Thursday 3 July 2014

A dab of paint

Yesterday, we finally made it out of the marina and tootled off down to Tixall Wide for a spot of painting. I'd been persuaded that bilge paint was the way to go for the floor of the paint locker, so in the afternoon I got busy with a wire brush to clear out the remaining grot, and liberally dosed it all with Rust Exit to treat the bits that had suffered from too much sitting water. I also wanted to see how this stuff behaved when sprayed from its bottle, prior to using it on the hull where Erin Mae's blacking had worn through and allowed some rust to develop.

With that task done, we decided to stay at Tixall Wide overnight. That gave us a calm spot from which to recover from Murray's Wimbledon exit, a splendid evening backdrop to enjoy Federer's progress, and the opportunity to observe how the batteries coped with a day in the wild. Considering that we watched a fair bit of tennis, and left the TV on standby overnight, I was really pleased with the result. I've been learning more about interpreting the battery voltage shown on the control panel.

This morning I got busy early with red primer on the base of the paint locker and then, after breakfast, began to tackle the worn blacking on the hull where we'd collided with too many obstacles last summer. This was the first time I'd handled bituminous paint, and it was runnier than I expected. I had a limited target – I'd not enough paint to do the whole hull above the waterline, and it's tricky painting the hull when you're moored along a grassy towpath. I was resigned to its being obvious that I had done a patch-up job, and to the new paint looking much glossier than the old, but in the end was pleased with the result. So we pulled pins and made our way back to the marina for a late lunch. In the afternoon it was back to the locker, and a good coat of bilge paint.

I've been impressed with the paintbrush-preserving BrushMate box I bought last year. Brushes I used in the summer have survived until now, and could be used for these jobs, without seeing any white spirit. Well worth the money.

So I'm gradually getting more confident with painting-on-a-narrowboat. But the next phase will have to wait until mid-August. In another post I'll tell you why.


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