Progress updates on the restoration of the 1841 whaleship CHARLES W. MORGAN.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The restoration of the Morgan reached another significant milestone February 21 as Museum shipwrights installed the first of the new exterior planking on the whaleship. The longleaf pine plank weighed more than 500 pounds, measured 34 feet long, 8 inches wide and 4 inches thick.
Due to a change of plans, the shipwrights have postponed the installation of the first new plank until the week of February 13, 2012. This has permitted us to undertake a new round of laser scanning, particularly where the old framing material abuts the new futtocks, and of the transom.