Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Spray it again Sam

Gerry turned up several hours late but I didnt mind as I was on a roll with the welding in the engine room and didnt want to stop until it was done. I used to enjoy welding but now its a boring chore, so I just want it done and finished. Sadly, I have more left but hey ho.

Gerry and John didnt hang about, from start to finish it was all over in 2 hours including stopping for a gun strip down and unblock. I got suited but not booted, and my bestest walking boots are now well insulated. Notice the self portait, just to prove I realy am on the job.
Its not every day you see a grown man wearing a romper suit, gas mask and with a plastic bag over his head, but I just know Gerry is far too busy to double as a Tory MP or high court Judge. The fine particles of foam cover everything and if you get in the over spray zone, your sure to be stuck.

Im so glad I paid particular attention to the masking around the windows because this foam does not want to let go. Its such a bizarre texture too, like fluffy clotted cream and reminded me so much of the scene from Dr Zhivago when they returned to the country house in winter and the snow had driven in through every crack and formed the most amazing patterns and snow drifts.

Ive also been reminded of the saying, 'Be careful what you wish for'
For months ive wanted something to do, and now ive got my wish. All that foam now has to be cut back and trimmed flush with the battens and the mess is everywhere. By the time I left this evening, the floor was full with debris, so tomorrow is all about cleaning up.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Ive passed the Batten but the race goes on.

Forgive me, for it has been two weeks since my last post and I have done a lot of work, even if it doesnt look like it. It certainly feels like it as I have the calouses and bruises to prove it. The frozen shoulder I had last year has returned but on a good note, im losing more weight and toning up. My size 10 jeans now not only need a belt, but one with two extra holes, so its not all bad.
Norma came for a weeks holiday and put in a few days work, helping out with cleaning up and painting.
I finally planned the bathroom layout and cut the window opening and installed the window. That meant I knew where the prop pole needed to go and welded it in place. The hull sides and ceiling were battened out and then I could see the best way to frame around the roof hatches. Ive installed the water tank filler and breather pipes as these need to be buried in the forward bulkhead.
All the battening has been masked up with tape to make clean up and cutting back easier after foaming.

I was realy pissed off with the Fore deck lockers because they were only two thirds of the available area, so I cut the ends out and extended them. They still need lids and finishing but I can do that later. I wanted to get all the hot work and welding done whereever there would be foam insulation, so ive welded on the last two deck cleats, the mast tabernacle and the framework for the battery box, plus the two bow anodes.

All the windows and battens are masked up and Gerry, the spray foam guy is coming tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Something has hatched

Its been a glorious day. Clear blue skies, a hot sun, and a gentle breeze. Time enough to get more windows fitted without having to dodge the showers.

I also had a chance to research the hairline weld crack which I spotted last night. On the outside, there is a good 7 - 8 inches of weld completely missing, yet some cretin has taken the time to paint over it, which makes me wonder why it wasnt spotted.
I want to see a head on a stick or at least a name on a tombstone for this.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Ive been framed

Yesterday was a bit of a washout. All my good and hard work mopping out the hull on Thursday went to waste overnight when it rained as the water ran off the deck and straight back inside.
So, im leaving the water where it is and concentrating on getting windows in. The self tapping screws I was planning on using are too long or too short, so I had another trip to screwfix in Worcester to get some different ones and more sealant.
Its only a 6 mile journey but I clocked the time taken, there and back and it came to almost 90 minutes. You can tell the kids are back in school, bloody roads are blocked and kids dont even drive.
I bet this is one cost not factored into how much it costs to bring up a kid.

So, with all the queueing and the constant interuptions from visitors and the rain etc, It wasnt a very productive day.

Today wasnt much better. I was so tired last night I was in bed by 9.30. I realy wasnt in a rush to get back to it this morning, so eventually made it on deck by 10.30. My first job was to tackle the undersized window cutouts and enlarge them with the angle grinder. So I set up some staging and got to it. I cut a long thin strip from one opening and as I tossed towards the scrap pile in the corner of the yard, I felt a sharp pain in my thumb.
A razor sharp edge had opened a one inch cut and the claret just gushed forth. So damn annoying as I use my thumbs a lot, and that opposing finger/thumb action is what made us humans into artisans and leave the rest of the animal kingdom behind.

So, I had to sort that out for another half hour until the bleeding was stopped, thanks to Matts handy first aid kit.
Aint it always so when you injure a finger, it sudenly becomes the most useful, most sticking out, most likely to get more hurt finger you have. Grrrrr. Oh well, soldier on.

