Caulking a wooden deck

Had a new, and hitherto reluctant helper today, I believe the correct term may be 'boat widow'. Think she may just be pitying me or trying to humour me a bit though.

Time to get the seams caulked and the last few lengths of deck plank laid. The planky bit was easy, kinda got my eye in now, although, there'es still one short nibbing piece about a foot long thats still not nailed down - ran out of sikaflex!

So after giving my nearest and dearest a quick crash course and handing her an 'ammer, a ball of cotton and the caulking irons left her to it while I cleared the decks and started oiling. Home brewed 'boat soup' being the concoction going down, linseed oil, thinned right down with naptha to let it get deep into the wood, and a very large dollop of Stockholm Tar which had been heated sufficiently to make look a bit less like a tin of Tate & Lyle Black treacle on a very cold day

Said mixture mixed up thoroughly and thrown about the place, got a good 9 or 10 coats on half of the deck, so they're colouring up nicely. just another 40 or 50 coats to go maybe, reducing the thinners gradually till its just raw oil and the wood can't take any more

oiled wooden boat deck prior to caulking
Determined to lash enough of the stuff down to keep the rot and nasties at bay for a very very long time!

Over on the other side the fair hands of best mate TK got to work on the cotton & caulking combo

Cotton caulking wooden deck seam repairs on converted MFV
She can knit, so obviously its a natural progression. Least thats what I told her anyway. Twist the caulking cotton nice and tight, feed it in and then harden it up with the caulking irons - simples!

using caulking irons to caulk wooden deck seam repairs on Zulu herring drifter
tappety tap tap! If she didn't hate me and the boat before, after being bent over caulking the deck all day she probably does now. I will report back next time she ever answers the phone again

Long way to go on the caulking from yet though, but already the seams are tighter than Peter Mandellson's arse on national 'insert a pineapple in your favourite politician' day

Once caulked up, there'll just be the seams to pay (cash or cheque??) and that'll be that.

Trawler Conversion Fans of the World Unite!

Its nice when you get emails that don't insinuate your either fat, depressed, have inherited 12 trillion dollars in nigeria or have a small penis with offers to cure all and make you rich. Had a nice email today from one of Pansy's former keepers, keeper as opposed to owner perhaps as old boats definitely have a life of their own and are usually their own masters, but any hoo, john had Pansy for a few years before us and was probably the man most responsible from saving her from certain death as a sunken wreck in scottish harbour. He had her hauled out spent oodles of cash on having the important bits put right in order to re-establish the general floaty type principals of boats.

So I got to see a few pictures I'd not seen before of her as she was when he got hold of her, and looking a bit rough around the edges.

wooden boat Motor Zulu Fifie awaiting repair and conversion
Waiting for some TLC. Apparently I've read she was used as 'party boat' in Grimsby, not sure what that means though. I went to a Party in Grimsby once. Least said the better

Motor Zulu Herring drifter conversion
up on the stocks looking tired

One photograph made me smile quite a bit though. As a general rule water coming out of a boat on dry land is a good indication something in the 'not good' category. The leaking seam here is curiously in the same sort of location than out recent leaking seam adventure

Leaking plank seam below waterline wooden boat
definitely what you would class as below the waterline!

It was at this point the shiny new engine went in, and at this point when she looked nearly as bad as the state we've got her in now

Scottish Trawler herring drifter engine beds going in
New engine beds going in. Would love to know where the old kelvin engine ended up (if anyone knows get in touch)

Will stick some more up at some point, but overall, nice to have a bit of continuity, the missing bits from the history I have are pretty much the 70's and 80's. Would be particularly keen to find out went went on in Grimsby!


Monkeys *Ahem*

Another winter comes stuttering and staggering our way, not sure weather it's made it's mind up yet on this global warming affair. My born again enthusiasm and general - do a bit more fellah - attitude took a knock recently. It's getting dark early and I thought to myself - shucks can't do nowt during the week until there's at least enough light to see cricket ball travelling at 100 mph (That's about a frazillion kph for our continental brothers and sisters) Good excuse - don't tell Rear Admiral Hardy though. (Can the Skipper see all this?)

