Filling the Turret Tank: an epic saga in six parts

Posted on
The outside auxiliary tanks can hold the turret’s solution while we work or be used to build up new water. The middle “small” tank is where the skeg beam and hull plates are housed.

Turret Season is officially over! Last week we changed the solution in the turret tank and hooked it back up to its electrolytic reduction (ER) system. This is a long and exhausting process which takes about a week to complete. Let’s look at the steps involved in readying the turret for the off-season.

Thursday, A week out:   Read more

What have you been up to back there?

Posted on
One of our more bent stanchions after dry ice cleaning

We have a fantastic corps of volunteers here at the museum. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know some of them, particularly the Navigators, who greet visitors, offer tours, and make sure guests find their way to all of the exhibits. Whenever I see them, they never fail to ask how the conservation of the Monitor is going, or if we’ve discovered anything new, or sometimes more generally: what have you been up to back there lately?

So here’s what we’ve been up to lately. . .   Read more

News from the Tank Farm

Posted on
DSCF1260blog
Turret stanchions waiting for their turned to be cleaned.

Work has been progressing nicely out in the Tank Farm. After a week in Tank 1 with the copper alloy artifacts, we refilled the tank with fresh solution, covered it back up with a tarp and moved into Tank 6. Tank 6 and 5 (which we were into this week) hold wrought iron artifacts. They all received a through cleaned via dry ice blasting, which is rapidly becoming one of my new favorite things.

One of the most exciting things about dry ice blasting these artifacts is that removing concretion often reveals previously hidden features. This has been the case for two artifacts in the last two weeks. The first was one of the stanchions off of the turret.   Read more

That’s a wrap!

Posted on
Happiness is. . .being done with installing the new anode rig!
Happiness is. . .being done with installing the new anode rig!

Well folks, we have come to the end of our turret season! Two and a half months of hot, humid, intense, occasionally slightly dangerous work culminated in the final tank filling on July 14th.

Throughout the eleven weeks of turret work the whole crew of the USS Monitor Center pulled together to accomplish something great. We removed all 21 of the remaining nutguards and nutguard fragments from the interior of the turret, a feat in and of itself. A few small artifacts were discovered in the concretion behind the nutguards. All together, including the nutguard pieces we accessioned 110 new artifacts. We also installed a brand new anode rig that will make the electrolytic reduction of the turret more efficient and should speed up salt extraction.   Read more

Week Five in the Turret

Posted on
DSCF0673
Although the outside of the nut is degraded, the inside threads are easy to unscrew.

Hello Everyone! We’ve been busy in the turret for the last few weeks. As Kate explained in her post earlier, we are concentrating on removing the remaining nutguards. There are a total of 24 ringing the inside of the turret in various states of preservation. So far we’ve dismantled the smaller fragments and are working towards the larger, more intact ones. We chip away at the concretion behind the nutguards and along the edges until they can be lifted off. Some are still bolted in place and the bolts can be unscrewed with a wrench due to the excellent preservation of the inner thread system.

Once the nutguards are detached, we concentrate on removing the concretion that formed behind the barrier. This consists of hard iron corrosion and concretion mixed with sludgy sand and softer corrosion products. In addition to revealing more of the turret walls, we are interested in any remaining artifacts lodged behind the plates.   Read more