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Thread: Shipyard stories

  1. #1
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    Shipyard stories

    Riggers
    When you are working in the trades it is often said the other guys have it easier then you. Of course, sometimes it's true and sometimes it isn't.
    To witness riggers moving heavy machinery from the engineering spaces on a ship topside or to the flight deck is an education in itself. They would often have eyes welded to the bulkheads to assist the process.
    Sometimes they would have a passageway blocked which made it a little inconvenient for some people to get to their job site... That's usually when the bitch'n would start.
    One of my personal experiences with riggers was finding one....at night. The night shift could be pretty slow and a limited number of riggers were available. The trick was to find the coffee.

    On a live ship the galley would be open late into the night. Although it wasn't legit you could usually get your thermos filled. It was also a good place to find a rigger waiting for a job.


    Mort
    Last edited by dmort; 09-18-2017 at 08:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Do they all work at the same place?

    I bet they have some stories. You will meet some real characters working in a shipyard.

  3. #3
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    I have spent my life in Shipyards, since we are a full service Machine Shop for the Marine Industry.

    When vessels are on drydock, or even at dockside for repairs, it can get very cramped very quickly due to the large amount of persons having to work in a very limited space. This limited space is usually filled with the various large components that make the vessel work.

    On any job, a good Project Coordinator is essential to see the people are not stumbling over one another in an attempted to get something done. It might be something as simple as realizing you can't be sand blasting while engines are being rebuilt, or something as complicated as ensuring all of the running gear is Machined correctly BEFORE it is installed.

    If you like rigging, here is a picture of a 86 ft Pushboat Hull being lifted and placed in the water by "Big John", a 600 ton floating crane that works the Ship Channel in Houston.

    The Shipyard constructs the hull upside down, then flips it and places it in the water. It can then be placed on a drydock for finishing.

    The blank hull weighs about 200 tons.
    http://benchrest.com/attachment.php?...1&d=1505664129
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    Last edited by jackie schmidt; 09-17-2017 at 01:50 PM.

  4. #4
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    Things can go wrong!! Epic Fail!!

    The Internet is full of such instances as this. Remarkably, no one was killed.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=axjmK_vjYCM

  5. #5
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    looks like the brake on the main hoist self destructed....
    Don't ever stand under a load, on a trailer, next to anything to block your path of escape.....

    A few years ago. An overhead crane was off loading a coil of steel. Cable broke...after all the excitement, they started looking for the truck driver....
    thought he was in the head...maybe getting coffee, outside smoking....he apparently was on the trailer bed(crane operator forgot seeing him in all the excitement). He flew 45' after the coil crashed into the bed of the trailer....2 hrs later they found him....

  6. #6
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    Riggers

    Another guy and myself were running a portable flycutter on a dead ship. The temporary lighting wasn't all that good and we were in the process of moving the unit to the other end of the deck hatch when it all happened. The flycutter was mounted on a large steel beam long enough to span the width of the elevator. Standing on staging that was lower than the deck, and when trying to guide it into place is when all hell broke loose. The beam hit the deck and the block and rigging soon followed.
    We all stood there in shock for a few seconds before looking for the cause. We found it with our flash lights. The block had been hung on an eye that was tack welded and never finished.
    My left hand was on the edge of the deck when the beam fell, it missed my hand by about six inches.
    I climbed out of the staging, parked my lucky ass on the deck and had a smoke.
    I thought the rigger was going to cry.

    Mort
    Last edited by dmort; 09-18-2017 at 10:02 PM.

  7. #7
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    I watched the island of a nuke carrier be placed on the deck.

    It was astounding how gently it was handled.

  8. #8
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    Riggers

    The story I told was an exception. The shipyard trades at their best is almost an art form.

    People who have never been a blue collar worker might disagree, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
    Last edited by dmort; 09-18-2017 at 07:31 PM.

  9. #9
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    Catapults

    During the Vietnam war the carriers would quickly wear out parts of the launching systems.

    The ships always had a schedule so getting the repairs done on time was always a priority.

    The catapult guides came in six' lengths or so. There would be a double row of these mounted flush with the deck with large countersunk allen bolts. The wearing surface was a slot on the inboard side of each guide. Once removed from the ship these guides would be built up with weld and sent to the shop for machining.

    The machine work was repetitive and soon very boring.

    An NC machine would have been perfect but we didn't have any. I 'm not sure I had heard of one yet.

    The job was on a horizontal mill and I would be working a 12 hour shift, 13 days on and one off. The small but older group of machinist on the night shift were not even interested. Hooray for me!

    There was always a 30 minute overlap on the shift for passing information, and when I met the other machinist and the foreman, it was pointed out to me how many of these guides were already on pallets ready to go back to the ship. The machinist told me what feeds and speeds he was using and it should only take X number of passes.

    The first one I made was undersized and had a lot of chatter marks. The depth of the slot was okay but that was about it. I was checking the width with parallels and I was sure my measurements were accurate. No matter what speed and feed changes I made it always required one more pass to fall with specs. That extra pass over a 12 hour shift meant there wouldn't be as many guides on the floor.

    On my next meeting with the foreman he suggested I was spending to much time measuring and he would fix that for me. When I came in the next night there was a pair of go or no go gauges on the mill table. It didn't make any difference, I still had to make one more pass.

    No one said anything to me for the rest of the job. When it was finally over, working 8 hours seemed like a paid vacation.

    It was only a few days later when I came into the shop and there was a stack of guides next to a horizontal mill. They were all undersized and none of them were mine as the chatter marks were evident right away. I put them on the table, applied a little Dykem, gave them a kiss with the cutter and made one more pass.

