Fabricating part for USS Constellation - need help - Ships Nostalgia
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Fabricating part for USS Constellation - need help

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  #1  
Old 24th March 2017, 17:16
doggonemess doggonemess is offline  
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Question Fabricating part for USS Constellation - need help

Greetings all,

I have been given the incredible honor of making some parts for the USS Constellation in Baltimore. I'm an amateur blacksmith, and offered my services. So far, they have asked me to make some cooking implements which will be featured when they install their new period-correct oven.

One of the other items they want me to fabricate is a little bigger. They want to replace some wooden columns with the correct iron ones, located through the ship. Not sure where those particular ones went, but they need new ones, and asked me to do it.

The columns are two inches in diameter and six feet long. The top and bottom have a "T" shape to bolt them to the deck and overhead. The iron has a slightly bumpy appearance, like cast iron, but also like old, slightly rusted wrought.

Now, logically, they should be cast iron, and that would make sense given that cast is a good strong metal for a non-working piece. But I keep looking at them and despite the logic of it, they look like wrought iron to me. It also seems that given the ship's movement and torquing, cast might break due to twisting or bending. Obviously, I can't take a piece for testing, and they've been painted many times, so it's difficult to tell.

I'll upload some of the images I took later in this thread.

I'm hoping that someone on this forum might have knowledge of the construction methods of wooden ships from around 1850. Knowing what the original was will affect whether I hammer something out or make a sand mold and cast it.

Thanks very much! Love the site.

Jamie
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  #2  
Old 24th March 2017, 17:26
doggonemess doggonemess is offline  
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I've included four images. The wide shot shows the area they want to do this work. You can see the three upright wooden posts there. The other shots are of the ends, one with a measurement. I went through my images and discovered that I didn't take a wide shot of the actual pole itself. I was distracted, I guess.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg constellation (1).JPG (198.9 KB, 58 views)
File Type: jpg constellation (2).JPG (157.9 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg constellation (3).JPG (141.6 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg constellation (4).JPG (159.8 KB, 46 views)
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  #3  
Old 24th March 2017, 17:56
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Mad Landsman Mad Landsman is offline  
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If you are going to use genuine wrought iron that would need a huge amount of heat and a large trip hammer or such like:
Upset the ends, split into two leaves and work to shape.....

Cast Iron may have been intended originally because it works well in compression, but not in torsion, so maybe that is why they were replaced with wood.

If it just needs to look the part and be practical then I would go for mild steel bar with plates welded to the ends. Then work the welds to give the smooth curve and also grind the chamfers and bevels to give the impression of it having been 'worked'.

BTW - Welcome on board - hang around, I'm sure there will be more replies from the wealth of knowledge among the crew.

Last edited by Mad Landsman; 24th March 2017 at 18:37.. Reason: ps
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Old 24th March 2017, 19:48
doggonemess doggonemess is offline  
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Thanks for the reply!

I do have access to a 50 lb Little Giant hammer, so I'm good there. I do not have a six-foot wrought iron bar (seven, actually, counting the ends). I'm thinking of doing what you said with mild steel, but I want it to look like the existing poles. Maybe rough it up a little in the forge?

Also, the wooden posts aren't original, they were added during one of the restorations. I'm assuming the iron bars were rusted or otherwise compromised. The area they were located was exposed to the elements for a long time.
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  #5  
Old 24th March 2017, 20:07
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Mad Landsman Mad Landsman is offline  
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One way you could try to weather and age mild steel would be to just bury it in your back yard for a few weeks.
Dig it up and give it a quick rub down with a wire brush. Not too hard or you will spoil the effect.
In the UK we have a paint called Hammerite, which I do not think you can get in the USA. There must be something similar.
This paint goes straight on over rust and leaves a surface finish which looks, hammered.
Originally they would possibly have used something like 'Berlin black' which is bitumen based and was used to protect exposed ironwork with a semi matt finish.
Hammerite, or whatever you can get, very nearly replicates the effect but is much more durable.
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Old 24th March 2017, 20:39
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggonemess View Post
Thanks for the reply!

I do have access to a 50 lb Little Giant hammer, so I'm good there. I do not have a six-foot wrought iron bar (seven, actually, counting the ends). I'm thinking of doing what you said with mild steel, but I want it to look like the existing poles. Maybe rough it up a little in the forge?

