Wednesday 22 June 2011

Finishing off bits

The little bits that make a boat looked lived in always seem to take ages to make, like the rail to hang the oil bottles on. Forgeing the ends flat and bending round, then making the hooks captive round the rail so they don't bounce off 

The other thing I got round to is rope work...I've been looking at this for quite a while now, I keep getting various books out, get bluddy frustrated!!! and then put them back again. Anyway, while sat in Pelsall in the rain, I had another bash and made this little mat. Whoopee you might think, like anything else it's easy when you know how.

The thing that really did my head in, was the Crown Senit. I can do a Crown knot, no problem, but there I finish. The books or the animated knot link didn't help at all, I needed somone to show me. It just so happens a friend of ours tied up right behind us knows all about these. So, during a sunny period, we sat on the grass and I had a one to one and finally picked it up. Below is the result?

The other thing I've been looking for, is some toe edging for the steps, tool box edge and the doorway combings. It's only a little thing but it just finishes things off. After talking to a chap at the railway who owns an old bus, he put me on to a company in Walsall that does just what I'm looking for.
Right... next is handles, time to look at some old photos and go snooping round other peoples engine 'oles.
There is something else we need to look at and ask about. That's the Pantry under the back step?

Monday 6 June 2011

The BCN challenge

Here we go again, back on the BCN. We left Fradley on Thursday and waddled our way to our starting position for 24 hour challenge, this was the top of Perry Bar locks. Boating on Dove is pretty basic, like it's strip washes every night, so on arrival at Perry Bar to find the showers vandalised by the local bratts which peed me off just a little. After another hand bowl bath we settled down with a couple of beers and watched the sun go down over Birmingham and got some kip ready for the interesting day ahead. 

8:00am...Aaaaannnnd we're off, engine started by hand, because the bloody starter motor's knackered again, Down the 13 locks to Salford junction sharp right, through all the mud, coal slurry, mercury, zinc and anything else you can think of. 

It was then up the Aston flight of 11 and on to the Old 13 up to Birmingham. going up here there's load of little arms and wharfs, old bridges and this cathedral of brickwork, under the New street station.

At the top, right at the Old turn and on the New Main line. This part is quite well used, so it's nice and clear of debris and it's time to wind it on. Not long before we have to turn off to do the first loop, passed the BW yard with the towering reservoir at the back of it and on passed the now redundant works with the old pipework clinging to the crumbling brick arches of the now boarded up doorways, that once accepted raw materials from the canal.
Back to the Main line and straight across to the Soho Loop, this takes us round through more industrial history and passed the Winson Green Prison, oddly with its own arm?
We're then back on the main line and heading for Smethwick locks, only 3 here then we're on the Old Main line and on our way to Oldbury and a flight of 8 locks where most of the industry was chemicals and tar oil, so you can imagine whats in the canal here...We then bounced our way on to Titford to score an extra 10 point for answering a question. Then turn round and back down again. While on the Old Main line you come across patches of canal that are magnets for rubbish like this!  

Usually where there's a School or night time drinking hole where the little darlings gather to spray a 200 year old wall with there illiterate scribble, I could go on!!! 
Anyway, we then turn really sharp left and down the Spon Lane 3 and back on the New Main line, are you following this? At the bottom we exit the lock and come to a grinding halt! we're on the mud, and it's black with metallic bits in it, very pretty colours and it keeps the weed down. After a flushing session with a couple of lock fulls, rocking, rolling pulling and tugging, and not much movement, only from my bottom and not the boats. The only thing left to try, was to push the Bow to the bank then push it back as hard as I could to get Stern end to move out. After another bowel movement from me and some thrust from the prop we were finally moving again. But not for long, soon pick up a black bag along with various bits and bobs attached to it. Having no weed hatch this is the only way, on yer belly across the counter, pulling and riving with the shaft.
This picture should have been earlier, it's at Titford pool.

After turning right at Pudding Green junction and and then down Ryders green locks also known as the "gray-si-ait" according to the locals ( Thanks Blossom is that spelt right?) Due to the fact they were covered in grease from the industrial fallout. After a little episode with some lads from BW and tyre stuck in the paddle of lock 5, we were soon turning right again on the Tame Valley (here play theme to Jaws) you don't know what's under there!

