Wednesday, 23 July 2008

what lies beneath

The first room that needs to get a full makeover is what will be the lodgers room; the sooner we can get that finished the sooner we have the potential to start earning rent from lodgers. We need to insulate in the walls and then put a new 'skin' onto the studding for the entire room, to replace the slightly dodgy existing panelling. We also need to insulate and cover the metal section of the outside wall, as in the winter that is a massive heat sink.

I'd been putting it off, but finally i bit the bullet and removed a wall panel

when this didn't release a tidal wave of water, or an avalanche of rust and grease, or any other horrors, i quickly removed the rest of the many many panels on the end wall. This revealed studding, but studding that wasn't actually attached to either itself or the wall, or even floor, no wonder the wall was wonky and wobbly

the next stage was to take out all the studding,

and the rockwool insulation (which, despite the dire predictions of many boat owners, was neither rotten or damp, but which mysteriously didn't go all the way down to the floor either, it stopped about a foot up)

and then give the few lightly rusted patches a quick going over with a wire brush, ready for a new coat of iron oxide paint. Vortex helpfully inspected each panel closely for rust before instructing us where to direct the wire brush.

So really, a very pleasant surprise, considering it's been sealed up inside the wall for at least five years and possibly twenty five, it's in pretty good nick. We now need to take off the remaining walls, weld brackets onto the metal walls to attach batons to, check over all the studding, and put new panels on. Piece of cake!


One unexpected result of living on the boat has been that we are finding that we are so much more willing to tackle things ourselves rather than 'get a man in to do it'. The car exhaust has been sounding a bit thunderous for a while but when it banged on a speedbump because it was hanging down, it was so corroded, we knew it was time to do something about it. After taking advice from Phantastic Phil, our mechanic neighbour, we bought a new exhaust and the necessary clamps, got down under the car, got the old exhaust off and fitted a new one, it was really easy!

You can see how knackered the old exhaust was, it's so great to have a shiny new one, and not have to worry about it falling off on the motorway

and to have done it ourselves, for half the price it would have cost to get someone to do it for us, makes it all the sweeter!

Balancing acquisitions

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, so when we went to the Thames Traditonal Boat Rally

and picked up some cheap tools

and a couple of jerry cans

at the boat jumble, AND travelled down to Wales where Lorna's uncle helped us procure some fibreglass roofing materials to make the roof watertight

AND got a load of great Celotex out of a skip on the way home one day

i had to balance out these new acquisitions by getting rid of a load of wood that had been sat cluttering up the deck, by making a planter for lorna

and chopping up the rest for firewood.

S'all about balance see?...

where there's muck...

Another thing that we have brought back, phoenix-like, from the ashes of decay, is the compass in the wheelhouse . This is how it looked when we got the boat:

Lorna got some Brasso, and several hours and an awful lotta rubbin' later, produced this amazing mirror-like shine:

We also topped up the fluid inside, and discovered from the insciption on the little plaque on the front, which had been hidden by the oxidisation, that the compass was made by B Cooke and Son Ltd. of Hull , so we will be contacted them to see if they have any tips for caring for it in the future. It's nice to know where things come from.

turning the tables

Well, it's been a bit quiet on the blog front recently, mainly due to lots going on work-wise, but that doesn't mean we've been slacking off. The messiness of the deck is generally a good indicator of how much we're doing: it's looking good at the moment.

One thing we've tackled recently is the table on the back deck. It came with the boat, and was looking old and tired, with the unprotected wood silvery and beginning to be water damaged.

We sanded the pieces of wood down and oiled them, (reallising that this grey, uninspiring wood was actually really nice hardwood, maybe teak or mahogany?):

and finally painted the metalwork with black hammerite:

before putting it all back together and finishing it off with a coat of varnish. It now matches the skylights and looks very smart.