The second week in the condenser tank was no less exciting than the first, but involved a very different set of activities. It is important to understand that while the cleaning and disassembly of artifacts is a big part of what we do, there is a lot more that goes into the care and keeping of our large tanks.
Most of Will’s week was dedicated to constructing new supports that will go under the injection pumps on the forward and aft sides of the condenser. These supports will keep the injection pumps in place and assist in removing the pumps the next time we are in the condenser tank.
Other activities of the week included wiring in two more reference electrodes and constructing a new anode rig for the condenser. We build our anode rigs from stainless steel expanded metal mesh. The mesh is cut with an angle grinder and then bolted together. So the wet lab turned into a bit of a fabrication workshop for a few days, but this just goes to show that conservation requires a variety of skills, especially on a project of this scale. This could explain why it is difficult to describe a “normal” day in the lab. On another related note, I’m starting to get pretty good with an angle grinder.
Check back to the blog soon for more updates on our progress and if you’re in the area, come to the museum on Saturday May 25 and take in our CSI: Monitor lecture at 1pm, part of the 2013 Civil War Lecture Series.
Here we see Will bolting together the anode rig.