Sunday, April 8. 2012
After Friday's good weather, allowing for the outside painting and lovely blue gunwales, Saturday and Sunday has been drizzly and damp - a time to be inside rather than out.
A decision was made a while back to save as much of the interior fitout at the saloon end as possible, rather than strip it all out - mainly to save on costs. Still, a 70s log cabin isn't everyone's cup of tea, something a bit fresher was required.
On Friday, we'd sorted out the ceiling and trim above the gunwales, and yesterday managed to sort out the same below. It was mostly making up a few ply wall panels with trim, especially behind where the new gas cooker will go.
Then it was a lot of washing down with sugar soap, sanding and painting!
After a first coat of acrylic eggshell, it was looking better:
(Caught Jo before she dived out of the way of the photo - a bit camera shy! )
But after two, much better indeed:
Today, I fixed the wobbly, bouncy floor which had suffered years of rainwater from cruising with the hatch open, then it was back to yet another coat of eggshell.
I think another coat of paint might just do it for the base plain colour. There'll be accents to go in at some point too, when I think of the colours, along with new flooring for the kitchen and carpet for the saloon end.
Anyhoo, it doesn't look like very much, but it's been a lot of hard work. I think it's starting to look like it's all worth it though.
I'll be glad of some better weather and a chance to get some colour on the outside!
Friday, April 6. 2012
Today's seen the first colour applied to CavEmp and also a lot of interior woodwork.
We'd prepped and primed the gunwales last weekend, and today Jo had the opportunity during a break in the iffy weather to get a coat of the blue topcoat on. It's RAL5005 Signal Blue, which is the colour I'm getting the new boat painted in - so this was a sort of trial-run and a good way of seeing it in real life.
I'm quite chuffed with the colour, and Jo's done a great job of the actual painting. There's more preparation at the stern to get on with at some point, and the other side of the boat will have to be done when she's turned around.
The other big task of the day was to get some of the interior woodwork at the saloon end fixed. Over the years with two stove and boiler installations as well as lots of day-to-day modifications from living aboard, the interior was looking a bit tired to say the least.
We'd already removed the kitchen, and cleaned up, which has helped, but there were missing and broken pieces of T&G on the ceiling and also lots of loose or missing mitred trim.
It took a while to take down the broken bits and put up new T&G but it's made a big difference. I spent a while with the mitre saw splicing new trim into the walls and making good where bits had come loose.
It looks a bit of a patchwork quilt at the moment, but when it's all painted, it should look fine, and it's easier than stripping all of this off and starting again. Not enough time or money for that at the moment.
Anyhoo, I'm off to update the Boat3 blog, and then find a drink and the sofa before another long day tomorrow!
Sunday, April 1. 2012
My trusty and hard-working sidekick Jo and I have been sanding, wire brushing, fibreglassing, demolishing and painting...
I'd wanted to get the gunwales and one cabin side sanded, prepped and primed this weekend, and we've managed that and more. The GRP sides were flakey with many layers of paint while the gunwales were as bad with just a coat of PU floor paint on them that I did a few years ago to tidy them up.
In terms of preparation Jo's done all of the wet sanding with the DA, while I handled the wire brush. Sadly, the variable-speed grinder has gone non-variable, you get flat out whether you want it or not! Either way, lots of hard work for both.
Anyhoo, lots of piccies:
Yes, she was called 'Bouncing Ben' when I bought her... groan
Paused to put the kettle on, and demolished the kitchen. 'I know I'm looking cool, but what are we going to do with this sink?'
Kitchen area cleared... The fridge is relocating to the end of this space, and Ben (www.mpsbuilding.co.uk) is supplying a lovely bespoke kitchen featuring solid oak bits and a custom cupboard. The sink has arrived already...
Jo capturing evidence...
Sink will be at this end in a 1200mm double unit, matching up with that waste pipe. The speedfit is the main hot water from the calorifier!
A better shot of the very non-slip roof, it's growing on me now it's set and the cabin sides are being painted...
Very waterproof, solid, strong and non-slippy. (That's the gas flue - yes, this boat has a proper, modern, modulating, condensing gas boiler...)
After a whole lot of sanding and brushing, it was getting there...
The inside of the bow deck has lots of work to be done in the future - I'm not thinking about it...
Yup, looking better but a lot of work to get to this point...
The grey is the quick repaint I did back at Streethay many moons ago. It's lasted well but time for it to go... These gunwales are going a nice blue colour - actually testing out a shade for Boat3...
