Wheelhouse Restoration, 1997
These two photos show the first stages of restoring the wheelhouse. This work was done by Jim Clements and Glen Garver (on deck) in Hepburn Marine's berth in Morris Canal, Jersey City, NJ, in 1997.
At the top left is a hook that was part of a come-along, hooked into a rope sling on the center post of the window arrangement and to the stem bit on the other end. Using the come-along, we were able to pull the whole wheelhouse forward to be plumb again. It had sagged aft a few degrees in her old age. Triangulation was added to the back part of the house to prevent that from happening again.
The uprights in the photo are new, into old mortises on the top and remade mortises on the bottom. The bottom mortises had rotted out. The uprights are air-dried New Jersey fir. We found a mill out in a New Jersey township that had a beautiful, close grained fir.
As shown in the drawings below, the tug is of wooden construction from the boat deck to the top of the wheelhouse. (The upper deck is called the "boat deck" because the lifeboat was up there.) The boat-deck beams are iron with wooden beams sitting in the angles to use as nailers for the tongue and groove used for the deck itself. These are bolted through the angle iron.
Everything was back-painted. Some plywood was wrapped around the completed work to add more triangulation. Then we needed to close everything up for a very long time as Hepburn Marine needed to put the restoration on hold.
Back-painting the wheelhouse