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Tug Pegasus Preservation Project


Fifty Feet of the Portside Bulwark

In June of 2002, we started another restoration project: that of the portside bulwark--rusted out and very dangerous to walk around with thin, sharp, raggedy edges. The first step was to burn the existing corroded steel off, down the binding angle (the angle that attaches the bulwark to the main deck). Many of the stantions were missing, but most of the remaining ones were the originals--added to and welded upon but there.

The part of the bulwark to be replaced The bulwark
The part of the bulwark to be replaced. Closeup of step 1.

By the time of the bulwark replacement project, Norman Brouwer had found many of the original drawings of the tug and her sisters at the Museum of Industry in Baltimore, MD. The drawings indicated that the stanchions were original fabric. This was exciting, so we made a replacement plan to echo the presence of the old stanchions.

Drawing of the bulwark Bending the channel iron
Drawing from Museum of Industry in Baltimore, MD. Bending the channel iron.

The same profile was made out of channel iron--a more modern, standard product. The "bulbed" angle is no longer available. We chose channel iron again to replace the cap rail that in the 50s had been fabricated with flat plate and pipe--the channel is stronger--better to maintain and perfect for adding an oak cap rail in the future (see drawing above.)

Bending the channel iron Channel iron, bent
Bending the channel iron. Channel iron, bent.

Many of the original stanchions had to be extensively repaired. Originally riveted, they were left as intact as possible. The old and the new were tweaked and prodded to reflect the sheer from the deck, the curve of the side of the hull and the slight, inward inclination--the "tumble home.

Tug Pegasus Tug Pegasus
Heat a section, bend it, clamp it, weld it. Repeat. Use mechanical persuasion wherever necessary.

In a process called quenching, we bent the channel iron to the curve laid out for it in the stanchion arrangement. Red hot triangular shapes are made on the channel, and the piece was then coaxed into place with clamps, come-a-longs, etc.--while "quenching" cooling down the hot steel with water from the garden hose. The quench makes the hot triangle shrink dramatically--the base of the triangle being on the inside of the cap rail, the quenching distorts it to an inside curve. It is an intuitive process, very satisfying. Over the phone instructions were provided by John Gardner at Garpo Marine.

Tug Pegasus Tug Pegasus
Welding done, clamps removed. Creating a plywood template.

Plywood templates were made for the shell plating on the outside. With the curve, tumblehome, and sheer, the shapes were quite radical. The outcome was pleasing to the eye and very strong. There's just 150' more to replace.

Finished!
Finished!

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