Thursday 25 February 2010

Interior Welding Done (for now)

I have finished the interior welding for now.  I will need to go back in to make the integral water tank, but thats a while away for now.

All the roof sheets are now attached to the roof beams, all of the roof beams are attached to the sides, the full length of both of the cabin sides (bottom) are attached to the top of the gunwale, and the rear bulk head is attached to the roof, and sides.  With other miscellaneous bits that needed welding I have done about another 20m of welding today.

A couple of adjustments were necessary on the roof to get rid of the small lump I had in it.  I did try to photograph it but it just didn't show.  I am glad I did it though.

So far I have used almost 15kg of .8 wire and a whole bottle of Cogar (welding gas link)

Wednesday 24 February 2010

More Roof

Well, the weather certainly played the game today.  Apart from a bit of very light drizzle this morning, a really nice day it turned out to be.  Almost spring like! I'm sorry to preface recent posts with weather talk, but its a limiting factor at the moment.

This morning I started by cutting the roof to shape and length.  The two front sheets needed trimming to the curve on the front of the cabin.  It's not 2 full sheets but they overlap the curve.  The very front sheet needed to cutting to length as well.

Once this was done I was able to finish welding the sheets to the roof bars which I started yesterday.

That done I set about inside welding the side sheets to the gunwales and bulkhead and joining the side sheets together, again from inside.  I also finished welding the roof beams to the sides.  

I am holding the boat in shape still with ratchet straps, only 2 now though.  It's quite noticeable how much slacker they are since the welding today.  I did a rough count and  worked out I did about 25 linear meters of welding today. 

I did find a small fault in my work though today.  About mid way down the port side roof  there is a lump, its only about 5mm high, and its where 2 sheets join.  I could leave it as I'm sure it won't notice when done, but I can't do that.  I will try to show it when I fix it, but not sure it will show on a photo.

Talking of photos.  I didn't take any today, but here's one I found on one of my HD's.
This is someone else's finished one. 
Note, this isn't my photo. 
If the owner wants it removed please email me or leave a comment.

Also if anyone knows anything about this boat I'd love to make contact.

Tuesday 23 February 2010

When I looked out the bedroom window early this morning I couldn't believe what I saw.  A dry boat!  Brilliant I thought, at last I can weld the roof beams to the sides.  I had stuff to do in the morning and early afternoon, so when I got home it was still dry and no sign of rain. I set too.

I managed to get a few welds done before the water started

About 15 minutes in and it started raining.  Great!  Water started pouring in.  The inside of the boat looked like the wall of a cave.

Not good conditions for welding

So instead of welding the sides I decided to weld the roof beams to the roof sheets.  This area was not affected by the rain.  I hate welding overhead and was sort of putting this job off.  I have welded 6 of 9 sheets and have the splatter burns to prove it.

As this is not an area of high stress a stitch weld has been used. The benefits of this technique are strong attachment in proportion to the job, quicker than a seam weld and less heat put into the job the less distortion. 

Friday 19 February 2010

Call Me Anal

I could not rest easy with the roof. In fact I am getting a bit anal about the sides being the same angle (lean in) to each other. I had to put quite a bit of pressure on with ratchet straps to get it on square.  This resulted in the sides going out AGAIN! Eventually I had to put so much tension on the inside to try and bring them true to each other with the 8 ratchet straps that one of the 1" tack welds on the rear sheet tore away.  I was inside at the time and the bang was horrendous.
So today I cut all the tack welds off and repositioned the roof sheets again this time with the sides trued and held in place with the ratchet straps so there was no tension needed in the roof sheets.  

Out came my small portable arc set for this job as the big MIG set is now inside the shell.  This little set cost me £35 on an Aldi special and has come in handy so many times on my other NB.  It hasn't got a very good duty cycle so is only good for "little jobs".

I am much happier now :-)  I'd like to think we'll have the straightest, truest boat on the cut.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

The Forth State Of Matter

I bought a Plasma Cutter today.  

I've never used one before, but didn't let that stop me.A  I had a go on a bit of scrap 5mm plate, then of course had to make my initial, then I started using it to cut holes on the roof box section to allow me to hook ratchet straps in to do the final truing up before the big welding starts.  Its amazing how it works.  See Here  Just look at the numbers!

Monday 15 February 2010

Put A Lid On It.!

Well, thats exactly what we did this afternoon.

I had some adjustment to do to the front 4 roof beams this morning.  That was all I was going to do.  I wasn't happy with the line they took so after a little bit of thinking over the weekend I decided on another way of making it right.

Come 12.30 all was going well and the weather was looking very favorable so on the off chance I rung Frank to see if he was available to assist with his digger.  He was. :-)  We had already tested the lifting method last time Frank was here so I knew all would run smoothly.

 First sheet being lowered into place

As the sheets were positioned the top of the sides all started to come true.  Once all the sheets on the starboard side were tacked in place we needed true up the port side prior to tacking.  To do this the trusty ratchet straps came out again.  Starting with the first sheet it was pulled square and tacked into place, followed by the rest.  As with the starboard side as each sheet was pulled into place the top side of boat came true.  The last sheet has been left lose for now as there is a lot of trimming and shaping on this one.

A good afternoons work.  Thanks once again Frank.


Laying Up The Roof  Time-lapse Movie

Sunday 14 February 2010

More Roof Beams

I had been waiting for the weather and finally on Friday I was able to put the rest of the roof beams in.  There was a point when it started snowing a bit, but I soldiered on and it was soon over.

