The crew has been working diligently so that the RELIANCE model can be finished for the museum’s opening this coming spring.
We have put hanks onto the rigging for both the jib top sail and the stay sail; these pieces will be used to sew the sails directly into the rigging.
Meanwhile, Laura is working hard to finalize the overall rigging within the mast system.
While this has been going on, the struggle to perfectly fair the hull and keel has continued. Sandy spent a good portion of time on this duty, while Zach sanded the rudder down so that it would form well into place. He managed to take a short enough break to get a quick photoshoot!
We’ve now got the topmast lodged onto the rest of the mast’s body, with Herb working on some rigging details. While slaving away in his lonely corner of Building 28, Herb noticed an error on the spreader’s rigging: one of the wires was too short. Fortunately, he was swift to correct the wiring, and has since progressed on the spreader/mast system.
Keith is beginning the process of attaching the rudder to the model. He’s screwed a long metal piece–a set of gudgeons–to the back of the keel; the rudder will be pinned to this piece by a series of pintles.
An interesting fact we discovered is that the RELIANCE’s rudder was actually held up by a bearing attached to the lower part of the ship’s hull. Still figuring out how we’re going to work that into the design.
Meanwhile, Steve is working on setting up turnbuckles to be plugged and added to the overall structure.
Keith has been completing the truss and it is now mounted onto the mast.
Laura has now started to fabricate and attach the truss and spreader guys.
Meanwhile, Laura and Herb have been studying photos of the Reliance bowsprit and are now completing all the little bowsprit details.
They have also completed the upper ends of the standing rigging and, as shown, have them tarred, varnished, and ready to go. We’re just a week or two away until the mast can be hoisted upright in our mast jig and the standing rigging can be completed at deck level.
We thought we could find tasks for Steve that would not involve power tools, but Sandy caught the ever creative Steve with a Dremel tool in his back pocket… we’re just trying to excite his inner crafts person, but the power tool guy always comes to the surface…
Keith works on the rudder between all the other tasks we give him. He likes engineering problems and more often than not come up with simple, innovative solutions. He has a Notre Dame engineering degree and Michigan advanced degree, so he’s a conflicted soul. Here it looks like he is invoking a higher spirit into a solution.
Steve is our amateur Astronomer, so we give him work on our mast so he can get closer to the stars.
Tim is a psychologist so we gave him 450 screws to set the boom sail track in place; it’s finicky work that requires precision. We try to play with his mind every once in awhile because we’re worried that in the background he’s writing a “tell all” book about the RELIANCE inmates. In this picture, he has about 150 screws in place – only 300 more, Tim! In the background, Herb is proving his wire to manila splicing technique.
Meanwhile, Laura works on bowsprit rigging. The bobstays are tensioned by tightening the bowsprit retaining bar; there are no turnbuckles on the bobstays.
Ken from Hall Spars dropped by on his evening constitutional and we talked about how boats today tension their shrouds with hydraulic mast rams since the turnbuckles are too short to perform this function. He also noted that on large racers rigging eyes are replacing tangs.
Work continues on the deck edge toe rails. One is complete and the second one is going into the jig for some final-finish work.
We received a large shipment of nickel plating from R.E. Sturdy, our third such shipment from them. Again, we give them our most sincere thanks and praise for donating to our team’s success.
Also received in that shipment were plated topmast shroud turnbuckles and mast hoops; thank you Tom and Dorothy!
Keith continues to make amazing progress on the spreader and now it is on to the truss!
Finally, we moved our benches to align the mast, topmast, and topsail yard so initial work on rigging can be done. This will also enable us to complete our topmast with sheaves and cone parts.
Steve continues to work to the upper section of the mast; the angle iron cheeks and, as you can see, the fourteen ladder rungs which Burr had made for us earlier in the year are involved.
We also had a visit from the Okerholms. Bob brought his beautiful model of HMCo’s SCOUT which was one of the first boats through the Cape Cod Canal when it opened.
SCOUT’s external condenser coil must have made running aground a real nightmare, even in mud!
These photos lead us to Don working to restore our triple expansion steam launch engine, another of our projects in Building 28 (Don’t you love candid photos!)
We’ve missed a couple of blog posts because we’ve been deep into detail work, which doesn’t seem to lend itself to blog creativity!
We’ve made a miniature exhibit of our winter lecture series presentation: “Wonderfully Modern Herreshoff Manufacturing Company”, which you can see in our shop if you come by for a visit.
Steve has been finishing the metal angle iron cheeks on the mast; these hold four upper main shrouds, forestay, two preventer stays (main running back stays), and the throat halyard strap.
Meanwhile. Keith has been working on the spreader, and you can see the start of Bill’s jig to make the deck-edge toe rails in the background; Sandy has also been filing, grinding, and polishing more than 150 shackles. You see these in rough form (dark bronze), polished state (bright brass), and finished nickel-plated product in the bins. Hooks are next, and then the dreaded 140 ash blocks from scratch.
Steve is also starting to work on the final tap and die work for all the turnbuckles.
Laura has been making grommets which turn into balloon jib straps, jib tack straps, jib pennants, spinnaker straps, and a throat halyard strap.
Lastly, Herb has become Bosun Splicer. Here’s his stock hanging on the rack awaiting finishing.
It’s been a very busy weekend…
Saturday was a whirlwind. Laura was splicing halyard pennants; these are wires spliced into a circle in an endless loop. She unravels a piece of wire 7x the length of the loop, then re-braids the wire as you would a grommet. Unfortunately, her day ended before I could take a picture.
Mike brought alot of hardware from Harrison Casting; you can see seven half-round angle irons on the gaff.
We’ve started to file and shape these to take eye-spliced ends of the peak halyard span wires. Another picture shows the angle irons to hold eye-spliced loops of the forestay, upper main shrouds, preventers, and throat halyard. We’ve started to grind, file, and persuade these into shape. You can also see that work continues the spreader.
Burr dropped off three new turnbuckles with incredible eyes. These and three other turnbuckles he delivered earlier have been shipped off to a local machining center to drill out slots typical of Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. turnbuckles. We can’t wait for this to be done so we can nickel plate them. They’re a critical path for rigging the bowsprit and mast!!!
Bill also stopped by and brought another 12′ of sail track for the boom. This has been provided by our friends: the Wrights at AMA Engineering.
Our Roger Williams University intern Zach created our new “Wonderfully Modern Herreshoff Manufacturing Co.” exhibit from lecture material given earlier this year by the team.
And of course Zach and Sandy spent a lot of time sprucing up Building 28 for opening day on Sunday. RELIANCE is really looking great and we’re hoping our new exhibits will excite you as well.
Keith has been worried that our main mast will fit; we’ve found out that we actually have a few inches to spare. It’s still not much…
Here we show Herb enjoying his craft, perhaps too much. A happy splicer is a happy rigger!
We have 48′ of brass deck railing to shape. Bill believes he can accomplish this using the table saw and has been busy trying out a number of creative jigs and fixtures.
Lastly, we have Keith making sure that the mast collar will fit over the mast truss chainplate.