Then I remembered last year |-|

Worked all through that pesky old season, it was quite pleasant actually :>> - nice and toasty in the engine room with the heat from the lights and a strange electric heater (with a safety tilt switch which would only make the heater come on when it was facing the opposite way from where you were, or if you put it on your head pointing upwards!)

Inside little Pansy's tummy it was cold ................Until the raging beast was unleashed - MachineMart "Boat Burning" stove, woof - the sweat it just run off me neck:D I do believe we have waxed lyrical about Old Vesuvius before, did I ever tell you about the time ...........

Expect a flood of reports now I have realised I can work after work - I may even do things.

/*** AHEM! ***/

just thought it might be worth mentioning before a rush of enthusiasm causes number 2 to swoon gracefully, but all seating facilities have been removed, thus removing sitting down and thinking type opportunities and all flat spaces have been buried under 'stuff' or have nails pointing out of them thus removing lying down and thinking opportunities, which only leaves polythene pauline, pansy's plastic pal as a source of comfort and she has got a puncture

/***HAWAY! ***/

I pride myself on being able to find a kip, anywhere, anytime - the whale like interior of Panser allows a man to stand up whilst curving towards the ground. that's a kin to a kip! There are small areas of "floor board" left - kip! I shifted a bit of stuff around in the wheelhouse recently and found some "Space" kip! The day I can't find somewhere to have a kip, I'll have a kip and find somewhere else. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Ouch what was that :oops:

nearly a new deck

Its painfully slow and bit like being at a test match. The covers are on, the covers are off then the covers are on again and finally bad light stops play. Pretty much finished down the one side at least. Bit off jiggery pokery with the deck planks needed though. Some of the rotten deck planks that were ripped up were iffy repairs from times past, and in places a few timbers at once had been replaced with a variety of planks of different widths to fill the gap. The new deck planks were laid nice and neatly from the centreline outwards, which was all going a bit like my tools (swimingly!), till I got to the bit where the butts had to staggered with the remaining deck planks - there was a gap!

So had to work a plank up a bit wider than the rest to get everything lined up again, well did 2, so I can put one in on the other side so it looks looks nice and symmetrical and anyone looking at it will think its a design feature! T'other side to finish off, cover boards to make and then caulk and seal

Just need a few dry days now.... in november?? in the UK?? as much chance of that happening as there is of Gordon Brown dropping his glass eye in Peter Mandelson's coffee for a laugh! Politician of the year FFS!! Mandy will be Jockey of the year next year for rogering tony blair all the way to the EU presidency no doubt

So plenty water in the bilges via the dodgy deck for the foreseeable future then!

Checked on the Tote and they've stopped taking bets on her being sank by christmas.

converted trawler wooden deck repair caulking seams
getting there slowly, bit of hammery stuff to do with the caulking cotton and caulking irons, pay the seams with some goo and jobs a good un


It may have been noticed that No 2 has mentioned fire a few times when he's poked his head in here. Keeps mentioning something about 'the little people' telling him to burn things as well.

Had a toddle down there to day to discover him in full pyromanical flow. Safety goggles, kneed pads, overalls, safety gloves... I got 'im sussed out now though - if you dress vaguely like a workman people might think you are actually doing something! Although I had to decline his request for a full face safety visor - he was worried his visog might suffer a temporary aberration by 'stuff' landing on it

but doing summats he was, a new technique by all accounts for removing the remaining 'tarmac' from the deck - set fire to the boat. wait till its burning nicely, then scrape the pile of fire somewhere else..... can you get piles of fire?? (thats not a medical question btw)

the idea being the little bonfire has softened the asphalt enough to render it vulnerable to scraping type things

Motor Zulu trawler conversion deck fire
Known for his health and safety concerns, No 2 demonstrates his love of all things firey

the eagle eyed among you may spot something that is generally accepted to be in the 'bad thing' category when talking of wooden boats... yes we're growing our own 'shrooms on the coach roof. Well someone had to, and I bet no-one else has thought of it either

Plankety Plank

Quick up date after a bit more nail bashing the day. Its entirely possible that I've now become a woman as I can multi-task (apparently) spent the day with the WhyAyePhone glued to one ear, plane in one hand, hammer in the other, nails clenched between buttocks and shoving planks through the table saw with me foot - a man (or woman possibly) has got to do what a man (or woman) has got to do, if this thing is ever likely to look like a boat again before I die.

