All over the map

As Quentin often reminds us, all boats are built in the last month. CWM is no exception, and the pace around the shop has risen noticeably. Here’s a smorgasbord of the kinds of things going on.

Electrical work

We’re putting in generators and batteries for more than the nav system. The boat has always had electric lighting, but it all needs to be upgraded to pass muster for going to sea. We’ve found lots of fixtures that have been pulled from other boats by salvagers in India.


Some have been pulled from Morgan or out of our own collection to be assessed. Scott and Bobby look over the collection.

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Nathan has spent a good amount of time cleaning up some of these.


The housings were cooked is TSP to loosen the paint.



The lanterns will be retrofitted with LED lights.

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These lights are cooler and safer than oil lamps, and they are brilliant and energy efficient to boot.

All of the wiring on the ship will be upgraded to marine specs.


It’s far more complex than you might think. Few if any of the parts needed can be bought at your local hardware store.  Even the wire is special.

Metal work

There’s all sorts of fabrication that we’ve been doing lately. You’ve seen some of the shivs for the steering gear in past posts. Here Jim is turning some stock down on the metal lathe,


and drilling out holes on the Bridgeport.


Blocks have been refurbished from the inside out.

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We’ve made lots of hinges for sea chests.


These hinges are completely traditional, including the forge welding that forms the hinge loop.


Here’s Ali working at the Seaport’s forge. First, she cleans up her fire by pulling out the “clinker,” the fused coal residue that doesn’t contribute to the heat of the fire.

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She concentrates the coke, or heat-producing coal in the center of the fire and brings some green coal to the back to bank the fire and begin the coking process (cooking out the impurities) of the green coal.

She’s previously shaped and folded her barrels at the metal shop, but the overlap needs to be fused together.


The piece is put deep into the fire and heated to almost melting.


She quickly pulls the piece out of the fire, and coats it with flux to stop the oxidation (the hot metal reacts with the oxygen in the air and forms iron oxide, aka rust. This oxidation would become a barrier to keep the 2 metal leaves from fusing.) reaction.


What does she use as flux? You may know this stuff.


Back into the fire. Once the piece is just hot enough, things move quickly.

She and Mike have made all sorts of other parts. Here they are taking flat stock and opening up the holes to make square washers. First, heating and flattening the stock.

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and then driving a pin through the hole to open it up.

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Yes, we make some of our own washers.

There are many deadeye and bullseye bands to make. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious why.


The big metal cone is called a cone mandrel. If you’ve ever had a ring resized, the jeweler used a smaller version of this same device.


It helps to form an even, round curve.

All those fine shapes formed by heat and hammering.

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The final product after being fit around a bullseye.


The other day we needed to extend a bolt coming out of the try works. The original had degraded and would no longer hold a nut, so Scott and crew welded a new section of bolt onto the old shaft.

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(Jack is helping and has his eyes tightly shut by the way)

A little more tuning up.


And there you go. One extended bolt.


These bolts are used to attach the large iron brackets that fasten the try works to the ship.


Sea Chests

The volunteers have been working steadily on sea chest for the voyage. They’ve built over 30 to date.

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Some are brightly painted


and others, more conservative.


They all have a till with a hinged top for smaller items.

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Dean has made all manner of fancy beckets (lifting handles) for the sea chests. These are real works of art.

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The Hold

Lots of work down here. Bob and Trev have almost finished with the platform that will cover the ballast.


Each section is removable for access to the bilge and for trimming the ballast when we get down to New London.

The entire platform rests on a series of athwartships beams

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that land on curved, beveled timbers fastened to the ceiling. Here is one being cut on the ship’s saw prior to final fitting.

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You can see them in place here.

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The timber also acts the brace the concrete ballast and keep it from shifting.

The hold looks a lot different than it did back in 1969 when rocks were used as ballast.

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Access panels are set in place above the sea cocks (water intake valves).

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Scott has been doing a lot of work in the mechanicals room where the generator and pumps are located. He’s fabricated this fine battery rack that fits against the curved ceiling.


He, Paul, and others have done a tremendous amount of plumbing work over the past month. Here’s a manifold that directs water in from the various through-hulls.

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There’s a lot more beneath the decking. It takes some serious contortions to work down below the mechanicals room.


Yes, that’s Paul down there, just about to go below the platform.

The pumps are all connected up now.


Fire suppression, exhaust, fuel lines, wiring… it’s getting busier and busier in here.


The fuel tank and filter are now installed.


Paul has added sound insulation to the mechanicals room.

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and will soon cover it all over with shiplapped pine.


Scott built a snazzy control panel for the diesel fire pump,


and it works just fine. Here’s the engine starting up for just the second time.

It’s Loud.

Bringing in the crane

The crane came by the other week and lifted all manner of things on board. Matt and the riggers coordinated a mountain of projects, and pulled them all off in a single day. There were piles of davits (to hold the whaleboats) to go in.

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More ballast to go in the hold.

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The old carpenter’s bench / chicken coop (yes, really).


Mrs. Tinkham’s Cabin.


Mrs. Tinkham was the 19 year-old wife of Captain Tinkham who came aboard as a newlywed in 1871. She was sea sick for the entire voyage, and the captain had this cabin built for her up on deck, presumably to give her more air. She left the ship after a year and half of being sick (!) but the cabin was found to be useful, and so remained.

All of the water and waste storage tanks went in.



It was a tight fit at times,

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but they’re in now.


They’ll be moved to the centerline of the boat soon.

That’s it for now, but there’s more that I haven’t covered yet.