Thursday, 28 March 2013

Level - I wish

The first all day session on the boat for some time.  I had the BT engineer coming to fit a telephone line so I had to take it off anyway.  Two things were on the agenda yesterday.  The BT engineer was due to fit a telephone line to the ship (which should have been easy) and a delivery of 100 pieces of 1 by 2 from the timber yard.  Timber in the morning.  BT in the afternoon.

The morning was spent using up the remaining 1 by 2 on the mess walls.  I ran out about 10.00 am.  So I started to grind off the old rusty around the rivets on the inside of the ship.  The surface needs to be clean and rust free (ish) to give the insulation a better chance of sticking.  Messy but necessary.

Cut a long story short, despite telling BT it was a ship and with all the other ships having lines the BT engineer took that deep intake of breath followed by ' specialist job this'.  But after lots of huffing and puffing off he went and fitted a line with me working as engineer's mate.  He of course turned up an hour early which was great.

Sadly the wood due in the morning was late.  By an hour beyond the latest delivery time ensuring both BT and wood guy were present at the same time.  Sigh.

But with wood on board and new line fitted I could progress on.

The speed of progress as I get used to the handling of the nail gun, the cutting of the wood and the fitting of the battens meant I completed another wall in an hour or so.  

Ceilings next, but there lies a whole story of woe.  Nothing in the boat is level, parallel or straight.  Nothing.  The problem with using a spirit level is that while it enables you to make a piece of wood level in relation to the planet earth, if the boat itself is not sitting level then it will look like the set of a 1970s batman episode.

But luckily the boat was relatively level yesterday (I use the door ways as the baseline.  But the ceilings are a different story.  It turns out that not only does the ceiling slope (to make the roof angle towards the edge to make water run off, very sensible) the beams that hold the ceiling up are arched (as is the roof) so that if you put wood along the edge of the beam there is a big gap in the middle.  On top of that the beams are not parallel, even spaced and two are actually bent along their length.

Needless to say, after a long day, the ceiling can wait.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Nail Gun

The day arrived, the batteries charged, the gas in place and the nails loaded.    First battens clamped to the uprights and time to nail that sucker!

Eye glasses on.  Push nail gun onto wood, fans kick in, whirrrrrrrr, pull trigger.


Oh my god who invented this!  Nothing prepared me for that! lol

But there was a nail nicely embedded in the wood and they were well secured.  But lordy, what a bang.

The next few nails made me wince.  You try and pull the trigger and wince before it goes off.  The next few nails went ok and then it started to go wrong.  I'd push the nose of the gun onto wood, the fans would start, I'd pull the trigger and nothing would happen.   Try again.  Nothing.  Push in harder this time (yes this is starting to sound like a Carry On script) and wince, pull the trigger


Holy crap!

Then nothing on the next two.  Hmmm.  This is less like nail gunning and more like Russian Roulette of the building world.  My heart cannot take the uncertainty.  Surely this cannot be right.  I referred to the instruction manual (which I had read thank you very much) and it is just pictures.  But one set shows the whirrr and no bang.  It says a nail is stuck.  So I dismantle it as per diagram but there is no nail in it.


What I noticed is that there were only 4 nails in the nail strip left.  So I put in a new strip.


Worked fine.  Then, after a while the same thing happened.  Strip it down again, nothing!  Again, last 4 nails in strip.  Put in a new strip and

BANG  off it goes again no problem.

The damn thing won't work when there are not many nails in the gun.  You have to put a new strip in as the spring is not strong enough it seems.

The paslode im350 is quite expensive but certainly does the job if you can stand the noise.  It speeds up the process.  You have to be careful as with 1 by 2 the nails can split the wood.  But mainly you get used to it.  Its not very heavy (which surprised me) and once you start to handle it right (do not be too gentle with it, it is not  craft tool, its a nail gun and you have to be quite rough when loading each nail when you push down on the nose).

But I did the remainder of the wall in about 10 mins which would have taken a good hour.