You should be proud of that, it looks like a new boat...
Three coats of primer on the cabin, two on the gunwales and counter.
I've no idea how I took this photo, I think I must've got my finger across the bottom of the lens, which happened to be canal-coloured!
Excuse the detritus from sorting the last tat from the boat... Looking better back here too, though only half of the counter done so far, the rest will get sorted soon. The defunct spare gas locker has had its rotten ply lid removed, a new ply piece made and glassed into place with two layers of 450gm plus tissue. Solid, waterproof and tidy...
Anyhoo, what a weekend!
The kitchen should be arriving this week, so next weekend will be weather dependent as to what gets done, whether it be inside or out! Better order some more primer!
Wednesday, March 28. 2012
The first was spent cleaning out the boat, emptying 12 bin bags worth and 9 storage boxes of stuff, plus cleaning and tidying. I didn't take any photos, but it's looking a lot better and emptier!
Last weekend, it was finally time to get stuck into the first major work - sorting out the GRP cabin. They suffer from cracks generated by the heat and cold, frost cracking and from impact damage. Creamcheese went through extra GRP reinforcement and then a flowcoat, plus paint on top. This time we'd planned to use a non-slip flowcoat applied neatly as a finish.
Before new stuff can go on, lots of tidying up with the wirebrushes was needed first!
It started off looking a bit like this:
Then comes lots of hard work!
Jo getting stuck in:
Much better, with extra fibreglass CSM and tissue...
It did have a bit of an effect on my appearance though...
Applying the flowcoat went better this time. On Creamcheese, even in October, the flowcoat had started to go off in only 15 mins, which led to some very fast work getting it applied. This mix seemed to have a slightly longer working time and with two of us working at it, one velour roller and two brushes, we got it applied.
I wasn't that keen on the mid grey but it is growing on me a bit. The non-slip component is very chunky and non-slip - you'd certainly not be falling over on this anytime soon. If it really gets to me, I may paint it a lighter grey over the top, but we'll see.
The good news is that this has firmed the roof up no end, and it's now completely waterproof.
The next weekend's tasks will be more wirebrushing of the gunwales and the counter, sanding and repairing of the handrails and we might be able to get some primer on. I've ordered a tin of RAL5005 blue gloss as an experiment as it's the colour the new boat may be painted in, should be good to experiment with on the gunwales of CavEmp.
The new kitchen units, sink and tap have been ordered and should be here by Easter weekend too, so the old ones need to come out.
All good fun and good progress!
Friday, March 9. 2012
CavEmp needs to go. Boat three is on the way, and the old faithful home of four years needs to be sold to make space.
Before that can happen, it needs a spruce-up inside and out. Inside, it's mostly a case of woodwork, paint and a bit of plumbing. Outside, the fibreglass cabin needs some serious de-flaking, re-glassing and a flowcoat, then I can get the old girl painted.
She'll never be as shiny and amazing as a new boat, but she should do someone well as an introduction to canal life.
It's been ages since I updated this blog, and NBCavEmp has been neglected since I moved off her last year, and onto NBCreamCheese (the ex-sunken project).
There's lots going on, and a new boat in build, so I'll be getting back to updating this more regularly...
Thursday, December 31. 2009
After handing this blog back to Paul so I could concentrate on not updating the CreamCheese blog very often, he has done...well, nothing! Caveat Emptor (was Bouncing Ben, but name now painted over with dodgy emulsion) is still floating
and doing everything you'd expect from a 30 year old GRP topped narrowboat. Yep, leaking! Usually on my head, wherever I decide to sit or lie down. Ah well, saves on the showers.
The aga-y-thing is still just a lovely ornament, but I have a new cooking gadget and I think I may be in love. My dad got us a Remoska for Christmas and so far it has been fab. I may well blog about how great it is, with pictures of our Christmas dinner, or I may follow Paul's lead and keep it all a secret
Thursday, July 9. 2009
The news is out, as predicted, and you can discover more of why we've been quiet and busy at:
Enjoy, and I'll be back soon with a proper update on our plans for BBen/CavEmp, and what's happened since September!
Monday, June 29. 2009
It's been over a month again. Oops. Now I know why we have no readers. Ah well.
Boating outings are still few due to work for Paul, and job hunting for me. I could post more often, but would anybody even want to know about my daily routines? Nope, thought not.
