Sunday, 31 October 2010

In the doghouse

Its all Hallows eve, the last day of October, one month since I was soaked whilst loading the ballast into the bilges and a lot has happened since.

I spent a few days in Oswestry with Colin and Steve to get the doghouse parts made and they came to help fit it all today.
It started off over cast but dry, but then turned to rain for almost 1 hour, and despite pulling sheets over everything, all the wood got wet. We eventually got the base frame bolted down with the sides hinged to it.

All looking good now and I have so much to get on with. It all needs easing with the router and then another good sanding before applying several coats of teak oil. Then I can get the glass cut and fitted.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

No pix and no progress

No pix for this post as there is nothing much new to show this week.
Ive had 4 days off and still dont feel well but the show goes on. I spoke too soon about the hatches not leaking as once again, rain is trickling through, this time bypassing the seals.
Im going to wrap the whole lot in cling film for winter if I cant find a satisfactory solution.

Im hoping to have a change of direction and make some headway with the wheelhouse structure over the next few days, weather permitting.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Where does the time go?

Every day is groundhog day at the moment. I get up, go to work, do stuff for 9-10 hours and go home, day in, day out, week in, week out, while the nights start earlier and now the frost has started. Yet I dont feel as though im getting anywhere fast.

Maybe I need a break, maybe I cant see the woods for the trees anymore.

Anyway, the reality is ive done most of the wiring. I had put it off for as long as possible in the hope I might miraculously develop the inspiration I need to get involved in doing something I dont enjoy and dont understand too well. Its my weakest subject. But, its been holding up other jobs so Ive had to bite the bullet and get on with it.
So far ive run 150 mts of 2.5mm, 50 mts of 1.5mm and 100 mts of 0.5mm cable, but its about done.

Ive kept working away at the maple planking but I can only manage a few hours at a time before the neck ache sets in and I need a rest. I have made a start panelling the deck sides and with the change in the weather to an unseasonaly cold spell, im trying to get 115mm dia pipe to make the stove chimney. Im not going to cut the hole in the deck untill ive got all the parts ready.

I have also taken out, cleaned up and reinstalled the forward deck hatches using silicon and so far there is no sign of a leak.

So, thats where the time went, yet it feels as though ive stood still.

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Doors

Ive had another rewarding day in the glorious Autumnal sunshine. Its no good putting off those jobs you would rather not do, like hanging doors.

Colin, Steve and myself made them last week and I gave them a liberal drink of Teak Oil last night. This morning they were dry and smelled of Linseed.

First task was to decide whether to square up the frame to suit the bulkhead opening, or to suit the doors. I decided they have to suit the doors, so I packed it all round with wedges to centre it in the hole and checked for square.

The doors needed some planing, and as per usual, I went too far. Have you ever tried cutting your own hair? A snip too far on side and you then have to do the same on the other side to match. Before you know, its out of hand and your trying to limit the damage.

Anyway, they are fine,

I drilled the frame and marked through the holes to the steel bulkhead frame, drilled that and tapped with M8 threads.

Counter sunk (counter bored for the Americans) and refitted the frame. Cut out the hinges and hung the doors. A little bit of fettling and they are looking good.

All I need now is some bolts and a lock. Ive ordered the glass and will get some architrave next week when I go to Colins to get the wheelhouse construction underway.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Things are looking up but its a pain in the neck

Its been a long week. Started off Monday and Tuesday up in Oswestry with Colin and Steve making the Bow doors but thats going to be covered in another chapter.

Wednesday was a wash out. I had a streaming cold and was sneezing so often, I couldnt even see straight so I gave up and went home. Thursday was worse. Cold was gone but I had only been at work for 20 mins when I put my back out. It was bad Karma and retribution for cutting a spider in half with the vacuum cleaner nozzle the day before. I felt as though I had been cut in half and could hardly breath in or out, so I gave the equivelent cost of 2 sheets of ply to Harriet my osteopath, and she worked her magic. I spent the rest of the day doing housework, food shopping and sleeping.

Thursday was constructive, pardon the pun. I got the floor boards aboard, cut to size and laid with just a few screws in to hold them for now. Its bad luck to fix them all straight away. If I do, I will have to take them up for some unknown reason, but if I wait for an indeterminate time, it will be safe to fix them permanantly. Im not superstitious, it just seems to happen that way.

Friday, erm, what did happen on Friday? Dunno, cant remember.