Motor Zulu Fifie trawler conversion wooden deck repairs
Pansy the 'half decker'. The final leg of deck repairs (almost) just another half to go, and cover boards, and caulking, and seam filling, and sanding, and oiling and...... Ok miles a way yet then from being fully repaired

Repairing deck and deck beams wooden fishing boat
view from below... watertight? buggered if I know!

good news bad news....(who pulled the plug out)

good news (for me) the sill on the marina is bust, so low tide today the marina completely emptied, everyone sitting in the mud, but giving me an unbelievable opportunity to recover the lost tools

Bad News...... Some git had beat me to it, and to make matters worse had taken the good stuff and left the cheap stuff! so there in the mud is a cheap argos cordless drill... right next to a perfect impression in the mud of a bosch cordlesss drill. A cheap B&Q tenon saw sat next a perfect impression of a lovely old japanese backsaw

plus other tools shaped dents of the dewalt drill and the router

so of all the stuff that went in, got a 3 quid tenon saw, a chisel, black and decker jigsaw and an argos cordless drill. at least the argos drill was the one that still had the forstner bit in I was using on the deck

very odd seeing the marina empty though, the mud & silt is so soft, the boat had settled about 4' into it. only hope the suction is not so strong that it holds it there as the tide comes in

Only had the phone with me to take pics so not the best. Did what you just have to do in these situations and lobbed a brick in, resulting a definate 'Gloop' rather than 'Splat' as it sank

Marina converted to mud berths for old trawlers
Everyone's pontoon berths temporarily converted to a mud berth

Motor Zulu Herring Drifter Conversion sat in the mud
Her current forlorn look sorta suits the mud really

Fifie Zulu Pansy Fishing boat sat in the mud
Very soft mud though, there's another 4' of boat under it somewhere

Gravity Sucks - official

Just when it was all going so well. the drizzle cleared away, it even warmed up a bit, the tarps were off, chance to get some more of the deck laid. Busy day down there today, lots of boaty comings and goings, and a few people dropped by to say howdy doody which was canny, so had the makes of a good general messing about in a boat sorta day, On me todd again, and cracking on with the deck, got a few more down, definitely into the groove with that now, but a major disaster right at the end. Got a few of those jobs that we put off for a few years to do back at HQ. The sort of little jobs that only take an hour and we really should of done a long time ago, and our nearests and dearests have indulged us by not having a go about them. So thought, right then sunday, finish a few things around the house. Need to take some of my tools home for that so, clambered around the deathtrap for a bit gathering things together, packs a tool box nice and neatly, and fills a plastic storage box with all the necessary power tools for the job......

so there I am struggling down the pontoon, big heavy toolbox and box full of power tools when disaster strikes, storage box gets dropped and power tools go swimming, so lurking somewhere in St peters there's now a router, a jigsaw, a bosch cordless drill, a dewalt cordless drill and several boxes of router bit, drill bits, screws etc - gutted

The good crew of 'Escort' lent a hand and had a fish about for a bit, but all that came back was a cheapo electric drill, thanks though lads, much appreciate the morale and physical support!

So might be a bit of a pause for a bit on the fixing front till till I finally find a magic money tree to replace some essentials

anyone wanna buy a boat??

Motor zulu fifie conversion deck repairs
and it was all going so well! At one point I even had a self indulgent jump up and down for a bit on the new deck - just because I can!

Converted Zulu herring drifter deck repair
it even looks nice from underneath

Top Deck?

Any one remeber Top Deck - that sugary sweet drink that passed itself off as shandy way back when? used to love it when I were a lad!

Any hoo, more revelevant deck repair matters to report, been down and done a bit today, quite chuffed with me bit self and still have all my fingers as well (I counted them all out and I counted them all back in!)

first little(ish) job was to fit sweep boards or a nibbing piece or a coverboard mould - depending who you talk to, or I as prefer to call it, that curved bit of wood that runs around the edged of the deck before the covering boards!

