upper deckhouse restoration report

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  • Upper Deckhouse RestorAtion report

    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project


    March 2010

    Prepared by:

    Pamela HepburnDirector

    Tug Pegasus Preservation ProjectPO Box 3433

    New York, NY 10008

  • Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 1

    Upper Deckhouse RestorAtion report


    This report details the restoration the upper wheelhouse of the tugboat Pegasus. The work was completed over two years2007 though 2009and includes the replacement of the wheelhouse windows, the restoration of the captains cabin and the wheelhouse interior and the rebuilding of the wheelhouse roof. The work was scoped out as three separate projects and funded through three separate appeals: The Eyes of the Tugboat, Pull for the Pegasus, and the Upper Deckhouse Restoration Interior. We are combining three projects in a single report because, in many areas, the projects overlapped physically and in time. Although this report is not specific to individual funders, we hope that, by including a wide range of the work, we can put the spe-cific projects into context.

    Thanks to the support of all of our funders we were able to complete the capital work that al-lowed us to us to begin to fulfill our mission of public access and education. We offered our first public educational trips at the end or 2008, and we served several thousand people through our extensive 2009 programming.

    Left: first stage of restoration, Morris Canal Basin, Jersey CityAbove: partially repaired wheelhouse stabilized.

    Photo: Donald Sutherland

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    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 2

    Wheelhouse Windows

    Many of the tugs original drawings were found at the Museum of Industry in Baltimore in2001 (Figure below left). The following year volunteer Jonathan Jones donated his architecturalservices to produce the drawings needed for a bidding process (Figure below right). The jobwent out to bid in 2006.

    Wheelhouse work resumed in 2005 while Pegasus was in the shipyard for extensive hull re-pairs. At the same time that welders were replacing 900 square feet of steel on the hull, restora-tion woodworker Dave Black unwrapped the wheelhouse sheathing and proceeded to replace the tongue-and-groove sheathing with wood that was as close to the original as we could obtain (Please see photos above.) This work is also covered in detail on our web site: http://www.tugpegasus.org/ongoingwork.htm.

    Structural work on the wheelhouse began in 1997. The windows were removed (shown above), as were layers of rotten wood. We discovered the uprights were also compromised. These were replaced . The new timbers were back-painted and covered with sheathing to stabilize the work (as seen above right). This project is covered in detail on our website: http://www.tugpegasus.org/vhistory_restoration.htm.


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    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 3

    Securing the structure of the upper deckhouse in the early phase of the restoration (as seen above) required the disassembly of the windows. The windows were a hodgepodge and ap-peared to have been altered several times. The windows were at least 50% compromised with dry rot and bad repairs over the years. (Please see photos below.) The original configuration is visible in the photo from the 1950s on the window closest to the door in the bottom. Black and white photo on the following page.

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    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 4

    There was the question of the time line. Photographs revealed some changes that were not easy to construe . What we had at the end was a hodgepodge of add-ons. Although our restoration time line is 1953 the steam engine was removed at that time and the current diesel engine in-stalledwe went back a few years when it appeared that the windows were at least consistent.

    Photo: Bob Mattsson Collection

    Photo: Mariners Museum Collection

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    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 5

    Upper Deckhouse RestorAtion report

    The contractors for the wheelhouse windows showed up on the boat in October of 2007 to make templates (Photos below). The bid- winning contractor, Kalle Fauset of MossFauset Woodwork-ing, took his templates and disappeared into his shop all winter, making a mock-up from his templates.

    From this mock-up (Photos above left) came the finished pieces: sills (Photos above center), window frames and rails. The finished pieces were assembled in the shop (Photos above right).Below, the finished pieces arrive at the site and are installed ( Photo below right).

