Tuesday, July 24, 2012
This was a week of some heavy ribbing. . .not on permanently. . .just on long enough to get some good measurements for the metal superstructure that fits inside the rib cage and will hold the ribs in place. This was also the week of getting the hanging fixtures hand-delivered from Glenn—the super welder—who fabricated and welded up the beautiful steel pieces that will support the weight of the entire whale.
Kathrine and Traven came in and crunched the numbers which will give us a weight of the entire whale once we get the skull weighed. Lots of great volunteers came in and helped on assembling the rib cage. One pair of ribs at a time. Then it was cutting and bending 3/4 inch thick rib support rods with a bending jig created by Art. The jig worked great We clearly had a lot to learn about the nature of bending steel but we caught on.
The ribs went in place nicely. Then they were all double and triple checked. The ribs are probably the most critical part of the skeleton. Crooked mismatched ribs severely detract from the finished skeleton. We want the whale to be comfortable. Not too squished. Not too fat. It has to fit through some doorways and the diameter of this whale's rib cage is going to be a squeeze as it is.
We are through the bottleneck of needing metalwork to be fabricated before proceeding. For the next week we can use volunteers on various projects. But not a lot of volunteers at once. There's been some “feast and famine” with the volunteers. This week I can probably continually keep one or two whale building helpers at a time going. The push for this week will be to get the rib supports welded, so the rest of the vertebrae can be put in place and silicone cartilage started between them. Once the vertebrae are on—we'll have room for the skull to be brought in and worked on. Cheyenne and Wesley are about ready with a skull cart and to start on that part of the project.