I am still plugging away on the wooden deck, one plank at a time.
I discovered a mistake in my initial layout. The planks are 4" wide with 3/16" grout between planks (actually the visible planks are 3-13/16" wide) so I created a template line pattern to help with the layout.
I had finished all of the margin boards and was working on the positions of the grout at the end of each plank when I discovered that some of the plank widths in the template lines were not on 4" centers. I have no idea how this happened, but after examining the template lines I found several places where the plank widths were wrong! Bummer!
Just about all the work since November has to be redone!
I have redrawn the template lines, checked them and double checked. Now I am redrawing the wooden deck.
Also, while working on the wooden deck I have found a few other errors in the placement and dimensions of details.
This is a good example why I stopped work on the real model and decided to complete the CAD model before resuming construction. It is MUCH easier to correct a mistake in CAD and it doesn't waste any materials and money.
I did discover something interesting. I know the wood deck was replaced several times, including once while I was aboard (December 1969 through March 1972). In all the photos from 1959 through 1975 the planks are in the exact same positions. Some of the details of things inset into the wood deck changed, but the positions and lengths of the planks are basically the same.
This is easy to understand. Before the original planks were laid down a series of threaded studs were welded to the steel decks. The studs were spaced at 2' intervals, with a stud close to the end of each plank.
Each plank had countersunk holes that fit over the studs, and nuts were screwed onto the studs to hold the planks down. After packing was in place around the nuts wooden plugs were driven into the holes - with the grain oriented to match the grain in the planks.
When the deck was replaced all of the planks were ripped up. At this point you had to be careful walking around topside or you would stub your toe on a stud. Then the deck was coated with a type of water tight glue and new planks were laid down over the original studs. So the new planks had to be exactly the same dimensions as the original planks.
This is one of the few details that remained the same from the 1959 missile conversion until the 1979 decommissioning.
Another interesting detail is that the blueprints call for plank lengths to be no less than 18 feet "where practicable." However, in reality they were 16 feet long, and the ends were offset 4 feet from one series to the next, resulting in the ends lining up in every fourth series. The plank ends were aligned with the ship's frames - every four feet. When I discovered this it became easy to draw the individual planks. Of course, in some places the planks were less than 16' long, and short pieces were used.
If you want to observe this process check with the Buffalo and Erie Naval Park. Last I heard they were planning to replace the wood deck on the USS Little Rock museum ship. Not many ships have wooden decks these days, so you don't often get a chance to observe this procedure! Better still, make a contribution to help replace the deck.
A collision at sea will ruin your entire day. Aristotle