Saturday, May 26, 2018

Breaking all the painting rules in an idyllic setting.

Yay, I’m back!  We’ve been boating without doing much boating, and boozing without much boozing.  I’d better explain.

Herbie’s roof underneath where the old roofbox lay, needed painting.  The box feet had wrought their terrible damage on the roof and patches of paint  had peeled off leaving scabby rust beneath.  I couldn’t put my shiny new box on top of that could I?  No way.

However, I’ve said before that the weather is never right for painting a boat and this time the problem was the warm sunshine.  After cruising down to Banbury to stock up at Morrisons with food to keep us going, we turned and headed back to this lovely spot below Slat Mill Lock and settled in for a the best part of three days.

20180520_173600

I suppose that after the rain of the last two nights, a lot of that beautiful May blossom lies on the water like confetti, but we seemed to have hit it at its peak. The air was thick with the scent of it and I’ve never seen it so dense.

20180520_173052

Lots of other wild flowers were out too including these Speedwell right next to the boat, again thicker than I had ever seen them.

20180520_155530

Anyhow, I digress.  While the solar panels were busy knocking out lots of amps in the hot sun, I set to work with the electric sander powered from the inverter and soon had the rusty patches ready for a lick of Fertan rust converter, which on the already very warm roof set dry in about 20 seconds.  This didn’t augur well for the paint, but that was for the next day.  That evening we broke out the old barby and a nice bottle of plonk and watched the sun go down.

IMG_20180522_205021-EFFECTS

There was a huge hatch of insects on the water and clouds of millions of them swarmed over the canal.

IMG_20180520_163135

Thankfully they didn’t seem to be of the biting sort, or if they were, they had their minds on other things.  It was Kath who first noticed that as they rose into the air they rapidly paired up, a larger one flying close behind and slightly below a smaller one.  They were all at it.  Then once the more skilled ones had manage to lock together they seemed to forget how to fly and spiralled back down towards the water. All very romantic.

Next morning I was up relatively early to get back to the roof before it got to hot.  After washing off the Fertan, out came the Isopon filler, which I have discovered is the best way to smooth out and level off the indentations where we have rubbed back to the metal. Some people express concern or disapproval about using filler, but Phil Speight says it’s OK so that’s more than good enough for me. If you’ve use Isopon, you’ll know that you have to work fast once you have mixed in the hardener.  Well this day fast wasn’t fast enough!  I had to work like flippin’ greased lightening, only mixing enough filler at a time to last three or four minutes before it set hard. I lost count of how many batches I did. You can normally sand down this filler after an hour, but I reckon fifteen minutes might have been enough.  Anyhow it sanded down to a lovely smooth finish, and after vacuuming the dust of the roof and giving it a wash with white spirit.  I was ready with the primer/undercoat.  The idea is not just to paint over the patches but the whole width of the roof for a section long enough to cover all the repairs. As well as the big spots under the boat feet, there were numerous small blemishes that had emerged over the eight years since that bit of the roof was painted. Mostly damage from poles, the gangplank and the like.

The aforementioned Mr Speight was now whispering in my ear that it was now far too hot for painting, and it was, so I pressed on and did it anyway because I’ll never get the flippin’ job done otherwise.  “Keep a wet edge” is the mantra.  Well with a roof that's too hot to kneel on (I suspect hot enough to fry an egg), I had to stand on the gunnel and paint as fast as I could.  Having broken one rule I now broke another.  On a roof you are supposed to lay off the paint with brush strokes across the roof.  Well from the gunnel I couldn’t reach that so I opted for a longitudinal approach, painting like a mad man with a nice four inch brush. Luckily the paint was very good stuff and went on thickly but flowed well. Whilst I was fast enough to stop the paint dragging, by the time I got to each subsequent pass the previous one was beginning to dry so a pleasing striped effect was beginning to emerge.  Never mind, it was only undercoat. Once half way across the roof I  had to brave the canal side gunnel to reach the other side, so not only was I splashing the paint on like a maniac, I was hanging on to the hand rail with the non brushing hand.  I would think any observers on passing boats found it all rather amusing.

