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Author Topic: BATFISH 40mm Restoration Update  (Read 47795 times)
Paul Farace
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« Reply #120 on: September 27, 2008, 11:23:13 PM »

This is a sticky issue. I have mixed feelings. The 40mm guns should have travel locks on the barrels, it was standard equipment. They are nothard to repro, so it would help.  Cod's CT is off limits to all but crew (signs on the outside superstructure ladders keep all but the biggest numbskulls off)... be we have a 5 in. wet mount that our skipper expects folks to play on... that is fine, but after 16 years of kids playing with it, the knob cranks are wearing... and the gears are sloppy. Now the experts say that can be fixed easily. But the missing brass from the crank stems is going to require we make a casting and build up the missing collars... not cheap, but when the time comes to do this, I don't expect my skipper to question the expense... it is the cost of providind visitors with this "extra bit of fun."   The safety mods on the 5 in. are easily reversible with a tool kit. We did not let anyone weld gears (damage!) and in fact we ground out the gear weldments created by the previous owners of the guns. 

What might work is to keep the 40mm locked on it travel lock and when reenactors are availalble, they can supervise folks using the gun.

Take some solace in the fact the all the color movies and photos I've seen of Cod and other sub deck guns show considerable rust, scrapping, etc. These are not floats in a parade!  Some subvet jokers asked me what I would do if visitors were to scrape up my recent paint job of the 5-in. gun... I told them that if it wasn't scraped sufficiently to make it look "used in combat" I would do the job myself!


Just my penny's worth!  Roll Eyes
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JohnG
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« Reply #121 on: September 28, 2008, 01:02:56 AM »

I just think that if it is there the public should be able to check it out. Personally I hate going to museums  where it is all look and don't touch. Right now the sub is just a static model. A building that people get to walk through. By making things interactive they get to see what it was like and get to "be there".

Once again, the most successful museums have these traits. We can't be so afraid of damaging the boat that we lock it up and make it our own little "club house". Like I said, when the reenactors use it, all they will do is shoot imaginary targets, but when a normal person does it that has a whole new meaning. As much as we love the boat and museum we have to look at it from a un-biased view. I'm not trying to piss anyone off, but unless we start trying to improve the museum (and I know we are hence the PR guy and the very awesome plans) the sub will stay pushed aside.

I'm not saying we are this but this is is something I feel is relevant:

Museums are like teachers. Teachers are supposed to be open minded, unbiased, always learning and evolving. When a teacher stagnates and stops learning and evolving the students suffer. The start to believe that they can't be wrong amd anything contrary to what they learned 20 years ago is wrong. Ask your kids, it happens everyday.

If we lock up the boat and make it just walk through then we have stagnated. You can have awesome displays, but in the end they are static displays to be looked at only. When people learn through experience they never forget it. Why? Because they have physically done it. You can tell someone how it works and they will retain it for a whole 5-10 minutes. But if you let them hop up there and do it they won't forget it, at least not anytime soon.

Stagnation will kill the museum. Hence why Rick is trying to get all of this great stuff done. It's why displays change. By letting some one learn about the 40mm in a way that is unprecedented around here would be a great step forward. You did put alot of work into it that goes with out saying. But why did you restore it? So it can be a "pretty", something to be dusted? Or did you want it to be a working 40mm cannon?
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MWALLEN
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« Reply #122 on: September 28, 2008, 12:28:28 PM »

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But why did you restore it? So it can be a "pretty", something to be dusted? Or did you want it to be a working 40mm cannon?

*sigh*

I restored it for basically all three reasons.  I DID NOT restore it so that it could be damaged and I could spend part of EVERY day out there fixing it back up because of someone wanting an experience.

John - I see where you are coming from...and I agree.  Let me try this scenario.  Let's say you came out all summer and fixed something up, got it restored and felt a great sense of accomplishment because you got something that wasn't working...working again.  All nice and new looking, etc...  Then, say I came along and wanted to play with it and in doing so...broke it.  How would you feel?  Would you say "oh well, Mark was just wanting an experience."  Or would you be pissed because of all the time you had spent in restoring it just to have it damaged?

And if we just say "oh well" to damage...then why restore it at all?  My wife and I worked on the gun so EVERYONE could see what it looked like.  I would like nothing better to do that let everyone play on it.  But I don't trust anyone because I know and see how people treat things. 

