Saturday, 27 July 2013

Over Another Hurdle

Still been working away at those mundane little jobs and believe it or not varnishing is still in progress. Been down to T-A most days this past week and missed out on a coupe of GCS work parties trying to catch up on work around the home. Harvesting and freezing some bits and pieces, Karen is peeling shallots for pickling as I type, looks like it is going to be a bumper year for most things especially fruit.
On the boating front – all the steering bits have been fitted and appear to be working fine but I’ll be happier when Trudy-Ann has been out for a short road test.
As was
Seems familiar?
As it is now
Not perfect but a damn sight better than it was. The old ply mount has been kept but only as a base for the new rudder indicator sender unit – hence the twist of yellow and black wire. In reality that is the last of the main jobs to be done though still waiting for the parts needed to shorten the pipes by about a foot. Another of those jobs that will finish things off nicely but are not essential to the operation.
On the electrical front, no more chasing around it isolate the batteries. The new solenoid switches have all been wired in and are working.
Now you see it.
Now you don’t.
The isolation switches all have a manual override which can be secured out of use for maintenance. The switches are situated by the gangway from below so can easily be got at from anywhere but at the same time there is a possibility of operation by passing elbows, hence the acrylic cover.
Over to Glenmere Timber at Market Harborough again to get some more sapele for the wheelhouse door frames. Had hoped to get away without replacing them but water is still getting between frame and metalwork as well as under the door. What it needs is a base that is not flat and is chamfered to run water off, as well as being rebated to slot over the metalwork to close any gaps.
Only 58 items on the task list now and only four involve varnishing – the end really is in sight.
Easy day planned for tomorrow, The Dogs Trust is having an open day at their kennels near Wymeswold so we are taking Sox and Tommy back for a bit of a reunion - just hope Tommy doesn't think we are going to leave him and in the afternoon it's over to Harlaxton to help out with Three Shires, running short trips for Harlaxton village open day.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Scrapheap Challenge

Still working away at those minor jobs, running cable for the new fuel gauges and stern light etc.
Managed to get a bit more crewing on the GCS trip boat and it looks like there are going to be busy times the second week of August because there may well be new bottom gates going in at Woolsthorpe lock 18.
I digress, back to T-A.
Mostly though it is getting to grips with the steering, how to install it securely and increase the rudder angle. Firstly we need a bracket to mount the hydraulic ram, the plan being to bolt it to the bottom of the  back bulkhead in the wheelhouse. Into the scrap corner to see what’s there – a bit of ¼” plate should do the trick.
Mark it out
Cut and clean
Drill and weld it
Paint it.
The angle should align the ram up exactly with the rudder armand now the assembly will be held down by four M8 bolts instead of size 6 wood screws.
Now for the rudder arm, another delve into the scrap corner but all I can find is a bit of 1½” (Lots of the stuff has been there for years so not much metrication) round brass bar.
Machine a face top and bottom
Drill the appropriate holes and machine a slot to recess the bolt head and stop it turning when being tightened.
A bit Heath-Robinson but it should be strong enough and reduces the pivot point from 140 to 105mm which should by my reckoning increase the rudder angle from 35 to 49 deg while only increasing load on the piston by 50% so a bit of a compromise on the original plan – time will tell.
The neighbours can relax for a bit as the workshop should be quiet for the next day or two J

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Those Little Things

Lots of little things being done at present.  That myriad of jobs that seem to take up the time and make no discernable difference but need to be done none the less. The fuel fillers have been reinstalled and the rust round the hole removed, primed and painted. In due course the whole rear deck will be repainted featuring a non slip panel as at present when wet it is definitely a place to avoid.
The only thing of note over the last few days has been helping to man Three Shires on Sunday taking a birthday party out on the Grantham Canal. A three hour trip turned into a four and a half hour trip due to the silting up and weed growth of the canal, it is desperately in need of clearing out.
It’s annoying that BW (as it was then) sold the society a dredger to restore and make useable. Now that has been done.
When it was re-launched CaRT threw their toys out the pram because the society had not got their permission. (What did they think was going to happen to it.) Now they have relented but are insisting on one months notice prior to operation, not a lot of use for a volunteer society. CaRT say they want public involvement but one has to wonder.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Cooking With Gas

Well its been a real boaty week this week. Cleaning up on Monday and getting ready for the gas fitter to come and install the new gas supply, not forgetting a bit more painting.
An early start (for me) to get down to Trudy-Ann before nine to meet up with Chris Williams form Ovation Boat Services. Kept out of the way best I could while Chris set to work with a will. We now have a first rate set up, with a continuous (as in no joints) feed between the gas locker and the test point close to the cooker and all run in conduit for protection.
The flexible pipes have been replaced by rigid connections into both hob and oven each having its own isolation valve.
Shows the original up for the cowboy job it was. What is more it runs where I wanted it to run and it is out of the way, and all done on the hottest day so far - I was cream crackered doing nothing. J
The last couple of days has been doing more painting under the rear deck.
Yep - everything has turned white including me.
Two coats of Smoothrite and it could really do with a third, but that will have to wait. It certainly makes a difference though because today’s pictures are using daylight whereas the before shots used an inspection lamp – black hole no longer.
Sod’s law reigns – old fuel fillers removed to fit the new thinking it would be a straight swap but the new ones are just too tight a fit in the holes and they only have three fixings and not four. No major problem and on this hole it may just be a case of take your pick – nope not one lines up.
Hey ho – at least it is now a cleaner environment to fit the new steering.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Seeing Red