By now I was getting paint all over my hands, so once finished I washed it all off with white spirit and now I smelled so much of the stuff I was scared to step into the sun for fear of spontaneously combusting!  I retired to the shade and did a couple of crosswords.  That evening another barby in this lovely spot.  Despite us using the sander and charging our plethora of phones, ipads, Dyson vacuum etc and running the fridge in the very hot weather, we ended the day with the batteries fuller than we started.  Solar rules OK.

I know a second undercoat should have been the job next day, but we had to get back to the marina and then shoot off to Cambridge (more of which in the next post). As this is only the roof under the rood box and I only had one day left so I opted to put on a top coat of raddle.  This I did after we arrived back at our berth in Cropredy.  The roof was warming fast so using a kneeling pad I climbed up and raddled away , this time using a proper transverse lay off.  I suppose the area I had to paint was about nine feet by six, and it took about half an hour.  Here and there the paint was grinning a tiny bit (undercoat showing through), but that’s what the next coat is for and you cant go back over drying paint.  No, really you can’t.  Anyhow it looks not too bad now.  Rather than put the new roof box in place we stowed it inside the boat before leaving for Cambridge (in the car of course). I’ll apply at least one more top coat next time I go back to Herbie.

If you plan to patch up a scabby boat roof, please do not follow my example. Take more time and choose cooler weather.  I only did it this way to get the job done in the time I had available.  No doubt it won’t last as long as it would have if painted in better conditions with more primer and undercoat.  It’s a risk I consciously took. Had this been the sides of the cabin, I would absolutely definitely never do it like this.  Roofs I regard as a bit more expendable and the finish required, especially in raddle which is matt(ish), is not so critical.  Nevertheless it looks OK, and with another coat or two and under the box, it’ll hold for a good while.

Here’s a little puzzle for next time.  Any idea what this steel structure is?

IMG_20180524_140505

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Extremes of Norfolk.

I read somewhere that sailing is like long periods of boredom interspersed with short instances of abject terror.  Well i take the point. We’re just back from our annual Norfolk Broads sailing weekend and it was a bit like that. On Sunday, after dodging the stream of plastic cruisers as big as ocean liners crewed by hirers who had no idea how to anticipate the movement of a tacking sailing boat  and then several overloaded launches full of drunken oiks, we ground to a halt on Horning taking about an hour to do a couple of hundred yards in absolute flat calm.  (I have a soft spot for Horning, recalling one trip forty odd years ago when we overloaded a dinghy with inebriated comrades returning after a night in the Ferry Inn and sank it.  We all lived to tell the tale I’m happy to report.)

Next day the wind was 18mph gusting to 30 odd as we tore down the river Bure at a rate that would put jet skiers to shame.  Some thing of a white knuckle ride I can tell you.  The boat yard from which we had hired the boats did offer to come out and tow us back, such was the force of the wind, but we were made of sterner (or stupider depending the way you look at it) stuff.  Anyhow by some miracle we arrived back unscathed, which was just as well for the boats we had hired were much too beautiful to scratch or dent, or worse still, sink.

Here’s one of them.  Take a good look and guess how old it is.

IMG_20180512_154509

IMG_20180512_154601

IMG_20180512_154520


Well it might have looked as good as new but it is 90 odd years old. The woodwork in these things is something to behold. No veneer in ‘ere.  I suppose it might be like Trigger’s broom that’s had 5 new heads and four new handles, but I’m pretty sure the hull and much of the other stuff was original.  Anyway, it was immaculately turned out and equipped and sailed very nicely.  Boats like this are called half deckers on the Broads and they were originally built for racing.  They’re 22 feet long so plenty big enough for four or even five people.

When it comes to skippering a sailing boat I am pretty slow in coming forward as my imagination of what might go wrong is a lot stronger than my ability at the helm, so a lot of the time I volunteer as ballast or if pressed, take over the jib sheets and do as I am told.  I know my place.

