Friday, 2 October 2009


Last winter, most of the heat kicked out by our stove seemed to disappear in the icy icy corridor. So, again getting ready for winter, we covered up the bare hull with insulation.

This involved welding brackets onto the hull for the battens.

Packing neatly with celotex.

Spray foaming the gaps to create an air tight barrier.

And then cutting ply to size to screw on top.

We also put ply in to create the other walls of the corridor. We're looking forward to painting these too- and putting in a suspended ceiling so that it has less of a 'fun house' feel when you are walking down it.

Wheelhouse Studio

I (Lorna) went away to as Vegas in the summer, and Steve was very busy turning the wheelhouse into my new painting studio.

Step 1 was insulating. We pulled up the old floor, packed it with celetex, then relayed the floor on top. There was just one tricky bit where there was a hatch down to the engine room that we had to leave accessible.

We also insulated the ceiling ready for winter, but need to get some thinner ply to finish it all off.

Steve pulled out the old tongue and groove woodwork, I welded on brackets for new battening and cut some sanded scaffolding planks to size for my perfect desk and then vanished for a week. Steve put insulation between the battens and carefully cut ply to size.

He then filled in the screw holes, primed the plywood and neatly cut sections of the reclaimed flooring to size to make window sills and edges.

He gave it all a lick of paint and it looks so neat and tidy. He then laid the floor, leaving a removable section to keep access to the engine room. This used up almost all of our remaining reclaimed flooring (which we used in the corridor). Being solid wood it is going to withstand greater wear that the wheelhouse will have so was a good choice.

He built a fancy support for my homemade desk, utilising some more of the scrap wood that had been pulled out. The raised section at the bottom is there to give more headroom for the galley below. As my feet will be kicking around on it a lot, it was worth putting flooring down on the horizontal surface of this too.

As soon as I returned from America, I could make it really feel like home and put all my art stuff in place.

And my carnivorous plant collection too.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Roof: Episode III

So with the physical structure of the roof in place it was time to get fibreglassing.

We'd got all the matting and resin and everything ages ago but due to a series of events, including moving the boat to central london and then having a major rethink of how we were going to do the roof, we had never actually started the fibreglassing process. This was actually great as it meant that we hadn't fibreglassed the roof and then wished we had insulated it first.

So we got outour matting etc.

and started laying it on the panels, a laborious and time consuming process. On the first day we got two panels done and then gel coated (which protects them from UV light and provides the final finish that we wanted),

and while Lorna was out (it's a two man job) i also finished insulating inside the central walkway.

But then, after days and days of sunshine, the weather broke, the clouds gathered, the sky went dark and the rains fell

It was frustrating to not be able to continue making everything watertight, after so much planning and preparation, but we had sealed all the joins in the roof with flashing tape, the OSB coped really really well with the water and didn't swell or fall apart, and with a couple of long sessions whenever there WAS a break in the weather long enough for the roof to dry out, including a night time work session until midnight lit by one of my photography lights,

we continued to make progress and get more and more panels fibreglassed and then gel coated.

It's finally coming together...

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Roof: Episode II

The next stage for the roof, now the insulation was in, was to face it with 8X4 OSB sheets. This was a pretty similar job to the insulation really, except we had to cut them with the plunge saw rather than a knife, and although it took longer than the insulating it wasn't long before all the panels were covered.

I then cut thin strips and fixed them down the sides of all the panels, to cover the edges visually and provide a run off for water once they were fibreglassed. It was while screwing these in that the screwdriver went overboard.

Once all the panels were on, we reallised that we had underestimated the amount by which the central walkway needed to be raised up, and so we had to take it up again and raise it some more.

We also took this opportunity to seal up the points inside the walkway where the windows meet the beam in the middle of the roof. The gaps in the roof that the windows sit in gto right up inside the walkway to the middle point of the roof and we were finding that every time we worked on the roof we would get little snowfalls of sawdust drifting down though the gaps.

Finaly, while the walkway was off, we used the excess insulation from the roof to insulate inside the walkway, before putting the lid back on.


Or 'Why You Should Buy DeWalt Tools'

While screwing panels of OSB on the roof (see next post) a heavy swell caused me to lose my balance and i dropped the DeWalt electric screwdriver into the river, which was at that point about 3m deep. Resigning myself to the fact that it must be dead, i thought i'd at least go down and get it when the tide went out, just in case anything was usable.

When the tide went out the screwdriver was revealed, lying in the mud

so i climbed down and got it.

I pressed the trigger as i picked it up out of the mud, and directly from being completely submerged in 3m of water it worked perfectly! Not wanting to push my luck i let it dry out for an hour or two, and it's been fine ever since.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Roof: Episode I

So, with the wheelhouse roof sorted and the existing main roof patched and made (almost) waterproof, it was time to begin the Grand Plan. We brought huge quantities of 75X50mm battens aboard, and a whole load of sheets of OSB, which although not as pretty as Plywood, is much cheaper, just as strong for our use and actually provided a better textured 'key' for the fibreglass we would be laying over it.

Then, with rex's help

we started work. The plan was to build a frame around the edge of each panel of the roof, fill it with insulation, and then cover it with a sheet of OSB before fibreglassing on top to seal it all in. This meant raising the overall level of the roof, and THIS meant we had to also raise the level of the central walkway that runs down the middle of the roof. So as well as screwing in the first parts of the frames, down the sides of the windows, we took the walkway up

and added another thickness of batten along each side underneath it, raising it up.

Then it was time for the insulation itself. This was a fun job, since once we had carried the 19 8'x4' sheets of 75mm thick celotex down the mooring and onto the boat

it was actually a quick and easy process to cut them to size and slot them into the frames on the roof. We used our new favourite toy, a chalk line, to mark out the cut line

and then just cut them with a kitchen knife (long rigid blade, unlike a stanley knife or similar) and dropped them into place.

In one day, including taking delivery of the sheets, we completed the insulating part of the process, hurrah!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Roof: the prequel

The Roof is a job that deserves capitalisation, as it has loomed large in our thoughts for a long time now. Ever since we bought the boat we have had leaks every time it rains, and although we have fixed various of them over time it was clear that something major needed to be done. Also, because of the discovery of the really nice ceiling above the ceiling panels and insulation INSIDE the boat, we decided to insulate ON TOP of the roof instead.

We hatched a grand plan, and have been putting it into action (which i'll blog about asap) but before we had don anything Lorna's parents came to stay and Lorna's Dad, as an ex roofer, helped us out by spending a couple of days applying flash band over anything that even looked like it might decide to leak

and, with Lorna's help, cladding the wheelhouse roof with roofing felt, which we had fibreglassed last summer but which, as it was our first attempt at fibreglassing and we didn't really know what we were doing, was never quite waterproof.

It certainly was when he had finished with it!