Exciting news ahead though, so all those who aren't reading, watch this space
Tuesday, May 26. 2009
Aside from the usual exciting trips to the water point, usually in the rain, we've only managed to get out on the boat once and that wasn't very far. We popped up to Knowle for the weekend so that we were in walking distance of a different range of pubs to the usual Lapworth ones. Well, I say walking distance. Paul has lived in Knowle most of his life and I trusted him to know how far it was from where we were moored to the pub. "A couple of minutes", said Paul. Not quite, was the reality. Ah well. Paul's parents came to visit and kindly brought a crate of beer so it saved us having to carry any around. A very plesant interlude before returning to the realities of work.
I'm sure there are pictures from the last few weeks around somewhere, but not sure where at the moment so will return to edit this later.
I did finally meet some real, live people from the Canal World Discussion Forums which was very exciting! I was just about to pop out with the hound when I noticed a post asking where the nearest pump-out was to Kingswood. It seemed easier to go and tell them than to reply, so off I pottered to approach complete strangers and talk about pooh-stuff. As was pointed out to me, perfectly normal behaviour for boaters!
Oh, and this is Kate posting not Paul as it says. I'm sure he gave me my very own login to the blog software, but I'm buggered if I know what it is.
Sunday, April 26. 2009
We've been thinking of a paint job to freshen the old girl's appearance up a bit, but we're a bit perplexed by how to remove the flakey paint on the roof without damaging the gellcoat finish...
Anyhow, here're some pics:
Saturday, April 18. 2009
To mark this event, here's some pics of a boat we went to see today, with a view to purchase as a second project boat!
This is a 45ft ex-Gordon's Pleasure Cruisers hire boat, apparently dating from 1972.
Sunday, December 7. 2008
A cold morning for all I guess - I was surprised to see the marina frozen over with a half inch of ice. There was ice on the inside of the boat windows too - perhaps too much ventilation here?
Anyhow, yesterday started with a trip to pick up some concrete slabs in an attempt to re-ballast the boat, as well as some fittings to try and remove the air from my steam-engine plumbing system.
I've rarely had cause to move 600x600x50 slabs around, but they're heavier than they look. To be honest I'd already looked up the weight at 50kg each, and decided that around six would be enough to trim the boat. I can only conclude that the combined weight of cupboards, shelves, converting bed, cooker and fridge add up to less than the 250-300kg of the Esse cooker, as the boat trimmed even more to the right [starboard?] when back in the water.
Anyhow, in the end, the slabs stayed in the car with the fridge until today - too much other stuff going on.
It ended up being a day of plumbing and stove fiddling, trying to get it to work properly. I've had contact from a chap at Esse UK who reckons he can help get it working if I give him a ring on Monday, so we'll see.
In preparation, I'd had the hotplate off again, cleaned the soot out from the rubbish running recently, and taken a piece of wire to the airflow holes in the pot, to see if that would make any difference. The hotplate rope is old and knackered, and someone had glued a new bit over a very old bit underneath, in places. I cleaned all that out, and just fitted the most recent piece again, bedded on silicone to see if that would 'flesh' it out a bit, until I can buy some.
Started off by fitting a new reducing elbow and a bottle trap at the top of the boiler, on the output feed:
I wanted also, to make a few adjustments before firing the system up again - including getting a couple of the radiators plumbed in, so the system is actually capable of circulating properly.
I remembered to extend the vent pipe back over the header tank, for when the system is up to temp:
Plumbed the towel radiator in, finally:
I know it looks a bit untidy, but it'll be boxed in at the bottom of the hull sides...
I decided to put the radiator for the bedroom on the end of the cabin, rather than on the cabin side, as the sides slope inwards towards the bow, and mounting would have been a pain. It doesn't affect walking past it very much, as it's quite thin and mounted on the smallest side of the mounts. The wall will becoming white, very shortly! Long live the 70s, perhaps not.
This is the little bugger that's been giving me grief... As you can read, I took it all apart the other day, and now I'm hoping it's set up about right...
I ran the cooker on 5ish for most of Satuday to get the system up and running to temp, mainly to see if I could get the flame to appear blueish and "jet-like" - it does actually do that on the higher settings, once the flue is pulling and hot. Rubbish on low still though. I'd refilled the plumbing system again before lighting, with the pump running - the auto vent did its job, and I just needed to bleed the radiators a little to get it sorted. You can tell quite easily when the pump is pumping air - it makes a right racket - it's not as loud as I thought when working properly.
For some reason, as the water temp in the cylinder came up a bit, the PRV started weeping - maybe corroded on its seat, as a few turns [with a bucket to collect the expelled water] seems to have sorted it. Temporary kitchen roll in place to collect the spillage...