  • Upper Deckhouse RestorAtion report

    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 6

    Concurrent with the wheelhouse window project becoming a tangible reality, three-quarters of the upper deckhouse had undergone a total repair and restoration. The last part to be worked on included work on the after 12 [one foot] of the wheelhouse roof, the back of the wheel-house, the captains cabin roof and the after bulkhead (back wall) of the captains cabin. These areas are all connected and are further described below.

    Captains CabinIn April 2008 we hired a restoration wood worker, Glen Garver. He started on the deckhouse structure. Predictably, a can of worms was opened (Photo below left). This shows the wheel-house on the left, and the boot-heel style [ stepped down arrangement] captains cabin to the right with the door on the after bulkhead. The photo below right shows the cabin from the stern opened up: no roof on it and no after bulkhead on the wheelhouse in this period of demolition.

    Below left, Glen is rigging a web clamp to straighten the structure that had sagged to starboard. Removal of the very rotten tongue and groove boards revealed the rotten timbers underneath. Note the mildew and the canvas in the photo below right.

  • Upper Deckhouse RestorAtion report

    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 7

    The demolition included the very after part of the wheelhouse roof, the after wheelhouse bulk-head, the captains cabin roof and the after bulkhead of the captains cabin. Canvas was used in a surprising number of ways. Unfortunately on this application it held in the moisture. The in-terior was renovated in the 1980s and the use of pink insulation was heavy. Current practices scorn the stuff. The triangulated beam is visible here. Oddly, there was no triangulation on the side of the wheelhouse.

    The deck beams on the captains cabin roof were replaced (Photos below). In June and the roof soon followed. Deck Beams, decking material and the facia are developed on the captains cabin before we are able to put on the final roof coating.

    The corner pieces on the facias were of built up pieces of cedar, glued up and cut out. This built up or chunk construction was common in vessels with so many rounded shapes. Ac-cess to the bandsaw at the Moss-Fauset shop enabled the smooth production of these pieces (Photos below).

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    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 8

    The captains cabin roof deck structure is shown completed, below. The coating is a fiberglass fabric, Dynel, with an epoxy system applied over it. This system has been used in yacht restora-tion for many tears and has proven itself. It is not only a tenacious coating but has the addi-tional benefit of looking like the canvas that it replaced; and the maintenance is far less than canvas.

    The above photo illustrates the process of rebuilding the upper deck house decks/roofs: the wheelhouse and the captains cabin. The captains cabin roof was constructed first. The forward end of it runs into the wheelhouse under the after bulkhead/wall of the wheelhouse. This con-struction can be seen in wrecks of the turn-of-the-century as a consistent construction element. It was carried out in steel boats to as exemplified by boats built by Ira S. Bushey and Sons in Brooklyn, NY from the 1930s to the 1970s.

    The posts on the side (painted orange primer above in the photo above) also land on this deck, eliminating as many vertical joint seams as possible. Boat builders always consider the force of wind driven elements and how to keep them out. Vertical seams invite seepage and moisture.

    The Dynel on the plywood is glued over the round-over on top of the facia piece. This is in re-verse of the traditional canvas construction where the facia would go over the tacked edge of the canvas. It was felt that the epoxy on the outside here would further discourage wind driven moisture, discouraging rot a little more effectively.

    The Dynel is then trimmed and the facia primed. There is an edge plank element that wraps around the edge of the deck. Drains are within the edge planking containing the flow of water landing on the vessel, connected to drain pipes that lead to the lower deck, the boat deck. The boat deck has the same arrangement, and drains the water to the main deck and overboard. Its a boat gutter system.

  • Upper Deckhouse RestorAtion report

    Tug Pegasus Preservation Project 2010 9

    While the captains cabin was getting rebuilt, the fabrication of the wheelhouse windows was finally moving along at the Moss-Fauset Woodworks in Hoboken, NJ.

    Wheelhouse RoofIn the beginning of the summer, before the wheelhouse windows arrived, the work on the tug proceeded to the wheelhouse roof. In the interior, the deck beams are most likely the original ones and we were able to leave them in place


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