Friday, 28 December 2012

Smashing Christmas

It has been a great Christmas. Just the right mix of family and friends with time to yourself in between and even managed to get in two Christmas dinners, but not on the same day.
Working on the cutting list for the skylight I realised that there would be a lot of routing involved so decided to streamline the router bit storage. You know how it is, you accumulate sets and individual bits over the years until you spend half an hour looking for the right bit for the job. Plenty of off-cuts around at the minute so decided to run off a box from what I had to hand.
It’s meant to be wall mounted but can be closed off to become a case if I need to take them down to the boat
The only cost has been the foam to line the doors.
Looking forward to the new year and hoping it will be as good as Christmas.
Happy new year everyone. J

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Knock Knock

Is anyone there?
Still waiting for it to get light today so I’m wondering if the world did in fact end yesterday and nobody’s told us. J
Having a forced period of idleness as Karen’s car has started making strange noises and the local garage cannot fit her (the car that is) in this side of Christmas so she is using mine to go to work.
Even so, managed to get down to T-A yesterday to check everything is all right. Oops – water on the bathroom floor but not coming from the newly connected plumbing. There is a leak from the right hand porthole coming in around the frame and running down behind the wall lining and dripping out at the shoulder. Easy enough to trace because I have not yet replaced the capping under the gunnels after the rewire.
Up on the roof and worked some heavy grease in around the frame to seal it for now. Looks like it will be a job for next year when we are out cruising because I will need to get alongside to remove the frame which I can’t do on these short finger moorings. Hopefully the grease will keep the water out for now – we don’t need the floorboards curling up like the last lot.
In the meantime while at home I’m keeping things moving by drawing up a cutting list of parts for the skylight, got some nice pieces of 22 and 34mm sapele board that should do the job.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Things Are Changing.

At last it seems as though we are moving forward rather than one step forward, two steps back, after all there can’t be many more problems to find.
The under bed storage has been finished.
As was  
and now.
No ballast to be seen. The only ballast that may go in there is trim ballast
Made these up out of some bar steel that I had lying around (as you do). Each weighs just over 30lb with a handle for ease of movement.
In the bathroom the vanity unit has been reinstalled
And no longer has unsecured water pipes coming out of the floor and just flopping around
Even though there’s lots more to do it’s starting to feel as though the finish is in sight – but I’ve thought that before.
Trouble is that I'm enjoying myself so much that I will probably always have some project or other on the go - though I think Karen may direct some of my efforts towards the house.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Floorings Down

At last all the flooring has been laid (big sigh).
It now goes into the cupboard and vanity unit bottoms so we will no longer be faced with spray foam spattered base board every time we open a cupboard door.
All the bare woodwork where the cupboards were mounted is now varnished as are the walls behind the radiators.
At the moment I’m remaking the vanity unit base as it seemed very flimsy when removed.
The braces are made from bits of old oak flooring and all pocket screw holes have been plugged save for those that are still required during the fitting – they will be plugged on completion.
I know they will not normally be seen but to my mind a job should be finished off properly whether it’s seen or not. Always been a bit of a finicky so and so but that’s me.
The original 270o turret is reduced to a 90o corner. The original looked pretty but served no purpose other than to increase the footprint of the unit and there is not enough room on a narrowboat to waste space.
Been out buying toys again.
This router bit was on special offer and it seemed rude not to get one. It’s for making finger joints like this
And even without any glue it makes quite a strong joint. It will come in handy joining boards together when I come to remake the cupboard in the saloon. Never was to keen on the original glued butt joints.
Other than that there has only been time for two Christmas gatherings with old railway colleagues – nowt like a good old reminisce.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Something To See At last

Down to T-A every day this week and at last the flooring base is all down and the new flooring has been started on.
The boards go all the way across from wall to wall and not only where you can see them.
Under the sink as was.
Now – still got to tidy up the pipe work but at least the pump is not flapping about now.
The weather has been cramping my style somewhat, not so much with the short days (got plenty of lights) but with no heating at the moment the cold has been getting to me.
Central heating will be a priority job when I start on all the bits under the wheelhouse.
It all looks like a bit of a bomb site at the moment but everything is having to be moved around as the flooring gets done –why can’t we have a Tardis in narrow boat style.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sweep, Hoover, Dust

