Oct 15, 2012, 01:57 PM
Easy artifacts for new divers- Fort Lauderdale FL
Directly seaward of the Sunrise water tower, in about 60-65 feet of water, lies the wreck of the yacht Monomy. The Monomy is pretty much a flat wreck, just a big debris field, but is, at least was, covered with copper coated bronze shipbuilding pins, bronze/brass valves, and assorted other cool goodies. I haven't been there since the early 80s but it wasn't well known then and is likely forgotten by now. At the time there were no restrictions on recovering items in this area. PLEASE CHECK LOCAL LAWS BEFORE DIVING TO ENSURE THIS REMAINS ACCURATE.
Here's a few of the pins I recovered back then. There were literally thousands of these things, in all sizes, just laying on the bottom; my guess is there still are. The wreck has no historical significance and is really of interest to nobody. Local lore says she was a sailboat, approx 80 feet in length that burned. Charred wood on the site seems to confirm her fate. I don't have GPS coordinates, GPS didn't exist back then. Your best bet for finding her would probably be depth sounder searches (look for 5-10 feet of relief) or a snorkeler drag on a day with good water visibility. She's just past the reef line in sand.
Oct 16, 2012, 01:46 AM
Hi wreckwriter, what is the long bolt looking thing in your pic? I have something similar, iron, but it came from a wreck that is more than 275 years old. How old is the wreck you are talking about?
Oct 16, 2012, 08:11 AM
It's a pin. Copper coated bronze best as I can determine. Not sure of sinking date, prior to 1950 I'd say.
Oct 16, 2012, 08:18 AM
what does the PIN do? I guess it cant be the same as mine, since there are almost a couple hundred years difference. It just looks so much like what I have, so that is why I was wondering. The one I have is about 1 inch thick, and about 14 inches long, coated in tar, even after that long in the sea. I dont have a pic of it right now, otherwise, I was going to post it in the "what is it" section.
Oct 16, 2012, 08:19 AM
Why would bronze be copper coated?
Oct 16, 2012, 09:40 AM
Not sure how much wooden shipbuilding technology really changed between a couple hundred years ago and the early 19th century. Also don't know how old this vessel was when lost (fairly long in the tooth is my guess though).
Originally Posted by maipenrai
These pins were used to hold wooden planks and beams together. They look like big nails with blunt tail ends, some have washers on the head end (and possibly did have them on the tail end too). As for usage, picture it like this: lay 2 beams on top of each other, drill through both, insert pin, pound tail end of pin into mushroom shape to prevent pull out.
Honestly not really sure why that construction. My guess is that the bronze is for strength but the copper gives it some malleability so the tail end can be pounded flat. We accidentally damaged one of the pins so we cut it in half and that is what it appears made of. Copper approx 1/8 thick and a solid yellow metal rod inside. The washers found at the head of some of the rods appear to be bronze with no coating.
I'm far from expert in shipbuilding but I'm sure some folks on the forum are. Maybe someone will chime in and clarify and/or correct any errors that I've made here.
Last edited by wreckwriter; Oct 16, 2012 at 09:42 AM.
Oct 20, 2012, 07:11 AM
They were made of bronze. The copper look is from some of the tin leaving the bronze and it looks like copper. Bronze is or was the stainless steel of all marine metals. It is still used to this day. Nice finds. Those are like you said to hold large timbers together, usually keel bolts-larger, or frame bolts-smaller. The washers are called roves, and are cup shaped to actually set into the pin when flattened out. Both ends of the pin where peened over to hold it tight-built when dry, and when in water the wood would swell and create a tight fit. Smaller spikes held the hull planking on to the frames, and tiny nails held the lead or copper sheathing on the hull. Kind of like building a wood house, with J bolts holding the base plate down, framing nails holding the frame together, and roofing nails holding the plywood and shingle nails holding the shingles on. They used tar to waterproof and seal the hull under the lead or copper sheathing. Oakum a type of cottony stuff was used to chink between the hull planks. GPS was around in the early 80s, I rigged big yachts back then and put on what was called Sat Nav, now genericly called GPS. LORAN was used prior and up until a couple years ago, and GPS was not so common as it is now, but was out there.
Last edited by stevemc; Oct 20, 2012 at 07:21 AM.
Oct 20, 2012, 10:39 AM
Interesting. It sure is a uniform coating, I would have thought they had been dipped in copper or something. I defer to your expertise though and appreciate the explanation.
Originally Posted by stevemc
Oct 21, 2012, 03:20 PM
When bronze or brass tarnishes it has a greenish copper tint to it
Millions of dollars of Spanish treasure await those who would dare brave the eye of the hurricane.
Oct 22, 2012, 08:14 AM
Copper doesnt work well for spikes as it has a nasty habit of cracking, and is not as corrosion resistant as bronze, although it has been used for tiny nails and spike through out time.. No reason to coat a spike with copper as it has less corrosion resistance than bronze. Bronze was invented many years prior to the Spanish ships, as it has great strength and corrosion abilities. Bronze is roughly 70 % copper and 30 % Tin. Brass is 70 % copper, 30 % zinc, which has low strength and no corrosion resistance. Brass is not used for underwater ship parts, as it will corrode away quickly with the dissimilar metal problems found on ships. Same way zincs will corrode before any other metal, zinc is low on the Nobility scale, tin is high, gold is high. Gold just doesnt corrode. But brass can be easily worked to make handmade things. Bronze is still used today for struts and rudders and propellers on boats and ships. It is just a hair weaker, and just a hair less corrosion resistant than good stainless steel. Barely. Tin is very corrosion resistant, and zinc is easily corroded away, one of the worst things in saltwater. Any copper alloy will get the green patina, and if dipped in acid will look like copper, but when polished, bronze and brass will have a gold color.
Oct 23, 2012, 09:06 AM
I don't know guys. When I picked these up so many years ago I amateurishly preserved them by soaking in fresh water for several months, glass-beaded off the concretions, then clear-coated with a urethane spray. Over the years some patina, just a few spots, has formed under the clear-coat but for the most part they still look new. These things have a very uniform copper colored coating over the entire spike. Its not patina, its copper colored, not green. It can be scraped off to reveal the yellow (surely bronze) interior portion. On the ones that have washers, the washer portion has no coating at all, yellow bronze. If it were a corrosion thing they would be the same, no? I would like to know for sure what the construction is; it sure looks like copper coating.
I have one of these pins, around 6 inches long, 1/4" in diameter which I am prepared to sacrifice for the greater educational (the education of me) good. I can either work it, cut it, scrape it, whatever, myself, with direction, and take pictures or I can send it to someone with greater expertise for "dis-assembly". Anyone want to help?
Oct 23, 2012, 09:28 AM
Wreckwriter, I dont want to hijack your post, but I would like to add a pic or two of apparently, the same kind of pin or spike, whatever its official name is.
Oct 23, 2012, 09:32 AM
Oct 23, 2012, 09:38 AM
Sorry, had a problem with the pics, but this pin is iron, a bit more than an inch thick, dont remember the length, and coated in tar, which after 275 years, still can be seen. Its bent up because it was in the frozen Baltic. The only other metal objects, were about 2 dozen iron nails, about 4" long. So I guess were talking about the same type of pin, only a couple hundred years age difference. Probably because there is very little salt in the Baltic, things like this could be made from iron.
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