I painted with primer and then framed round the openings with timber, fixing it to the steel with screws. Then I set the first window frame, sans glass into the opening and drilled screw holes ready. Then I removed it and wiped it clean, then applied flexible acrylic frame sealant around the return and put it back in place,checked for level, clamped it and fixed with 3 screws per side. I then added more timber along the bottom edge and screwed that.

Next I fitted the double glazed unit into the frame, checked the spacing all round was even and tapped the glazing strips into the slots.
I managed to get three done inbetween more interuptions from both adults and the three boys who live on the farm.
I cant help but stop and explain to the boys all about boats but there comes a point when im so thankfull I dont have kids. Jeeezzz, they never stop asking, 'Why' 'Whats that' 'Whats that for' 'Why are you doing that' 'Why' 'Why' 'Why'

So, its been an ok day. Just as I was packing up for the night the sun was setting and it streamed in through one window, and then I noticed on the opposite wall, a strange beam of light. I knew it couldnt be a reflection and took a closer look.

I simply could not believe what I saw. A bloody split weld, 5 inches below the waterline. It looks as though the weld was ground back so far, its gone clean through to where there was no penetration. Thats bad enough, but there is another weld on the outside which should back this up and its clearly not there.
Ive marked it with a rather large chalk written word, just so I cannot forget it. Im gonna sleep on this and figure what im gonna do about it.
Filling it with weld will be the easiest thing to do, but this is serious and whilst ive cut a lot of slack for the crap finish, this is a step too far and safety critical. I might call Trading Standards on Monday and have a chat about it.

If I hadnt have been inquisitive, or if the sun hadnt been shining, or if I had gone home earlier, I wouldnt not have seen the sun shining through the crack, which is only half a millimitre wide.

Luck is on my side. Lets hope this is the only one.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Where do I start?

The more I look the more I see and it defies belief. Ive taken a load of pix for evidence, should there be a long term problem but im trying to sort them out myself.

If the boatyard are incapable of getting it right the forst time, they have no hope of rectifying it after.

I think the pix say it all but the eye and tape measure show far more. The window cutouts are mostly too small, by an annoying eighth of an inch, despite me supplying a window frame of each size to use as a template. I gave Martin a detailed plan for the window positions and sizes but hes failed to read and understand it. The props inside have also been put in the wrong places, so I have to move them in line with bulkheads when fitted.
The deck hatch cutouts are all half an inch too big, almost too much to leave a decent overlap for the seal.

Ive found two welds which have parted, and several places that need more welds.
The forward bulkhead has to be watertight but ive found two places where there are gaps and not welded. One rib supporting the deck was lose as It wasnt welded one end.

The paint has only reached the places which are easy and visable. There are several areas which were missed completely and others where paint was rollered on over the dust and grindings.
In other places, the thick skin off the paint was also applied, so I have all that to scrape off. Forget thick, stupid lazy etc, I cannot understand how a person who has the nerve to call themself a boat builder can work in such a way.

Ive welded on 40 brackets under the gunwales to fix framing to, and made some decisions and plans on how to frame out the headlining and deck hatches.

On a more humerous note, I had a mystery caller who was most impressed and rather cute. He distracted me for well over an hour and was keen to leave his number, should I need any assistance of course. Its written on the aft bulkhead and I had better make sure I keep it safe !!!

Ive worked out its over 420 sq feet living space, including the wheelhouse, and its all useable too.

Oh well, im in charge now, so its gonna turn out ok.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Eagle has landed

It was but a small step,just a few hours work, but now we can move on leaps and bounds.

At last 'boat' has arrived at the farm and is sitting on the raised and leveled concrete slabs that I prepared earlier in the week. Ive temporarily covered the roof hatches and wheelhouse with tarporlins to keep the worst of the rain out untill I can get the windows fitted.

I had an embarrasing moment this morning when I ran out of cash to pay the truck driver so I had to make a final trip to Stourport this afternoon to settle the bill.
Ive lost count of the journeys ive made up the A 449 over the last 6 months.

Not never no more shall I miss running the gauntlet of the sneaky speed camera van on the 449, or the school run traffic jams in Worcester but I will miss the ever changing manaquins in the window of Promesse in the Tything, which are always decked out in a variety of gorgeous dresses and I have but a fleeting moment to take a peek before im ajacent to the windows of Machine Mart.
Dresses, tools, tools, dresses, I want so much but only have money for one. Decisions, decisions.....Ahemmmm, .....tools it is. I never go anywhere nice enough to warrant haut courture anyway.

So, in the bright light of a rather hot September day, I had a good look round the boat and am dismayed at the work I have in front of me. Ive made a start this afternoon by spraying a thick coat of red oxide in all the joints and corners where the 4'' roller didnt reach. I must remember to take some pix tomorrow as I know how much you all love to see pix.