Also, the wooden posts aren't original, they were added during one of the restorations. I'm assuming the iron bars were rusted or otherwise compromised. The area they were located was exposed to the elements for a long time.
Go along the length with the ball peen might do the trick.
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  #7  
Old 19th September 2017, 00:42
oceanmariner oceanmariner is offline  
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When young I worked as as a shipwright and worked on several old vessels. Old time builders were much more precise and consistent then most think. If the hull and decking was well built, the post measurements would be the same. Leading me to think they were cast. It would be simpler to do several. Probably faster. And they were casting cannons back then.
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Old 13th January 2018, 01:10
TheNavigator TheNavigator is offline  
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Jamie,

Nice to see another of the original six being maintained. I was a crew-member on the USS Constitution, and I remember the Iron pillars you speak of. I did a bit of looking about, and found a recent issue of All Hands, The Magazine of the US Navy, which had an excellent on-line segment on the Constitution, following her multi-year restoration. You might ask yourself, Self,, why is this guy talking about the Constitution, when I need info on Constellation?

The reason is this. while I was viewing son of the on-line info, i noticed the pillars you spoke about, except the Constitutions were square, and had a pivot at the top and could be swung up to clear the deck for battle, but normally they would be in place to support loads on the main hatchway. If you follow the attached link, and select the gun deck, you can click on various buttons to zoom in and out and rotate etc. I believe that these are the Iron post you are referring to, and in any case, I am very glad to meet you, and thank you as a former wooden ship crew-member.

Steve

http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/constitution/

I Am Old Ironsides
www.navy.mil
Watch a hyperlapse of the world's oldest commissioned warship the USS Constitution "Old Ironsides" entering dry dock for her recent multi-year restoration.
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Old 13th January 2018, 15:46
Chipster8253 Chipster8253 is offline
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Hello, for some reason the post I sent you Jamie, somehow got posted by Navigator, who I don't know, but I wanted to add, after additional snooping on the link

http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/constitution/

If you click on Gun Deck Forward, you will see the Black, round, fixed in place pillars around the ships Galley.
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  #10  
Old 13th January 2018, 16:22
Chipster8253 Chipster8253 is offline
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From the Constitution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipster8253 View Post
Hello, for some reason the post I sent you Jamie, somehow got posted by Navigator, who I don't know, but I wanted to add, after additional snooping on the link

http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/constitution/

If you click on Gun Deck Forward, you will see the Black, round, fixed in place pillars around the ships Galley.
Based on the picture I saw, they are looking for the Iron replacements for the pillars that supported the Spar Deck around the Ships galley.
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File Type: jpg Ships Galley.jpg (21.0 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Ships Galley small.jpg (24.9 KB, 6 views)
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  #11  
Old 13th January 2018, 16:47
TheNavigator TheNavigator is offline  
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Navigator, who I don't know

https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/member.php?u=216289

https://www.flickr.com/photos/133085...album-1738354/

started "navigating" in 1960, top picture in on the phone passing bearings to the "boss". Second picture of all us navigators aboard the USS Renville APA-227. From the 227 was transferred to the 27, the George Clymer. Resumed navigating in 1967 when I shipped aboard the wreck of the SS John C. as second on a thirds license. Third mate Carmichael gave me a few tips.
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Old 13th January 2018, 17:02
TheNavigator TheNavigator is offline  
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posted by Navigator, who I don't know, and you do not know this

From: Stephen
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2018 6:18:44 PM
To: Phyllis
Subject: USS Constitution article(s)
Oh Mom, you have to check this out. it is so well done. you can spend hours exploring the ship and looking into the history. This is an issue of All Hands Magazine, the Magazine of the U S Navy, and it is all about the Constitution. please enjoy, and share. just keep scrolling down, stopping at each section, then continuing until you hit the bottom and the stack of videos. Yay.
Steve

Fwd: USS Constitution article(s)
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From: Phyllis
Full Header
To:"lato-sensuatjuno.com" <lato-sensuatjuno.com>
Sent: Sat, Jan 13, 2018 10:51 AM
This is a fabulous site. We celebrated one July 4th on a “turn around cruise” down harbor. We had the honor and pleasure of watching Steve fire one of the “cannons” when the ship salutes.

I don’t know if Steve has sent you this link or not. I know you will enjoy it. Especially with all the videos. Incredible link.
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