Anyhow, with the cooker coming up to temp, I had a look at the bath plumbing. I ditched the idea of using the sump box, because of concerns of it flooding and leaking under the floor - and instead used the old shower pump. The old pump is rubbish and won't self prime, although I was hoping it'd at least manage to drain the bath...
...which it didn't. It sort of makes the right noises, but won't quite start pumping. I've found a price for the overhaul kit of £28+vat, so that's not too bad. Will see if I can afford that this week.
In the mean time, it was nice to see the CO detector was still showing zero!
At the end of Saturday, I let the cooker run down to nothing, and left the pump on the pump stat at 20deg C and called it a day!
Sunday started with lighting the cooker, then hulking the concrete slabs onto the boat... I had to pump the tyres up on the sack truck to get it to cope with the weight...
Yes, I realise that they're not a very aesthetic feature in the lounge at the moment, but I'll try and convince Ben to cut them up to go under the floor, as he's got a nine-inch grinder... [ooer indeed].
The good news is that with six of them, the boat is now trimmed level, and sits much better in the water - much less 'bouncy'. I managed to move the cooker off the wooden chocks I'd used to get it level, and finally it can sit back on its aquapanel hearth.
Next job was to get the fridge in place, which just about went through the doors. I need to remove my tile-supporting lath to get it to recess back so its level with the front of the cooker when the appliance-door is on, and cut the worktop to size for the top of it. I'm in two minds as to whether it'd benefit from a carcass panel of 19mm being added to the right of it - the fridge is plenty sturdy enough to cope with the short section of worksurface on top, and it's not like I won't be able to just move it in the future if needed...
It took longer to assemble the drawers and compartments than to put it into place. Quite impressed with the door hinge though, which cantilevers the door out to avoid something right next to it - not a problem for me probably, depending on what I do with the 150mm service space next to the cooker.
Then, working down my 'big list', I took a new flap disc on the grinder to the old tile adhesive, from where the solid wood stove used to be - I need this reasonably smooth as it'll be painted with white emulsion soon, with luck...
You wouldn't believe the amount of dust that created - the Vax has been getting a fair bit of use recently...
I knocked up a quick TV shelf, and got the TV back in place - feels good to have News 24 back on again! My woodwork is coming along slowly, I think.
It was an hour from darkness then, and the little security-light-on-a-stick had gone again, so time to get working on some lights. Ben had kindly labelled the cable locations so out with the holesaw set:
This all went fairly smoothly, and took about an hour to get the basics hooked up. There's currently three downlighters in the bedroom, as well as two in the bathroom. The bedroom has an extra feed for when the above-bed storage is done, to run down to feed a possible lamp under there - as well as the reading lights.
I picked some 'quality' cast downlighters, rather than the really cheap pressed-steel ones, and I think the difference is enough to warrant the extra pound or so...
Temporary bathroom light switch arrangement here - I'm planning on these black switches and sockets throughout, but this wall is a 19mm one with nothing on the other side, so I may have to find a black pattress or build something on the kitchen side to hide it...
Bedroom is nicely illuminated now... Note more soon-to-be-gone dodgy 70s yellow...
And a quick view back on the kitchen as I was taking it easy in front of the TV watching the cooker cool down a bit before calling it a day. I'd tinkered with the low-fire rate during the day to get the cooker to a sensible temperature, whilst still vaporising. I think I've just about cracked it, but I'll flow-rate it again when I'm next there, to see how far from Esse's 5cc I'm actually running at...
Hopefully next weekend should see the finishing touches come together a bit! Just in time for Christmas!
Friday, December 5. 2008
Managed to work from home today, so spent it at the boat, fitting in some tinkering around the real work!
I was up and there early this morn, in order to have a bit of a tidy up, and try and get the cooker working to get some heat into the place. I'd brought the manual for the BM30B oil control valve, as I had a suspciion I'd been turning the wrong screws. Looks like I had, too!
I took the thing off the cooker and dismantled it completely, which allowed me to clean the debris from the bottom of the float chamber - no idea where all this gunk comes from, as it'd have to get past the screen filter, which was present and not blocked.
Managed to get it all back together, and then cold flow-rated it using measuring cylinders and a stopwatch. I should have managed to get it set for around 5cc/min on low fire, and 20cc/min on high, there or there abouts.
I thought it'd be worth a test fire, so managed to light it using the firelighter method from the Supreme and Bubble conversions manuals for these pot burners.
