Whats Happening ?

Queen Boadicea rides again!

Following the acquisition of the paddle-driven weed-cutting boat Adrian decides to add to the collection of death-defying machines by resurrecting an ancient Allen Scythe that he abandoned on the side of the canal several years ago.  He had worked the machine in the past but it was somewhat cantankerous and had the nasty habit of jumping into gear and driving off by itself!

After the incident when it set off down the canal embankment, into the water and had to be extricated, it sealed its own fate by blowing a tyre. Adrian left it where it stopped.

As time passed Adrian forgave the machine its bad behaviour so he and Trevor planned  to rescue it from the hedge in which it was residing.

After attaching a long rope to it and the Kubota tractor Trevor drags the scythe out while Adrian clears its way of brambles and other obstructions.

Having easily dragged the scythe across the canal, where it is very shallow due to silting, Adrian and Trevor manage to pick up the machine  in the front bucket and  secure it.  Trevor drives the Kubota down the the workshop looking like some strange warrior driving a fearsome chariot.

They spend the afternoon removing rust and taking off bits to be repaired or replaced.

Advanced driving lessons.

Adrian takes advantage of a lull in the proceedings to get Alistair to teach him how to move the crane.  He is reasonably confident now in controlling the boom, lifting lowering and rotating but does not know how to drive the crane to different areas of the site.  After a demonstration and some instruction from Alistair, Adrian takes over the controls and soon has the machine racing up and down the wharf side at a terrifying speed of around 2 miles an hour.  Although the crane will never break the sound barrier being in charge of 28 tons of moving steel is still scary enough!

Flipping tub boats.

While Alistair starts up the RB and works through various maneuvers to ease the clutches Adrian attaches lifting strops to the tub boat base.  Alistair then drives the crane closer to the tub boat.  John is on hand to help with the lift and attaches the strops to the crane’s block-hook.  With John acting as banksman, Alistair gently raises the tub boat and then puts it down again the right way up.  Everything is ready now for the top of the boat to be assembled.

John and Alistair then set about fabricating some covers to place over the crane’s cable drums and clutches to protect them from bad weather.  This will help prevent the clutches from rusting and sticking. However, the crane continues to run very nicely.

And yet more floor boards!

Trevor and Adrian are keen to complete laying floorboards on the tub boat, in preparation for Alistair arriving on Friday, but its is drizzling outside and the sealant bitumen cannot be applied to wet surfaces. Fortunately the fine rain stops falling and Trevor has the brilliant idea of drying the areas where the bitumen is to be spread using a hot air gun.   Before long they are fixing down the remaining, pre-drilled boards.  Eventually there is space for only one more and it tapers which is absolutely perfect.  Adrian planes a wide, wedge-shaped board to fit the space and it is duly hammered into place, making a very tight, waterproof fit.  It is bolted down and two last fillets that fit between the edges of the wheel sockets are cut to fit and finally the first tub boat floor if finished!  The seams are smoothed over and the whole surface given another coat of preservative.  The next job is to turn the boat over and begin the upper structure.

Wood and wheels

Trevor and Adrian start the day by replenishing stocks of coach bolts, trowelling bitumen and wood filler.  The weather is very poor so they are restricted to working under cover but use the time in preparing more boards for the tub boat floor.   Suitable timber for the floorboards is in short supply and those that have large splits or have been previously drilled for other bolts holes have to be filled which occupies Trevor for a while.  Barry arrives and helps plane the edges of the boards to fit.  Adrian bores holes through the boards and then countersinks them in preparation for bolting them to the chines.  Enough boards have been prepared to complete the floor but dry weather is now required in which to fix them.

Adrian has arranged to borrow an original tub boat wheel from Bude Stratton Town Council and during the evening a friend from the Bude Canal & Harbour Society arrives with it.  An accurate wooden pattern can now be made so that new wheels can be cast for the replicas.

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