough to conform to the shape of the hull.

The old adage is 'many hands make light work'. In the case of planking the Morgan, I would suggest that though there were indeed many hands involved, this is still not 'light' work. Once the new plank is in places it is clamped and wedged to allow the crew, a mix of volunteers and staff, to secure the plank with wooden trunnels and 7"silicon bronze spikes, robustly hammered into place as seen above.

This demonstration was highly instructive, revealing the immense effort being poured into the restoration of this massive icon. It was also wildly popular with the show attendees, as you can see in my photo taken from the stairway which goes up to her deck. I had to push in just to get a narrow shot of the plank going into place. Once things calmed a bit I was given a hardhat and allowed to get a little closer to the action. This work is ongoing, with the hull being re-planked from the garboard planks up. The lower, garboard planks are deemed worthy to stay in place but will receive copper plating. The projected relaunch date is about a year from now, with a voyage to New Bedford planned for 2014. 

Thanks to Mystic Seaport and WoodenBoat Magazine for continuing excellence, and a special thanks to John Brinton for his link.

Originally posted by Thomas Armstrong on 70.8%


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