Overnight we (nine of us) stayed in a little complex of holiday cottages a short walk from the river Ant where we could keep the boats overnight and it was all very jolly as we are all old old friends going back well over forty years (except for the second generation who aren’t that old yet.) We wined and dined and had our annual quiz and a good time was had by all.

I like the Broads, but I’ll be happy enough to get back where boats don’t usually capsize.




Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Unboating

What a good weekend for boating it was over the bank holiday.  Except It was a bit too hot perhaps, and our Peter (our intended crew / lock wheeler) had taken a fall and hurt his wrist, and Grants lock (the first below Banbury on our intended route) was shut for a repair and our car was not working. So we stayed at home where we had to keep Peter amused, and baby sit Grace for two nights when her Mum was working very late, and we had to look after Ronnie the dog and Biscuit the mouse.  The joys of family life eh?

It was a busted alternator on the car.  First the battery warning light kept coming on, then as I was driving it to the garage the instrument panel lit up like a Christmas tree, ABS warning, brake warning, power steering failure, the lot.  You don’t realise how much power steering helps until it stops working.  Still alternators do fail sometimes and it’s an easy fix, or it would be if the car designers had left room to get at it.  In the end the garage undid the engine mounts and jacked the engine up until there was space to get the alternator out.  It makes you eternally grateful for how simple and spacious most boat engine bays are.

The roof box is finished and ready to ship back out to Herbie.  Here you see the final touches, first the TV aerial pole mount, shown from underneath so you can see the little rectangular bracket that supports the end of the pole. 


IMG_20180501_114828

Then Kath kindly modelled the box with it’s cover attached.  Note that the bungee chords stretch over the dark grey paint so they are less visible and don’t spoil the pattern.  Amazingly I did think of that before I started painting!  This time I threaded dowels along the edge seams to help hold the fabric out straight. That scruffy old board leaning on the wall is one of the box floor boards which are straight off the old box.  It is stiffened with battens on the side you can’t see here.  Note the pleasing yellow and brown patches on what we laughingly like to call our lawn.  It takes a lot of hard neglect to get an effect like that in the lushness of early spring.

IMG_20180506_123253

This coming weekend is our annual Norfolk Broads sailing fiasco.  This time we have boats from a different boatyard so we’ll probably make even more of a hash of it than usual.  For the first time we will not have the drama of passing through Potter Heigham bridge which will be a relief at least. We’ll have to find some other way of getting in a fearful tangle and collapsing with exhaustion and blind panic as the tide sweeps us towards the miniscule hole in the ancient stone work.  No doubt opportunities will present themselves elsewhere.  There has been talk of going up the river Ant where the wind comes and goes at random strength and direction and the river is too narrow to do much tacking.  Masochists R Us.

Monday, April 30, 2018

One swallow does not a summer make

Cruising below Bourton lock on Saturday we were treated to an aerial display by a gang of swallows swooping and skimming around us like jets round an aircraft carrier.  What with them and the cowslips along the banks and the hawthorne bushes all budded up ready to burst out the May blossom, you might expect it to have felt like spring.  Well if you’re reading this in the UK, you’ll know that it flippin’ well didn’t.  The only reason that we were out on Herbie was that we were baby sitting Grace for the weekend and her entertainment of choice was to go boating.  We didn’t feel so keen looking at the weather forecast and we did warn her that it would be cold and wet and that she would need to be out on the back of the boat etc. but she was adamant. So that’s what we did, and I have to say she was a real trooper.

Grace is only ten years old but she’s turning into a right good boater. She did her bit at every lock and did 90% of the helming too, even turning us nicely at the awkward Tramway winding hole below Banbury.  All I did was stand beside her offering the occasional word of advice or encouragement.  Hopefully when Kath and I get too old and frail to do all this stuff, Grace might be able to take us out for a trip. 

Some of the lock paddles down there are pretty heavy and stiff, but she wouldn’t give in, adopting a technique of hopping back and forth across the balance beam to get a good pull on the windlass.

