Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Remembering the March 27, 1964 Earthquake and Tsunami

Kodiak schoolhouse and grounded vessels, March 1964.
Photo courtesy Deedie Pearson
 In the next two weeks, we'll be posting photos, maps, and audio files to mark the 50th anniversary of the March 27th 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake. The earthquake was the second largest in seismically recorded history, with a 9.2 magnitude, but it was the tsunamis following the quake which devastated Kodiak. Ten seismically generated sea waves swept into the downtown business district, smashing buildings and leaving fishing boats high and dry in the wreckage. In future posts we'll document some of the stories which resulted from this event. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 11, 2013

KMM's New Waterfront Mobile Tour

With a start-up grant of $1,500 recently approved by the Kodiak Island Borough, the museum is moving forward with its new Kodiak Waterfront Mobile Tour. The free, self-guided tour will allow visitors using cell phones to learn about the history of the harbor, from the first Native marine mammal hunters to today's modern fishing fleet and fish processing industry. The tour will incorporate text, images, sound and video files to tell the personal stories of  people who have lived and worked around the harbor, including fishermen and cannery workers.  The tour will also include the stories of survivors of the 1912 Katmai volcanic eruption and the March 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake and tsunami. KMM aims to have two or three tour stops in place by April, 2012, with seven planned by early summer.

The mobile tour will be accessed by using he camera embedded in most cellphones to scan small printed QR codes displayed around the harbor. Scanning the QR codes will automatically bring up web pages and maps onto cell phone screens. The GPS sensor in most cellphones will allow visitors to orient themselves to historically significant places on a map of the downtown area, and learn about people and events relevant to that location. 

Technology for the tour is provided by Guide By Cell, which has previously hosted KMM's audio oral history our accompanying its "Faces of the Kodiak King Crab Fishery" exhibit. Tour formatting and design are provided by Exhibit AK of Juenau, Alaska. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thelma C Harbor Site

 KMM recently received the architectural drawings for the Thelma C Interpretive Exhibit. The permanent exhibit will be installed on the downtown harbor spit adjacent to Oscar's Dock. If all goes well, KMM hopes for construction to begin in 2013 and for the exhibit to be complete by early 2014.

Plans call for the Thelma C to be installed on the grasssy slope above the water, midway between the dock in the foreground and the green navigation buoy at the far end of the grassy slope.

 The two images to the left and below are from the architural drawings of the planned exhibit site. Note the two levels to the exhibit- an upper level allowing visitors to look onto the deck, and a lower level allowing closeups of the hull, propeller, and rudder. Ramps on either end allow access to the lower level.

Fresh Paint

Freshly painted hull and wheelhouse
Newly constructed flying bridge
 After a summer of salmon fishing for many of the volunteers, staff and board members, things are happening again on the Thelma C. Volunteer Marty Barton, a longtime Kodiak boat painter, donated his time over several weeks to paint the hull and wood trim.

The boat will remain at Kodiak College over the winter. Over the next few weeks wooden hull boat support runners will be installed between the boat jacks and the hull,  and bracing will be constructed in the fish hold. Over the winter, the galley will be cleaned up and repainted as well.

In the short term, KMM is planning a Thelma C Fall Volunteer Cleanup on Saturday, October 20th, to sweep up the sawdust and wood chips, stow unused materials and ship's hardware, and generally tidy up the shop for the winter.
Freshly painted stern



Friday, April 20, 2012

New Window Frames and Deck Planks

Brian with a new section of wheelhouse framing
New wheelhouse window framing going in.
A lot of work has been accomplished in the last few weeks. Much of the bow and wheelhouse has been rebuilt, including planking and ribs, the framing holding up the wheelhouse and windows, decking around the bow, and the pywood sheathing on the wheelhouse itself.

Before the work started in February we thought we had a pretty good idea of what need to be replaced on the boat. However, the years of sitting outside had done more damage than we had anticipated.

Water had gotten into more of the boat's wood than we had thought when we surveyed the boat in March of 2011.

This winter was very cold and the waterlogged wood in the boat was frozen solid when work began in February. As the boat thawed out in the heated boat shed, planks, timbers, and plywood which seemed solid and sound was revealed to have been merely frozen. This meant more wood to be replaced, which caused the schdule to slip.

We now anticipate the boat work  to be largely completed June 1, rather than May 15.

Don Corwin nailing down new plywood on the wheelhouse roof.

New fir decking

Looking down at the bow before the new
decking was installed

Wheelhouse before the new window frames were installed

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Ribs, New Planks

Ty Harper and young helpers pounding in a rib
Over the past few weeks, Brian, don, and the volunteers have been driving in new ribs and replacing rotten planks. Brian informs us that on yachts, old ribs are usually removed by drinding out the nails or screws holding them to the frame, and then sawing or cutting them out in sections. On old fishing boats where aesthetics are not so important, the old ribs are often left in place and new "sister," ribs are hammered down in the spaces between them. This is what's being done on the Thelma C.

The routine is this: First,  two-inch by two-inch by ten-foot long ribs are cut from two-inch by ten inch oak planks, which are then sawn in half lengthwise, right up to a few inches short of one end. This split piece of wood is then steam heated in long box made Brian made out of stryofoam and wood until it is supple. Two volunteers then stand the split end of the rib-to-be and bend it by hand over their heads as far as they can. While the wood is still warm this bend will hold long enough to help it be hammered down into the hull, between the outside hull planks and the inside hull framing. The ribs are hammered until they bottomout on the keel. Excesss rib length on top is cut off flush with the deck once the hull planking is screwed into the rib.

Marnie Liest removing old caulking
Rotten planks are removed by drilling out the screws or nails and pulling out the caulking with a curved chisel-like tool. New fir planks are cut to fit in the shop, beveled so as to allow for caulking to wdge them into each other, and trimmed by hand to a snug fit before being screwed to the ribs.

Brian Johnson fitting a new plank.
New planks and ribs.
New planks on the bow
Ty Harper inspects the hull planking over newly installed ribs.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Boat Repair Workshop

Cache Seel practicing plank caulking.
For the last couple weeks, Brian has been teaching basic wooden boat repair skills at Kodiak College, using the Thelma C as the main teaching tool. A group of very enthusiastic volunteers has been coming to the College woodworking shop on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and Saturdays from 10-2 to learn planking lay out, caulking, and other such wooden boat building skills. The volunteers have also been invaluable in chopping out the ice that had accumulated in the boat shed and cleaning up the rottern timbers, planks, and plywood debris generated by the boatwork itself.

Suzanne Bobo working under the wheelhouse
Much of the work so far has involved tearing out rotten hull and deck timbers and planking around the wheelhouse and replacing them with new wood. To accomplish this, the wheelhouse was jacked up and secured to the hull with temporary timbers while the decking around and under it was torn out and replaced.

The deck around the wheelhouse has now been almost completely replaced and new ribs and planking have been installed around the bow.