The Steamship William G. Mather Museum

Woodworking in the belly of an ore freighter.

   Steamship William G. Mather Museum
LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

    These photos are of a carpenter's shop in a museum where I do volunteer work. The museum is the Steamship William G. Mather Museum situated on the lakefront in Cleveland, Ohio. The Mather is a 618' long ore freighter built in 1925. The ship carried iron ore and coal from Lake Superior to ports on the lower lakes for use in steel mills. It was the flagship for the Cleveland Cliffs fleet and has several guest staterooms and lounges for owners and friends to travel the lakes.

The Steamship William G. Mather Museum

    The most unique aspect of this shop is its location approximately 10 feet under water. The lead photo shows the entrance to the museum/cargo hold at street level. The carpenter's shop is below the dock level.
    The shop is about 20' x 35' and has metal stud and drywall construction for two walls. The other two walls and floor are 1" - 2" thick steel. The floor is very uneven and one wall slopes outward at about 10 degrees.
The Steamship William G. Mather Museum

    The space was enclosed this past winter, previously being unheated and part of a larger storage room. The heaters and walls have made it possible for us to work in comfort even when the harbor is frozen over. Heat is provided by a large electric radiant wall heater and two smaller heaters with ceiling mounted fans. A diesel generator or city supply lines provide all power.
The Steamship William G. Mather Museum

    Volunteers and others have donated all the tools over the years. A radial arm saw, 8" table saw (sold by JC Penney) and a tabletop band saw are the largest items. Various grinders, routers and small hand and power tools complete our inventory. Several large workbenches provide space for the repair and restorations projects we handle.
The Steamship William G. Mather Museum

    The Captains cabin is nearing completion restoring it to its 1925 glory. In a few of the pictures you can see an 80-year-old oak roll top desk that I have rebuilt over the past years. This will be on display this summer. It will be placed in the office and should look nice against the walnut frame and panel walls.
The Steamship William G. Mather Museum

     To see many more photos of the ongoing restoration, visit the Mather website at

. . . Rex Cassidy




This is the place to share views of your shop, woodworking tips and methods,
mug shots, special tools or machines, finished work--you name it!
    We prefer digital images via e-mail, but prints or transparencies will do. Include your name, address, phone number and a paragraph or two explaining the photo(s). Not every entry will be used, we reserve the right to edit for length and clarity, and we will not return photos.

P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081