Sparkling renovation of tanker Mary A. Whalen galley

The transformation of the galley will knock your socks off! Decades of paint were removed from steel, bronze and Monel surfaces.  The bulkhead was painted one of its early colors, a light, bright green typical in the 1930's when the ship was launched.

What made this project so challenging (beyond the scope of work) is that we are limited, since February 2012, to just 5 visitors at a time who do not have Homeland Security TWIC cards, and 5 such visitors can only be escorted in and out by our Director Carolina Salguero who has to stay aboard (eg,  not leave for meetings) while they are aboard.

These rules have so impeded access to the ship that they have largely stopped volunteer shipwork (and programs) on the tanker.   What inspired us to take on this big project is that Erika Stetson donated her entire month of December to us (as training for her entry to SUNY Maritime Academy) which broke the back on this work (and fortunately not on her!).

Paint removal and painting volunteers included Carol Salguero (Carolina's mother), Carla and Andrea Oviedo (visiting from Spain), Max Powell (driving 3 hours each way from Waterford for a few weekends), and our advisor Paul Amico.  As this project went along, we also got assistance from The Red Hook Volunteers, FEMA Americorps members, and various individuals.  Peter Guaracci, an actor and teacher, is our latest regular volunteer.

Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

Putting the space back together was a project unto itself!  Shipcat Chiclet was most engaged during the unpacking of the boxes.  She did not like the noise of the paint chipping portion of this project. Needleguns are not for her!

Metal polishing work

We all delight in the gleam!

The Porthole Challenge

Dear Workboat crew,

Never paint the polished bronze!  SO many layers of paint are on Mary Whalen's portholes and Monel porthole surrounds. 

At first, we hoped to take the portholes entirely out, but getting them separated from the ship's steel proved too much. We are sending the swing plates, nuts, hinge pins and deadlights out for dip and strip polishing. The dogs will be another tedious matter.

Getting the hinge pins separated from the cast iron deadlights, which have corroded and swollen around the pins, has been a project requiring Zen patience, regular application of PB Blaster lubricant, heat, tapping, and prayer.

You can still help! Here is what we still need:

Tile restoration: Replace missing tile. Clean and restore existing tile. The white tiles are very discolored.

Repair of the wood paneled fridge and freezer: glue down some veneer bubbles, some re-varnishing. Change of freon, gaskets and compressors from DC to AC motors (or installation of a rectifier)

7 vintage cabinet latches. We can provide dimensions and details.

Furniture restoration and upholstery work: Restoration of the table stools.  They should have backs. Some of the seats are not original. All should be reupholstered. New back and side cushion for the banquette, and re-upholstery of the banquette seat cushion to match.

Wood refinishing. Some sanding and varnishing of wood shelves and trim and parts of the fridge.

Two vintage fans. One was mounted on a wooden shelf, the other a "wall-mounted" model was on a bulkhead under the skylight. (We can provide dimensions).

Donations as ever!

Thanks!




"This-Old-Ship-Kitchen"Campaign-OR-renovating-Mary-Whalen-galley-December 2013

How would PortSide describe an "ideal" volunteer? TWIC card holder, with Merchant Marine credentials, a background in PR and journalism, asking to do ship work.

Erika Stetson in Afghanistan

Erika Stetson in Afghanistan

Donate via PayPal or make out checks to "PortSide NewYork"' and send to P.O. Box 195, Red Hook Station, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA

Thanks to Home Depot ,QuinnCo of NY & We Strip Wood for their support of this project!

Erika's generous offer of time prompted us to launch a December campaign "This Old Ship Kitchen" to return the Mary A. Whalen galley to its 1938 glory. We are looking for donations of materials, services and funds. 

PLEASE DONATE TO SUPPORT THIS WORK!

Erika's offer is particularly important to us because security regulations in the Red Hook Container Port tightened last year so that our Director Carolina Salguero is now the only person who can bring in visitors who don't have the Homeland Security ID, the TWIC card, and the TWIC card limit is 5 visitors per card. In short, PortSide can only have 5 visitors at a time who don't have a TWIC card. This limitation pretty much shut down our volunteer program in March 2012 (one of the reasons we are so keen to get a home out of the port.)  Erika's having a TWIC card allows her to come and go without Carolina.

Erika is an Air Force veteran whose resume says compelling things such as "Prepared strategic communications plan for Army drawdown in Afghanistan on behalf of a four-star U.S. Army headquarters."She's changing careers and starts at SUNY Maritime College in January.We'll give her some intro maritime training before SUNY, and she's going to do major work renovating the galley of MARY A. WHALEN. 

As Erika put it, MARY’s “galley is a treasure within a treasure.” The cozy space has a Webb Perfection cast iron stove patented in 1918 which burns diesel (Our Director Carolina has learned how to use it), a wood paneled fridge and freezer, and handsome black and white tiled floors. Silver details in Monel metal; bronze portholes (in need of paint removal, fomer crews clearly tired of polishing), a large table which seats eight. It's bigger than most NYC apartment kitchens!

Supper Club "friendraiser" dinner in 2012

Supper Club "friendraiser" dinner in 2012

Carolina has started chipping paint in the galley to look at the history of paint layers to determine original colors, but stopped after shipcat Chiclet starting trying to eat paint chips. Chiclet was ushered out and chips swept up.  We've been researching 1930s kitchen photos  on line and started a rash of buying 1930s kitchware on eBay. Wait til you see the toaster!

Carolina has also posted questions to the Tugboatinformation group on Facebook, to ask for guidance. Here's part of one post:

kitchen 1930s antique homestyle,com.jpg

I have a restoration question about galley paint color. We are about to do over the galley. Any of you have memories, photos or information as to how galleys might have been painted in 1938? I've been chipping paint here and there to see underlying colors, but I strongly suspect that some paints changed their color as they aged cuz I can't believe that lots of Mary A Whalen bulkheads were painted a kind of nasty khaki mustard color. Also, since I don't think all the cabinets in MARY's galley are original, I cant count on the layers in the paint history to tell me what was original. I"m pretty sure the galley was not all white at the outset. Could cabinet doors and drawers have been painted a different color from the cabinet as was common in 1930s kitchen's ashore and as in this photo? There's a light apple green that is very typical of that time ashore as in this photo. Could that have been on a workboat? I've found it on overhead and bulkheads in one cabin. Thanks for any info!

The galley is one of the tanker’s most popular spaces during our TankerTours - whether we are showing it to elementary school kids, professors or the general public. PortSide uses the galley as office space, board room and as the site of Supper Club dinners we will revive after the renovation.

We also use it as a board room, conference room and office space, not to mention staff lunch room (when it is too cold to use the picnic table on deck)

BoatBox planning meeting  

BoatBox planning meeting
 

Services

  • Paint stripper (for metal dishrack & stove hood, 5 brass portholes, 4 steel drawers, 2 small wood shelves)
  • Chemical cleaning of tile floor
  • Furniture restorer to rebuild backs of 8 galley stools, and 5 galley seats.
  • Re-activate fridge & freezer. Change compressors from DC to AC electricity, replace Freon, change gaskets.

Equipment & material

  • Compressor and needle guns
  • Paint
  • 2 cordless electric drills
  • industrial cleaners and degreasers
  • Thinners
  • Sandpaper
  • painters’ paper to cover the tile floor
  • small number of floor tiles and adhesive to replace missing tiles
  • Tyvek suits
  • Disposable latex gloves

What donors get
Donors who give over over $500 in funds or services get two seats at Supper Club dinner in the newly renovated galley, credit on our website on the pages DONATE and MARY WHALEN PRESENT for one year.