That’s all I seem to have done over the past week.
Laying the new floor panels is taking longer than expected owing to the amount of mastic, spray foam and broken screws to be removed. Removing the water pipes revealed a pile more rubbish and sawdust. The flooring being re-laid is being reinforced with more 19mm ply strip under the joins to reduce the amount of flexing and it’s all being secured by 5mm(No 10) stainless steel screws in countersunk holes. The result will hopefully be no more rusty broken screws.
Every piece of work is followed by a sweep up and hoover, now all the crud I can find has gone I don’t intend to replace it with more.
Been toying with the idea of signing up for a bee-keeping course in Grantham as we’ve been thinking a hive in the garden would be good for pollinating the fruit trees on top of the chance of some honey. The only worry is that one of the locals might take the opportunity for a feast.
He’s already emptied the bee box we put up.
Tuesday was down at Woolsthorpe depot fitting new security bars to the windows with Ralph. This time it was sweeping up brick dust.J
The rest of the crew were putting the finishing touches to Mudlark.
The weather round here has been absolutely foul for the past couple of days, got a few cutting jobs done in the workshop but varnishing has been out of the question.
Glad I’m not down in Devon or Cornwall, so shouldn’t complain too much.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Another Busy Week

Quite a bit of involvement with the GCS in the past week, both planned and unplanned.
Saturday and part of Sunday was down at lock 11 near to the A46 at Stragglethorpe clearing some of the debris left after the Experian work parties last month
while the WRG party cleared out lock 10
to expose the brickwork.
That has got to be a big well done for all the lads and lasses involved.
Got back from a run into town on Monday to find the phone ringing. It was Ian from GCS asking for help down at Woolsthorpe depot after a report of a break in. When we got there we found the windows to the rear had been completely ripped out leaving only the bare brick hole. The security grille in the messing area had been forced off and entry gained there. Stayed until eight making the place as secure as we could.
Down to Tool Station in the morning for new fixings and sealant to do a proper job. Finished in the dark again and have decided to add bars to the outside of the windows to try and deter further intrusion.
The stupidity of this whole sorry affair was that there is nothing of any value kept in the depot, the biggest loss was some soft drinks and crisps left over from the open day, yet the damage done would indicate that these were more than just children. Does the term ‘Strong in the arm – thick in the head’ apply here?
Wednesday morning spent making new security bars for Woolsthorpe and in the afternoon popped over to Hawkes Timber at Bassingfield for a job lot of ply to line the base boards before laying the new flooring.
In the evening it was the GCS AGM. All the usual bits and pieces that you would expect but I was a bit brassed off to learn that CaRT was now insisting that the society pays navigation fees for any workboats using the canal to carry out maintenance.
Urine extraction methinks.
Finally got a few hours down on T-A today. Took the new steps to measure up and mark out where the access to the cool store and bilge will be. The steps still require more varnishing but the felt so secure in position even without fixing I decided to bring the old steps home. They will have to be finished when all the new lining is varnished. Fitted the first couple of flooring boards so with a bit of luck I can start getting the new floor down next week. GCS permitting – I’m already down for a work party on TuesdayJ

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Friends And Fiddly Bits

All sorts of disjointed jobs going on this week. The new steps have had the screw holes plugged, and have had a first coat of varnish which had to be done in three stages owing to the shape. The cooler weather is slowing the drying time which is a bit of a pain. I’ve decided the cables for the LED lights are too long which meant cutting the cable because the plugs are sealed in silicone and as the colour displayed is selectable there are four wires in each cable.
The individual wires are too small for crimps so each one is soldered
sleeved in heat shrink tubing
which is then all covered in more heat shrink
and of course this has to be done for each lamp.
Remember the original ash deck boards from the wheel house? Bits of one of them form the front of the steps and a bit more has been used to make the capping to cover any wiring on show inside the steps.
Yesterday friends Tony and Lesley popped over to help celebrate Karen’s birthday (the big 50) and I like to think a good time was had by all.
They were very taken by the new pup Tommy and a head count had to be taken on departureJ. Ian from GCS also popped by for a coffee and drop off the tools for this weekends work party at locks 9, 10 & 11 with our team supported by WRG North West.
( I dare say they think we are supporting them, so don’t burst their bubble. J )
Today has been down at T-A reaffixing some of the flooring over the ballast and removing the old mastic. Still finding plenty of broken screws to remove, slow work but we’re getting there.
Karen has taken a week off work to celebrate her birthday but an awful lot of it has been spent up to ankles in mud clearing the garden for winter - typical.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Still Working Away

