Gateway (82)

The next few posts will be a recap of events from March 31st to April 3rd, 2015.

March 31st began with a slight hiccup in that the Penske rental box truck was a 1/2-hour late getting in, which then meant I didn’t get to the shop until shortly after 10:00 am. Once there, I had four tasks ahead of me – besides loading the parts into the truck. Looking back now I can hardly remember what those four tasks were, however I managed to complete only one of them, which was fitting the kiosk posts to their metal shoes and cutting the wiring chase dado in the back of one of the kiosk posts. The other tasks were pushed downstream, so to speak, to be completed on site.

The prospect of singlehandedly loading the entire gate, part by part into the truck, was not an appetizing one, however that was what I was faced with and was prepared to tackle. One of my shop neighbors, Tom, came by and mentioned that he knew a young fellow who could be available to help with the process, apparently someone who “takes direction well”. I asked Tom to go ahead with contacting that fellow, and suggested that 2:00 pm would be a good time for him to come by. A while later I returned to Tom’s shop space and told him that 4:00 pm would be better….

At 4:00 Cole came by and helped me for the next 4 hours. That was a total godsend. He was one of those individuals who not only could lift stuff, but who could anticipate what next steps might be and then could help out without having to be directed in every movement. Without him I’m sure I would have been loading until midnight. As it was, It took until 9:30 pm. The last half hour of that was a process of looking carefully around my shop for tools and parts that I needed and making sure they were on the truck. As it turned out, I batted 99% in that regard, only leaving behind one small piece of copper flashing and a few 5/8″ nuts.


April 1st was delivery day and I set off from home, operating on 4 hours sleep, at 5:50 am for the 2 hour drive to Boston. Traffic was a slow in a few patches, and I finally made it to the Museum at 8:25 am. There I was met by my helper Matt. I hadn’t been to site for 7 or 8 months, so I immediately headed over to the front of the garden to check out the foundation and confirm that it was as I had left it and as i had remembered it. It was a slightly cold day, and sunny, and I was relieved to find the snow was gone from the foundation area so we had a cleared deck upon which to operate.

Unloading took most of the morning, and we were helped out in the moving of the two large posts at one juncture by the MFA’s forklift and a couple of their guys. We had a portion of the parking lot cordoned off and started setting up the gate’s main assembly of posts, crossbeam (kabuki), header (magusa), and nosepieces, right in the parking lot. This location was necessary as it would give the crane access to pick the framework unhindered.

The assembly process went well. This was the first time that the nosepieces were fitted on with the kabuki in place, and other than a very slight trim of tenon length, the join up went perfectly and after wedging, all the joint faces were tight. Overlapping double wedged pole joints, sao shachi tsugi, make for a strong connection, and a highly weatherproof one.

At this time the copper was also fitted to the main gate framing elements. I decided not to fit the copper cap to the kabuki however. With the wrinkle in the surface as a result of a mishap at the powder coat facility, it just didn’t pass muster. I called up my fabricator and asked him to get started on a new roof cap, this one to be a 2-piece affair that could be fitted after the framing was together. So, that ball is rolling. The top of the kabuki was given a layer of ice/water shield and two strips of stainless steel for fixing the copper roof panel edges. The other involved copper was applied to the nosepieces and that went fine, and the main posts were fitted with their copper caps and shoes.

Once the framing was assembled, we put a tape across the bottom to check the center-to-center spacing to be sure it was going to fit on the threaded rods – it was bang-on the number, which was just what I was wanting.

I then put Matt to work cutting the threaded rods to final length, and cleaning the threads so we could be sure the nuts would go on smoothly:

While this was going on, I finish-planed the rear posts in  the parking lot. A regular reader of this blog, Mike, showed up and introduced himself. He was interested in watching the assembly process, and offered to be of help as well, So, well, I found various tasks for him to do and he proved a most able and enthusiastic worker. He showed up every day.

Once the rear support posts were planed, we did a check by placing them on their foundation points – this way we could confirm their cross-sections were shaped correctly in relation to the foundation stones, that the stones and end cuts of the posts produced a plumb situation, and that the nuts could be put on the threaded rods through the pockets cut on the posts. All those conditions checked out, and we soon had the posts standing on their plinths, the nuts and washers in place but not cinched down:

At the end of the day we placed the main doors onto the post and beam framework to set the hinges. I had cut the mortises for those hinges and had fitted the doors previously in the shop, and here on site I found the doors went back into position just fine, so I squeezed a bit of PL300 construction adhesive into the hinge mortise holes and tapped the hinges down into place. The PL300 would fill up any voids in the mortises to ensure a really solid fit. You see, while the hinges themselves are secured by friction in the mortises, and also by a cross-wise fixing pin, there is inevitably a slight amount of imperfection in the conformity of the mortise to the hinge, and the hinge fixing pin is also fitting into a generously-sized hole in the side of the hinge leaf casting. The doors weigh close to 200lb. each and I didn’t want them moving slightly out of position by pulling the hinges out. They were in no danger of coming out due to the cross-wise fixing pins, however if the hinges crept slightly out the fit between the doors would be messed up. The PL300 resolved that issue nicely.


April 2nd was the big day. Crane day. The crane costs $245/hour, so you really want things to go as smoothly as possible when it is on site. I arrived at site to find that a graffiti ‘artist’ had tagged the side of the box truck. Good thing I am insured for stuff like that.

We pulled the doors off the frame and re-stacked them as a first order of business.

Then Matt and I got going on final tasks rigging the framework for the lift. Here, Matt is listening carefully to the plastic sheeting to see if it had any secrets to share:

I think Matt is the ‘plastic whisperer’. I tease of course. We were getting some protection in around the lifting sling connection area to preclude any chance that the sling could damage the stainless strips along the arrises of the kabuki. Packing some 2″ foam both sides and then wrapping with a moving blanket and then more sheet foam looked like it would do the trick.

Once the foam was in place I set the rigging straps and gave a pull to see that things were looking decently centered:

The straps were new and rated for 7000 lb. each, so I was confident about that aspect, given that the frame assembly likely weighed 1500 lb. at the most. I was happy with the rigging arrangement, however it turned out to be incorrectly done.

In rolled the crane, a nearly new 200-ton model with all the bells and whistles, including all-wheel steering:

In the next post we’ll continue with a look at the installation of the gate. Thanks for visiting. Post 83 is next.

6 thoughts on “Gateway (82)

  1. Epic, yes. Cliffhanger, yes. Awesome, yes.
    May the gods of installation have smiled on you !

  2. Tom,

    I didn't really intend a cliffhanger as such, but it was fun all the same that it came out that way. Another post comes down the pike tomorrow.


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