Down to T-A in the morning on the last couple of days in an attempt to get a few jobs done before it got too hot. Yesterday it was getting the first coat of paint done where the old gas and steering pipes went.
Today was starting to paint the fuel tank tops and under the rear deck. Painted one side and once that is dry I can move over to get the other side.
Time for a few before shots to show where I’m having to work – and those that know me will know I’m not built for spaces like this J

As mentioned before the muck has now been removed. All the dirt is rust from above and it is surprising how heavy a vacuum full of rust dust gets.
While this work is ongoing the fuel fillers will be replaced for locking ones which I picked up at Crick show
These grotty jubilee clips have nice new stainless replacements waiting in the wings. Note the screws they are way too long – got some new ones on order that will be more appropriate along with extra nuts to act as locking nuts. Yes I know that they will seldom be seen down there, but once it is done I’ll know it has been done as best I can.
Just a quick picture of the steering arm to show why just drilling a hole nearer the pivot point is out of the question
Anyway – back to today – just closing up T-A, noticed some pinkish water sloshing about alongside the engine – balderdash – it’s red diesel, wriggling around on the fuel tanks I’ve part opened the stop cock for the Hurricane boiler but of course the boiler is not connected at the moment. Closed off the stop tap and removed the handle to stop it happening again and also clamped a bolt into the end of the fuel pipe for good measure. Should have done it in the first place – idiot! Emptied the bilge out into a jerry can using a suction pump meant for clearing sinks but it worked quite well. About 15 litres in all but not sure how much is water as this was the same bay as the calorifier with the weepy relief valve. So tomorrow it’s round to the local garage to see if they can advise me how to dispose of some dirty diesel.
Cooling down at last – time to feed the dogs and get the hoe on the garden, water the hanging baskets and greenhouse - did somebody say the days were getting shorter now? J

Friday, 5 July 2013

Dirty Work Below Decks

Wednesday cutting grass and other mundane stuff – wonder how much it would cost to astroturf the lot. J
Thursday back on Trudy-Ann working down in the engine bay starting to remove the steering gear but the cap on the rudder post refused to budge. In the end all I could do was a of soak it with WD40 and remember to bring a copper hammer tomorrow. Otherwise it was tidying the wiring  ready for the battery switches and checking the calorifier which seems to be weeping from the pressure relief valve.
Today the steering gear has been completely removed leaving just the rudder post and then it was set to with an angle grinder and wire brush cleaning all the rust off the fuel tanks and under the rear deck ready for painting. With the rudder arm removed it was apparent that my plan for just drilling a new hole to take the piston arm would not work due to the shape of the casting – still got a plan for that so will expand further at a later date as work is completed.
With it being so warm today all the dust seemed to be sticking in some uncomfortable places so it was a case of “sod it”. After vacuuming up headed home for an early bath. At least it showed the wisdom of investing in a quality face mask and goggles.
That should be the last of the preparation so painting and varnishing can start in earnest. Hopefully there will be some before and after pictures in the next few days.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Busy Time Coming Up

Doing a bit of catch up round the homestead on Sunday and only came in quite late to find a message on the answer phone from Chris the gas fitter asking if we could meet on Monday to view what he had got in store and assess what he would need to bring.
Monday morning shot into Melton to pick up the switch labels and then over to Pillings to meet up with Chris. Looks like I was right to ask somebody who knows what is what, he pointed out that the cooker and hob should not really be installed with flexible pipes and only copper olives should have been used, on top of what was already known. The upside of all this is that he can run the new feed over our preferred route and will encase the pipe work in conduit through the engine bay. For the rest of the day it was removing old gas pipe and cursing rusty screws.
On the same again today and once the gas pipe had been removed from the battening the steering pipes and bilge pump wiring was removed also in preparation to give the batten its first coat of paint. Heat lagging taken from exhaust in preparation to reverse the ‘U’ bend as highlighted in the surveyors report. Pilot holes drilled in bulkheads and generally preparing run for next weeks instillation.
I have given up on the kitchen for the time being as there is not much point until the appliances are reinstalled.
While down in the engine bay I measured the travel on the steering ram which came in at 6.5 inches old money and the control arm between the two pivot centres worked out to be 5.5 ins. By my reckoning that only gives me 30 deg of rudder in either direction. I wasn’t a happy bunny when I guessed it at only 45 deg so something will have to be done. With a 2ins rudder post to get 45 deg the centre of the ram connection would have to be 2.25 ins down the arm. Question - would that make the steering too heavy or do we need a longer ram. In due course I think it will be try the former but be prepared for the latter. Anyway it will all be coming out because the piece of ply it is mounted on and glued to the top of the fuel tank was never painted either and is now looking very black and starting to rot – at least it is the last of the major faults to rectify – I hopeJ.