Friday, September 25, 2009

Construction progress, September 23, 2009.

No pictures again but I hope to be able to post all the backlogged ones in a couple days. Raptor Lewis, have no worries regarding lack of pictures, I can explain later.
Perry is still busy working on the scow, sealing all external joints, waterproofing wood, etc. He is assembling a small team of men to flip the scow sections over in early October. Once that is done, then more work on the upper surfaces can progress. The weather continues to be very co-operative and hot for the construction work.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Construction progress, September 22, 2009.

No pictures again today. Perry has finished putting the bottom planks on one of the end sections on the scow and is water sealing the last of the bottom planks which will be screwed on very soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Construction progress, September 21, 2009.

All, I am having some issues posting construction pictures to the blog. I will send them all from yesterday and those for the next week or so once I get the technical issues resolved. The carpenter is busy water proofing the bottom planks, installing same and using the liquid crack-filler material [the stuff that dries like cold tar] to fill in any major gaps in the planks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Construction, September 20, 2009.

Perry has now got the tarred cloth-like material all done and sealed and now begins installation of the bottom planks. Each of these planks are sealed with water sealant. On the underside of the two end sections, where the wood is angled, a strip of thin but strong sheet metal will be added. This is in case we collide with underwater rocks, etc. The metal will protect the wood.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Construction, September 17, 2009.

A cold and blustery afternoon and evening so not much work done today. Perry has gotten the tarred cloth-like material on the sides now and is sealing all the seams where the sides and bottom of the tarred cloth-like material meet. We are doing two coats of the driveway crack sealant in critical areas. Bottom planks go on next.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some more of the replicas/antiques we'll use

Some items are not 1910's vintage (such as the typewriter). These are hard to find in working order or in good shape. Many items I would like to use from the 1910's are in museums and they are not likely to let me borrrow them. Therefore for anything we are after, if it is + or - 10 years from 1910-1915, then we are OK to use it on the expedition.

Some of the antique/replica equipment we'll use

The scow will literally be a floating museum with restored and working antiques or replicas of same. Here are a few examples.

Construction, September 16, 2009.

Summer is rapidly winding down here. When I drove up to see the scow construction tonight, the setting sun was just 5 degrees above the horizon and I arrrived back in Drumheller in the dusk. So not much time for Perry to work on the scow in the evenings now and even less so as the days progress. He has finished putting on the tarred cloth-like material on the bottoms of each floatation chamber and is now in the process of sealing all the seams, staple heads, etc with a black rubberized sealant. He tried some yesterday and it dries with the consistency of cold tar. Other priorities now arise so my updates here may be a bit sporadic over the next 2 weeks. We are hoping to flip the floatation boxes over in early October. Then is the weather holds we can maybe do the foaming work, decking, measure and precut side planking, add tiller supports, and walls and framing for the large tent.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Construction, September 15, 2009.

Perry the carpenter adds more of the tarred cloth-like material to the floatation sections of the scow. This material is sticky on one side and is designed to the next adjoining section (the seams are visible here as a shiny line). The material is simply rolled out, cut and the plastic backing removed. The material is held on with staples from a handheld staple gun. All seams, staples, etc will the further sealed from water infiltration by use of a strong and rubberized material dispensed out of a plastic squeeze bottle. This material is used to seal cracks in asphalt driveways. The tarred cloth-like material is then covered with the long planks which are each treated on all sides with water sealant. We are currently exploring the addition of expanding spray foam inside each floatation chamber for added strength and security. The weather still is excellent for construction, high today of +29C, though the mosquitoes are very active!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Construction, September 14, 2009.

The bottom planks on the first of four sections go on. 12 feet long each.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Construction, September 13, 2009.

Construction has resumed! The outsides of the 4 floatation boxes have all been treated with a water sealant, which goes on milky with a paint brush and dries clear. Rolls of a tarred cloth-like material will be attached next, then the bottom planks.

Internal infrastructure

Inside the scows tent will be a variety of items such as a wood-burning stove, upright ice chest, kitchen cupboard, table and 4 chairs, a bed (Patty and I will sleep on board for added security- don't want someone messing around with the scow while we are all away sleeping nearby), a desk and chair, plus some other smaller items. Configuring these is an important issue- for example the hot stove should not be near the bed or the ice chest. I had the carpenter made a small simple scale model of the scow and gave him length/width/height measurements of the above items to the same scale. Then I used the resulting blocks of wood he cut up and moved them around to see what was the best configuration for items inside the tent. The results are shown here. The scow itself is 12 X 30 feet. The tents floor area (12 X 16 feet), is represented by the smaller raised piece of wood with black edges. The rest of the items are identified. Some storage crates will be left outside and under oilcloth for rain protection. That end (stern) of the scow will be used for storage, the other end (bow) will be left mostly empty for crew lounging, socializing, etc.

