Oz's travels.

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The chimney collar was old, corroded and had the top half of the flue stuck in it, so a new one was bought.

On removal of the old collar you wouldn't Adam and Eve it what was holding down, Very little sealant and two very thin rusty screws, screwed down into a rotten bit of wood. Here's one of the screws. The new collar came with two M10 bolts... They will hold it more secure! 

Now it was originally put on the wrong way round. Studying other narrowboats the collar runs from stern to bow, this one ran from port to starboard. We desided to put the new one one like other boats stern to bow. Removal had to involve the angle grinder, due to the hand rail had been welded over the end of the collar. Phil could of done a random cut but he measured the gap equally across the collar to keep it tidy.

You can see that moisture and heat from the collar was rotting the hand rail from underneath.

The end section that was cut......

Phil cut a bit of box steel and welded up the ends.....

To copy the otherside, then welded it in place. Also capping the top rails.....

I painted the new collar with high temp stove paint while Phil welded up the old holes and then drilled out the new. Collars are designed to be at an angle to follow the angle of the roof, so making sure that it was the right way round.....

 ....a line of sealant all round and it was soon bolted in place.

Inside to can see the patches welded under the original holes before Phil filled the holes from the top with weld.

Water was leaking through the bolt holes of the brass mushroom air vents so they were removed resealed and refitted with new brass bolts. They had been painted over so I striped back the bases, I'll do the domes at a later date.

You can buy run of the mill chimneys from chandler shops, well we go for the original touch. On a sunny Sunday morning back in Henley outside the shed, Phil and I created this. Ok we didn't make the top bit but its not what you'd find on a narrowboat. The top spins round like a weather vane, it stops the smoke being blown back in, plus it also stops the roaring noise that's caused by the wind blowing across the top of a chimney with a standard cover. 

Stainless steel chains to hold it down on to the top of Troutbridge. We can't wait to fit the stove. 

In the week after fitting it we had a few very heavy rain storms, not a drop of water entered Troutbridge... that's was brilliant.

                                 "I HAVE CONTROL!!!" Well Troutbridge has......

Controls fitted to the plinth, red knob throttle, black knob forward/reverse. Technical bit coming up, running a bit of string from the arms at the back of the controls, down the inside of the plinth, around the back of the diesel tank to the stern of Troutbridge, then along side the weed hatch straight to the gearbox lever.... measure the length... then run it a bit more to the throttle arm on the engine... measure that.... and then we can order the right length of cables. Also measure for the pull stop cable aswell. 

                  As its a bit tight in the engine bay that'll be a job for me then!

Phil bought off ebay two brass portholes, they are only small but they open. Phil suggested if they could go in the bed section so it will let a bit of natural light in also as they open some fresh air in. I agreed, plus they will make Troutbridge look more ship like. We got to work early one Saturday morning an after a few hours they where both fitted. 

I think they are great, just my size of window... sorry porthole. 

A very important thing that we have thought about is there is only one exit out of Troutbridge, Its at the back. If a fire breaks out in the galley, the only other way is to break a window an struggle through it to get out. Well we have bought a Houdini hatch, funny enough its the biggest one you can buy... 62cm by 62cm.... just in case my chubby lorry driver friend has difficulties squeezing through. The roof of Troutbridge is curved over so a flat frame had to be made first..... at this point 'No!' Phil wasn't at the helm of the welder this time, we called on the assistance of our good friend Malcolm, who has a engineering business near Henley-in-Arden.

                                    Here is the frame next to the hatch. 

Dave.. Phil's brother assisting Malcom.

I watched on at a safe distance with my cup of tea.

Malcom was planning to cut out the hole with a plasma cutter, but the compressor couldn't feed it enough puff for it to work, he had to use the angle grinder instead... it took 6 cutting discs to do it.

I went inside to check it was being cut straight..... YEP! So far so good. 

Once the frame is dropped into the hole and levelled to the height required, Malcolm got to work welding it in place.

Absolutely a brilliant job there Malcolm, thank you mate, Now its time to give it a coat of red oxide paint...…. PHIL! 

Ahhh relaxing on a sunny Sunday afternoon while Phil is busy painting underneath, you can see he did paint around the hatch top.  

Underneath... Phil even put in the timber joists around the hatch. 

                                         Can you spot something missing? 

