Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A new crane

My new crane arrived today, I intend to put two brackets, one each side, on Freyja's tugdeck, two on Christina's gunwales and one in the engine bay. We can lift my motorbike, delivery bike, generator etc. and lift the engine out if need be.

The new crane assembled in my workshop, it will lift up to 1,000lbs and cost less than £150 ;o) I bought it here :-
1st mounting plate welded into the gunwhales, bolted the crane on and tested it by lifting my heavy Long-John delivery bike onto what is left of our tugdeck

The crane coped easily with lifting and swinging the Long-John onto the tugdeck, even though it's two feet longer than the large vintage motorbike I want to lift on ;o) we'll put a bracket each side of  Freyja's tugdeck. There will also be brackets each side of Christina's bow, these will be used to lift the chicken coup in and out. Two more will be welded each side of the storeroom, midships in Christina, enabling us to load and unload the generator, my delivery bike and other heavy items. Once out on the cut I will be able to lift out other people's engines etc.

EEEEK! Now I've gone and done it!

We couldn't figure out why a false gunwale had been slapped onto the port side of the tugdeck.
The large and ugly bit of metal that sat on and overhung the forward bow. The big surprise was that it sat on the tugdeck boards, which sat on the original gunwale. It was similar the on the starboard side the deck boards sat on the original gunwale but here they had been covered by wood and flashing tape.
The original gunwales revealed under the tugdeck floorboards, which in turn were under the false metal gunwale on the port side, and under some rotten wood and flashing tape on the starboard side. A strange way of doing things!
Removed the boards, Bruce will weld angle iron with the lip facing inboard then the boards will sit on that. I will replace the rockwool with thermal boards.
The cratch collapsed, I was intending to replace it in hardwood, now I may have to do that a little sooner! HoHum!
Looks like a shipwreck! ;o( It started to disintegrate 2 years ago and has got steadily worse, I will re-instate the folding cratchboard make wider top planks, do away with the grey metal frame which does not fold or detach as the cratch is too high to pass some bridges and lock guillotines without folding.

Monday, 24 November 2014

We are finally getting proper gunwales on our bows :o)

As the boats were hacked about and converted to the working boat-like semi-trad and butty, some very strange things have been done and some things seem to have been left unfinished, like the gunwales on both boats, on Christina there was a section missing towards the cratch board on both sides, with just a piece of flat bar with a bit of aluminium bent over it, this let in a lot of water, meant that the tarpaulins couldn't be fixed properly and also meant there was less gunwales to walk on (one of the reasons that I fell in a lock!)
Where there should be gunwale there is fresh air! 
We learnt by past mistakes, covering the tarpaulins with plastic sheeting to keep the metal filings off, or they sit on the canvas until it rains, then cause rusty streaks! Grrrrr!
There was not much metal left on the bits of gunwale that were there, I decided to replace it right back to the greenhouse.
Bruce offers up a newly fabricated section
The new sections welded in and ready to grind back
Pouring rain did not stop play! Looking a bit like a refugee camp!
One side of one boat almost finished, the port side section has also been welded in.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

We've got a nice vintage brass horn

I was looking for a suitable horn with a nice brass trumpet, online I found Taff's website and a reference to an ex-New Jersey Fire Station horn that had  been restored and converted to 12v. We conducted the whole transaction through the medium of Welsh! Lynn is of Turkish origin, brought up in LLanelli and living in Dubai!
It had been painted black.

 Whatever the paint was that he used, it was virtually indestructible! It would make good blacking methinks!
Partially polished trumpet ;o)

Probably mount it in front of the pidgeon box to reduce our headroom.

The newly-formed Friends Of The River Nene (FOTRN) and another new mooring.

We headed to Woodford to help clear a new mooring that has easy access to Woodford and it's pubs and shops.
We were late leaving the marina as we'd been away from the boats for six weeks, it took ages to sort everything.
As I left the marina, Glenda popped inside to put the breakfast dishes away, when she came out a minute later we were already going under the bridge at Willy Watts, she shouted at me "Slow down!" I replied " I'm only on tickover, the river is running fast!"
The lock was fun, with water gushing over the gates, then it looked like we wouldn't get under the guillotine, Glenda went forward and removed our tiny LED fairy lights, we cleared it by a fag paper! Gulp!
I rang Brian Buckle, he said "Don't tell me, you can't come by boat because the river is flowing too fast" I said " No, actually we are approaching you fast, try to catch us on the way past!"
We passed the mooring and winded and returned upstream to breast up to Brian & Sue Buckle's NB Brass Buckle.
A panoramic pic of the new mooring with 23 FOTRN members beavering away.
A rather wobbly video showing the extent of this very useful new mooring.

There are a few lumps of rock or concrete to shift, but Brian has negotiated the use of Clive's dredger which should make this easier.
A well-earned tea break.
After a nice evening moored on the new mooring the river had dropped about four inches, here NB Brass Buckle follows us to Blackthorn Lake Marina so that they can wait until the level drops.