The upright raised rectangle? That represents your blogger, Darren Tanke, 6 feet tall, the width of the wood piece is my measurements across the shoulders, so you can see I am tall and thin. The tent will be about 8 feet tall, but raised several more feet on wooden walls as seen in previous postings of the American Museum scow "Mary Jane".

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Construction update and a question to you all

Apologies to all for a short lapse in updates. I've been heavily involved in fieldwork, other interruptions, a meeting regarding the scow project, and especially awaiting more building supplies. The latter were acquired just recently, so construction will begin anew shortly; there should be some new pictures up on the evening of September 13th (my time).
My question for you all regards how many of you are following this blog. I know I have "22" followers but how many others of you are out there? Please respond to this posting, just stating you are following the blog, and if you don't mind, let me know what town/city and country you are in and if you are a regular or occasional viewer. If there is a large following, this is a useful point when we approach sponsors for supplies and other support.
I attach a picture here of the American Museum scow "Mary Jane" in 1912. The men left to right are: ?Barnum Brown, Peter C. Kaisen and possibly Bill Reid who was a cook/field assistant. This is a unique view as it shows the scow actually floating downriver. The "sweeps" or tillers used for steering are seen at each end. It appears steering was done using using both sweeps at the same time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Historical clothing

For some aspects of the trip we want to recreate not only the historical look of the scow and its accessories, but also the crew from time to time. We will wear period clothing or replicas of same on special days or for some reenactment pictures. I attach one of your blogger, Darren Tanke, in his "costume". I made this version into a sepia tone once and mixed it among some authentic old Sternberg c. WW I images, and no one could tell it was me!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Construction, September 7, 2009.

The first phase of construction is now completed. Now we need to find some water sealant which seems sold out or unavailable in Drumheller stores. Remember you are looking at the scow upside down. Building it this way reduces the number of times we have to flip the floatation boxes over and other logistical matters. The sections are now separated for painting of the water sealant. There may be no more construction pictures until such time that we find some water sealant. If so, I will post other historical pictures/comments or other aspects of the trip.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Construction, September 6, 2009.

The final piece of the 4 modular sections nears completion. Large orange tarps of thick plastic finish completed areas.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

AMNH scow Mary Jane, 1911

Another picture of the scow Mary Jane, 1911. The expedition cook, Fred Saunders stands on the left, holding a black kitten. Barnum Brown stands to his left. The others are the local Postill family, descendents of whom still reside upstream from the Drumheller area today. Note how a long plank is needed to traverse the mud flats along the river. Also note that from 1911 on the tent was raised up from the deck thereby giving more room inside.

Friday, September 4, 2009

American Museum Scow Mary Jane

The AMNH scow Mary Jane in 1911. This is determined by the larger "flagpole" seen on the left. This was only present in 1911. Left to right: Henry Fairfield Osborn (AMNH); Fred Saunders (cook from Stettler, Alberta) and Barnum Brown (AMNH).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Construction delay, September 3, 2009.

Owing to rain showers and threatening skies, no construction was done today on the scow, nor will there be until this coming Sunday. Over ther next few days I will post pictures of the AMNH scow "Mary Jane" as she appeared 1910-1912. This picture shows her in 1910 with the tent directly attached to the deck. Barnum Brown is on the left and Peter Kaisen on the right, both from the American Museum of Natural History. I found out recently if you click on the blog images they will enlarge into high resolution versions that show a lot of details.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Construction, September 2, 2009.

The latest construction pictures. An outline showing the fourth and final section is included here to show overall length of the finished scow. Your blogger Darren Tanke and his girlfriend Patty Ralrick are standing on the scow. Patty is a Ph.D. student at the University of Calgary. She will be the 2010 scow trips cook, but will also do work on her thesis project which involves latest Cretaceous microvertebrate sites. These sites can be bulk sampled (sacks of loose matrix), which are then soaked in the river off the sides of the scow in door screen-bottomed "wash boxes". The resultant concentrate can be sorted removing for example small bones and teeth, which are then categorized and catalogued during the trip. Other paleontology students will join us during the trip to conduct their thesis-related or research projects. The floatation boxes seen here will be completely clad in 2 X 10 planks as seen in two of the pictures.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Construction, September 1, 2009.

More progress. Once basic construction is done, the craft will be water sealed, etc. then flipped over for some other work. Final sealing and other work will be done in the spring of 2010 about a month in advance of launching. During that time it will be stored outside over the winter under several thick and heavy orange plastic tarps. Other aspects of the trip will then be pursued.