My suggestion to you is this...find another gun at the park...one on the grounds.  Restore it to your satisifaction.  Once you are done, open it up for people to play on.  Let them have their "experience" on it. However, be sure to bring paint and brushes every time you are at the park, because it will be damaged.

As for the 40mm, it will be locked down...until I can think of some alternative method to keep it from being damaged.  Rick is in agreement with this.
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Rick
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« Reply #123 on: September 28, 2008, 03:20:09 PM »

My view on this matter is simply to try and make the best of both worlds.   I am not real keen on allowing just anyone to run the historic artifacts.  Lets face it, the sub and the 40mm are historic artifacts.  Furture events will allow for the uses of thes items under heavily watched situations.  I have to agree with MarkA in that we should not allow just anyone to run the 40mm.  There are future projects that will allow customers to experience what it like to run these items   I do intend to allow access to the bridge area in the future,  I am still undecided on the Conn..   

Rick
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Lance Dean
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« Reply #124 on: September 28, 2008, 03:52:16 PM »

The thing I'm curious about is how was scraping the 40mm barrel prevented back in war time?  I'm assuming nothing was done to prevent it, other than having enough sense to not scrape it down the rail.

I noticed Tom keeps the one on the Drum locked (didn't he Mark?) but unlocked it for Mark and I to try it out.

Personally, I would have no problem with the guns being locked in place.  You can still sit and get a feeling of how it all works.  Isn't there someone at the Batfish who could unlock the guns on a case by case basis?

I got the impression that Tom Bowser had purchased one of those huge bulk packages of #2 Master Locks that are all keyed alike and had distributed them all over the sub to keep things under control.  I'm not in favor of having Plexiglas all over every tiny thing, having every ladder chained off, and having locks on every possible place.  But you do need to have some type of way of locking certain things down WHILE having the option to unlock them on a whim.  IMHO.
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Ctwilley
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« Reply #125 on: September 28, 2008, 04:16:13 PM »

One thing you'll notice about our railing is that it's about 12" higher than the originals. The railing had to be modified 12 in shorter when the 40mm was installed, be it forward or aft. This would allow the barrel to be moved to a negative elevation. This was the reason for the 11 inch tall barrel guard on both the aft and forward facing rails. It would allow the gun to be lowered to a negative elevation until it reached 0 and 180 degrees to keep it's gunners from blowing away their own boat. You'll notice in photographs that the barrel is locked down at a 0 degree elevation on top of the barrel guard and the surrounding railing was lower than the guard.
Clear as mud?

I would bet that the barrel guard and barrel would have been touched up after each patrol by the refitting crew.
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Ctwilley
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« Reply #126 on: September 28, 2008, 04:35:41 PM »

Also, here's my two cents. We've reached the point in the discussion that validates the existance of the BLHA. The purpose of having the living history crew is to give the patrons the "experiance" without them ever having to "play" with everything. Allow me to elaborate.
Most museums that have working artillery pieces don't let the patrons handle them...after all, they ARE firearms and big ones at that. Take Ft. Gibson for example. They have a 6 lb mountain howitzer that they unlock and pull out from the storage building, and fire at special events. They only allow trained crew members near the gun citing safety reasons. In order to keep it educational, the crew members wear the proper uniforms from the time period and demonstrate how and why the gun was operated. There is an accredited antique artillery training school with various instructors being dispersed throughout the country. These men take it upon themselves to train those interested in operating antique arillery pieces. I am one such instructor having been trained in the operation of 6 different types of antique ordinance.
The entire purpose is to make the gun more than just static and demonstrate it's capabilities without every jo blow jacking around with it and screwing it up. In a way, that's what the BLHA is here for. Allow the public to see and hear but not touch.
The only stipulation I would state would be that it should only be unlocked for trained and certified personnel.
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Fred Tannenbaum
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« Reply #127 on: September 29, 2008, 04:33:44 AM »

To take the discussion in a different, yet important, direction, how much work does the BLHA do assist with Batfish restoration? Seems like Mark Allen's been at his wit's end seeking any warm body to help with deck work and other vital projects to ensure the submarine is preserved for future generations and groups such as BLHA to enjoy. Some reciprocation (and elbow grease) are in order.
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Darrin
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« Reply #128 on: September 29, 2008, 08:17:25 AM »

