Saturday, 22 March 2008

shelf help

When we bought Peter, there were kitchen cupboards attached to the wall, which were a bit old and tired, and too high to reach anyway.

As has become the norm with thinks onboard, taking them down became a long and protracted affair since once we took them off the wall we found that their close proximity to the wall behind had resulted in patches of rust, which we had to grind off with a steel brush attachment on the drill.

they were then hammerited, to combat any future rust

and finally painted white

and a couple of the old cupboards incorporated into my new kitchen shelves, which were a bit of a bargain altogether since the shelves cost 10p each from the homebase offcuts bin, the uprights were about another tenner, and the cupboards were recycled. Even the blackboard paint we found in the engine room!

Vortex helped with the painting, before taking a well deserved rest...

what a tool

What with buying tools and bits and pieces to do up the boat, and the massive amounts of stuff we've found secreted around the place, particularly in the fo'castle and the engine room, we have amassed an impressive collection of tools, screws, fixings, cables, oil filters (hundreds of oil filters!), drill bits, wood, metal pipe, tins of paint, five or six reversing lights (?) and all manner of oily crap. So i've been trying to go through it, sort it into boxes, store it somewhere out of the way but easily accessible whenever we need to do something, and throw away the oily crap. We're getting there with it...

drive a hard bargain

One small project, done at the same time as the shelves in the captain's cabin, has really improved my experience of working in the office.

I have, at last count, 6 hard drives with well over a terabyte of storage, which have all my photoshoots from the last 4 years on. Each hard drive has a usb2 or firewire cable going to the computer but also a lead going to a transformer and then another lead going from the transformer to the wall socket. Needless to say it all gets a bit messy.

When we were last at IKEA i bought a cupboard door in the bargain corner for, i think, £1, and then got some mdf offcuts cut to size at homebase to form a little wall cabinet, again for just a couple of pounds, bargain! Once painted with nice red gloss paint and screwed to the wall VERY securely with MANY screws (i don't want all my hard drives plummeting to the ground!) it gets all the hard drives, all the cables and all the transformers out the way, and has enough airflow coming through from the back that it doesn't all overheat.

When paired with my nice new wall mounted desk tidy that Lorna bought me,

the office is looking pretty good...

join us

It's really hard to take pictures that give a decent idea of what the inside of a boat (or indeed a house) actually looks like. Here's our main room as a straight shot

and here it is as a joiner, which hopefully gives you a much better idea of the size and shape of the room.

Incidentally, in response to Andrew's comment i think one reason why we haven't had any trouble with damp and condensation is that the interior space in the boat is so big and open, with lots of airflow.

we didn't start the fire...

We got the stove back from the VERY nice Phil at Pithers stoves and it's working perfectly!

When we inherited it the fire bricks looked like this:

and the iron casting that forms the inside of the hopper was warped and degraded from 25 years of 800 degree heat.

The joint on the back where the stove meets the flue was also loose, something that we tried to fix with a kit for patching up car exhausts, but which wasn't that effective.

While the stove was off being repaired we cleaned out the flue really well,

and Phil repaired all the joints, replaced the casting, repaired the joint to the flue, and best of all provided us with a section of insulated flue to put over the existing pipe above the roof. The only problem is that it doesn't fit over the collar that's welded into the roof itself, so we just need to get a sheet of stainless steel spot welded into a tube so that we can slip it over the collar and pack it with insulation, before sitting the chimney on top of it.

So now the fire is working like a dream, and with our new IKEA (our boat is rapidly becoming World Of IKEA) clothes hanging rail set up next to the stove, and our new washing machine, we don't stink half so bad as we used to...

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

life in the fat lane

While i'm in the mood for posting, i'll just share these delightful pictures:

A couple of months ago i was washing up when rancid, eggy smelling water started pouring out of the front of the sink cupboard. Upon investigating i discovered that the pump which collects water from the kitchen sink plughole and pumps it overboard, wasn't. The float switch which activates it when the box is full of water was so encrusted with what seemed to be either some hideous demonic substance from hell itself, or a putrid mixture of fat and limescale, that it couldn't float and so the pump just filled with water until it overflowed into the kitchen.

The first challenge was to disconnect the full pump (which has an outlet near the bottom) from the outlet hose so i could take it out and clean it. During this operation about 80,000 gallons of eggy smelling, fatty water poured out into the kitchen, via my trousers, before i could get the outlet hole over a bucket. Then i could take the pump out on the jetty and jet wash the fatty limescale off, leaving it looking like this, which looks a lot healthier:

Kids, always remember to descale your sink regularly.

p.s. I was told a story recently by our neighbours. They bought their boat in holland and for a couple of months innocently used the kitchen sink, as you would, assuming that the water was going overboard. After a while though they started to wonder where the hole was that it was going out of, and followed the pipe from the sink, under the floor, down the length of the boat through the bilges, to the front where there was a small lake of filthy washing up water under the floor, the pipe having just ended inside the boat! So it could have been worse....

let me introduce my shelf

When we bought Peter the captains cabin had a large and not especially useful built in sofa, which was using space that we would have preferred to use for bookshelves.

So out it cam, revealing gaping gaps in the panelling behind, straight through to the outer hull. Note the steering rods which run from the chains connected to the ship's wheel, right down to the rudder at the stern. Also note the wonderful use of ratty old carpet as makeshift insulation, genius.

The first step was to fill the holes in the wall, and insulate them while we were at it. Ever the recycler i used the slats from the sofa to make a little framework to hold a load of rockwool (we have LOTS of rockwool in bags in the fo'castle) before facing it with 25mm celotex. The reason the middle sheet of celotex has tape across the front of it is that the hatch and stairs down into the cabin is too small to get even a sheet this size down, so it had to come in 2 halves.

This was then covered over with a couple of sheets of 3mm mdf (which, fortunately, bends enough to go down the stairs!), meanwhile i measured everything up, got a whole load of 18mm mdf pieces cut to size at homebase, and painted them up in the spare room.

these were then screwed together, after a few trimming adjustments to account for the fact that there isn't a single straight corner, vertical or horizontal, in the room (you can see in the picture below that the top of the shelves, which is horizontal, is at a decidedly different angle to the windows behind it) and voila, a great set of bookshelves sprang into existance, meaning that we can have all our reference and art books in our office, hurrah!