USS Maine 6" Gun
Conservation Treatment of the USS Maine 6-inch, 30-caliber, Mark III Gun.
The USS Maine was a battleship commissioned into the United States Navy in 1895. The Maine sank in Havana Harbor, Cuba after an explosion occurred onboard in 1898. Several guns and parts of the ship were recovered during salvage operations conducted in 1898 and 1912. One of these guns, a 6-inch, 30-caliber Mark 3 was placed at the United States Navy Yard in Washington DC as a memorial. In 2016 the Warren Lasch Conservation Lab transported the gun from Washington DC to North Charleston, South Carolina for conservation treatment.
Transportation to the WLCC:
In August of 2016 a team from the Warren Lasch Conservation Lab transported the gun from Washington DC to North Charleston, South Carolina for conservation treatment. The gun was on display outside within the Navy Yard, contributing to degradation of the coating and corrosion of the metals beneath. The gun was displayed approximately two feet above ground level, inside of a wooden rail-road tie planter. Before removal of the gun, the wood planter was dismantled and removed. The gun had many layers of coatings including a layer of lead-based coating that may have started to leach into the mulch and soil surrounding the gun. The top layer of soil was removed and contained before removal of the gun. Parker Rigging Company of North Charleston performed and supervised the rigging of the gun, lifting the gun safety onto a flatbed truck that would be transporting the gun back to the WLCC. Once the gun was removed from the ground of the Naval Yard, the team collected the soil remaining of the above ground planter to transport to Charleston to safely dispose of it.
Treatment Progress to Date:
The first part of the treatment process was to build a containment system for conservation treatment. This was constructed in order to contain all hazardous materials and treatment chemicals used during the work carried out by the conservation team. The gun was coated with several coats of a lead binding paint stripper in order to prepare the surface of the gun for water blasting with the ThermaTech, © Restorative Techniques system. This system utilizes a high-pressure, superheated water blaster. The ThermaTech, © Restorative Techniques system was chosen because the high-pressure superheated water does not damage the corroded metal’s fragile surface as it removes the existing coating layers.
The water blasting concluded in the first week of March 2017. The gun is currently being dried with molecular sieve desiccant and sealed in a plastic containment wrap prior to recoating.