It is the right thing to do with locking the 40mm up unless someone is there from the crew to make sure that nothing gets damaged, thought about it all weekend and it would be a shame to ruin all of the hard work by those who don't care if they bend or break it because they don't have to maintain it. Good luck in your decision and whichever one it is it will be the right one for the Batfish Wink

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Ctwilley
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« Reply #129 on: September 29, 2008, 10:58:24 AM »

I can guarantee that at least one person from the BLHA is at all times is working on something for the boat (because most of the time it's me). I spend an average of 30 to 40 hours a week amassing materials, working on projects, and just generally looking for items to donate to the museum...in addition to my regular job. Granted, I work on some of my projects at home and then bring them to the boat when they're finished. The BLHA almost always has at least 1 representative at all deck laying days and sometimes, it's almost exclusively BLHA guys. The BLHA has also taken on the restoration of the Galley, the Cold Stores Locker repainting and restocking as well as opening it up to the public for display (although still working on it), the arms locker is on the list of things to do, Tim has been redoing the bunks in the Crews quarters, we regularly go through and replace light bulbs, members have referbished a lot of the lighting, and Mark Sarsfield installed a fan in the ward room that he purchased with his own money. We've procured countless items to display such as a REAL ww2 navy table cloth and napkins, original maps and charts, instruments, I'm getting the materials together to do some work in the captain's cabin and hopefully install a replica depth guage, sink, and medicine cabinet. We've also donated countless hours of research...that's how I came up with the set of original orders issued out to all submarines in the pacific for painting guidelines. We made the latest set of "kill" flags, we made a PUC pennant that can be flown on the boat for special occasions, I'm in the middle of remaking the battle flag so it can be flown on the boat during special occasions too. I've wanted to show up to the deck days but I always have something going on...including serving with the National Guard. Although you may not see all of us at a deck laying (as 90% of us are not from around the area). I know Roger Hudgins, Mark Sarsfield, Tim Katzung, Collin Smith, and Bradley Wynn (okie shipwreck) have been out to help on an almost regular basis. Most of the rest of the guys are from Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and other parts of Oklahoma and it's hard to get them to drive 10 hours round trip to work for 3 or 4 hours. If I made it a requirement for every member to participate in a deck day, I can guarantee that we would lose over half of our participation. I could understand if we were just out there "playing sailor" as someone once put it, but we're bringing people to the museum. We're volunteering our time to talk to people and demonstrate boat components and give guided tours. Do we have fun doing it? You bet your ass we do. At the last BLHA event, we helped the museum bring in almost $1400 in one day and we all had a blast! That was the biggest single moneymaking day for the museum. I assure you that we ARE pulling our own weight as Rick can attest as he approves or denies our work requests.

Correy
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Ctwilley
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« Reply #130 on: September 29, 2008, 01:36:55 PM »

I think that my last posting came across a little more harsh than I wanted it to. angel

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my guys (and I'm not saying no one else does) put a lot of time and effort into not only fixing the boat, but researching and buying accurate period uniforms (those can get expensive), uniform items, plates, pots, pans, silverware, fans, lights, and any number of other "small" items and I'll defend them to the death for it. None of them are rich, a few work for various other museums and they volunteer entire weekends to teach at another museum. They not only work on projects with their own money, but they go even further with their money to ensure that what they are teaching and showing people is the correct thing.

Correy
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MWALLEN
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« Reply #131 on: September 29, 2008, 02:49:37 PM »

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I think that my last posting came across a little more harsh than I wanted it to.

maybe passionate is a better word.  Correy, I've been in your shoes.  There was a time when I had more sub stuff in my garage than "garage stuff".  If you and the BLHA are like me, you do it out of love and respect...at least that is why I do it.  And I've spent more of my own money than I care to think about.

Quote
put a lot of time and effort

I feel your pain...I can't count the number of hours and $$$  I've invested in the website...with many more ideas to be implemented.

