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.


  1. Looks like that boat builder should have taken a little more pride in his work. I am sure you will find other things - but you seem well capable of dealing with the problems. John

  2. The guy is an asshole. I couldnt do much about that whilst he had my money AND boat, but the gloves are off now. When I did voice my concerns, he would leave the room or become agressive, so he was warned and ignored it.
    Im not sure what im going to do about this. Ive let a lot of things slide, just to have closure from the situation, but the thought of having more undetected cracks and potential leaks, makes me wonder if I need to make this official.

  3. Years ago I bought some stuff that did not work and I went to Citizens' Advice and asked about it and they explained to me about "merchantable quality" and "fit for purpose". If you decide to get "uppity" you can make a vendor's life hell.

    Try CAB since they are free. Take your pictures with you and get all the correct legal jargon then do whatever CRB tell you. Cost to you - zero, but you may shake some restitution out of your builder.

    It took me 3 letters and 2 visits but they eventually replaced the goods. It's not a one letter task.

    Why not do what someone suggested on a previous thread and check each weld with soapy water? Also wait for dark and light up the inside of the boat and then inspect the outside looking for specks of light - kind of like your sunset. I don't know how you would check the bottom. I suppose you could just reach down, pick up the boat and lay it on its side......???? :-)



  4. Amy -
    If you think this is going to escalate into some serious defect issues you need to start leaving a paper trail of documenting the defects.
    You need to have a complaint on file with whatever authority is concerned with consumer fraud. I know in the US if you start a claim a year or so after the problem the manufacturer will come back with "why is it now a problem and was not a problem when we delivered the product". The product was fine when we delivered it and it must be something you have done in the past year to make if defective. If you think these are just minor problems (although defective welds below the water line does not seem minor) you need to fix them yourself and cut the ties with the Boat Works - they have cause you enough aggravation. John

  5. Amy, have you filled the boat with water too see if there's any more defects yet?

  6. Amy, My hats off to you. I have been right where you are. In 1993 i had a guy weld me a 53 ft steel hull sailboat hull and i finished it from there. Only took me 7 years, but i have been living aboard from when it was a bare hull with an air mattress. Very cool! Hardest thing...stay focused and try to ignore the "why"s :^)



  7. Robbo,
    I dont think filling with water will work. Realistically I cant put too much in yet there will be so little pressure, its unlikely it would find any leaks.

    Im going to try shining a torch one night and looking for more cracks