           IMG_1829[5654]             IMG_1831[5653]

I did my bit of course

IMG_1822[5655]

As we were returning after turning the boat a kind man on a boat whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, but it was something about a Wren, enquired after our roof box – he was obviously a blog reader.  Well there are still tiny bits to do. One thing we are thinking of is stiffening the edges of the canvass cover with a dowel to keep the edge straight.  It has tended to pucker up in the past, allowing rain puddles to collect on the canvass.  My expeditions to Wickes /Toolstation for bits and pieces are a bit restricted at the moment as our car has developed an electrical fault.  It goes in for (I hope) a fix tomorrow.

Having temporarily satisfied Grace’s boating desires we are now negotiating with Peter, our youngest son, over a break with him next weekend, so we might be out cruising again.  He is not nearly such a good helmsman as Grace, but you can’t be good at everything and he is amazing at lots of things.  I don’t know where he gets it from, I can’t be good at anything much.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Roofbox–the final solution

The final design problem solved!  Rummaging in my odds and ends box I found a bag of these


IMG_20180427_103354

I can’t remember when I bought them or what job I used them on, but I seem to have hung on to a couple of dozen spare ones.  For scale, they have a six mm thread in the round end.  You screw them into a pre drilled hole with a hex key. (Sorry to insult the intelligence of DiYers, but some reader may not be familiar).Well, just the job for my roofbox ridge pole.  I sunk them into the ends of the pole like this. That’s a 28mm dia pole.

IMG_20180427_103504

In my bits and bobs were some nice 6mm screws with wide domed heads and some washers, and hey presto:

IMG_20180427_104304

Job’s a good ‘un as they say.  Rigid, but quickly.removable. I didn’t even have to splash out a couple of quid on a broom handle because my old ridge pole, although marginally too short for the old design, is fine for this one.

Kath has reinforced the sewing on the cover, and it fits (phew!), so apart from a few little cosmetic jobs ( e.g. screwing on some bungee cord buttons, ooh and mustn’t forget the tv aerial bracket)) we’re done and dusted.  The  floor board’s from the old box are a loose fit, but that’s fine, they’ll let any water out.

I got a gentle reminder (thanks) from Marilyin McD to slap three coats of paint on those bare wooden leg tops.  Little does she know I have already sneakily applied three coats of yacht varnish, which is better for that job and won’t be seen from the outside.

Is it straight out to Herbie to install the box then?.  “Would that it were” as a certain TV presenter might have said.  First I have to repaint the boat roof where the old box stood.  Not a quick job because inevitably the box feet took their toll on the paint.  When will it ever end?


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Roof Box - cunning features to finish off.

Nearly there.  Now I’m down to the finishing touches.  First the end gables which hold up the canvas cover in a pitched roof style to run off the rain.  What is cunning about these is that they can be quickly removed for passage under very low bridges. Such bridges don’t come along very often, but I can think of two or three where we’ve had to lower stuff.  You certainly don’t want to have to lift off the whole box.

IMG_20180426_113859

The board just slides in behind those metal brackets which I fashioned from a length of aluminium angle from Wickes.  This is an improved system since my last box when the end gables just rested there on the corner leg tops.  The ridge pole sat in little cups screwed to the gable, which was all very well when the cover was stretched over, but it fell to bits every time the cover was removed to get at the contents of the box.  This time the gables will stay put.

That just leaves the ridge pole.  The old one is just too short so I needed to source a new one.  This is where my parsimony comes in.  A length of suitably thick dowel from Wickes would have cost an outrageous £14.59, but over the road at Toolstation I can get a 5ft wooden broom handle of the same diameter for £1.91.  Or I could if they were in stock.  They’ll have some more tomorrow.  I might be rubbish at carpentry but I’m a master at sourcing.  I now need a cunning plan for supporting the ends of the ridge pole. Something that will let it lift out easily, but not fall out easily.  I feel a test rig coming on.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Roofbox part 8–now the come-uppance for my incompetence.