I don't think Fred's question was out of line.  But I have wandered the same thing.  It's only after I've talked to you and Rick and Bradley and Mark S. that I finally understood.  You guys are working under the radar.  I had no idea that you were working on some of the things you mentioned.  Yeah, I wish more BLHA guys would come out...but I do understand about other commitments and all that.  Maybe you could work out a compromise...when you do hold your events, you could spend some time re-enacting...but also factor in some of the work Rick wants done.  After all, if we are going to call ourselves volunteers, sometimes we need to do what Rick wants done Cheesy

I do have a question about one statement though:

Quote
The BLHA almost always has at least 1 representative at all deck laying days and sometimes, it's almost exclusively BLHA guys.

Unless I've just missed them, at least for the last 3 events I've tried to schedule...I've not seen a BLHA rep there.  I know in the very beginning your team did alot of work at the bow and got a lot off then.  Are you working on other days?  If so, that is great.

I think we may have at least 2 BLHA guys there on the 4th...not sure about the 18th.  I would encourage you to keep encouraging the BLHA guys to come out...even if it's just once or twice a year.  If we had your entire team for a weekend...we could probably get 75% or more of the deck off and probably some put back on.  Just something to chew on.  Wink

And as Fred correctly said:

Quote
to ensure the submarine is preserved for future generations and groups such as BLHA to enjoy

That is why I volunteer...and I think it's the same with you guys.  I believe Rick has everything moving in the right direction and finally getting all groups working together and honestly, in my 10 years out here, it's the best I've seen the park look and work.  The future looks good just based on the little Bradley has shared and if your group can keep generating revenue like that...then just watch out!!

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Fred Tannenbaum
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« Reply #132 on: September 29, 2008, 03:40:04 PM »

Correy:

I'm basing the thoughts I've shared quite simply on the weekend reports and photos Mark Allen and the other working volunteers have posted on this board of their weekend activities. I've seen the tarps and shelters rigged to try warding off the oppressive heat, the orange coolers of water and the tools. But I don't see a lot of bodies, certainly not those identifying themselves as BLHA members. Granted, I am several hundred miles removed from the situation. But Mark, Rick and especially Batfish need help and a little more than living history specialists. Perhaps, BLHA might consider gathering one weekend a month to help in whatever project the working volunteers are doing at the time. I see many benefits: BLHA members get the satisfaction of performing some serious preservation work, they get to enjoy getting dirty and sweaty for a good cause, and any misunderstandings between BLHA and working volunteers can begin to be erased.

I'm a husband and father, and believe me, I know how tough it is to volunteer in stuff you want to do with a job and family. If you all are putting forth efforts, maybe it needs to be a little more in the areas that matter -- restoring and maintaining the boat. If the deck doesn't get replaced, if paint doesn't get chipped and replaced with new primer and paint, even if the interior doesn't get swept, swabbed and shined, you will not have anything on which to reenact. The subject of your living history will be, well, history.

I first volunteered on the Silversides nearly 30 years ago to be a tour guide. Instead, they handed me a paint brush and pointed to the conning. I painted my first two weekends. I eventually learned the tour and enjoyed every minute. But I learned that restoration and maintenance are the bedrock of any museum ship, and more often than not, MUST be done by volunteers. I remember taking on a thorough cleaning of the crew's head, including swabbing out the water closets and the stainless steel decks, and cleaning the sinks and stainless steel mirrors and wash basis with 409 spray or somesuch. I later became a restoration crew member exclusively and found a satisfaction I never knew possible.  It's out there just waiting for anyone. 
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Ctwilley
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« Reply #133 on: September 29, 2008, 04:24:20 PM »

Mark,
I think that we're all starting to figure out what each other does  Wink. I don't expect the average volunteer to purchase a uniform and support the education side nor do I expect the guys on the education side to spend all their time working on projects. If that were the case it wouldn't be an education day it would just be a work party. There's a happy medium. Our goal is to first educate and second preserve where as most of the other volunteers preserve first and educate second. We do work on projects while at the boat. Usually, in the evenings once the public goes home, we start working on our projects. These projects are proposed throughout the year, then accepted or denied by the museum, then worked on at night while we are aboard the boat. I fully intend to have the cold stores locker ready for display soon.
I like us flying under the radar. It makes things so much easier when all I have to do is talk to Rick.
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Ctwilley
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« Reply #134 on: September 29, 2008, 04:47:04 PM »

I'll take that under advisement Mr. Tannenbaum.
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