Lots of catching up!

Let’s start with a big thing: The Windlass.


This has been in storage for quite a while, and last month it was brought into the main shop for a coat of paint and a good look-see. Dean has been doing a lot of the mechanical work associated with the windlass. In this picture, he has opened up one of two “pork chops” so that the interior pawls are visible.


The pawls are the 3 steel bars that act as ratchets to stop the windlass from turning and releasing the anchor. They drop into metal ridges by the chain drum.


Dean and Ali worked together to make some modifications to the pork chops. At the bottom of the casting is a channel that has become worn over the years. The bottom of the channel acts as a stop for the pawls, and the area to the left has been worn to the point that the pawls can now swing freely.  Dean and Ali custom fit and welded metal inserts into the channel to build it back up to full thickness. This beats replacing the entire casting.  Here’s Ali doing the final fitting of one such insert. You can see the wooden model on the bench that she used to get shape right first before cutting any steel.


The volunteers scraped and painted this entire assembly, and did a beautiful job. Sorry, no photos… Dean and Scott hauled it out the other day with the fork truck,


looking very much like a jet engine.


Before the windlass could be installed up on the foredeck, some leaks around posts that hold the windlass needed to be addressed. These massive posts protrude up through the deck from the fo’c’sle, and the caulking at that deck seam needed replacing. Jamie, Rob, and Jon reefed out the old seams

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and re-caulked and tarred the seam. Just in time too, as it began to rain and snow that very afternoon.

The next day, the crane arrived and hauled the windlass up and into place.

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It fit into the split bearings like a dream. Paul helps to guide her into the slot.


The bearing cap was loosely bolted on. Later it will be shimmed so that it has just the right amount of pressure on the shaft.


While the big work is done, the pork chops still need to go on, as do a number of operating levers and brakes. More on that later.

Speaking of winter, the riggers have been busy setting up trees on the larger vessels here at the Seaport: the Conrad, the Dunton, and of course, the Morgan.

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The trees often go on the top of the foremast, but given that the upper masts are not yet installed, they opted for the bowsprit of the Morgan.

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It looked pretty nice the other afternoon while Alex and Sarah were putting up temporary ratlins.


Amazing how different it looks with the sun at your back…


The work on the spars is steady and constant. Sean has been reducing the diameter of a spar that had some problem checking (i.e., cracking) and bringing it down to a size where the checks are less pronounced.


He’s using a hand plane with a curved sole to get a nice, rounded shape.


The spar is set on wheels to allow him to easily turn it as he works his way around. This will become one of the upper topsail yards.


Here is the the main upper topsail yard. The original spar is to the right with the rough-turned stock to the left.


The new stock was turned in Washington, but left rough at the ends so that we could fit our iron work to it. A router is being used to reduce the diameter of the end to accept a metal cap.


The wooden piece clamped tot he spar acts as a guide for the router. The edge of the router base rides up against the guide and creates a crisp, clean shoulder cut. The very end is left intact during the routing to give the machine a shelf to ride on.

The end of the spar is tapered inboard of the cap, so this material is initially routed away in strips, and the remaining wood finished with a slick and hand planes. Here, the wood is just beginning to be cut away with a slick


Sometimes there are knots that don’t easily chip away. It’s easier to work around them and then cut them off with a hand saw.


There are times that you have to use nontraditional tools when working with spars. Here, Walt uses a modern shovel plane to fair off the top of his spar.


You won’t see that in Fine Woodworking.

Matt has been continuing work on the gammon knee braces. This is the port side, and he’s now working on the starboard one.


Flattening and shaping the stock to his lines.


Using an axe to cut the tapered section.


Using the axe after cutting kerfs with a chainsaw to take off some larger sections.

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Followed by more shaping with power planers.


The fore upper topmast trees are finished, and the wayback spreaders are being laid out and fit here.


Before the snow fell, volunteers Joe & Wayne worked on setting some of the decking spikes a little deeper. As the deck is worn down by people walking on it, the bungs get a litte thin and can allow water to infiltrate. The old bungs need to be removed, the deck spikes set down deeper, and new, thicker bungs installed. They begin by drilling out around the spike a little ways with a hole saw.


The saw cuts away the bung to provide access to the spike, and also cuts some of the wood fibers around the head of the spike. This allows them to drive the spike in a little deeper without crushing too much of the surrounding wood.

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They finish up by re-bunging the hole.


The metal work can seem endless. Here is a set of deadeyes that need to be evaluated and tuned up.


Some are in pretty good shape.


Others… not so much.


All of the iron work gets brought down to clean metal, and then painted. Paul has been doing a lot of this lately.


Down in the hold, the wooden platform for the diesel generator and pump is finished, and the metal platform for the generator has been fabricated and brought down.


The diesel pump has been brought down as well.


We’re building a deck in the hold to allow visitor access.


The deck will also be part of a system to hold the lead ballast in place. We want to make sure that when the boat heels over that the lead doesn’t tumble around and destabilize the ship.


Bob and Trev have been building a framework to capture the ballast that goes over the keel.


This will tie into athwartships beams that capture the rest of the ballast.


That’s it for now. We hope you can come by during the holidays. We’ll make sure to shovel the ice and snow off ahead of time!