Sunday, November 22, 2015

Salvage and Restoration

 Building of the new lighter continues at the Lighterage Depot at Middlegate, Norfolk Island.

Thousands of dollars worth of burnt fittings, thought to be completely destroyed, were salvaged by Glen Williams and painstakingly restored. The following photos clearly record the before and after as Glen displays pieces of the damaged fittings and then the restored pieces which he paints with several layers of undercoat.


 Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Steaming and Malleability

The planks for the clinkers and carvels are fitted, removed and shaped with chisels, then softened to enable them to be moulded to the curvature of the lighter from bow to stern. This is done by enclosing each plank into a steamer - a metal box with an attachment through which an engine pumps steam onto the plank. The wood softens as the steam heats the fibres. After several hours the plank is removed and again fitted to the hull, moulded and clamped to the frame. Once cooled and the shape is assured it is again removed and undercoat is applied to each plank before it is finally attached to the frame, glued, hammered and clamped into place.

 The steamer is located in the yard outside.
 One or two planks are placed inside.

 The engine is checked and turned on... 

 to send boiling water to the steamer through an attachment on the top.
 Steam slowly rises from the steamer ...

 ...and builds in volume as the hours pass.
The softened plank is then carried inside ...

 ... and again fitted to the lighter.  Note the steam rising from the wood.

 After fitting and cooling the plank is again removed ...
 ... and undercoat is applied to each piece prior to final placement.

Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We Will Remember Them

These photographs are from the World War I Album of Gordon Stuart Watt taken at El Arish and the Sinai. Wattie's service in WWI is detailed as proceeding abroad as No. 13/2628 on the 9th of August 1915 with the NZEF Auckland Mounted Rifles. He was promoted to Signal Sergeant on 19 April 1919 and awarded the Military Medal along with the 1914/15 Star; General Service Medal and Victory Medal. At the end of the war Gordon lived on Norfolk Island with his wife. He was the company Secretary/Auctioneer of the Norfolk Island Co-Operative Dairy. He also built “Mokutu” at Steeles Point which still operates as tourist accommodation today.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Timbers and Planking

Work on the building of a new lighter continues at the Lighterage Depot with strengthening of the keel as timber is shaped and fitted with accuracy and skill.

Glen Williams recalled “..…as soon as Howard [Christian] heard that No. 01 had been burnt he came up and said “Hau mach stik yorlye niid? Wael ai el ran naeda twenti soe yu gat et fe speya”.  (How much timber will you need? Well I’ll run another twenty so that you have some to spare).     

 Howard Christian milled the timber from Norfolk Island pine and delivered it to the boatshed.


Glen Williams and Bevon Nicolai stacked and flitched the planks so that all materials were conveniently gathered on site when Dean Burrell commenced work on the lighter.

Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Progress on the building of the new Lighter

The building of a new lighter - used to unload the cargo ships which visit Norfolk Island - has already commenced and photos were uploaded last week. Work progresses steadily and the frames which hung loosely from the ceiling are now connected to the hull. 

The outline of the lighter is clearly discernible.
The frame viewed from the left hand side; from the front and
and right hand side.

It is now time to attach the clinkers. The lighters display the overlapping planks that characterise clinker construction, a method used by experienced and skilled boat builders. The technique developed in Germanic shipbuilding tradition and is a trademark of Nordic navigation, particularly of the Viking longships. The oldest preserved clinker-built boat dates circa 320 AD. The planks overlap rather than butting each other. The planks are fastened with rivets, clench nails or glue where they overlap, resulting in a hull of considerable strength. A tight fit between planks is usually sufficient to keep the Lighter watertight, however sealants or glue is used.  Repairs are not as simple with clinkers as on carvel hulls due to overlapping planks and because the fit of the planks is more critical. 

The keel is chiseled out by hand prior to placement of the clinker.

 Once accurate placement is assured the clinker is glued and;

 hammered into place.

Hand chiseling to ensure accuracy whilst fitting the clinker in place, and also for placement of the next clinker.

 Accurate fit of the clinkers is important to the overall strength of the hull.

The men are satisfied with the first clinker and will now move to the stern of the lighter and repeat the process.

Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.