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The port Dahlgren gun carriage is fully disassembled!         

Last week Will was able to escape his desk for a few days and help take apart the last elements of the port gun carriage.

The complete braking mechanism was still in place, but by separating all of the parts we are able to maximize the amount of salts extracted from the artifact down the road (aka: a conservator’s dream!). After studying the historic blue prints (see historic plan below), we knew that one piece was the key to this puzzle. We also knew that we would need access to both the upper- and under-side of the carriage. In order to gain access to both, Will custom welded a rig allowing the artifact to stand vertically during treatment.

Details of the bottom plates, friction plates and friction rollers. View from below and transverse section. Peterkin, 1985.

Once everything was in place, we removed the “key”, and all the other elements came apart smoothly. Both Will and I experienced the first rounds of disassembly work on this artifact a few years back and, at that time, nothing came apart easily, so we were not sure what to expect.

As a result of last week’s work, an additional 33 carriage components were given accession numbers, making the total number of parts a whopping 238. In our conservation world, this will translate into 238 individual treatment logs and records, as well as at least 714 pictures (before, during and after treatment)…

Here are a few pictures of the carriage main frame before and after removing the braking mechanism:

Inside the gun carriage frame in April 2016 (left) and last week (right).
The carriage frame standing vertically, before removing the friction plates (left) and after (middle and right).

We are soooo close to completing treatment for this object; this is a very exciting way to end 2016 for us!!

There will be a smaller blog sent out by the end of the week so stay tuned!

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