I told you I was no good at woodwork.  Now that the roof box is nearing completion I can see the mistakes I made.  It may astonish you to find that my box is less than perfect.  It doesn’t surprise me, just like any software I write, it doesn’t have faults, I prefer to call them features. Read on below to learn how to include the same features yourself so your work can look home made like mine. No-one could possibly think mine was professionally made. What would be the point of that?  First though, lets look at where I’m at.  Here is the box minus its floor and the “gable ends” (more of which later).

IMG_20180422_171727

The picture shows the box turned upside down.  Just like an insect, it now has six feet.  Here’s a close up of one of the feet the right way up.

IMG_20180424_170355

Such exquisite joinery.  I put one piece of wood against another with a dob of glue, then drive in a screw. This time I used Gorilla glue, I figured that if it’ll glue gorillas together it must be strong. So what you see here is a corner of the box, where the grey leg is glued and screwed (from the outside) to the cream side planks, and there’s end of the (new design)  rail which will support the loose laid floor boards. At least i hope it will.  Believe me, if I can do it, anybody can.  I doubt very much if it is mega strong, but it only has to sit there rather than being hoiked about and stressed.  The feet are cut off at a cunning angle to allow for the curve / slope of the boat roof.

So what incompetencies can you learn from me?

1. Buying wood.  I get mine from Wickes, which I dare say is no worse than anywhere else.  I know by now that wood is never flat and straight.  It might be when they cut and plane it, but wood of this quality is not stable.  if you’re as useless as me, you’ll grab a pack off the shelf and find out how bad it is when you get home.  That’s why the plank at one of the box ends is charmingly dished so that it doesn’t lie flat against the leg, thus weakening the corner.  i had to resort to making little wooden wedges to fill the gaps.  Smart people take a good look at the wood in the shop and sort through to find the good bits. Bah!  Boring.

2. Precision. Why not be like me and measure to the nearest millimetre before casually sawing somewhere near the line?  It makes it so much more fun trying to make the corners of the box meet, especially when your right angles are anywhere between 86 and 94 degrees.  The charming little gaps so produced in the joints are ideal as homes for spiders and the like  (doing my bit for the environment. I might designate the box as organic.)  and the rain can get in to keep the wood from drying out.

I am however, very proud to say that i did remember to measure my car boot before I glued the box together, and the assembled box will fit in for taking the box up to Herbie. At least I think it will.

Well we’re near the end of this project.  Just the gable ends and the ridge pole for the cover to complete.  I have cunning plans /new designs for both items so stay tuned.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Magical History Tour



Here, demonstrated by my lovely assistant Rick, is a boat battery. A bit bigger than yours and mine eh? What if I told you that this week we were on a boat powered by 300 tons of these batteries? Yes I did check that figure, 300 tons! Then what if i told you that the boat could recharge the all the batteries from its diesel engines in two or three hours? Then what if I told you that at maximum speed the batteries would only power the boat for about half an hour, or at canal speeds, 3 or 4 knots, the batteries might last a day and a half? Have you guessed what boat this is? Answer towards the end of this post.

Here's another picture of Rick at the same site.



Can you see him? If you follow the right hand white line on the floor and enlarge the photo, he's there with his arms outstretched. This is half the floor of the upstairs part of a shed. Some shed huh? All made from timber using construction methods used in building timber ships in the early nineteenth century. Well it would be, because this is where wooden warships were built and fitted out. Downstairs is now crammed full of all sorts of old machinery including some made by the firm that Rick and I used to work for when we first met in the dark ages.

Then, on the same site, we took a look at this machine in operation.




This is in the longest brick built building in Europe, and the machine is making something nearly a quarter of a mile long. Rope. An amazing thing to watch. Here's looking down the building. We never ot to see the other end - too far away.  The workers use a bike to go up and down.



They made two such lengths together in about fifteen minutes. The machinery and method are unchanged since Victorian times.

If you think all this, and a lot more, is worth seeing, take yourself down to Chatham Historic Dockyard,



where you can see how they built ships like HMS Victory, as well as 20th Century Naval ships and fitted them out. It's a vast site with beautifully kept buildings and  it's a totally brilliant museum with so much to see, including HM Submarine Ocelot, which is of course where all those batteries belong. You get a full bow to stern tour of Ocelot, and if you do, you'll never again complain about lack of space on a narrowboat!