Whatever I tried I couldn't get it to burn with a blue flame - I just got rolling yellow ones - on low or high. I suspect that this is due to inadequate flue draft, or perhaps air leaking into the flue where I've not sealed it well enough to the top of the cooker. I've borrowed a 28" chimney to see if that improves things and I'll give some extra heatproof silicone a go tomorrow. It was clearly drawing though, a bit at least, when I took the lighting port cover out. I wonder if I cleaned the burner pot out well enough - particularly the little air holes around the rim - might take it apart again tomorrow for another look.
Despite the incomplete combustion, it did get up to a fairly warm temperature after an hour. So much so, that I realised a slight issue with my plumbing... I'd ended up with an air lock at the top of the boiler output, with no way of bleeding it out. The pump was running, but it can't pump air, and hence was failing to shift the water around the system. The boiler eventually generated some steam in the system, which caused a few odd noises and a bit of a drip from my vent arrangement. I turned the cooker off, starting the 30min cool down process, and slackened the top boiler connection to bleed a bit of air out. Eventually, it started pumping water, and the calorifier circuit got hot, despite the cooker being in cool down. I'll have to try and arrange a bleed screw tomorrow!
Anyhow, I got on with more useful stuff afterwards, like building the bed:
The frame was constructed by ben - apart from the dividing timber, which I installed today - a piece of 4x2 to match the rest. The slats are 3x1 planed, supported on CSE studwork battens, screwed into the frame, like so:
Still really happy with my cheapie circular saw, with 'genuine' laser guide...
I remembered to go and collect the under-counter fridge I'd bought, the other day, which hopefully might get installed tomorrow...
Also today, I managed to carefully measure and install the new wall, to replace the one I demolished - it hides the calorifier and header tank, and provides something to screw the TV shelf to! I only had to take it down two or three times to adjust the finished shape - quite impressed given my woodwork is generally useless...
Managed to find a back-nut to screw on over my new basin drain fitting - since the silicone idea is clearly a bad one! All connected and draining properly now!
The final task of the day, before it got too cold, was to fix the bathroom heat-leak towel rad to the wall - this is mounted slightly oddly with three mounts on the right, and one on the left - as the battening behind the oak is along that line of three! Looks okay to me, but symmetry purists may be horrified!
Lots to do tomorrow, including finding some storage boxes for all the junk, getting the cooker working properly with a bleed and generating hot water, plus getting the radiators up and fridge installed. Should be livable on soon, again!
Monday, December 1. 2008
My hound is feeling a bit sleepy after her holiday - it always takes it out of her, but as usual, she came back happy - didn't want to leave the kennels to be honest...
After the day's work, I managed to get over to the boat, via picking up the new built-under fridge from the warehouse, and a trip to Screwfix for plumbing bits and a big tarpaulin to cover the remaining wood which will be moved to the roof shortly - or I won't have any space at all to get around the bed end!
Unfortunately also picked up a puncture on the trip, so that was a pain - need to go get a tyre tomorrow as the space saver is a bit lively, especially since I'm in Somerset on weds when it's forcast to snow...
Anyhow, started off by leveling the range, in lieu of leveling the boat, with some chocks of wood - needed to put my back in to it to shift it!
This is temporary measure to get the burner oil level to act properly...
Also installed an oil-spec ball valve on the feed line so I can turn it off to work on it:
Sealed the bottom of the flue properly, and also removed the hotplate again, to run a thin bead of the heatproof stuff over the knackered rope seals - I'll need to find a supplier of the stuff soon...
I relit it after that, and it does run properly, although only really on 'high'. I really need to set the high flow screw properly, but that requires I find a graduated measuring cylinder and find out what the values are supposed to be! The low flow screw is missing, from the faffing around with the remote actuation (seized) pin by the previous owner... We'll see... It did throw a little heat into the boat, for the hour I ran it though, and the chimney pulls okay once hot...
I did a bit of plumbing too, replacing that knackered tap tail, and re-gluing the waste fitting into place, as it fell out. I've got a feeling that idea isn't going to last! If anyone knows how to connect small hose to a 32mm fitting, let me know!
The actual host is fitted to the skin fitting and clipped along to the basin, in a temporary way...
More stuff to do, the next bits being as above; the moving of the remaining materials, and the setting of the oil, so I can fire the cooker up full time.
I then need to test the hot water system, make a wall, and finish the bed - I should be able to put the TV back in place, fit the new fridge and move back on board - a busy weekend coming up I think!