Saturday, yesterday, I went and collected my Stove and had an interesting conversation. My fame has spread, and people have talked. Apparantly, im the one. The one who gave the boatyard a hard time by watching over them. Fat good it did as they still made the same mistakes as they always do. It seems that very few boats leave their yard in a safe or properly built condition. Many have leaks and other such problems. Nice to know I wasnt short changed.

I decided it was time to do some fun work. Ive got a large pile of reclaimed Maple flooring stored in the workshop and ive been waiting to see what it looks like as a head lining, so I routed out and made frames for the hatches.

Once I had found the centre of the ceiling, I could set out the first few timbers, but of course, once started, its hard to walk away, so I spent today adding more.

The floor has come up almost 7 inches and the ceiling lowered which gives 6' 1.5 inches headroom. More than enough for me, and most men too, cos despite thinking, wishing and telling us they are 6'6'', most arnt more than 5'10''.

After spending all day looking up at the ceiling, ive got a painfully stiff neck.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Yukky sealant

Yesterday the sun was shining and although everywhere was soaking wet, it turned into a good drying day. I got all the hatches and windows open to maximise the evaporation process, mopped up the worst of the standing water from the bilges and then set about removing the two worst leaking deck hatches.

Even before I disturbed the offending sealant, I tooks pix and could see what a mess it was. Barely skinned over, and beneath, a runny puddle of yuk, little more than water, which explains why ive had so many leaks.

I stripped down and cleaned the mess off both frames, and rebuilt them this time using clear glazing silicon. Also, unlike when I previously fitted the hatches and windows, I set the glass units in the frames whilst they were on the bench. Although this makes the whole unit very heavy and awkward to handle, I think it will stop them distorting. Damn things must weigh 30 kg each and not easy to refit when having to get them back on deck, up a slippery gang plank, without falling off or scratching them.

For those of you who have embarked on an arduous project, im sure you will be familiar with the promises of help from well meaning friends. These promises are like the invitations to dinner or drinks that were never meant to happen, just platitudes to throw into a conversation of mock sincerity.
Where were you, ya bastards?
Watching from behind the bushes, waiting for the last brick to leave my hands before waltzing along to suggest I shoulddnt be working so hard and that you could help.?
I have a long memory, so please dont be offended when one day, I appear to be more than a little selfish whilst you struggle with moving house or whatever!!!

So, the rest of the day was taken over to loading the other two packs of bricks, all 936, 2.5 tons of them in through a side window and laying them between the scantlings.

This time it was harder than the first pack as I had further to carry them, so I made stacks of 9 which I could carry the full length of the boat, making the walking back and forth more efficient. Finally, I cleaned up and replaced the window, sealing with silicon just as it was getting dark.

Another 10 hour day. My poor bones and muscles are realy starting to ache now, and I had a hot shower and felt so glad I dont have to do it again. Today is Sunday, so Ive had a few extra hours in bed. Its rained a lot in the night so I cant wait to get aboard and see if the hatches are water tight.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Noahs ark

Another new month has arrived and im already wondering where this will be in 31 days from now. I certainly dont want another day like this one as its rained, rained and rained some more, then when I thought it was finished it realy rained.

Water is supposed to be on the outside but almost half the bilge area has water in it. I found out that the flexible acrylic sealant I was advised to bed the window frames in with doesnt work.
Its actually water based, which makes me wonder how the hell it can be water proof. At the moment, it resembles runny yoghurt and is about as much use as soggy rice paper. To add insult to injury, its stripped the red oxide paint off the steelwork
This means I have to wait for a nice dry day, take them out, clean them up, paint and replace with sealant which is more reliable. Regular silicone has never let me down.

Anyway, on Wednesday I ordered 3 packs of paving blocks, total weight 3.75 tons, 1404 bricks in total for the bilge ballast. I finished cutting back the insulation and cleaning up the mess, over 12 bags of it, but its a once only job so I dont mind. Yesterday I got the timbers bolted to the scantlings and was back at work early this morning to tighten all of the 83 bolts.

Then the bricks arrived and I had no sooner got the forklift and taken the window out and it started to rain more heavily.

I managed to unload and lay the first pack of bricks before I was totally soaked to the skin, so I sat in the car with the heater running to warm up and dry out a little. The day was a washout, the kind of rain that comes up with the tide so I departed for Hereford to collect some bits and pieces.