Not a lot going on at the moment, not least because the weather is making me think it’s time to hibernate.
Even so I managed to get three visits to Woolsthorpe depot to help get Mudlark and Earwig ready for use.
Mostly cleaning and painting
Rowan tried the stove in Earwig but it proved to be a bit smoky.
Things did improve as the chimney warmed but it is definitely in need of resealing.
On the doggy front, we’ve been having a few problems with Tommy getting stressed out when the dogs are left alone. This has been overcome with a bit of patience and a lot of treats so that now if we are both out together he does not think he is being abandoned. All in all though it has meant that the last couple of weeks there has been somebody in the house most of the time and as Karen still has to go to work it has meant less time down at T-A. Still managed a couple of visits to check all OK and offer up various pieces for fitting.
The steps are nearly complete, just need a few coats of varnish and ducting making to take the LED wiring. Hopefully the varnish will help differentiate between the ash body and oak treads. Most of the wood used has been recovered from T-A. Which reminds me – we have a refund from BHNB – found a penny when lifting the floors. J  
The bottom two steps are hinged so that they fold over the step above to give storage access.
A lot of the flooring which cannot be reused is at least keeping us warm at the moment.

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Karen had a couple of weeks off work coming. It had been hoped that T-A would be further on than she is so we could have a trip out but it was not to be.
The time hasn’t been wasted though with odd days out visiting friends and doing a bit of retail therapy. The main event has to be finding a new playmate for Sox at the Dogs Trust near Loughborough.
His name is Tommy, usually shortened to Tom but extended to Thomas when he is in trouble J. An 18 month cross breed, I’m inclined to think there is a lot of staffy in there.
Over the last fortnight we have been worn out by the pups chasing and playing
 and they have become inseparable.
Getting back to boaty stuff.
The discovery day at Woolsthorpe went well although visitors were down on last year but that seems to be a nationwide trend.
To make a bit more room on T-A for floor laying I brought home the bathroom sink stand/cabinet. Finding it was so flimsy have decided to remake it.
Loads of holes drilled for pocket screws but only half of them used and quite a few of the screws used were broken. I suspect the broken screws are there because our builder has used coarse screws designed for softwood rather than the fine meant for hardwoods.
The holes drilled aren’t deep enough to plug  so they are being re-drilled and the unused ones are being plugged. Once reassembled the remaining holes will be plugged using ash dowel. You can’t see the holes unless your head is in the cupboard so why bother – the trouble is I know they are there not properly finished off and it will bug me.
Looking back at all the cockups from the build, nearly all of them are basic errors. I do wonder if it was beneath our builders dignity or beyond his capability to read the instructions.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Grot Goes On

Well plenty been going on this past week, a lot of it to do with the GCS.
Last Saturday we had a group of 109 students from Loughborough University under the flag of C&RT volunteers. These were split into four groups – clearing Knipton feeder, litter picking on the public paths, painting locks 16 - 18 and I got the party clearing canal side foliage between locks 15 & 16.
They may have looked like a rabble without a clue but don’t be fooled
They worked hard and did a bloomin’ good job.
Monday was mowing the grass and generally tidying Woolsthorpe Depot ready for Sundays discovery day.
As far as T-A is concerned the last of the flooring has been removed, but in the bedroom that meant removing the radiator and corner cupboard.
Usual story.
All that’s left to do now is remove the last of the broken screws with a mole grip (I’ve removed enough to make a fakirs bed) and scrape off the mastic before laying the new floor. Everywhere below that I can get at has been cleaned and Waxoyled.
When she was being built we asked for three steps down from the wheel house but as usual it was a case of you’ll get what you are given.
Knocked up a set of steps from scrap wood and it immediately felt more comfortable.
It can’t be seen here but the treads are raked back at 10 deg. to save catching your heels. The finished article will be oak treads with ash body and have storage access. The plain wooden steps at present can be slippery with wet footwear so to that end I have ordered some heavy duty non slip sheeting which will be set into the treads

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Back To The Grind

A quiet week-end. Visited the RSPCA and Dogs Trust kennels near us to register, in the hopes of finding Sox a new playmate though now it seems he may not need one. He met up with a six month old boxer cross but that didn’t work out. When all said and done he appears to be quite happy on his own and is enjoying the extra attention he is getting.
Back down on T-A the bathroom has been cleared out except for the shower cubicle, so that he oak flooring could be removed.
At the same time as lifting the ply boarding for the clear out (soon need a new can of Waxoyl) I decided to re plumb the vanity unit.
The pipes will now come in from the side so we can use the cupboard under the sink once the new oak flooring is down.
Elsewhere I have run up a rough plan for some new steps down from the wheelhouse which will incorporate  a cool store and some storage for wellingtons. Cutting some template pieces to see how it will all fit in before laying the new floor.
Bringing home some bits that will go on the CGS stall at the Woolsthorpe depot Discovery Day on Sunday 6th of October. Should be a good laugh with stalls, displays, boat trips and a duck race in the bywash of lock 16. What’s the betting I get roped into giving the depot the once over with a mower next week. :-)