Very special delivery

We build many very big projects in our shop. Building them in the shop makes good sense. Our tools are all handy there. Building in the shop means we can be efficient. The climate is always perfect and our materials are always in stock and handy. Best of all we can work regular hours and be home with our families in the off hours.

But once the projects are done we have to get them to our clients – wherever in the world they might be. Handling large pieces safely means it all has to be planned in from the very start. Our first questions to any client is how big can we build and how do we access the site. How will it be moved onsite. The answers effect the design in a big way!

We engineer lift points and sturdy frames into all of our projects to help us get the project around our shop but also to allow us to put it on a truck, secure it and allow it to be handled and eventually fastened down in it’s final location.

In the case of the Viking ships for Dubai everything had to fit into a standard size shipping container.

Today was shipping day for the first Viking ship plus a few other pieces for the targets. Load days are always exciting! About ten days ago we made arrangements with our client to have six containers on trucks delivered to our shop on this day. We also booked a sixty ton crane plus all necessary rigging to do the heavy lifting. The crane we booked has a small twenty by twenty foot footprint for its outboard legs plus the truck base protruding out from this. The space we had arranged the ship pieces was exactly that size plus a space for the trucks to back up to the crane for loading. Features were arranged all around filling every square foot of the driveway in front of the shop. Nothing was left for chance. Our big challenge of the day – load and send off six containers of features – weighing in at a total of 45,000 lbs.

As each truck (spaced out one hour apart) arrived some of our team would unfasten and strip off the canvas top and hoops before backing it up the driveway. I with a helper and the crane would load the large pieces into the container. Then another group of our crew would put the hoops back in place and re-secure the canvas top in place. This was repeated six times in six and a half hours.

The plan was carried out flawlessly and all of the pieces went in without a scratch thanks to the awesome teamwork of our entire crew plus helpful drivers and a very skilled and smooth crane operator.


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Next load ready to ship

It was a holiday week which meant we only had only four workdays to complete our long list of things we needed to accomplish. The shipping date for the first ship and related pieces is set for next Tuesday. That morning, bright and early a giant crane and six 40′ container trucks will be waiting.  That’s enough to hold one complete Viking ship, two masts, the keels and the balance of the target feature pieces. A few weeks later the final five containers will begin their journey to Dubai. The pressure was on.

We assembled the two halves (back from the galvanizers) of the last ship this week and managed to lath and sculpt one of them. The other half of the final ship is fully assembled and ready to lath. The first ship is now painted and ready to go.

On Monday we will arrange all of the pieces and make room for the giant sixty ton crane. The trucks will arrive in one hour intervals to allow us time to remove the tops and load the heavy pieces into the  open top containers with the crane. Then we’ll put the tops back on before sending the truck on it’s way across the Pacific Ocean. It’s going to be a very busy day!

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First half of Viking ship done

Today, we finished the first half of the Viking ship. After the painting was finished we carefully lifted the top section of the ship with the forklift and bolted the shipping frames to the bottom. These will prevent the ship from sliding in the container during transit. These ship pieces are now ready to crane into the container.

The detail throughout the piece is superb and the crew is justifiably proud. It’s the biggest single piece we have built in the shop.

The view from the end of the ship shows how the keels will bolt on to secure the two halves together once it arrives on site in Dubai. The ships will sit in a pool about 30″ deep. The galvanized mesh on the bottom is to allow the water to flow in and out of the bottom of the ship around the frame.

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One more day

All the Viking ship armatures  are now welded. Every piece (23 per ship) has been sent off to the galvanizers to get its shine coat of zinc. So far we only have enough back to build one and a half halves of the ship. As wait for more ship structures we are concentrating on finishing the paint on the first. We sandblasted the exposed metal bits to ensure the paint would stick permanently. Then we began to lay on the paint. Three base coats and then the glazes – all put on by hand. This thing definitely is huge. After two days of painting we hope to polish it off tomorrow. Then it’s on to the second half of the ship.

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Heads or tails?

With the cutting, fitting and welding on the Viking ships now behind us we can concentrate on the sculpting at last. Today that work began on the first Viking ship beginning with the head and tail of the keel and the shields which hang on the side of the ship’s hull. Things went well and we begin the actual hull of the ship tomorrow. While the crew sculpted I spent the day with our client on the next project. It won’t be long until we are back to lots of designing and routing once again.

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