Oz's travels.

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Ok its time to get down to the nitty gritty about the inside of Troutbridge, all looked well until we lifted up a floorboard, A MDF floorboard. Phil and I both hate MDF and we agree that there WONT be any of that on Troutbridge! Well what we found underneath the floor was very wet horrible concrete. So one Saturday we got to work stripping the galley down to get a better look what's down under.

I lent a hand shoving stuff to the front.

What we found was an eye opener, I know what you will be saying now.... Why didn't you check this before you bought it.... well we didn't! 

Right lets get cracking...… cracking concrete that is! 

Under the step there was a the best bit of concrete I have ever seen.

It was like being on time team, closely looking at the different layers. 

Finally broke the back of it an got it cleared out.

Hard stuff removed now for the easy stuff. The funny bit... well wasn't funny at the time, Adam Holloway (one of Phil's boss) came down and sat on the step, Phil was chipping away at the concrete, one section in front of me and to your right looking at the photo. You know how water go's down the plug hole in a swirl... well Phil stabbed in with his screw driver and water came up in a swirl.... Adam Holloway very quickly abandoned ship... Phil's jaw dropped and he froze... I stood there cool and calm and studded the water that was appearing, it was clear, not like the green muck that we was floating on. The waters flow slowed down and stopped, Phil took a breath an started to move again. We then carried on an shifted the rest of the concrete from that section. Phil had hit a water pocket that was under the concrete.

We took a break and after a brew we cleared the rest of the galley area. Now that's looking better aint it...

You can see there was a lot of water sitting under that concrete, it looks like a beach with the tide in.  

Moving along the boat we lifted out the toilet area and cleared the muck from underneath.

Then took out the stove an dismantled the fire place.

This wasn't concrete, this was sludge!

You can see how wet it was, If we had left it, it would of stunk to high heaven and rotted out the new floor of the boat Andy had welded in. 

Now this bit was a lot drier, but still had to be cleared..... 

                                      "Phil..... get shifting my lad!"

OK.... here is we make a big jump in time. I could of filled another hole page with photos of the clear out.....


You join us at a point of clearing the last of the concrete out of the pointed bit...


                                  "Hay come on Phil, no time to take a nap!"

With the amount of concrete slab bits, we could have some seriously "CRAZY" paving.  

Down to the last and we gained help from Phil's brother Dave.

Dave soon chipped it out an after a break the red oxide paint tin was out.

Looking good.

Sadly time and the paint ran out of a great weekend, so I was on the internet that night ordering some more for Phil to crack on next weekend.

The paint arrived an Phil not just painted from where finished last week, he went over the hole boat again... good lad.
Next move was to paint galvanized paint the lower bit of the hull, then when dried spread bitumen on the floor to waterproof it in case of spillages. 

This... a bit grainy... photo showing the door you can just see that the door is hinged off a short-ish dod of wood down the right hand side. This left a gap along the bottom an up the right hand side. So needs attention.  

                   So first thing was to have it off...…. an then I took the door off! 

                              sorry.... I couldn't resist a classic innuendo there... 

Phil bolted angle Iron down the right hand side to make a very sturdy door post, he then rehung the door... dropping it twice... clumsy bugger! Once he had got it straight and it closed, he removed the dod of wood on the left, (what the door catch was screwed too) bolted another bit of angle iron to replace it and reattached the catch.

I mentioned earlier about the gap at the bottom, Phil using steel plate and a slightly larger bit of angle iron created a 20mm lip along the bottom to stop any water on the step coming in. Now at this point I know what your thinking where is the water going to go, it will build up and come over the lip. Yes at the moment it will but under that new step that Andy (the chap we bought the boat off) made is a drain that has not been drilled out yet, we will sort that out later. 

Phil then got to work on the rest of the frame.

Also filling in that triangular gap below the lock.

After a little sanding of the door it closed and the lock worked first time.

A coat of red oxide to give it protection, plus to cover up the ruff bits.... and I think Phil has done another great job. 

Phil's confidence is building more and more with that welder, his next job I gave him was to build a step for the inside of the boat. Well we both been discussing storage and came up with combining the two together... a box step. Phil suggested an I agreed that the bottom of the box had to be heavy to keep it in place as we wasn't going to fix it in place, so if we needed to do any maintenance to the floor at a later date we can move it. So I found a 20mm thick steel plate that would do the job nicely. Phil got to work and soon created this a very very solid an bloody heavy box. I let him lift it on Troutbridge... got to think of my back.  

It sits in the gap as snug as a bug. If you look carefully at the photo below it don't look a straight forward rectangle box, because it follows the angle of the steel side of Troutbridge to your left. As Tommy Walsh (Ground Force, Challenge Tommy) Once said.. well he said it quite a few times.. "Measure twice... cut once!". Well...….

......Shall I tell you a story about this box? ahem..... Phil measured the bottom plate and cut it out, that was ok he cut that correct, moved it to one side... measured the sides an after cutting out them out. He came to weld it all together, brought back in the bottom and attached it all together. All went well in his mind, BUT... he hadn't marked top on the bottom plate, the eejit had it upside down, so the box ended up back too front. Clang! He only noticed when he lifted onto Troutbridge an it wouldn't fit in to the gap. I laughed out loud and so did Phil after a scratch of his bonce. A rookie mistake but you need to make mistakes to learn. Sods law Phil had got the welder set up perfect and the weld was spot on, so cutting it would of been a job and a half..... SO! he cut along the top of the bottom plate, (See pic below) flipped the bottom plate over and then flipped the rest of the box over, welded the top of the box... Humm click here... too the bottom. It worked out well in the end and Phil did enjoy doing it.

Painted and wooden lid made by little me, makes it a lot easier to enter/exit the boat, well saying that I still need a ladder!

Controls.... When we bought Troutbridge the Control were on the bulkhead, but if you have read the maiden voyage on HMS T page one you will know that they didn't work that well. 

Phil and I put our heads together and planed out where the new controls are going to go. Most narrowboats you see have the controls.... err hang on a second... its left so its...… ARRR on the port.. yes that's right... so on the port side we made out of box steel the plinth. The control leavers will be attached to the side facing you. The bit sticking out at the bottom is...…..

……… for the engine pull stop. No hole drilled in it yet cuz we haven't bought it at this moment in time, so not sure on what dimension of hole is needed.

I looked on line for a plastic blanking end cap, but I couldn't find one to fit. Phil then said "I'll make one out of steel" He is addicted to welding now, so I left him to it and....                                                                       'VOILA!'

It fits perfect, with two self tappers to hold it in place, Nice one Phil!