Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coastal Defense Day at Sandy Hook

I was sorta lazy getting this post out, sorry. Coastal Defense Day was May 20th. This was to be the day we started folding in the Launch Area into the tours - though I was to continue working on the twins and when folks came by to be one of the exhibits. It was a great day weather-wise. I threw open the bay doors and set to work. The dis-assembly process is getting to the end. I was able to remove the arming windows and mechanisms from Pollux.

I found the ID plates and pulled them to clean up. They will go back on after the refinishing. This one is also from Pollux:

I still have to fight with some of the fillers and vents; you can see two here along with the lanyard that started the missile's motor when the booster dropped off (it is above and to the far left of the section with the data plate). The actual lanyard has rusted off but the connector remains.

You begin to get a sense of the refinishing task ahead looking at the rust and corrosion. Oh well, I knew that going in.

Around this time I got a call from an old friend Ron Ananian - he is the Car Doctor on WOR radio. He was on the air and called to talk about the passing of Carroll Shelby earlier in the week. As some of you may know I am an incurable Hot Rodder. I have owned my old Blue Shelby for 43 years and enjoyed the opportunity to talk on national radio about how Carroll's cars changed my life and the automotive world. I had just finished talking with Ron when Tony T showed up with a group touring the Launch Area. We gave them a nice presentation and folded up the tent for the weekend.

til next time...... Blazing Skies

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Two steps forward, one step back...

Today's post title is a reference to an exercise in humility. I had been somewhat upset over the overall progress, wanting to be further along. In retrospect, I am much farther along than I was, and the job is moving forward. This "lesson" came about after purchasing a 14 ton shop press to separate the booster fins from their brackets. As last week's post showed, I had to remove the cross bracing from the press in order to fit the fins, the press had to erectyed on large blocks  and I was not able to use the supplied press platform steel since the fin would not fit through it. Then I went to the IFC and gave tours with Bill so I was expecting to come back this week and breeze through the fins like a hot knife through butter. Ha! During the week I used one of my lunch hours to go to a shop I had not been to in probably 30 years; Victory Iron Works. The place was just as I remembered it and though all the staff are new to me they were absolutely courteous and helpful, even after I told them I was working on missiles <grin>. They cut me some angle iron to press against and let me pick up a bunch of cut-offs for spacers. Well the first thing to greet me Saturday morning was the ugly fact that the bottle jack had no hydraulic oil. The trip to the nearest Auto Parts store came up empty (unless I wanted a 5gallon can). The second nearest store was about 12 miles away, so off I went. They had a quart and I went back and filled the jack.

The next surprise was when the fin refused to separate and bent the presses securing pins:

It turns out that I had the angle iron too far outboard. The levelling plates got the fin in place but kept the iron too far away from the centerline. Breaking out the oxy-acetylene torch I reconfigured the angle iron to get closer to the center.

That did the trick, along with a bunch of hammering, Kroil, sweat and swearing  (not necessarily in that order).

So at the end of a full day's work I have one booster's fins added to the refinishing pile:

And one more Booster waiting to be started.

That's part of the joy and aggravation on a project like this. Working alone I get to make up my own tasklists. I have always done this in a seat of the pants fashion. I can't tell you why the booster fins got to be such a burr under my saddle. The rest of the project was going along nicely and I could have had a better "visual progress" day had I just kept working on the missile body dis-assembly. But the truth is, I knew that this was a difficult part of the project and it had to be brought into a similar timeline for refinishing. Besides, I want to be in a good mood for painting the twins. So I worked on a more difficult part to move it forward. Ther will be lots more to come.

Til next time....... Blazing Skies!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The season gets busy...

Saturday started out early and exciting. It was a hazy day on the drive down to the Hook so I was ready to get a lot of work done. I had gone shopping for tools this past week and one of the items I bought was a 12 ton hydraulic press. It came knocked down which was just as well since it will need to be modified for my purposes.

I had to remove the cross bracing support across the bottom to accommodate the booster fin's length. Next I have to modify the support cross rails. It was right about at this point  that I found that Bill and Tony were inundated with tour takers and none of the other guides had shown up. So I locked the door and went to the IFC and assisted them with the tours. For a drizzly day we sure had a *lot* of people, but it was a fun time. They were pretty engaging as a group which makes it more fun as a tour guide.

Oh, and remember I mentioned last week about the gentleman from Texas? He is also restoring a pair of Ajax missiles but he was missing the nosecones. After I measured mine up and sent the information out, I got to thinking.... which is always dangerous for a guy like me. I offered to cast him a pair of nosecones in fiberglas using my missile's as a pattern. Maybe it just the old Hot-Rodder in me, but it should be fun and it will help another restorer in need. I'll keep you all posted on the progress.

"til next time..... Blazing Skies!!