Climbing a giant duck

A lot of our projects are very challenging. We have to think of ways to build them efficiently and in ways that are very strong. They need to last. All this means we use a lot of steel in their construction. We generally build as many of the components in our shop as possible and then assemble them onsite. 

We did a very unique project a few years ago that was especially challenging. The sign was large - very large. It was a giant rubber duck sitting on an oversized innertube while surfing on a giant wave. It all advertizes a waterpark that appeals to young families.

The giant duck and wave had to be fabricated in sections that would fit on a truck (as a legal width load) to get down the highway to the waterpark. This meant the duck was built in two pieces. The sign was a third piece of the puzzle. The wave was built and transported in three pieces (plus the heavy steel support structure) and then skinned on site. Once we had finsihed the prefabrication in the shop the tricky part began. The transport went smoothly and the assembly onsite went quick. Before the last lift someone had to climb up to the top of the duck and then guide the head into place. Being the least afraid of heights, (or so I claimed) the task fell to me. There were no other volunteers. I bravely harnessed up and climbed gingerly up the ladder and tied off. Since I could safely wedge myself between the body and wings this was the easy part.

It all went smoothly. Then I had to climb up tonto the wing and reach up to the very top and unhook the crane, twist out the eye bolt and get back down. While I was relatively safe, being tied off securely it sure didn't feel that way. Fear is mostly in one's head they say and my head was full to the brim!

The view was also great from way up there! :)  The balance of the sign was finished without a hitch. After going to the tippy top of the duck everything else was very comfortable.

It was a challenging project to be sure but also very fun!

-grampa dan