been onboard seven times since I posted the last set of photos on
September 27th. Believe it or not most of those days were spent
restoring the large vintage compass that will go into our compensating
binnacle. The first and last photo below are "before"
and "after" shots and it's easy to see the difference.
In the first photo you can see how the oil and painted surfaces inside
the compass had yellowed in the sixty plus years since it was new.
The fluid level was way low, there were paint chips floating in the
fluid and the bottom glass was badly clouded. Since we had gone to
such extreme lengths on the restoration of the binnacle, to include
electrifying it, I wanted the compass to look equally as good. So,
on October 4th I drained the compass, cracked open the case and began
the cleanup. I had no idea what I was in for, but with a lot of
help from the manufacturer (Baker, Lyman & Company of New Orleans),
believe it or not they are still in business, and a couple of my Brass
Team buddies, it is finally all back together, not leaking and looking
awesome! The plan to put the completely restored compensating
binnacle on display in the Visitors Center this month has been delayed
slightly, now that work is scheduled to take place during the month of January
when the ship is closed for walk-up tours. Right now everything is
looking great though and we can't wait to move it and put it on
display. This Saturday I hope to finish up installing the power
cable and connectors we salvaged from the raid on the USS Austin,
although the compass is already wired to run on standard power, the
addition of the pieces from the binnacle on the Austin will help
complete the look and give it an overall more authentic
appearance. That's about it for this installment, with this
restoration project winding down we'll be in search of another one
pretty quickly. We've already spoken to the curator about
beginning work on what will become the long awaited engineering
tour. With a goal of Spring 2010 to open this new tour route there
is a ton of work to do that's for sure. This new tour route will
allow visitors to go through on of the ships Engine Rooms, visit one of
the Firerooms and take a stroll down Broadway to Damage Control and
Emergency Steering, places most everyone that visits wants to see.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, now it's back to work on the
2009 Battleship Calendar!
27th - This is the before photo, with the insides looking
dingy and the outside casing and gimbal painted black. It
been touched and didn't look nearly as nice as the rest of the binnacle.
4th - After consulting with the manufacture about how to go
about draining it and cleaning it up I returned the following Saturday
ready to go to work. Here the casing has been drained and the face
plate and top glass have been removed. Now you can clearly can see
the paint chips and clouded bottom glass as well as the chipped paint
on the brass bellows in the bottom of the casing.
4th - The rest of the day was spend cleaning things up.
4th - Not bad for a days work - but the fun was just starting...
18th - I took the 11th off to go to see Drag Races in Southern
Virginia, that was an experience! Today I was back onboard to
cleaning the pieces. This may look like a duplicate of the
but if you look closely you will see how much cleaner the float is in
photo as well as the inside of the casing. All in a days work.
25th - Using a gallon of oil provided by the manufacture I
begin refilling the casing and preparing to reassemble the compass, so
far so good. Unfortunately over the course of the next several
I suffered several setbacks including a float that had fluid in it
that had to
be drained and sealed and several rounds of troubleshooting to fix
During that stretch there were times when I thought I should have left
it alone, but seeing how it turned out it was well worth the effort!
Thanks for all your help Dave, I couldn't have done it without
15th - Kurt Cheesman, one of the Brass Teams founding
members died suddenly this past October. Today we had a memorial
service in the ships chapel for his family and friends. This photo
taken on deck after the ceremony, pictured are Kurt's sister, some of
his long-time friends, members of the Brass Team, ships staff and
other volunteers. Kurt was a great guy and his presence
surely be missed, but he will live on in the memories we all have of
29th - After nearly two months worth of Saturdays the
compass is finally reassembled. It is pictured here with the
helmet" binnacle cover and as you can see we are on the downhill
slide on the restoration of the compensating binnacle and compass.
29th - This is the "after" shot, doesn't it look
great! Quite a
difference from the first photo above, now it is worthy of taking its
the crown jewel of our restored compensating binnacle. I'm picking
up a red
light bulb to put in the binnacle which will illuminate the compass,
it's going to be
be sweet!! Dave, once again, you are the man, name your poison and
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