One Side of the Port Carriage Down!

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Great progress was made at the beginning of the month on the port carriage! The wrought iron side plate AND the wood inboard part were removed from the gun support.

Here are some photos…

The side plate being pushed by two hydraulic jacks.

It worked but the plate was still tight at the bottom (see the gap on the left side).

So back to more “jack power”…

It eventually came apart! (it almost looks easy when summarized with 4 pictures)

Now the removal of the wooden part… Seven bolts were still in the wood (but their heads had been removed).

Wood shims were inserted between the wood and the main frame of the carriage.

The carriage went back in water a few times with the shims in place. We hoped they would swell and push the wood out, at least a little. But no luck. It took two full work days, and by steadily adding more shims we eventually created a 2inch gap between the wood and the frame. You can see the gap in the following pictures. 

Eventually the wood came OUT (see the trophy picture below)!!!

The wrought iron side plate and the wood element are now in appropriate storage solutions. There is still a lot to do on these pieces before we can consider drying them (like try to remove long iron support bolts that pass through the wood pieces, remove copper alloy elements out of the iron plate, and also months of treatment in appropriate solutions for each piece), but these next treatment stages needed the pieces to be out of the carriage frame before we could proceed.  So…we are getting there!!

Not sure yet when we will be able to “attack” the outboard part of the carriage but we’ll keep you posted with any progress.

Have a wonderful weekend.

5 thoughts on “One Side of the Port Carriage Down!”

  1. Gary, awesome job!! Looks like a lot of hard, hot work. Is that one piece of wood? It is in a remarkable state of preservation considering how old it is, how long it was at the bottom of the ocean and the forces applied (even though carefully applied) to remove the side plate. What type of wood is it? When you do the other carriage, will you take the side plate off before you remove the wheels?
    Hope you have a great weekend too.
    Fran

    1. Hi Fran!

      On the blue prints, it looks like 2 pieces of wood are bolted together with 7 bolts. However, when the side plate was removed, we saw that they utilized 4 pieces of wood for this side. Also, with use, the carriage got damaged in the back and the wood broke making 5 wood pieces instead of 4. The two bolts holding together this part of the carriage are most likely bent. The wood (white oak) is in very good condition indeed. The worms attacked it though where it was exposed (at the bottom of the carriage) to a depth of about 2 inches. It is otherwise full of iron salts which we will remove as much as possible.

      Not sure yet in which order we will process the second carriage. We still have the inboard side of this one to finish and the new parts coming off are taking quite some room in the lab!

      We will keep you posted!

  2. Elsa, Thanks for the reply and thank you too for all of the work you are doing on the gun carrage. Gary shows up in many of the photos, and I guess he does a lot of the “heavy” work, but I know you are there too. Hope you are enjoying this unique work.

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