Its performance on the 2 by 4 was especially impressive.  Having tried to put a screw through the 2 by 4 and ruined 2 screw driver heads in the attempt, the nail gun put through the nails as if it was butter.  So for delicate work its over the top but it does what its designed to do well.  A few more walls to do now and then its time to tackle the ceiling.  Anyone got anti gravity MDF?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

All in all its just a nother stick in the wall

Ok, I accept that is a poor rip off of Pink Floyd's Brick in the the Wall.  Sorry.  Its hard to be funny at 8.22 in the morning.

The walls are closing in.  But only slightly.  The wall build is starting and it is going both quite well and quite fast.  The photo below shows the first bit of 1 by 2 that went in.

This is a landmark really.  It is the first 'rebuild' piece on the ship.  The wooden frame is going to be built out of 1 * 2 and 2 * 4.  All treated wood to help it last longer.   The uprights are easy to fit as they are replacing existing ones in this space.  The trick though was what to do about the cross pieces.  I could have cut out lots of individual pieces and tried to nail gun them in (hmmm, nail gun, droool) but I thought that this would be time consuming.  

What I have done (further photos to follow) is build the cross beams on top of these which extends the wall thickness outside of the existing metal beams.  The reasons I have done this are simple.

1) The build is far quicker and makes no cosmetic difference as it will all be behind the wood anyway.
2) The speed of build is much much faster and more importantly easier.
3) There is no worry about structural strength.  Unlike stud walls these ones get their strength from the underlying metalwork.  There is no worry about rigidity.  When this baby is built, it isn't going anywhere.
4) The porthole boxes will be easier to build.

the 5th and final reason (which is actually the main reason) is that this extra inch thickness to the wall makes no difference to the size of the room but will enable me to put in more insulation.

The spray insulation is expensive and the reason for using it is that it will insulate and seal the metal from the warm air and stop damp and condensation.  But once sprayed on I can then put in conventional insulation (if I wish) in the outside walls.  I could just keep spraying to the required depth but the foam spray is expensive.

The insulation could then be

Layer 1 metal
Layer 2 foam insulation
Layer 3 rock wool (or similar)
Layer 4 Plastic insulation sheet (its like cling-film and seals everything below)
Layer 5 MDF
Layer 6 Plasterboard

Heat loss should then be minimal and in summer, the place should not heat up.

I preach all the time to people that when rebuilding boats, its worth doing well as redoing it later is hard and expensive.  The layers here may be well over the top.  But if that is the case I will simply have been inefficient £ wise on the build but the result will be extra warmth and lower £ running costs later.  

If I have learnt one important lesson this winter and in visiting other boats on the marina its this.  They are wonderful places to be when warm.  They are frustrating and uncomfortable when you have to fiddle around with lots of wires and fires and heaters and stuff.

Even without the nail gun in action (that is tonights joy) I managed about 2 walls in a day.  This should mean I can get a room done a week in evenings.   The trick will be getting the wood delivered.

Medway builders merchant is a great place to buy wood.  £1.28 plus vat per 3m length of 1 by 2 and they are much cheaper than all other places and they deliver all orders over £50 free.  Thanks to Chris for the great deal on the wood.  Lots more to purchase!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Wood stock

Finally the wood arrived.  Time to build some walls this week.  A big load of 2 by 4 and 1 by 2 came at the weekend.  Still not sure what to do with it but the arrival of my new nail gun (big grin) meant I needed some wood to start to try a few things out.

Nail guns are dangerous things apparently.   Can't imagine why lol.  The guy at the shop did say read the instructions as the are unforgiving and you only get to have one accident.

The walls will be built out of a combination of 1 by 2 and 2 by 4.  The trick will be sorting the ceilings.  I am going to start in the mess as the holes for the wood are al in place as it was already wood lined.  Once I get a few in place I am sure I will learn quickly.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Portholes off for cleaning

The final set of portholes head off for cleaning this weekend.  Hopefully a fast turn around will ensure that the boat is finally sealed up and ready to start work on.  The last few cleaned portholes went in yesterday and look FAB.  Dave has located a source of the round head bolts used for the portholes enabling us to get a stock ready for any other new portholes that are needed for the ship later (well done Dave).

The next work for Dave will be around the front of the ship.  Getting the front room sorted is going to be a priority as getting this done now will enable me to dispose of all the steel and also the front locker will be a source of steel for the chain room.

Lots to do but all starting to come together.  Still need to source a load of new portholes (gulp).  Big bill coming.