Morgan Restoration

Progress updates on the restoration of the 1841 whaleship CHARLES W. MORGAN.

One year and one day

One year and one day from now, July 21, 2013, the Morgan will be launched. This will be a significant milestone in her over five year restoration and eventual 38th Voyage.

Morgan at WoodenBoat Show 2012

Featured at the WoodenBoat Show

The Charles W. Morgan was a special focus of the WoodenBoat Show this year. Over the course of the weekend, shipwrights demonstrated the stages of the planking process: spiling (the method by which the plank’s shape is determined), steam bending and fitting, and trunnel driving.

Shaping the outer stem

The outer stem is being shaped from white oak found at the Charlestown Navy Shipyard three years ago when the timber basin, covered over in 1910, was excavated. This piece weighs 1,600 pounds and will be fastened to the apron.

The jib crane arrives

The shipwrights and riggers, assisted by a commercial portable crane operator, installed the jib crane last week. The jib crane will be used to lift heavy timbers for the forward part of the vessel.

Morgan in tent

Installing the new apron

With the help of a large crane the new apron was slid into place on the bow of the Charles W. Morgan this morning. The apron is a key structural element in the bow to which much of the new planking needs to be fastened, and its successful installation is a major step in moving along the structural restoration in the bow.

Planking, cant frames and ten knees

Planking continues to be the focus of activity but good progress is being made elsewhere on the vessel. All the cant frames, which form the shape of the bow, have been replaced and tied in place.

Removing the old apron, finding new timber

The apron, part of the very front of the bow structure of the ship, has been removed and a new one is being shaped. To get the old apron off, the shipyard needed a crane to pull it up and slide it out of its vertical position.

Morgan transom beam exterior

The new transom beam

On a very cold and blustery morning on March 27, the Shipyard crew gathered to hoist the stern’s new transom beam into position. The beam is a critical timber as it is the transverse support for the entire transom.

Planning for the 38th Voyage

Planning for the 38th Voyage is well underway. Watercraft area personnel are focused on sailing the Morgan. This activity ranges from selection of safety equipment to meet Coast Guard requirements, to determining the stability of the ship and designing an appropriate ballasting scheme. The itinerary of the voyage is taking form.

More planking, work on transom

A second plank of white oak was installed in the stern last week. White oak bends easily after being steamed and for that reason it will be used in areas of the bottom which have a more curved and twisting shape.