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. A jib crane will be temporarily installed in the foremast step. It will permit the shipwrights to lift heavy materials, such as the apron, into the bow assembly. As a result of previous restoration work and because we butt the joints together, several frames have developed what has been dubbed the “zipper line.” Normally the butt ends of the futtocks, which make up the frames, are overlapped with an adjoining frame. However, over several decades these butt end joints were not always overlapped when new material was installed and inherent weakness developed in the hull. In order to sail the Morgan safely, the shipwrights are reworking the frames to eliminate the zipper line with twenty new pieces of material and to stagger properly the futtock butt joints.

Five of the ten knees needing replacement have been shaped. Four of these have been installed. The transom timber rider has been placed and work continues on the vertically positioned quarter timbers in the stern. Milling of the tail feathers which go in between the quarter timbers has commenced. Together these vertical members constitute the shape of the hull aft above the waterline. An order for new spars, including the lower section of the foremast, has been finalized. These spars of Douglas fir will be preformed at a mill in Washington State and delivered to the shipyard for finishing and fitting of hardware. As always, we try to keep the hull moist. Preliminary caulking of cotton backing has been placed between new planking material to retain moisture and to slow air circulation. Later the cotton backing will be driven home when final caulking commences.