A lot of work has been done over the past two weeks, the floor on the decking area was stripped off, the engine area has been sanded and an undercoat applied. The area below the deck has been hoovered and clean up before applying specialized paint to prevent the wood from rotting.
The new team of men have been busy over the past couple of months. They have now completed painting both sides of the Comet to her original colours before attaching the paddle boxes. The team are now working on the deck. So far they have sanded and undercoat the wooden planks and marked out a template on the floor area.
The videos below show the progress of the work which has been done.
Niall Ptomoley, our Heritage Assistant and Comet Rebuilt blogger for the last six months has now taken up his place as a student at University studying history. (All the best to Niall from all at 7 and a half John Wood Street and our Comet Rebuilt bloggers).
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Scott Grant, and I will be taking over from where Niall has left off.
Also, in August 2010, the Comet team downed tools as their future jobs placement, which lasted six months came to an end, however two men from the team have been employed by Inverclyde Community Development Trust to continue working on the Comet and to join a new team.
They kindly posed for these photographs so all of you bloggers can meet the new team.
The new team (missing from picture- Darren Connaghan).
Over 200 people turned out to visit The Comet at Fergusons this weekend...absolutely brilliant.
We've some footage and photos from the day which we'll post soon...including some video of Lyle Templeton...our piper who welcomed everyone over the doors during the morning session.
You can hear a new radio interview about the project at 6.15 this evening on Bute FM (96.5fm) or online at www.butefm.com.
Loads of folk had questions for us about when the boat was going to be completed and what was happening next, particularly around protecting The Comet from the elements when she returns. But we were really interested to hear a particular idea over and over again...keep The Comet out of sight in 2011, then bring her back with much more of a bang for the bicentennial in 2012.
On Saturday September 11, as part of Doors Open Day you can come along to Fergusons Shipbuilders Port Glasgow and visit the Comet Rebuilt Project. We'll be open from 10-4.
We've had loads of requests for site visits since the start of the project and so we're delighted that folk will be able to come along and see what's been going on.
There will be the opportunity to chat to some of the staff involved, have a look at the restortation undertaken so far and also to see a small exhibition on the history of The Comet. As a special treat, we'll be premiering 10 minutes of the Comet Rebuilt documentary which has been getting produced since the project began in January.
We hope to see you along on the day.
We're just one of many interesting venues that can be visited on the weekend of September 11/12...for details of many more go to Doors Open Days
Last month, BBC Scotland's L.A.B (Learn at BBC Scotland) visited 7 and a half John Wood Street and Ferguson's Shipyard in order to give the Comet Rebuilt team the BBC experience of creating an audio package for the L.A.B website. Most of the interviews were also used for a radio broadcast on the Comet Rebuilt Project as part of the BBC's Culture Café . The broadcast featured some of the workers talking about their memories of the Comet from when it sat in Port Glasgow's Civic Square, and also featured them discussing their current experience with the restoration. Kay Clark the heritage co-ordinator here at 7 and a half John Wood street was also interviewed; along with the Senior Productions manager from Ferguson's Shipyard - Raymond Brown. Hopefully what they had to say sheds some more light on the Comet Rebuilt Project and outlines what the project is trying to achieve. A recording of the Culture Café broadcast can be heard below.
However, it should be highlighted that most of what was used in the broadcast can also be found on the BBC L.A.B website (link also below) along with additional interviews conducted by the Comet Rebuilt team themselves. This collection of interviews has been put over a slideshow of photographs that were taken by myself while the interview process was underway at Ferguson's Shipyard. The video, or slideshow with audio rather, also features a couple of interviews with members of the public who were keen to express their opinions on the Comet restoration. These interviews took place in the busy Port Glasgow Town Centre - not far from the Comet space in the Civic Square where the Comet used to lie.
Recently, some of the staff from 7 and a half John Wood Street went on a trip to Buckie in the North East of Scotland to talk to some of the workers who were involved with building the Comet replica hull back in 1962.
It is a little known fact around Port Glasgow that the hull of the Comet replica was actually built in George Thompson's shipyard in Buckie and only transported down to Lithgow's yard in Port Glasgow once it was finished.
We allowed some of the workers involved with the building of the Comet replica hull to tell their story on camera in order to see how they got involved with not only the Comet replica, but also the shipbuilding industry as a whole.
The interview mainly focuses on the men from Buckie reminiscing about their experiences with the Comet replica and discussing their methods and techniques with Colin, who is in charge of the current operation.
However, they also went on to discuss the decline of the shipbuilding industry in Buckie - a discussion we were able to conclude the interview with by drawing parallels and similarities with the situation concerning shipbuilding in Inverclyde; driving home the unfortuneate truth that shipbuilding is indeed a dying trade and a tradition lost.
A 2 part 20 minute edit of the interview can be viewed below.
The team have been extremely busy over the past couple of weeks and as you can see from the images above, a lot of work has been done on the Comet since the last update. The photographs and videos in this post give you an insight into not only the current state of the Comet but also into how the workers go about replacing the old exterior. And that is, exactly, what they have been doing since the last update - continuing to replace the old exterior by using a steam box to steam the new planks of wood until they are pliable and able to be bent into shape to fit on the hull. Both of the videos below, like one of the videos posted here before, allow you to see this process for yourself.
Approximately one half of one side of the ship has been painted, as you can see, and most of the exterior has been successfully refurbished and restored. The same goes for the isolated wheelhouse - which actually appears as if it is near completion.
Quite a lot of work has been done on the Comet since the last update - as you may have gathered from the picture above. The team have focused mainly on the hull of the ship - replacing the old planks and damaged wood.
By watching the video posted here below, you will be able to see for yourself what progress has been made in the past month or so. The video features footage of the team working away on different parts of the boat and it also shows them placing a new steam bent piece of wood onto the exterior of the ship.
Note that the video uses collected footage shot over the course of a month.
Progress has evidently been made on the cabin's exterior. The last update featured images of the cabin stripped and isolated from the ship with the team working on its restoration. The images above show what work has been done since and the progress that has been made.
In addition, the video below also demonstrates the progress that has been made by giving a quick pan and establishing view of the Comet. It also reminds us of the severely damaged state that the ship is actually in. Furthermore, the video gives close up views of the new steam bent planks of wood that have replaced some of the original exterior.
Hopefully this video gives you some indication of not only the sheer size of the Comet, which I myself found surprising, but also the sheer size of the task at hand.
It has to be said that it is both an odd and interesting juxtaposition; the original exterior and structure united with the new exterior. The images below give a closer look at this coming together of old and new.
Work is now officially underway on the Comet Rebuilt project. The Comet has been stripped of its cabin...
...and a rough template for the new deck has been constructed in parts and put over the original damaged decking.
Furthermore, the exterior planks that need replaced entirely have been marked with a white X, as you can see in the picture below.
It is evident that the ship is extremely damaged due to its lengthy exposure to the elements while it was on display in Port Glasgow. Refurbishing the vessel to look pristine again is an extremely difficult task.
Nonetheless, the team is off to a great start and there is now a firm plan of action as to how they are going to tackle the difficult refurbishment.