It's not long before we found out. While tucking into my tea on the slide the engine suddenly stopped and so did the boat! Now, being stuck on the Tame Valley at 9:30 at night is not the best situation.
The problem soon showed itself, a metal sprung double mattress that was now wrapped round our blade and still attached to the bottom of the canal. After pulling and tugging for a good half an hour I finally found an end, now Andrea had to hand crack the engine while in reverse gear while I pulled and as luck would have it, it all unravelled. We couldn't drag it out, so it's still there, lurking in the depths.  

Cruising resumed, now in the dark, well at the least the local mobsters couldn't see us. so we did the Tame Valley missile free. The only thing we had to watch out for were the Gauging Islands and the narrows. Turning left next and up the Rushall Locks. This was a right slog. It wasn't until we shone the torch we found we were going through what looked like a marsh full of Water Lillys. By the time we got to the top of the flight it was gone midnight. We stuck the boat in a load of weed and went to bed for a while.
About 4am we were up and digging our way out of the weed. From here it was a steady plod all the way to Walsall town arm where we arrived just after 12 noon. We then sat and watched all the other happy people come in.
If you like adventure boating do the BCN. 
80 Locks
40 miles
24 hours
2 crew
70'6" boat 36" draught

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Some new bits

Now the main restoration of Dove is nearly at an end we have been putting the finishing touches to the engine 'ole and making access a little easier. First a set of steps.
Also a tool box to get rid of my spanners etc. that rattle and vibrate all over the floor. This also doubles as a step. To finish off the steps and tool box I have sourced some steel tread that was used on the old bus and lorry cab steps and they're only in Walsall.
You note that I've been splashing some paint about, the bottom sides of the engine 'ole is now green
bit brighter than black don't you think.
Another job that needed doing was the day tank level gauge and the fuel filler pipe needed redoing.  

Now the next bit, is it a Pigeon box or, is it a biscuit tin? For a while now, we've been running round with a bodged box on the cabin top. Time to make a proper ventilator now the summer is here and the air cooled engine is getting rather warm.

Friday 6 May 2011

I'm back

Due to a blip in the new and improved blog system and, my computer not getting on. The last post has just gone on line.

I will now try to catch up with all the events etc.

The Docking

As usual, we're on the last push. A week before we go to the port we're in the dock. It's been two years since the last docking so I thought we better have a knock round and a spot of blacking splodged on. Nothing seems to have deteriorated much except for the Shoe plate that's had a battering after being grounded several times round the BCN.
While we were in the dock I took advantage and finished the cabin sides with a couple of coats of shiny off white paint and touched up the black. Then on Saturday morning Jim turned up to do the lettering.Saturday afternoon I put on the cotton strings and that's about it, Sunday morning we're off to Ellesmere Port.

Saturday 19 March 2011

The Cratch

A while ago, well two years ago actually. Doesn't time fly! I made a Deck board and Cratch so we could get some sheets on, just keep the weather out. After my efforts were scrutinized and basically pulled to pieces by them that know. I took advice from the same and had a second and may I say, last bash. Below is the final result barring a coat of paint.
Its all turned out a weird shape, we'll see what it's like with the cloths on.
I've had to reshape the Deck board to suit the new cappings and make new False cratch
The top plank, for reasons I cannot see, have wedges fixed on either side, tapering out from the false cratch towards the deck board, then the Top plank is dove tailed into the deck board

All this work will be soon covered up with cloths and white strings, never to be seen again. This seems to be the thing with old boats, you do a load of work that nobody ever sees.

Thursday 17 March 2011

The sun is out...

and so am I. Had a very pleasant day making and fitting new capping's at the front end.
For quite a while, I've wanted to replace the capping's at the front of Dove. The first ones I made were not very good and soon split and looked a bit tatty.
I recently found a supplier of green oak, just up the road as it happens! He gets full trees in and will cut to size. Why didn't I know about the place before?
Working with green oak is a new experience for me, it's a good job all my power tools are industrial, I don't think regular DIY tools would cope.
After all the faffing about last time, steaming and pulling and riving the timber round compound curves. This time I decided to buy wide planks and just bend one way then cut to shape and put up with the waste. Sounds easy doesn't it, was. You thought I was going to give you a list of cock ups then, didn't you. The only thing that did happen is, I dropped a plank in the cut. Not too concerned at first, then the bloody thing sank. What!!!! I fished around for a while but couldn't find it. I finally had to go and get "Rigsby" that's the Fradley dingy and go hunting further a field. I eventually found it yards away from where it went in. From now on it had a line tied round it until bolted in positions. I didn't know that green oak sank, you learn something new every day.