Next, time to lash the first plank down. The planks need a bevel first though, for caulking and deck seam sealer and stuff later on. First thoughts were plane the plank bevels by hand. Took the lazy route though and got jiggy with power tools. Made a jig for the chabble saw, well, I say made a jig, I clamped 2 bits of wood to the table to guide the planks through, dropped the blade, set it at a suitably jaunty angle and hey ho, whizz a plank through and a nice bevel and no fingery accidents

Next up get the first plank fixed, easy really, mark the centre line and nail the bugger down. Next plank (and subsequent deck planks) were a bit more problematic. Need to clamp them up tight against the first plank before nailing. Thought about hiring a flooring vice, but there's no way one would fit over the big shiny newly repaired and replaced deck beams, so found a neat solution. Clamp a big clamp to the beam and tap a wedge down to butt the planks together, quick buzz with a forstner bit to make a plug hole, then a little pilot hole and then apply the geet big nail and geet bigger hammer technique:

wooden mfv zulu fishing boat deck repair bevel seams and caulking
Simple as! Clamp the clampy thing to the beamy thing then hit a wedgy thing with the hammery thing till the planks are butted up tight. Forstner bit first to make a plug hole, then a pilot drill then big nails!

on a roll now! got a few more in before rain (well drizzle anyway) stopped play, couple of days graft should see the lot down hopefully. Oh yeah and at no point whatsoever today were there any Tom and Jerry moments where I stood on the unsupported end of a plank of wood across the beams causing the other end of said plank to rise up rapidly and whack me in the face at the same instant that gravity decided to suck me down through the deck into the hull. That absolutely did not happen. It also did not happen twice either

Scottish Zulu trawler deck repairs new planks
got a few nailed down anyways, so at least I can walk on something other than thin air now

Now, where were we? oh yeah, Deck repairs with spam

ok, bit splurge of energy today, plan was do last bits of 'stuff' to get deck ready for replanking. Sauntered along the marina to find No 2 have a small lie down on the pontoon dressed in overalls and knee pads. Didn't have the heart to tell him he had the knee pads on the wrong way round. First job, remove the winch, that became second job as first job was get angle grinder and grind off several hundred 16mm bolts that had rusted solid. A cunning combination of swearing, leverage and some dragging got the winch over the void, down to the side of the boat, up and over onto the pontoon - all quarter of a ton of it singlehandedly!

remaining bit of deck was ripped up, and lo and behold a nice big clear area ready to run some planks on. Looks to nice to hide really, so might abandon the wooden planking and cover it in perspex instead, be great for looking up ladies skirts, but in that vain, kilt wearing scotsman will have to be banned from setting foot on deck

No 2 had by this time moved from the prone working position, to the sitting down in the punt working position to rake out more of the seams. His position on the port side easily identified by regular smoky fug rising up above the bulwarks!

so there we go, all knee'd up and beamy ready for some thumb bashing fun which will no doubt be part of the deck laying procedure.

Did also do a bit caulking with no 2 as well. The planks haven't half opened up with being stood for a year. whilst the venetian blind effect is quite pleasing to the eye from below, I suspect it may impair her sea worthiness a bit. A few quick sums, and we've only got about half a mile of the flippin stuff to hammer home then primer, seam sealer, paint..... and then the coachroof and wheelhouse. Although a certain trawlerman thats currently visiting these parts, and who shall remain nameless (James Jack!) has offered to bring his big hammer down and help with the wheelhouse adjustments. he'd best get a move on though, anyhing over a Force 5 in the next week or 3 will probably do the job for him

Wooden trawler conversion deck beam and knee repair
lots of nice new oak beams and oak knees, vaguely interesting that all the rot was starboard side, port side is all pretty sound

oh yeah, nearly forgot about the spam! The blog has been getting spammed to buggery and back the last few weeks, people leaving trackbacks - basically a link to their site hiding as a comment. Don't mind publishing track back links to other sites, but it would be nice if folks asked first!

