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Out in the Tank Farm

The past few weeks, team Monitor has been working in the tank farm, on some of the objects we keep stored in large outdoor tanks; including hull plating, stanchions, and supports for the engine, and a spreader plate, control arm and gun-slide reinforcements from the turret.

Lesley dry ice blasting an engine hull plate.

These objects had been cleaned with hand tools before, but had not yet been cleaned with dry ice blasting. This made for a very satisfying cleaning experience for us, the objects looked so much cleaner after dry ice blasting! It also allowed us to give our new archaeological conservator, Erik, some first hand experience with dry ice blasting.

Erik dry ice blasting a hull plate while Lesley and Laurie hand clean the control arm.

In addition to dry ice blasting, we also used some good old fashioned hand tools to clean the more delicate parts of the turret control arm. The control arm has wrought iron, wood, and copper alloy components, and each of those materials needs to be separated and conserved using different techniques. We used hand tools to remove the copper alloy chain.

Lesley shows off the copper alloy chain which has just been successfully removed from the control arm.

And a combination of hand tools and dry ice blasting to remove the large wood component.

Lesley and Mike work to remove the wooden component from the wrought iron control arm.

The wood was held in place by iron nuts and bolts, so by cleaning the corrosion from around the bolts we were able to remove the nuts and slide the wood off the main iron object!

Mike and Lesley show off their skills! The control arm has been successfully disassembled.

As exciting as cleaning these wonderful objects is, the most remarkable part might be the toad that tried to make a home underneath one of the bulk heads. We laid the bulkhead on a pallet before returning it to the tank, and continually sprayed it with water to keep it wet. Apparently this made the perfect toad home and he was very unhappy when we took his new home away! Sorry Toad!

Toad hoping we don’t bother him in his perfect new home.

Now that all of the objects have been cleaned and disassembled, we have returned them to their tanks to continue desalination (removal of salts). Team Monitor is done in the tank farm for now, but we have more big projects on the horizon!

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