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Pilot House Nameboards

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  • Jim Reising
    replied
    Alan making the nameboards

    Here's a couple of pictures from an article which appeared in the LOUISVILLE TIMES in August 1962. Found the article in one of my dusty boxes.
    Attached Files

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    No, Jim, it was at Second or Third and Jefferson. I wouldn't dare send Jimmyray clear out to Tenth and Broadway - he might get lost. He was a really nice kid with all the brains of a locust fence post. He was killed in Vietnam.

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  • Jim Blum
    replied
    Did he go up to the Army Surplus store up on Broadway near the L & N Station? I remember seeing one up that way some years prior to "Urban Renewal" ?

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    I notice I'm wearing a new red-leather cap.

    One day we were down in the hull working on something dirty. I kept bumping my head on the deck beams, so I sent a young deckhand up to the Army Store to get me a cap. It was this one. I waited and waited and kept on bumping my head. Finally I asked the kid, "Where's my cap?"

    Shocked, he replied, "You don't want to wear it down here, do you?"

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  • Lexie Palmore
    replied
    Don't worry. A lot of us have had to install expansion joints in our belts.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    I wore a 32" belt in those days!

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  • Keith Norrington
    replied
    Herewith is an image, made from a slide taken by Capt. C.W. Stoll on September 17, 1962. Alan is at work on one of the new pilothouse nameboards, as steamboat engineer Courtney M. Ellis observes. Note the ring buoy on the back of the pilothouse which still reads STEAMER AVALON.

    In 1972, Capt. Doc Hawley painted a new nameboard (two pieces) for the front of the pilothouse on the BELLE. That artifact is now in the collections of the Howard Steamboat Museum, as is an old AVALON pilothouse nameboard, also painted by Doc. It suffered damage in the museum's 1971 fire, but we have hopes of bringing it back to life in much the same manner that we restore stencilled and painted organ pipes. Spraying with a lacquer, restores the color, etc.

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  • Lexie Palmore
    replied
    So I checked. You can cover about 2 sq. ft. with 23.75K gold leaf for as little as $31. The stuff is about one molecule in thickness, so it doesn't weigh much.

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  • Lexie Palmore
    replied
    There are some pretty good gold paints. The best I've found is to first paint something yellow or some bright color and then go over it with Liquitex acrylic iridescent gold, which is somewhat transparent, so a couple of coats is needed. It lasts a long time and doesn't tarnish. It is composed of titanium coated mica flakes and yellow iron oxide and is water soluble until it dries. It will hold up outdoors. It can be found at art supply stores or web sites and comes in a tube. I can't imagine what a package of gold leaf would run these days. Art supply stores usually keep it in a safe.

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  • Shipyard Sam
    replied
    Worth It...

    Has anyone tried sign painter's gold paint? It looks great and holds its gold luster for years. About 50 clams a quart--- and as Smitty-the-Carpenter told Ma Greene when she reminded him that butter was "thirty cents a pound" while he generously slathered his biscuit with the golden grease.... "... it's worth every cent", he replied, as he hit the butter bowl another lick.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    The way to make gold paint look better is to use brass paint.

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  • Bob Reynolds
    replied
    When I worked full time for the Meanleys at Memphis Queen Line in the late 1980's, I talked them into doing some nice mahogany nameboards for the MEMPHIS QUEEN III and the ISLAND QUEEN. We bought mahogany from a fine woods dealer in Memphis, and I laid out the lettering and used a router to do most of the work. I then went back and used chisels to make the corners of the letters sharp. Being parsimonious, Jake wouldn't let me buy and use gold leaf in the letters, so we used gold paint. That only looked good for about a week, but my, they did look good! There was a picture in an S&D REFLECTOR of me doing the chisel work.

    Last time I drove by there, it looked to me like they had painted that beautiful, expensive mahogany black instead of keeping it oiled up like it should be. What a shame.

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  • Tom Schiffer
    replied
    Yeah, Sam, Clifford was pretty good with signs. Randal C once had a white German Shepherd dog that Clifford was fond of. When he died, Clifford rendered a carving of him in wood which he gave to Randal...in his living room now. There is also a sign there on his place somewhere and I'll try to remember to get a picture of them next time I'm there. About three years ago I took a fellow shooter, Reeves Goehring, from the shoot at F'ship to Big Bone. We ran into Clifford and nothing would have it but that we come see his museum. He had a BIG collection of Indian rocks etc in an old shed. Wonder what became of them? Clifford's boat dock featured a catamaran made from two mis-matched canoes. Seems to be gone now too. Cap'n Walnut.

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  • Shipyard Sam
    replied
    The late Crazy Clifford, Prince of Rabbit Hash, was a celebrated carver of wooden signs. His work can be seen on the main square in the Hash. Clifford employeed a bent screwdriver and hammer to create his art. Prehaps Cap'n Walnut can get a picture of Cliff's carvings for all to see. My desire was to have him carve signboards for the SUN*FISH, but that never happened.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    The nameboards I carved are on the sides of the pilothouse, the ones with the rounded ends. I do not know who made the one on the pilothouse front. Mike Fitzgerald may have made it.

    When the Belle of Louisville made its trial run we had a temporary sign at the stern hanging on the railing. The engines were being warmed up when a Coast Guard guy up and announced that we could not leave unless the sign was permanently attached, i.e. nailed to the stern bulkhead. He made a threat that the boat would be fined if that was not done. We had to rig a scaffold over that turning paddlewheel, get a couple of us on it, hand the sign down, nail it on and remove the scaffold. All of this for an institution devoted to safety!
    That night I found the regulation about the sign and, sure enough, the boat could have been fined $10. I should have thrown the bum (as in British slang) into the river!

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