Whats Happening ?

And yet more planks.

Adrian tries to start the crane since the tree trunks are too heavy to man-handle onto the saw-bench but discovers that the batteries are flat.  This is not helped by the weather being very cold.  Trevor attaches the battery booster and after several minutes of turning the engine over it eventually fires and begins to run ‘happily’.  With John acting as ‘lift Master’ he and Trevor attach strops onto a section of tree trunk and Adrian lifts it up and onto the saw bench.  While John B sets about sawing the trunk to the required sizes aided by the rest of the gang removing and stacking the cut timber, Adrian works extremely hard at sitting in the crane cab watching all the activity. He doesn’t’ want to stop the crane engine between lifts for fear of being unable to get it started again and is not prepared to leave the crane with its engine running unattended..

After several trunks have been sawn and stacked a stop is called for lunch.  Adrian is feeling a little guilty since he has been nice and warm inside the cab during the morning whilst the others had to endure a shower of rain and hail although only light. Following lunch the gang return to lifting and sawing.  The crane once again needs to battery booster in order to get the engine running.  Despite running for several hours during the morning the batteries have not charged at all.  Something is obviously wrong in this departmental to which Trevor will need to direct his mechanical/electrical knowledge later.

By the middle of the afternoon most of  the trunks have been sawn and John packs up his saw.  Roy and Norman have had a go at working the saw and are well-impressed by its capabilities.  They help John to clean the saw and prepare it for the road.  Both Johns and Roy head for home.

Adrian moves the crane to a convenient position in which to park it and puts it ‘to bed’ while Trevor and Norman cover over the stacks of timber to protect it from the elements.  This has been another successful and productive day.


Ancient Egyptians meet Noah?

Its another cold but dry day which enables Trevor and Adrian to continue working on the wharf wall.  They construct a ‘runway’by laying out scaffold planks and old pallets on which they intend to move three large coping blocks.  The blocks have already been levered sufficiently off the boards on which they were cast to slip short lengths of scaffold poles in thunderer to act as rollers.  They have used this method before and found it to be surprisingly efficient.  Once the runway is in position they use levers to move the blocks, one at a time to their respective places on top of the wall. Great care has to be taken as the blocks get closer to the top of the wall. The last thing Trevor and Adrian want is for one of the blocks to roll free off the edge.

Once the blocks have reached their final resting place they have to be leveled up and propped so that concrete can be pushed in underneath them and a final level of stones laid to fill the gap on the outer face left to help manoeuvre the blocks.  By the end of the day they have successfully got all three in position but not concreted in.  Unfortunately they do not have sufficient cements to complete this which will have to wait for another day.

While Trevor and Adrian were playing at being Ancient Egyptians, Barry was working hard on the second tub-boat.  First he draws out and cuts to size on a piece of hardboard  the template for the stem post. He next continues cutting mortises in the chines for the ribs.  He uses a large wood bit in a power drill to remove most of the wood and then uses a large chisel to finish each hole.  This is hard and tedious work but progress is being made.

Wall goes up, wall comes down!

While the good weather holds, Trevor and Adrian push on with rebuilding the wharf wall and are making rapid progress.  They have been joined by Carol and David who make themselves useful in clearing the wall further along of the over-burden of loose material and collapsed stonework.  David concentrates on a section which Trevor had previously been working on and where he had discovered the remains of an old clay, drainage pipe adjacent to where a new plastic, pipe had been installed last year.  The wall here had been very badly damaged and David was forced to remove a considerable amount of loose stonework and useless subsoil.   By the end of the day he had created a large hole in the wall at this section.  Unfortunately it is often the case that considerable amounts of wall have to be taken down in order to reach a firm footing on which to begin reconstruction.

Progress on all fronts.

Now that the base of the lead tub-boat is the right way up Barry sets hs attention to cutting the recesses for the ribs and corner posts.  He is helped by Carol who is armed with a very large chisel and mallet.  Once the recesses have been marked out Barry uses a large diameter wood augur to drill out most of the wood which needs to be removed.  Carol follows along, squaring the holes. He then vacuums the wood chips and shavings  out of the cavities, which are quite deep.

In the loading basin Bob works steadily clearing the water channel which runs through,  to help wash away the accumulation of silt.  The stream is certainly cutting down into the mud.  Ideally a  better water supply is required and yet despite the very wet weather that we have experienced not so long ago, the streams running into the canal and the river running past are very low!

While all this is going on Trevor keeps Adrian supplied in mortar and stone who is working on rebuilding the wharf wall.  Having such a good selection of facing stone, donated from Beam Quarry, means that reconstruction progresses quickly.  Three coping ‘stones’ are waiting patiently to be laid on the top of the wall and at this rate it will not be long before there is sufficient new wall up to the required level to facilitate them.



Flipping boats and fallen walls.

Adrian has asked John to be Lift Master today to oversee the turning over of the tub-boat base.  While Adrian starts the crane and warms the clutches, John and Trevor sort out  lifting strops and arrange them around the base in such a way as to lift it from one side, off the platform .  Bob and Carol clear surplus timber stacked inside the shed outside to allow plenty of room to move.  Then, following John’s directions, Adrian hoists the base into the air, moves the crane backwards slightly whilst lowering the base and places it gently back onto the platform the right way up. The exercise is completed very easily and quickly.  The gang give the base a gentle push and it very obligingly rolls back under the roof of its shelter.  It is decided to leave the rollers and planks under the boat inside the shed since they will; be need again when the boat is finished but the platform outside is quickly dismantled and cleared away.  John returns home to see to other matters.

Adrian drives the crane out of the way, to the other end of the site while in preparation for the next stage of the build, Carol and Bob bring the pre-cut ribs and corner posts from the other shed where they have been stored and stack them next to the base.  The ribs and corner posts need trimming before they are finally fitted so they are left for Barry’s attention on another day.

Since no more work can be undertaken on the lead boat construction for the moment, Trevor, Adrian, Carol and Bob spend the remainder of the day clearing debris from the damaged wharf wall in preparation for its rebuilding as soon as the weather warms up.  This has been another very satisfying, productive day