Oh By the Way… Or We Are Finally Taking the Time to Update You About the Port Carriage Work!


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About 2 months ago, after a lot of work and effort (involving a certain amount of sweat and colorful, frequent, interjections) Gary and I completed the removal of organic materials from the port carriage! Hurrah!

Here are work shots for your viewing pleasure:

This picture shows how many bolt heads (and easy-out stuck in them) were still in the way of removing the side plate (wrought iron) before accessing the wood.

Sacrifices had to be made for the object’s long term conservation and proper treatment of the wood down the road. Four bolt heads were ground down before it was conceivable to push the plate with a hydraulic jack. See below.

And here is one of the key moments:  


The side plate is off (above, behind Gary and the plate is our new Reverse Osmosis water system capable of producing about 25,000 gallons/day!) and the wood is looking beautiful under it (see below).

Then it took another week to gently remove the wood part. 

And after providing proper storage solution for the wood and wrought iron element, this significant stage of the carriage conservation was completed by a week of deconcretion of the inside break mechanism. Pneumatic air-scribes of different size and shape; chisels and hammers and smaller tools were used as needed.

Here are two pictures of the carriage structure before deconcretion:

And below Gary was able to stand the carriage vertically with the crane to make work easier for our sore backs!

The two last pictures are the result of this week of deconcretion. The breaking mechanism is coming along very well. It is very fragile and sometimes crumbly.

The carriage “frame” has now been in an alkaline solution (in RO water) for a month and chlorides are being released gently but steadily.

The next step will be to set up anodes and place the object under electrolytic reduction. This might be in a couple months though since the engine, condenser, and turret are occupying everyone’s work schedule before winter. Don’t forget to check out the lab’s cameras after Thanksgiving. There will be action (and maybe blood)!

2 thoughts on “Oh By the Way… Or We Are Finally Taking the Time to Update You About the Port Carriage Work!”

  1. Awesome work guys! I saw this last week but did not have time to respond. The carriage is an amazing piece of equipment. It is remarkable you are able to get it apart and that the wood is in such fine condition. You’d think that when the side plates were pulled off, that the wood would disintegrate. I’ll look forward to seeing it.

    When you get a chance, could you test the wood with a simple magnet to see if the wood is magnetic? I was fortunate to inspect the wreck/remains of the Civil War Ericsson Anti-torpedo raft in Bermuda in September. It was made of two layers of 18″ square timbers bolted together about every 8″, in both length and width, that is a lot of bolts!! There was so much rusting iron, that in trying to test areas to locate broken bolts, I found that after 147 years, most of the wood had absorbed so much iron, or iron oxide, that even some of the wood was magnetic. Thanks, Fran

    1. Thanks Fran!
      The wood is definitly full of metallic salts. Some bolts are also still in it, used to tighten the pieces together. I will pass a magnet over the surface of the wood next time I work on it and let you know what happens.
      Have a great week.