Yes... good. If not we removed the silver rail off the front due to the mountings needed a clean up. We could not beleave it that it was only held on by these 12mm self tapping screws, three to a mount. 
As I removed each screw I drilled out the hole for a M5 stainless bolt that will hold it back on "ALOT" more securely then before.  
                                what was underneath..... before and after.
A good covering of red oxide paint, once dry a dollop of sealant on the bottom of the mounts, Phil lifted it back into place and then I dropped those bolts in for Phil to tighten up from underneath. 
I chuckle now to that Phil an Dave have both sat on that rail together, to think it could of very easily come a drift an both of them falling in the canal. I would of laughed at first, but then had told them off for damaging Troutbridge!

 Another job done, a port hole transplant from top right of Troutbridge to bottom centre. Not straight forward job, needed an inner aluminum ring made to lie under the brass outer, it then had too be sanded to shape, to reduce the curve of the steel front, so the brass outer ring lay flat an no tension was put on the glass.

Tidy job there, hang on there is a smudge on the glass...... 

                                        ahem.... "PHIL...... GET YER CLOTH!"

We wasn't to keen on the weed hatch being held down by bolts, if they ever snapped or the thread buggered up while checking the prop on our travels, we would not of been able to move, so going on a most used clamp down system by other narrowboat makers, Phil got too work fabricating.

While Phil was busy I stood an watched the fishes. I had to film them... so here you are.... most relaxing!

First trial an it seems to clamp down the plate well, but the big test will be when we fire up the engine an get to turn the prop. That''ll be not for a while at this point. 

Bolt holes welded up, handle replaced, plus another handle fabricated, a coat of paint all round and I think Phil has done a fantastic job. 

Air vents in the side of the engine bay are a bit open to the elements. Rain blows in, so while Phil was in the fabricating mood, I gave him a challenge to fix it. 

On the port side is the engine hot air exit..tunnel..box.. if it has a proper name, I don't no it! Anyway Phil removed it and created a slope to go inside, so if any water blows in, it runs straight out again. 

A rub down of the box, red oxide paint, then a coat of Rustoleum hard hat paint to give it a good protection.

Then fitted back in. You can see the slope from the inside (still in red oxide). 

A good dollop of sealant around it before tightening up the bolts, that's a lot better... challenge part one sorted.......

He has the other side to do next......

Malcolm came again to replace the panel where we had removed the portholes from earlier. This became a bigger job then planned.

First was to take off the panel, a whip round with the angle grinder to take off the heads of the screws that were holding it on, then in with a cold chisel to prize it away from the bulkhead.  

It then took Dave a fair time cleaning up around the edge removing all the dodgey sealant and body filler. 

             New for old, The old panel was about a milometer thick.... a bit of tin! 

                            The replacement panel is 4mm.... a bit of steel! 

A decision had to be made to increase access to slide in the new panel, I gave the go ahead to remove the section of hand rail that Malcolm has his left hand on.

This was the challenging bit, 4mm steel doesn't bend that easy, an you can see in the picture how much it needs to be bent round the front.

Malcolm welded the left hand side, then he welded a bit of steel plate to the top of the roof, using a G clamp wedged under the plate, plus round the hand rail, slowly wound up the G clamp pulling in the plate round into shape. Once in the correct position Malcolm carried on welding around the edge.

It was a bit windy, so Dave held this wooden panel to give shelter to Malcolm while he was welding. 

Synchronized angle grinding, Dave tidying up around the panel and Malcom rubbing down where I had discovered a slight hole, that was leaking water inside so needed to be welded up.

All done and painted, Thank you again Dave and Malcolm, great team, I'm a very lucky Gopher. Oh by the way Phil was there...... he had the very important job of making the tea's and supplying the biscuits (bottom right) 

"Tanks very much mate!" Phil has ordered the 240ltr stainless steel water tank from "Jay Wolfe aka Float Your Boat" Kingsthorpe Hollow, Northampton. Once we get that in place up the front we can start building inside.

I reminded Phil of the challenge I gave him to sort out the air vents in the engine bay. 

Port side done, so he got to work on the starboard side. He used the steel that was cut out of Troutbridge when the Houdini hatch was fitted. The 2 3/4 is the measurement for the triangle bit for the sides.

These bits.

Making another water slide, this one didn't need to be too technical. 

Inside was a already a small lip that was a small water slide. You can see where the arrow is, the original air vent location. So Phil used the lip to hold the slide in place.

Galvanized mesh cut to size to match the other side, then welded along the bottom to secure it. Challenge completed.  

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