Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Big, Bad and Bronze...........
Well, the big day finally arrived. The bronze deck plate is here! This baby isn't just any deck plate, oh no, it's a 1920's vintage, 12" bronze deck plate! These things are rarer that diamonds........ I actually found it on E-Bay. I was doing my usual quick scan of the "ending soon" items in the maritime antiques, and I saw a picture for a deck plate. There was something that didn't look quite right, not like all the other small, 6" deck plates........... this one looked like it had four big screws and then small ones in between. Definitely not like the small ones. I opened up the listing and read further. It seems that it was nearly 18 inches across and weighed over 13 pounds! The seller said that she got it from a guy who was parting out an old "rum runner" that had been used to run rum during the 20's between the Bahamas and Florida. I don't know if there's any truth to the origins, but I can say that the deck plate is definitely in the pre-WWII time frame. Oh yes, I got the "deal-of-deals" on this one.......... WoooHooo!
This plate has been on my "wish-list" since we got the boat. I have never seen one for sale and to have a one new cast would probably be somewhere around $1000.00, give or take! All the old "classic yachts" have these plates, but you can't buy them in stores anymore.
It's marked with the Wilcox-Crittenden "WC" and "12" on the back, which indicates the inner opening width of 12". No dings, gouges or corrosion....... just needs a good polish,cleaning and gasket replacement!
Three of the four locking lugs came free, but one is frozen. I sent it home with a friend who is a boat wright and metal worker at the boat yard. He said that it should be no problem to break it free. Sometimes it's better to leave it to the pro's. Thanks Walt :)
This is the crowning jewel for the aft deck rebuild! This plate will replace the big, square, wood, lift off deck cover that the previous owner made when he cut a big hole in the aft deck to install a 10 gallon, aluminum gas tank....... the gas tank will be replaced with a bigger steel tank. This big plate will match a smaller "WC" 6" bronze deck plate that will be installed just aft of this big one to allow the use of the original emergency tiller.
I'm still on the look out for two bronze deck drain-scuppers so I can start on the rebuild.
The hunt continues!