Cowboys and Henjins!

finger out, big push to get the deck on before it gets finger bitingly cold... Finally got the beams finished today, made loads more sawdust and wood shavings with the last bit of shaping for the sweeps, last of the knees all snuggly bolted in, gonna rip the tarps off next week and start bashing some deck planks down, although there is the small matter of a quarter of a tons worth of winch to temporarily relocate first.

Had loads of emails and folks looking in here after googling ford lehman 2715e Marine diesel engine info, so am gonna add what few new pearls of wisdom I might be able to share, but do have one thing that a lot of the 'lehman lurkers' (say hello FFS!!) might find interesting. Inherited a huge pile of old boat magazines, PBO, Classic Boat, Wooden Boat, etc etc, going right back to the early 70's, some cracking stuff in there for those with a nostalgic bent, but one feature did leap out, so I've scanned it and PDF'd it and all that sorta jazz. It was titled 23 steps to cheap power. Basically the whole marinisation process in 4 pages of converting the Ford 2700 - 2715e series of Road Diesel engines to marine diesel engines. Its got pictures and everything - click the link below

Marinising the Ford Lehman 2700 - 2715 series of Diesel engines

Got a few other bits and pieces I've unearthed recently about the Ford marine Diesel, part numbers, equivalents etc, will make a post with them all on at some point

still afloat!

the emergency inside out caulking job seems to have done the trick, crappest & wettest august for years, only a cheap B&Q tarp covering where the deck used to be, and she ain't sunk!

Had a month off, and was expecting the call from the marina that we'd turned into a submarine, but didn't come, although there was one call from the marina... (more on that later)

so had a few weeks up on the western isles and ardnamurchan, readying myself for the final deck attack. The one call from the marina came as I was on the ferry back from barra to oban. Now the thing is, I may or may no have over indulged a wee bit the night before with them vatersay chaps, and was feeling a trifle, err... 'delicate' so on the ferry, thought I'd just lie down for 'a bit' my phone lying next to me up in the nice quiet forward lounge. My phone is quite loud and the ring tone is a ships emergency klaxon..... so I'm lying down out of sight of everyone and the phone goes off, I looked at at, decided I was too 'delicate' to converse with anyone (possibly the big white telephone at a push) and left it ringing.

by all accounts there were quite a lot of disturbed and slightly panic stricken passengers wondering which way to the lifeboats

back to the Panser now though, although not till next week, got to put a new floor down in No2's house this week, not casting aspersions here on hinting on anyone having an ample girth but floors giving way unexpectedly has never happened in my house

threatening to look bit boaty again

Despite being laid low with swine flu (yup I've got it and am pig sick of it!) managed a few days this week, creating more sawdust and wood shavings, but finally, the big stuff is virtually done on the decky front. Beams are cut, last one just needs leveling and then can be fastened in to place, the knees are almost all sorted, and even the knackered knee is on the mend

might even be a threat of all the crap and debris coming finally to an end, over 100 bags of bits of wood removed, just a few more to go, although there's probably as much chance of the old girl being rubbish free as there is of Baron Mandy admitting he knows where Gordon and Tone buried all the bodies!

Externally, there's nearly no paint left on the hull, and therfore the risk of No2 setting fire to himself and/or the boat is diminishing also

another full days graft and I can get laurence llewellyn bowen to flounce down the pontoon and do the big reveal as the tarps come off, mind you, they'd sharp have to go back on as I'm buggering off for some R&R next weekend, and doubt the deck will get laid before I go, but hey ho, little by little, the beam/knee mission will be finished.... and I never mentioned knee tremblers once :D

deck beam repairs trawler houseboat mfv conversion
nearly there!, bit more touchy feely needed then the last knees can be fitted and fastened. The old girl is knee deep (doh!) in wood shavings and sawdust, but is threateningly close to finally being bottomed

finally, something that fits

Bit of a landmark today, actually fixed something in place. Ok, the beamshelf I suppose is another something that was fixed in place, but today, the first deck beam is proper fixed, with a proper knee an' that

Had to do the deck beam hokey cokey on me todd for a few hours, you know the one that goes "in out in out plane it all about" till it fits nice, but its a bit of milestone I reckon. 3 more knees to cut on the starboard side, some more beamy hokey cokeying and there's a risk of the deck getting down sometime this year!