The first 20 beams went in without much bother as they are all the same length, but the final 4 needed to be cut and shaped as the last 1.8m at the front of the boat curves and tapers in.  As I have no plans for the  construction of these I have had to do it by eye. Consequently it took a disproportionate amount of time compared to the rest.

One of my blog readers asked me to show the process of truing up the sides.  On the latter part of the movie you can see the use of ratchet straps to pull everything into shape. You can see how the sides flex and wobble very nicely in time-lapse.

Ratchet straps used to pull sides true

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Roof Beam Installation

I have given up with the weather forecast.  I am just going to look out the window in the morning and decide. :-)

I got out this morning nice and sharp (8.30).  The first job was to make the jigs I need to install the roof beams.  These had to do 2 jobs.  Make a straight edge to pull the top of the side sheet true.  This is what they looked like before.

Its all wonky

They also needed to support the beams prior to welding.

I had a couple of hours before the gym which was just enough time to make them and hook them on.

The block sets the right height

All clamped, straight & true

Once back from the gym the I got started again.  The following time-lapes movie tells the story.

I have edited it down a bit to show the general process.  What is not shown is the (boring) time spent truing up the sides.  Using a sliding bevel as a gauge on the outside and 5 ratchet straps inside I pulled the sides in true to each other.  This involved over flexing steel until both sides lean in at the same angle which is set by the rear bulkhead.  Not difficult, just time consuming to get it right when there is no tension on from the straps. This is why I only welded the top of the box section.  I will weld the verticals once the roof is on just in case things move again.  This will lock it all solid.

You will see on the video how the jig slides up ready to set the next set of beams.  I have to say I am rather pleased with my design on that.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Another half day hard graft.

The weather was eventually kind late on in the morning.  By lunch time we had the remainder of the port sides on.


After  lunch it was time to cut the roof beams.  Frank had a spare afternoon which was handy. With his help I made a template roof beam then we set about cutting all but 5 of the beams.  The remaining 5 will need to be cut as the front of the boat narrows slightly.

Its amazing just how much easier it was with 2 people.  I am so used to working on my own.  For sure 2 people working in sync can be more than doubly effective than 1.  Plus each of the 25 roof beams weigh in at 25kg and each needed moving at least 4 times including lifting then into the boat ready for installation.  To say I'm a little achy after a couple of days of construction would be polite.  Knackered would be a better description! 

Wednesday 3 February 2010

A day of 2 projects

Today was going to be a motorhome build day.  I started out working in there setting up the shower area, and things were going nicely.  About midday I came in for a coffee and decided to follow up on a message I had left for a chap I know with a mini digger that hadn't got back to me.  When I got through I explained that I had left a message asking if he could come over at some point and consider using his mini digger as a crane to get the side sheets on the boat.  He said he hadn't had the message but was passing by in a short while and would call in.

Shortly after, he duly arrived and said "no problem when did I want to do it"? I said "today would have been just great as there was no damp or wind".  "OK then" he said my digger is just across the road I'll bring it over just after 1 o'clock. He has a stone crushing site just up the main road from me.

I needed to get the front starboard side on as per the previous post.  Frank very kindly helped me man handle this into place so I could attach it ready for his return.

Within minutes of him arriving with the digger we were ready to go.  I had pre-drilled the sheets so shackles could be put in for the lifting.  Initially these were found to be too far apart as the sheet bent too much.  A couple of additional holes nearer the centre of the sheets and we were in business.

Frank the digger
Second section being manoeuvred.  It's tight this side!

A good tack weld every foot or so to align and hold in place

Frank even got inside to help with the alignment

A couple of hours later and the side was on

It was great working with Frank.  Its nice to work with someone that just knows what to do without having to be told, it certainly speeded up the job. We even managed to get the second part on the port side done before the light went.  

In anticipation of the weather playing ball tomorrow he has left the mini digger on site for an early start.  The forecast is for 20% chance of rain, but that was the same as today, so fingers crossed.
Slightly blurred taken without flash in low light

Monday 1 February 2010


After what seems for ever I have finally got on with what looks like some construction.  I have of course welded the rubbing strakes on, but that is not the same as sticking big bits on.

After a very frosty start the first task was getting the frozen sheets apart.  It was surprisingly difficult.  Sure they weighed in at 78kg each so this its self needed manually lifting to seperate, but to break the frost grip was a harder job than I would have put money on.  Once apart the ice grip pattern was only about 2sq/f.  I think if the whole sheet was frozen it would have been impossible.

The template I had cut from vinyl before Christmas came out along with the hard board practice piece.  I had to modify the shaped front end a little and amend the template.

Once the steel was cut it was time to get it in place.  (Bear in mind here I have a dodgy knee at the moment).  The cut piece now weighed 64kg.  With a bit of a struggle I managed to walk it up the stairs, then carefully I laid it on the gunwale and I was delighted it fitted perfectly.  A bit of a tap with a club hammer to get it in the right place at the front, then tack welding to get it to follow the curve of the front of the cabin.

I have decided to tack the whole job up then go back and weld it once everything is in place.

First cabin part in place :-)

On a side note.  The aluminium steps you see I bought at an auction about 7 years ago for £20!!!  At the time I had no use for them but for £20 it would have been mad not to.  The safety rails are easily lifted out.  They are going to be perfect for working on the outside of the boat.