The whole site is immaculately set out and truly fascinating. (You'll gather I quite liked it!) For me, one of the special bits was to stand in the mould loft where they showed us how the shapes of the hull of Victory were laid out, but unless you don't like boats or rope, or beautiful buildings, or history, or Victorian engineering, you'll find something to enjoy.

PS. We also visited Winston Churchill's house, William Morris's house and the National Trust's most daring and expensive(and amazing) house restoration, Ightam Mote, while we were at it. Every one a gem. Four days well spent.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Roofbox part 7 - Man versus paint

Make no mistake, paint is out to get you. All week the weather has been pretty cold, making the paint slow to dry. So on Saturday I came to the final colour, the Hempel(formerly Blakes) Bordeaux Red.  This is good quality coach paint and as you might expect, free flowing even if it does cover fairly well.  So Saturday, out comes the sun, warming up our conservatory so that the paint turns the consistency of semi skimmed milk ready to seep beneath even the best of masking takes on a wooden surface.  That’s the problem you see, the better paint flows, the more it seeps.  You can’t win against the flippin’ stuff.

Undaunted I pressed on.  One coat Saturday and one Sunday.  Nervously I pull off the masking to reveal this.

IMG_20180415_174435

Baaah! Similar damage on all four planks.  Well I had sort of expected it. Sometimes the red had bled over the white as you see above , and sometimes it was on the cream.

I take a deep breath and get out the tiny artists brush.  Best get on with the touching up rather than weep and wail. 

Now this goes to show why it’s worth keeping your cool and soldiering on. In well under an hour I had got all four planks looking like this.

IMG_20180415_185851

Tadaah!!

That’ll do nicely. It just demonstrates that no matter how incompetent you are and no matter how inconsiderate your paint can be, you can get an acceptable result, so don’t let my tales of troubles put you off.

That just leaves the probable debacle of the assembly of the box next weekend.  Hopefully the paint will have hardened off quite a bit by then.

Just after I had finished, we had a visitor in the garden.  I suppose he or she  might have looked at my painting efforts before giving his /her opinion thus:

IMG_20180415_154455

Sorry for the poor photo quality, it was taken through two sets of double glazing and their associated reflections.

I leave that corner of the garden as a wildlife area, so perhaps I should be pleased, but I had never envisaged it as a fox latrine!


Friday, April 13, 2018

How not to make a roofbox–part 6 disaster narrowly averted

The next time I see an Old English Sheepdog I’m going to bust him on the nose.  That flippin’ Dulux paint (barely the consistency of single cream) weedled its way under my masking tape in n places, (where n is a large positive integer).  You expect a bit of bleed here and there, but not that much. “Never mind,” I thought to myself,”take the rag away from your face, now ain’t the time for your tears.” (a few brownie points are available for anyone who can tell me who wrote those lines).

The offending leaks were largely onto the dark grey gloss, so out came my tiniest artists brush and the tin of grey paint.  Cursing that mop top dog, I spent ages trying to steady my shaking hands as I touched up all the mini splodges and runs of cream paint. It’s a wonder I didn’t pass out, what with holding my breath most of the time. Then, just as I was about to finish the last plank I got demob happy and lost concentration. Dipping my brush in the grey paint I forgot to wipe off the excess paint and drawing the brush out of the can, ran a huge run of dark grey paint all over two yellow and white triangles. “Oh woe is me” I cried (or something which means the same but is somewhat less printable).  Fortunately, being and old hand at painting mistakes, I knew what to do and quickly soaking a kitchen towel in white spirit I managed to wipe off the grey before it took hold. Phew!

So now the planks look like this:

20180413_165816

a closer look:

20180413_165848

All that’s left to do is the painting of the red diamonds in between the grey ones and to seal the bottom edge of each plank, which for no good reason I have so far neglected to do.  In the words of my unfavourite American President, “It’s gonna be great”.

