"The wonderful thing about being a multidisciplinary artist is that you never know what's going to fall on your lap." -John Rivera-Resto


2012 -The Cleveland Tilted Kilt Galleon Reconstruction


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A ship for sale in Vegas


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Ship in a Las Vegas warehouse.



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January 5, 2012. The general contractor, the two
principal owners, the architect
and I met at a
Cleveland warehouse to inspect delivery.



Opened shipping crate. A shipwreck -not what we were expecting.

Creating the design


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3 inch plastic kit model of a Dutch galleon. Ship model being posed for photograph.


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Conceptual rendering 1. Conceptual rendering 4.


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Approved model.


Studying the wreck


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Shipping crate, my tool box, and two I-beams delivered at the work site. Removing crate walls to reveal the ship.



We discovered beautifully cast replicas of canons in their carriages. Slowly and carefully we removed all loose items, taking careful
inventory and making a photographic record.


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The remains of a system of spot and strobe lights. All the masts had been cut and at some point reassemble
erroneously. The rigging was also entirely wrong.

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Realising that most of the ship's parts, sails and riggings were
either destroyed or missing, I decided to move the project
from being a restoration to doing a complete reconstruction.


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Chris Step removing mast pieces and rigging. Mast pieces rearranged on the floor and photographed for later reference.


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The sails were so brittle that even with careful handling they
broke apart like potato chips.
It seem clear that the graphics on the sails were not part
of the original construction but a latter addition.


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Stripping away everything attached to the hull. Detail of the ship's bow after being stripped.



Hand lifts were used to move and support the hull. With a hand lift at the bow and another one at the stem of the
ship, we raised and moved it away from the crate's
bed into a better work area.


How to hang a galleon


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How to suspend the galleon and the giant compass from the ceiling took careful planning.
The whole ensemble weighted almost half a ton. Knowledge of architecture and
rudimentary mechanical engineering is a must; you have to think of everything.


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The design for the placement of support beams. Two I-beams (shown grey) would be welded to the existing ceiling structure and then two square structural tubing pieces (shown orange) would be welded across. The galleon then be suspended from four steel wires secured at the tips of each beam. Finally, two hole-punch pieces of structural tubing (shown blue) will be added to support the compass.



Detail of chalked floor markings. Using a laser beam level,
we accurrately transfered positioning coordinates from the
floor diagram to points in the ceiling.
A scissor lift was used to reach the ceiling.

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Beam placement chalkmarks on the ceiling. The two I-beams already welded to the ceiling structure. Adjustments
had to be made to account for the awkward placement of sprinkler
water pipes. The sprinkler system is strictly regulated by law and
building codes. To move it or make slight adjustments would have
been very costly.



Detail of one of the two square structural pieces. Holes for placement
of eye hooks at each end were pre-drilled on the ground.
Installing the square structural pieces. Positioning markings
were chalked on the I-beams.



A flexible snake scope camera was inserted in a mast hole to
view the interior structure of the ship's hull.
The flexible scope has an LED light at the tip. This allows a
good inside view in the camera' LCD monitor.


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The hull's interior structure was made out of plywood sections. Once we had a good idea of the hull's inner structure, we were able
to cut an access panel on the ships deck using a scroll saw.


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The access panel had to be large enough to allow the insertion of
a drill with a hole-saw.
We cut holes on the sides of the hull to allow for the insertion
of two support pipes.


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Cutting two sections of black pipe to size. A brace was constructed to support the pipes in place.


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Detail showing the bracing of the support pipe. Plywood support tabs were glued to the underside of the deck.


Doing historical research


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In addition to all the sails and rigging (shaded in blue), many of
wooden sections of the ship (shaded in red) had to be reconstructed.
Spanish galleons as seen in many period films.



Simple scaled model of an English galleon. A more accurate and detailed model of an Elizabethan galleon.



Diagram listing the parts of a galleon. A scaled diagram listing the hull sections of a galleon.



A photograph showing in detail a section of a museum replica. A photograph showing a crow's nest detail of a real-life
reconstruction of a galleon.


Reconstructing the masts


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Diagram showing a galleon's mast structure. A missing section of the main mast was added and hand shaped
to match
the original. The other cut sections of mast were rejoined
using metal dowel.
The joints lines were then wrapped with cord that
will later simulate the mast's tar-covered
rope wrappings.



The ends of all the yards (these are the horizontal wood beams that hold
the sails) had been sawed off. So new ends (called 'yardarms') were
made and attached in place.
The finished yards were painted to simulate the color of the
actual
wood used in their construction.



New top gallants for the Fore-mast and the Main-mast were
constructed.
We got the right proportions from studying ancient
shipbuilding manuals.
Attaching gallants to the masts. We used wooden dowels, wood
glue and screws for the job (though the screw heads were made
invisible with wood putty).



A base priming coat was applied to the masts. The crow's nest was taken apart and reconstructed with
replacement parts.