    Mort
    Last edited by dmort; 09-21-2017 at 08:53 PM.

  10. #10
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    The Cincinnati Hydrotel

    At the far end of the shop was a very old Hydrotel. I had never run it or seen anyone operate it.

    I came in one night and there was a job on it I was supposed to run. The job was a spear for a carrier launch system. This was the piece that fit between the guides I spoke of earlier. A cable was attached to it for launching.

    I just went online to find a picture but no luck. On the new carriers they call that piece a shuttle. The nomenclature has changed over the years. Most of the carriers at the yard were of the Essex or Midway class which were modified post WWII.

    Whatever the correct name for the piece in the Hydrotel, it was a new experience for me. For starters this machine was really wore out, never maintained or both. It leaked hydraulic fluid all over the place and would bleed off whenever you turned it on or let it sit idle for to long. The bleeding process would cause the machine to jump all over the place. Even if you had been warned it was a spooky thing to watch. The rule was if you were not actively cutting to move to tool away from the work. I would have to periodically move the piece off to the side and beat on the surface with a ball peen hammer before resuming the cutting process. The hammering process was to change the structure of the material.

    Appropriate measuring tools consisted of calipers and a machinist rule.

    The machines were all sitting on heavy concrete foundations, but walkways were of wood. The wood floors were short pieces of Fir 2 X 4 set on end. This made it easy to walk on and could be readily removed to make installations of replacement machinery easier.

    I think I saw new wood twice all the time I was there. Maybe that was a hint that we and most of the older ships would soon be going out of business.

    Anyway, the wood around the hydrotel was soaked with hydraulic fluid.

    Sometimes the discussion at lunch was how many hot chips it would take to set the floor on fire.

    If there are any flight deck personnel or marine machinists who can contribute or correct any of this, please have at it. Your input is more than welcomed.

    Mort
    Last edited by dmort; 09-27-2017 at 07:59 PM.

  11. #11
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    Mort. I missed something. I did not know there were shipyards in Idaho....joking.
    Fires are not fun. I was in a couple.
    Saw one try to start in a dry dock. Saved some kid's life and a lot of tax payer dollars.
    Tallow was being drained from the ribs of a frigate. A spark caught the barrels on fire(2). The fire watches ran out of the dry dock. I ran into the dry dock and got there behind a sailor, who wanted to turn a fire hose on it. I yelled at him to drop that hose and grab the PPK bottles. Someone on the fire party was real smart. They had grabbed rope and dropped some PPK bottles into the dry dock. We put out the fire.
    When I got back to the shop. I was yelled at by my foreman for interfering with the Navy. And their duties.
    I said you are totally wrong.
    Our company is working on that ship. And problems will be blamed on the company and the yard birds.....
    I was in the Maintenance Dept. of the Shipyard(private). Sent to the dry dock to fix a welding machine.
    The dry dock was US Navy. San Diego.
    The next time I saw the Co. President and VP. They shook my hand and thanked me.....The Maintenance Foreman had me transferred as soon as he could. Back to the Electric Shop(Marine Electrician).....I survived 7 yrs there....

  12. #12
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    typical transferred your tail to save his. I never could understand how complete nincompoops would get promoted up the ladder when they were the ones creating the problems.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy06 View Post
    Mort. I missed something. I did not know there were shipyards in Idaho....joking.
    Fires are not fun. I was in a couple.
    Saw one try to start in a dry dock. Saved some kid's life and a lot of tax payer dollars.
    Tallow was being drained from the ribs of a frigate. A spark caught the barrels on fire(2). The fire watches ran out of the dry dock. I ran into the dry dock and got there behind a sailor, who wanted to turn a fire hose on it. I yelled at him to drop that hose and grab the PPK bottles. Someone on the fire party was real smart. They had grabbed rope and dropped some PPK bottles into the dry dock. We put out the fire.
    When I got back to the shop. I was yelled at by my foreman for interfering with the Navy. And their duties.
    I said you are totally wrong.
    Our company is working on that ship. And problems will be blamed on the company and the yard birds.....
    I was in the Maintenance Dept. of the Shipyard(private). Sent to the dry dock to fix a welding machine.
    The dry dock was US Navy. San Diego.
    The next time I saw the Co. President and VP. They shook my hand and thanked me.....The Maintenance Foreman had me transferred as soon as he could. Back to the Electric Shop(Marine Electrician).....I survived 7 yrs there....
    Hey Tim!

    Glad to hear from someone, thought maybe I was talking to myself.
    Got a real laugh out of your use of yard bird...haven't heard that in a long , long time. That's what we were.
    I have to say I'm a little confused about the tallow and hope you could elaborate.
    Having a little experience with Navy cooking I'm going to guess and say it's grease from the mess hall.

    Mort
    Last edited by dmort; 09-22-2017 at 09:44 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmort View Post
    Hey Tim!

    Glad to hear from someone, thought maybe I was talking to myself.

    Got a real laugh out of your use of yard bird...haven't heard that in a long , long time. That's what we were.

    I have to say I'm a little confused about the tallow and hope you could elaborate.

    Having a little experience with Navy cooking I'm going to guess and say it's grease from the mess hall.

    Mort
    Frigates had stabilizer ribs on the hull. They were hollow and filled with tallow. It's a grease/preservative....flammable.

  15. #15
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    Tallow

    Being it's flammable there must have been a real benefit somewhere... how much tallow are we talking about?

    P.S What other fire were you involved with?
    Last edited by dmort; 09-24-2017 at 12:34 PM.

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