With luck I might have finished the painting by Sunday, then the dreaded assembly of the box will have to wait a few days.  We’re off with Rick and Marilyn to darkest Kent on a mini break of our own devising.  More about that when we get there.  There may well be some boaty stuff.

Today i am mostly listening to Bix Beiderbeck an artist of whom I know little, but recommended to me by my friend Stephen and also by Ry Cooder who played some of his tunes on his “Jazz” album.  It is very easy to like ( and I am known for being a bit picky over these things). If you have access to a streaming service give him a try.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How not to make a roof box– too much paint and not enough concentration.

It is possible I might have acquired a bit too much white paint.  I think all the white bits are now done and dusted and here’s what’s left in the tin.

IMG_20180411_115402

Well the rest will come in handy should I ever decide to paint the whole house (or possibly the street) at home.  This is Wickes Liquid Gloss.  I can’t remember when and why I bought it but I must have been in an optimistic mood. I’m happy to report that it is possibly the nicest paint to use of the lot. It goes on well and , for white paint, covers well.  Anyway when you’re doing a job with all these paints, you need to use what you have or else spend a fortune.

My enemy at this point is concentration, or rather the lack of it. How easy it is, dear reader, to mask the wrong side of a line.  I know because I have done it twice.  I did spot it in time however so I didn’t paint in the wrong place. Such is my general bewilderment over what I’m supposed to be doing that I have taken to putting dabs of masking tape on areas I’m not supposed to paint.  Like this. 

IMG_20180411_111531

The dabs are on bits that will later be cream.  This is the masking for the white triangles which alternate with cream between the larger red and grey diamonds.  It all gets a bit frustrating at this stage.  A few minutes masking, a few minutes painting then a 24 hour wait for the paint to dry before you can move on to the next bit.

This idea of using a layer of white gloss is all very well, but after I’d done it I realised I’d covered up all my marking out, so I had to do it all again.  However after the four planks and the double marking I now have all the dimensions in my head, no doubt crowding out more useful information like which side of a line to mask.

Looking closely at the planks, I see one has quite a bow across it’s face, so I’m not looking forward to finding out how well it will  (or more probably will not) fit against the corner post.  That’s the beauty of all this painting before building, you get the excitement of not knowing if you had wasted your time.

Today’s cliff hanger: The dreaded Dulux cream on top of white gloss next.  That’s bound to go well I keep telling myself.

Monday, April 09, 2018

How not to make a roof box part 4– sloppy precision

People have looked at my previous roof boxes and commented on the precision of the painting. Little do they know that my painting is very sloppy, it’s the masking that has to be done carefully.  here’s the proof:

Careful Masking

IMG_20180408_145611

IMG_20180408_145602

Slapdash Painting

IMG_20180409_102346

See what I mean?  A chimpanzee could have slapped that white on.  It took quite a while to do the masking and no time at all to do the painting.  I’m using good low tack Craftmaster plastic masking tape which I trim carefully with a craft knife at places like the diamond points. The Craftmaster tape nearly always comes off cleanly which is why I like it. Now I juts have to hope that I don’t get much bleed under the tape.  A little bit of bleed is inevitable in some places because of the grain of the wood, but I’ll touch that up at the end with an artist’s brush.

As you can see I’ve decided to use white as a base topcoat underneath what will be the white, red and cream paints, but, I hope understandably, I’ve painted the grey border and diamonds directly onto the grey undercoat.  After two cost of grey topcoat the grey is actually finished now – hooray. Only three more colours to go.  I reckon that’ll take about another week though, to allow drying between coats. Not quick is it?  However it rarely takes me more than an hour each day –often mush less.

At the weekend we snuck out to Herbie and cruised all the way from Cropredy Marina to Cropredy Lock – less than ten minutes!  That was because we had arranged to meet up with the Moomins who were passing through on Nb Melaleuca. We all spend a jolly evening together and shared a meal, me doing a pasta dish and Simon making a crumble for pud.  next morning they went on their way south and we turned back to the marina then home.  Time well spent. And – our solar panels once again made more electricity than we used.  Very rewarding.

Must stop now, I’m off to do some more painting.