Thursday, 26 June 2014

Cannock Chase and a curry

After a chat with marina Steve, I decided to (a) check out the price of Hammerite for the paint locker (he thought it was pretty expensive stuff) and (b) see whether I could get a metal brush attachment for my drill, to help remove the final gunge before painting. Since that meant a car trip, we decided to combine it with a walk over Cannock Chase. 3 miles in cloudy conditions was very good for the muscles. Hardly anyone else was out, but we found ourselves passing, and dropping in on, the German war cemetery. Over 2000 are there from each of the two world wars who had died "on British territory". We were trying to think how that could have happened in the first war, but didn't stay long enough to find out.

Coming home via B&Q, we found no Hammerite – the assistant explained apologetically that they were about to re-stock it but it wouldn't be on the shelves until tomorrow. They had a couple of metal brush attachments, but at a price designed to send us away again. So all we got in Stafford was the wherewithal for a curry, and very nice it was, though I say it myself.

So still no painting, but I'll see whether I can dodge tomorrow's rain enough to remove the final gunge by hand and start the treatment of the small amount of surface rust in the locker.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Paint locker

We'd intended taking Older Brother NÂș 2 and wife for a trip up the Caldon Canal in May, and to do a bit of idle cruising on our own in addition. None of it worked out. The weather put paid to the first plan, and a series of events for which we had to be elsewhere the second. But we wanted to get Erin Mae spruced up, and managed to get up about a week ago. A good spring clean on the inside was matched by a thorough wash of the paintwork and a coat of polish. The green bits come up nicely, but the red undergoes a transformation from the dull and slightly chalky effect of the winter's weather.

We'd also wanted to take her out for a spot of experimental painting – not allowed to do any in the marina. In particular we wanted to touch up the bits where the blacked parts of the hull are showing the consequences of too much contact with lock walls. Everyone says not to worry about that – it's a normal and natural result of cruising. But it leaves some bare bits along the rubbing strakes where surface rust is looking unsightly. Of course, the fact that it's also evidence of the steerer's ineptitude has nothing to do with the decision to work on it. It's more to do with getting a bit more experience in working with steel bodywork (or so I tell myself).

So, in preparation for moving out, I checked out the contents of the paint locker, only to find that the one or two tins had been losing some of their contents. The locker is at the front of the boat, protected solely by the cover-board I made a couple of years ago. Although it has a drain-hole it inevitably gets a bit wet inside, and a couple of tins had clearly corroded. Varnish or bitumen inside the tin doesn't stop the outside rusting. The result was a layer of gooey stuff all over the bottom of the locker, sticking to the bottom of all the tins, etc. What a mess! So everything came out onto newspaper and I spent most of the day scraping goo from the bottom of the locker and the base of all the tins. It cleaned up pretty well, but now I have to work out how much dried varnish or blacking I should remove with a metal brush before giving the base a coat of paint. And I have to decide whether to use red oxide primer plus bilge paint, or Hammerite, as the previous owner did in the other locker. Any comments would be welcome.