America's Most Historic Yacht

Progress through November and December 2010

Posted By on January 27, 2011

The installation of the forward frame / deck beam assemblies has been steadily marching forward.

While the pace of this process may seem a bit slow, it’s useful to remember that these are really big parts.

If these were small boat parts, you’d just pick up your frame and carry it over to your keel and bolt it on. You wouldn’t have to a) shape 3 futtocks to make a frame, b) move each futtock around with a gantry crane, c) bolt those futtocks together to form each frame, d) repeat for the second frame and then line them up and bolt them to a deck beam (again, using your gantry), and e) finally crane the whole assembly over to the boat.

Not that anyone’s making excuses…

The crew has built up quite a few frames over the summer and fall, and it’s finally come time to do some stock organization. As you can imagine, a project of this magnitude uses huge quantities o wood. Right now, they’re using lots of oak.

Much of the wood has been stacked behind IYRS’ Restoration Hall.

Now it’s time to bring it into the shop,

one stick at a time. When this boat was first built, they didn’t have forklifts you know.

So, in it comes, where it’s sorted,

and piled

and marked.

The trickiest task is to find stock that has a natural sweep to it that will work for the curved sections of the futtocks.

These slabs are laid out flat, and patterns for the curved section of each futtock are copied onto mylar from the full-scale lofting.

These patterns are then taken down to the shop floor where they’re laid over the stock to see how well they’ll fit.

Sometimes a hardboard template is used for a particularly curvy piece.

But, mostly, they go through their stock piece by piece, using the mylar.

The first order of business is, naturally, to find wood that fits the required curves. The second task it to use this wood as efficiently as possible. If you can get 2 futtocks out of a slab, you’ve just saved hundreds of dollars in material.

And so it goes, slab by slab, finding the piece with just the right curve for each of the hundreds of futtocks left to shape.

Once these parts are identified, they’re cut to rough shape using the chain saw.

Notice the sawdust that Chris is standing in, by the way. No, he’s not working on a sand beach… that’s sawdust. This may give you a sense of just how much time is spent on even a simple operation like rough-cutting the stock.

These rough-cut parts are then marked and stacked up for final cutting on the ship’s saw.

The crew can cut right to the final shape and bevel in one pass using this saw. In case you’ve forgotten, this is the saw I’m talking about:

You may also recall that Coronet was built with massive oak floors.

The problem with replacing the original floors with more oak is that one needs a particular type of wood to make a good floor. The perfect floor is cut from a crook in a tree, a place where either a branch or root comes off of the main trunk. The grain of a crook will follow the tight bend taken by a floor. If the grain does not follow the bend of the floor, you get what’s called “short grain,” or grain that can snap off if loaded. In the photo above, you can see that most of the grain this particular floor runs down from upper left to lower right. It doesn’t follow the curve of the floor very well. The short grain is labelled in this photo, and if this floor were to fail, this is the area where it’s most likely to happen.

The challenge when replacing these floors is to find suitable stock. AFter an extensive search, the crew decided that not only is there a lack of appropriate stock available (anywhere!), but that the cost of using what stock they could find is prohibitive. A far better solution is to go with bronze floors instead of wood.

The bronze floors are stronger, lighter, less expensive, and will last longer than their oak counterparts. You don’t get much more of a win-win than that.


One Response to “Progress through November and December 2010”

  1. Tim Murray says:

    Don’t know how I missed this blog till now, but it’s fantastic! Very much appreciate the photo sequences and the detailed descriptions. This is first-rate stuff, and congratulations to you for quality coverage. I’m Coronet’s last Captain for The Kingdom, and I’m watching this re-build with intense interest, believe me! I grew up on this vessel, and she is part of my life. But living at a distance now, it’s hard to get to Newport often, so this provides the next best way to follow up. More, more!

    Tim Murray

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