On Tuesday, September 29, 2011 a local writer who reflects on others’ experiences, Frank Gray from the Journal Gazette in the Metro section, wrote an article titled, Sculpture a genuine head scratcher.

“But the piece is a mystery,” he wrote. “Who is making the sculpture?”
Mr. Gray was correct when he wrote about the fact that the statue resembled those found on Easter Island.

This is the second of four parts of the story that completes the mystery of the Moai statue found on Lower Huntington Road in Waynedale.

This is the point when the door to the anxiety closet swings open and all the fears and doubts of a project come rolling out. Will my ideas work? If I fail, can I stand the ridicule?

But it is too late now. I am committed to finishing this project.

My project included the use of rollers about five feet in length and five to six inches in diameter with four-inch tennons on each end. My sister and brother-in law Kathy & Matt gave me permission to take what I needed from their woods on Lower Huntington Road. Matt helped me with the chain saw work and I borrowed my son’s pick-up to get the sections out to Neil Gloudeman’s house.

Neil is a retired double E from Magnavox and is probably the best wood turner in this part of the country. I first met Neil while working on a spool bed heirloom. He turned 12 mahogany spindles for me to such precision that they could not be distinguished from the originals. He also has a lathe large enough to turn the pieces I needed for the Moai moving project.

This was to be another of those operations that looked good on paper but turned out to be a real chore. I cut down two trees, one, a dead ash and the other an ambrosia maple. Both of the trees looked straight and uniform in the woods but when we unloaded them at Neil’s place I realized that they were bent and bowed and of varying diameters. We managed to get five of the eleven spindles turned on Friday, and turned the other six on Saturday.

Neil had warned me that turning the wet logs may create splitting problems and by the time we started turning the second group on Saturday, the first group had already started to crack. I had hoped that coating the end-grain of the rollers with a sealant would minimize splitting and cross checking.

I was wrong.

We bagged the ends of the rollers with plastic bags and rubber bands and on the way home from Neil’s I stopped at Lowes and bought 22 hose clamps and a quart of exterior polyurethane. Back home I used the tailgate of the pickup as a bench. I clamped, painted and re-bagged all the rollers. I finished about 8 PM.

The next few weeks, each roller had to be un-bagged, clamps retightened, cracks glued and then re-bagged. The cracking was occurring due to drying and the bagging, glueing and clamping was done to try to slow the drying process.

I must regress here for a moment. I am not trying to take any credit for a system of moving heavy objects with rollers. People have been doing that since the pyramids. What I was trying to do was find a simple way of statue transport that has gone previously un-noticed. Charlie Love is the only person that has moved a statue in a vertical position on rollers. I wanted to add a new twist, moving them vertically and utilizing a movable rail system.

I had posed the moving riddle to an engineering friend, Mike Myers. He had told me of a temporary railway system that he had witnessed in the jungles of Costa Rica. They had been short on track so they simply moved the rear of the track forward as they advanced the engine and cars, progressing by leap-frogging forward in steps.

The minute Mike told me about it I could see how it would lend itself to statue moving. The bottom rails could be advanced in steps, reducing rolling friction and smoothing out the terrain to the Moai’s final destination. Since the rails and rollers could be reused each time it would also be a way to conserve wood.

The moveable track/roller system also lends itself nicely to variable loads. As the load increases, the number of rollers can be increased, reducing the pounds per square inch impacting the rollers and rails. This portable rail system also showed signs of being useful in moving the large stones at Stonehenge but that is another story.

Next was the ordering of the lumber to create the Moai trolley.

My friend Errol Dunn (retired-Dana) has always done carpentry work. He built the house he lives in as well as others. He agreed to help me with the project and we went over the details of building a wooden trolley system to carry a 14,000 pound Moai.

My brother Dan & I went out to purchase wood and on June 13 brought home a pickup truck full of four by sixes, four by fours and two by fours. I had the main idea for the Moai transporter sketched out and brother Dan refined my sketch into a drawing of a trolley with three sets of portable bottom rails.
Errol Dunn, Dan & I then turned the sketch into reality. We put everything together at my house on Allegany Avenue and added the rollers and tested the trolley system…it worked beautifully, although we had yet to load test it.

Next was the ordering of the lumber to create the Moai trolley.

To be continued…

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Robert L. Stark

A Waynedale resident, he is a previous owner of the Waynedale Newspaper of over ten years previous to September 2009. > More Articles Written By This Writer