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. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Boat Repair Course Begins

Brian Johnson welcomed six volunteers to the Basic Boat Repair Course at Kodiak College on Saturday, February 18, with a demonstration involving boatbuilding tools and an on site discussion of what the course will involve.

Beginning tomorrow night, Brian will teach a hands-on course on Tuesday and Thursday nights at the College, from 7-10 p.m. The course is free, and will run from now until the boat recinstruction is finished in mid- May. If you'd like to get involved yourself, please contact the museum or come down to the work site at the College to see what's going on.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Work Begins

Brian Johnson of Ocean Bay Marine and Don Corwin of West Wind Woodworking began setting things up around the Thelma C this week by building a work bench and access stairs to the deck of the boat. Their next task is to remove the name "Marina D," - the name the last owner gave the boat- and paint its original name back on. 

Brian will also be hosting an orientation meeting for interested community volunteers at 10 am on Saturday February 18, in Room 106 at the College. If you've ever wanted to learn about  wooden boat construction, from paint chipping to timber shaping and rib construction, come on down and sign up. No previous experience is necessary. The museum anticipates three months of work to get the boat ready for display, but volunteers will be encouraged to work on the project as their schedules allow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Work Shed Goes Up Over Thelma C

Work shed going up over the Thelma C at Kodiak College
Despite a snowstorm and temps in the 20s, Cache Seel and his men, Brian Stokes and Brian "Peewee" Dougherty, framed up the workshed over the Thelma C over the past few days at Kodiak College. They're hoping now for a calm day to pull plastic sheathing over the wooden frame and then heat gun it to shrink it to the frame. Once that's done, they'll install some doors on the bow end of the shed and put in a few plexiglass windows on the parking lot side, so visitors can watch as Brian Johnson and his crew do the actual rebuild of the boat.

Brian plans to start work on February 15, with Don Corwin and a crew of volunteers. Brian has four decades of woden boat repair work in his resume, and rebuilt the Thelma once before, in 1994.  Don, of North Wind Woodworking is an expert on antique wood construction techniques.He spent the past three summers rebuilding the windows on the Baranov Museum. He's coming over from his hometown of Skagway to help out,

Brian Stokes framking up the work shed on Friday
In the meantime, we're looking for people who want to learn the ins and outs of wooden boat repair by working on the Thelma C. If this is something you've always wanted to learn, now's your chance. We'll supply the tools, the expertise, and the coffee. Please contact the museum for more information, at 486-0384, or info@kodiakmaritimemuseum.org

Friday, January 20, 2012

KMMAnnual Meeting Friday, January 20, 2012

RV Akademik Sergey Vavilov
KMM’s 2012 Annual Meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Friday, January 20, in Room 106 at Kodiak College. The meeting will feature a slideshow and talk by Linda Freed and Alan Schmidt on their recent trip to Antarctica. Freed and Schmidt sailed from December 14th to January 1st aboard the R/V Akademik Sergey Vavilov, a Russian research vessel chartered by Quark Expeditions. The voyage began in Ushuaia, Terra del Fuego, Argentina, and continued to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, the South Orkney Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship returned to Argentina via the Drake Passage.
Earnest Shackleton's grave,
Gryytviken, South Georgia Island
Highlights of the trip included skiing on the Antarctic Peninsula, encountering vast penguin and seal colonies, and landings at the Falkland Islands and Elephant Island. Elephant Island was made famous by Earnest Shackleton and his men in 1916 when they sailed there in a small boat after losing their ship, the Endurance, in the Antarctic pack ice and failing in their attempt to reach the South Pole.

The Antarctic talk will be preceded by a brief Kodiak Maritime Museum business meeting including an update on the status of the Thelma C project and the museum’s building plans, an annual report, and election of board officers. Refreshments will be served and museum memberships can be renewed or purchased at the door. Contact KMM at 486-0384 or info@kodiakmaritimemuseum.org for more information.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marine Architect Bill Garden’s Thelma C Ship’s Plans at Mystic Seaport

Bill Garden Boats,
Image: Mystic Seaport

After some research, we’ve learned that the Thelma C was designed by legendary marine architect Bill Garden in the early 1960s. Bill began his career just before World War II, designing sailboats, which his friend Dave LeClerq built at his Commercial Marine boatyard on Seattle’s Portage Bay, between Lake Union and Lake Washington. In 1942, Bill was drafted and sent to the U.S. Navy Base at Adak Island in the Aleutians, where the U.S. Navy put him to work in their shipyard, a job he evidently enjoyed.  After the war, Bill and Dave collaborated again on hundreds of boat projects for more than fifty years, including sailboats, yachts, work boats and fishing boats. More information about Bill Garden can be found here: http://library.mysticseaport.org/manuscripts/Garden.cfm
Bill Garden
Photo: Mystic Seaport

Bill Garden "Seine Boat Plan, November 1961"
Bill Garden Collection, Mystic Seaport

If we have it right, the Thelma C was constructed from Bill Garden's “Seine Boat,” design of November 1961, labeled “Commercial Marine Construction Company Stock 1962 Model.” Online research found this plan at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, where a friend of KMM was able to go in December and, with the help of staff researchers there, look at their collection of Bill Garden ship’s plans. This photo is of the likeliest Thelma plan, but we are waiting for digital or paper copies to make a definitive determination.

The ship’s plans will be used by a graphic artist to render a computer drawing of the finished exhibit on the harbor site, and the project engineers may also use them to design the exhibit cradle for the boat. Eventually, the plans will be displayed on a permanent interpretive panel near the boat, or in the multi-media cell phone tour which will accompany the exhibit.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thelma C At Kodiak College

Cache Seel checking out the boat.
Cache Seel stopped by the Thelma C this morning to scope out the site for a temporary building around the boat. Cache will be putting up the building in a week or two so we can do the restoration work inside a covered and heated workspace. The structure will be a simple wood frame box with a peaked roof and sheathed with plastic shrink wrapping- the same material that’s presently shrunk around the boat itself. You may have seen other similar temporary structures around boats down at Fuller’s Boatyard.

The Thelma C at Kodiak College
In the meantime, we’re looking for a few good men and women who’d like to volunteer to help put it up- it should only take a day or two. If you think you might be one of those people, please give the museum a call at 486-0384 or email info@kodiakmaritimemuseum.org.