Care was taken to reconstruct all sections to historical accuracy. Completed crow's nests assembled on the masts.




All the galleon's masts are color primed and ready for finish. Detail of mast and crow's next after faux paint finish.


Constructing new sails


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Sails diagram for a Spanish galley. Measurement sketch for seamstress.



Detail of original sail. Saw dust had been added to the
stiffener mix for texture.
The stitching details were reproduce in the new canvas sails.



Once the sails were sewn, graphic images were drawn
with permanent market.
Metal rods were inserted in the pockets along the edges.
These rods were bent to help the sails maintain the desire form.



To stiffen the sails, a mixture of glue, water, acrylic paint of the
desired color, and powder wood filler was applied on boths sides.
Sails were hung to dry by securing the sail's head to a straight
wooden ruler and then bending the inner wires to the desired
form. Cords with small clamps are used to secure corners and
a metal rod was fastened across to make sure the form did not
collapse.



Detail of clamps. Celtic flags were painted on each sail using water base paints.



Painted sail hung to dry.
A second coating of stiffener mix was reapplied
on the back side.



It was important to adjust the hanging rig to achieve the desired
form. The stiffening mix is applied heavily and takes time to dry.
A pennent being painted.



After bending the inner wire to the desired form, the pennent
is
coated with stiffener and hung to dry.
Detail of finished pennant.

Constructing the giant compass


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Original compass design. The compass is made by bonding two plywood circles.



Construction adhesive is used to bond two layers of plywood. In addition to adhesive, short screw are used to secure a
strong bond. Each circle required 3 sheets of 5/8" plywood.



To lighten the plywood base, four sections were cut out. The base was painted black on both sides. The outer ring
of the design was chalked in.



Styrofoam balls were cut in half. The styrofoam domes were coated with a mixture of glue, wood
filler and water.



Two coats of the mixture were needed to achieve a hard shell. After they dried, the domes were sanded smooth.



Insulation panels were used to construct the compass' ring.
Two Styrofoam rings were needed to complete the design. Because of the large diameter of the compass, each ring was made in three sections. Some sections were made up by gluing several pieces of foam. Wooden rods were inserted to strengthen these joints .



Styrofoam is lightweight and easy to work with. Detail of compass ring before shaping the foam.



The finished compass ring. Styrofoam can be sculpted and
sanded into any form or shape.
Styrospray 1000 is a two part polymer that can be applyied
to
Styrofoam to create a hard surface.



The Styrofoam compass and domes are coated with
Styrospray 1000.
Styrospray 1000 polymer is very tacky and dries fast. Several
applications are needed to achieve a hard surface.



Foam cut letters are also covered in Styrospray 1000. At this point the compass ring has not been secured to the base.



Domes drying before painting. A coating of solvent base gold paint.



Solvent base paints disolve Styrofoam as if it were acid.
Styrospray 1000 protects the Styrofoam from the solvent.
Diagram showing how the compass was to be hung. Four
threaded rods would secure the compass to the metal bars.



Using a laser level, the exact position of the ceiling beams
was recreated on the floor below. This floor diagram was
used to determine the exact placement of the hanging
hardware on the compass' base.
A real compass was used to mark the direction of the
cardinal points. This was crucial for the proper alignment
of the letters (N, E, S, W) on the giant compass.



The chalk marking on the base are mirror image
since the compass would face down once hung
.
The position of the hanging bars was marked on the floor
diagram. These rods were later welded in place to
the ceiling beams.



Threaded rods secured to the compass' base would go through
the punched holes of the steel hanging bars and then be secured
with locknuts.
The hanging bars are placed on the compass base in perfect
alignment to the floor diagram. The position of the hole for
the placing the thread rod is then marked with blue tape.



Threaded rods are cut to size. The rods are secured to the compass base.



Detail of a thread rod extending from the compass base. Two pieces of 2x4 were screwed to the base in three places.
They were used as temporary supports to raise the compass
into position.



The plastic mirror was made of two sections. The mirror sections were bonded to the compass base with
construction adhesive. The sections were placed over wooden
rods to get them in position before gluing. Once adjustments
were made, the rods were removed one by one until the mirror
was perfectly joined.



At this point the mirror still has a protective plastic covering. Using a drill design for boring into plastic, holes were made along
the edge of the mirror and then screwed to the wooden base.



The compass ring was then glued to the base and further
secured by screws to the wooden base.
The domes were then glued inside the ring.



The position of the letters had been marked on the mirror
using blue tape. They were then secured in place using
double
contact tape.
The finished compass. It turned out to be a gorgeous piece.



The compass was turned over and then lifted into position
using
two hand-crank jacks.
Once the compass was secured in place, the support wooden
beams were removed. The entire operation went like clockwork.

Constructing replacement props


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Painting, detailing and assembling


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Adding sails and finishing details


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April 8, 2012. Galleon reconstruction completed.

CAdd Text.s


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