Friday, 5 September 2008

Step Up

In order to do them justice, i needed to get Lorna's steps cleaned and painted up. I used the wire brush attachment on the angle grinder to clean up the 'waffle iron' texture on the steps, which was all gummed up with years of paint, (you can see the painted part on the right and my cleaned up section on the left)

And had a look at Lorna's excellent first time welds.

It was almost a shame to paint it as it looked so shiny as bare metal

but i knew that within a day it'd be rusty again if i didn't so i got out the white hammerite and set to work

before hooking them back onto the wall, where they look even better now they match the paint work.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The most beautiful girl in the weld

While i was wrestling unsuccessfully with the fibreglass, Simon cam round from Thomas H to teach Lorna how to weld. They began by cutting down some steel plate that we had in the engine room with the angle grinder

and then moved aboard Thomas H to weld the parts together

photo © Simon Clay

photo © Simon Clay

to make these rather nifty steps

which hook onto the little brackets on the wall

and make it easier for us to get on and off the front deck. Fantastic!

A bit of wire brushing and a coat of white hammerite and they'll be done.

(fibre)glass half full

So, having had the stuff for ages, having spent AGES stripping the roof, quite a while putting it off, and a day stripping off the flashing, it was finally time to try out actually applying the fibreglass to one of the roof panels.

I had been told that fibreglassin' is all in the preparation, so I cut sheets to size and mixed the gloop (to use the technical terminology, try to keep up) with the activator catalyst

before rolling the gloop onto the roof, laying the fibreglass matting on top and then rolling more gloop on top then rolling vigorously with a little stell roller until the fibreglass strands were dissolved by the gloop into a single impermeable sheet.

That was the theory anyway. The first piece went on well but then the gloop in the bucket, and on the roller) started to set and get lumpy (i guess i added too much catalyst, which reduces the setting time) and instead of just ditching it and starting with fresh gloop i panicked and tried to do the remaining two panels both at once and it all went a bit wrong. (It didn't help that i was doing it on Saturday morning and on Saturday afternoon i had to catch a flight to Norway fpr a shoot, so i was feeling pressured and should never have really started)

You can see that the bottom sheet looks nice and smooth, but the ones above that are patchy where i haven't applied enough gloop in time and the fibreglass hasn't dissolved.

However, i refuse to be cowed by a matting of glass fibres, and i think although it didn't work out this time i learnt all the lessons i needed from this failure, to make the next try a success. I also found that the edges were the most difficult part and so have contacted these people to hopefully get some edging strips, which i can attach to the edges of each panel before fibreglassing up to the edge.

I may have lost the battle, but i can still win the war...

what lies beneath II

There is a central 'spine' running down the length of the roof, covering the join where the two sides meet and keeping everything nice and dry (kind of). This is great, but unfortunately all the flashing on the edges of all the roof panels, which we want to remove, goes underneath it, so it had to come up.

This was a little terrifying, since lifting it up revealed a horror landscape of dirt and rust, and holes through which you could see down into the boat,

but once i cleared away some of the detritus i reallised that it was essentially just two strips of wood screwed to the roof, supporting the curved 'spine' (which was the source of all the rust). So not too scary, and simple to replace with new materials.

Now that i was warmed up and in a proper wrecking mood, i then started pulling up the flashing, which was pretty corroded and, certainly where the nails went through, beginning to rot the wood. I removed the flashing ON the roof,

and the edging strip on the bottom edge of the roof. Both of which revealed horrors of rust and damp wood.

Luckily, once the whole area was swept clean and a few bits of filler had been chipped off, it all looked a lot less something out of a junkyard,

and with a good coat of trusty Cuprinol

and some new edging screwed onto the bottom edge

it all looked nice and smart again, ready for testing out the fibreglass that will eventually cover it.