November 29th Photos

I've 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!


November 29th Photo #1
September 27th - This is the before photo, with the insides looking
 dingy and the outside casing and gimbal painted black.  It hadn't really  
been touched and didn't look nearly as nice as the rest of the binnacle.

November 29th Photo #2

October 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.  
November 29th Photo #3
October 4th - The rest of the day was spend cleaning things up.
November 29th Photo #4
October 4th - Not bad for a days work - but the fun was just starting...
November 29th Photo #5
October 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 continue
 cleaning the pieces.  This may look like a duplicate of the photo above,
but if you look closely you will see how much cleaner the float is in this
photo as well as the inside of the casing.  All in a days work.
November 29th Photo #6
October 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 Saturdays
 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 leaks.
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 you!  
November 29th Photo #7
November 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 was 
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 onboard will
surely be missed, but he will live on in the memories we all have of him.
November 29th Photo #8
November 29th - After nearly two months worth of Saturdays the 
compass is finally reassembled.  It is pictured here with the "diving 
helmet" binnacle cover and as you can see we are on the downhill
slide on the restoration of the compensating binnacle and compass.
November 29th Photo #9
November 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 spot as
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 it's yours!!

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Last updated on December 03, 2008.