Trawler houseboat conversion deck beam and knee repair
Flippin knee's, First one in. took about 2 hours of work with adze, hammer, chisel and plane to get it to drop in on target with all the other bits n bobs. The first of many

Another Day on the Death Trap

Try as we might, we've not as yet, managed to kill anyone. Christ knows we've tried hard enough, after a few hopping around comedy moments with a piece of wood nailed to me foot, miscellaneous electrocutions and grinder incidents and the finger caper, thought we'd finally cracked it and despatched one of our dwindling number of friends.

After the not sinking episode the stairs were hastily removed. The stairs were later re-instated (a bit), not at there full height, and not wedged into there snug little home, just sorta leaning there, one foot on the remains of the floor boards, the other hovering over the watery chasm known as the bilges. Enter one very capable and willing volunteer for the day. One foot on boat, then another... so far so good. Quick scramble over the obstacle course formerly know as the wheelhouse, dodge the pointy thing dangling precariously hither and thither, easy, made it on board safely. Place left foot on top of stairs..... that's where things started to go a bit wrong. Lulled into a false sense of security, the rest of the bits attached to the said foot duly followed. At which point,the stairs thought gotcha and did a dissappearing act, gravity took over from here on in and the foot and all its attached body parts duly followed. I'm not convinced that the foot and its attached body parts didn't actually overtake the stairs and land in the void first, thus allowing an extra bit of pain to be inflicted on the victim by the stairs then landing on top of him

Our solicitors have advised that the victim is best remaining nameless, so all I can say is we're really really sorry, the death trap is getting a make over, and bar a few man traps and alligators in the bilges will be safer than Gordon Browns good eye on national poke someone in the eye with a stick day

get well soon, I'm making some knees tomorrow for the panser so can knock you an extra one up if you like, nailing it on might sting a bit though

So, near death experiences aside, I've moved things along a bit, the little beamshelf repair got ripped out again. When doing that one, I poked along the old beamshelf till I found good wood, and fastened it in all lovely. What I should of done is poke along the beamshelf a bit further though. 8" past the good wood it was worse than the bit I'd cut out to repair, so the foot or so of repair has become 10 foot or so.

Bugger to bend though is this seasoned oak, especially done without some steamy hotness to help things along, but by a variety of cunning and contrivance it's in and firmly nailed to all the new frame heads, which now number several or more (lost count to be honest)

Converted MFV beamshelf repairs in an Old Motor Fifie
Quite chuffed with me bit self really, solo effort, luckily had my johnny rockets boots jet powered rocket boots on to help lift the stupidly heavy beams out of the way whilst standing on absolutely nothing worth standing on, and pin them up using the scabby bit of wood and big nail technique to keep them out of the way

Might have to make the clamps at the forward scarfe a permanent fixture as I now have somewhere to put a saw where I can find it again. In case the blue tinge to the picture is causing concern, Pansy is now camping under a natty blue tarp slung over a bit or rope running from the stem to the wheelhouse. we really do look like Pikeys Afloat now!

converting a trawler to houseboat
The neighbours must love us to bits! Paint almost all stripped off, piles or rotting wood and a few gas bottle lying around, lots of noise, old tyres and a big flappy blue tarp. Proper posh you know, this waterside living


just need to notch the beamshelf and beams, drop em in, cut some knees and bally well fasten the blighters together, then the deck can go down....

repairs to beamshelf on a converted scottish fishing boat
The shiney new oak looking a bit grubby now, but nothing a bit sandpaper and elbow grease won't put right, Beamshelf an inch and a half thick and bent to shape without steaming.

well, I say the deck can go down there's the small matter of the biggest deckbeam to resolve. Its cracked and is currently supporting the weight of everything else above deck (which probably includes a fair bit of sky), and is in turn supported by a bit of wood that happened to be lying around, which was sort of the right length, and was sort of bashed in to place (a bit), and seems to be holding it up as long you don't go too near it or breath too loudly

Now what was that about cleaning up the death trap??