Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hame and Hearth.

The picture is nothing to write home about but sod it; I’m going to do it anyway. Last Monday I spent an extremely physical few hours making two of these things…

This one’s in the old engine room, and the other, which is a slightly different shape (sort of a bit narrower, but much thicker) is up forward.

They are destined to be the hearths for our woodburners. Of course they don’t look like much being merely two shitloads of freshly laid reinforced concrete in wooden shuttering. The easiest thing to say about concrete is that it’s quite heavy. Never mind actually getting the raw materials on board in the first place, for which I did at least have some much needed help in the form of tough girl Becky; who got away from the demands of her farm for a half day only to have to barrow ballast over rickety bridges with me. I’ve worked out that together they weigh over 400kg, which is surprising because they’re not huge or anything. So you’ll probably believe me when I say that actually mixing and pouring the stuff in a confined space by hand fair near snapped me in half. It’s for these reasons that I now suddenly have a renewed appreciation for cement mixers, and also for sites where the materials are conveniently unloaded by HIAB, or by other people.
Once they’ve cured these monoliths will have to be tiled and finished and the woodburners brought on board ready for the big flue building weekend. The only issue here is that I’ve never actually laid so much as a single tile in my life, never mind, there’s a first time for everything, but my wallet has that doomed feeling that it’s time for even more new tools.

It should be quite obvious to the reader that yes, we are starting this AFTER the worst of the winter has passed. For diverse reasons we couldn’t get it done before the temperatures dropped below silly last year, so by starting now I figure that we are at least in with a reasonable chance of being ready for next winter (I’m also sure I’ve made this kind of rash statement before). After the winter we’ve just had (er… and the one before that) I am determined not to be such a dummy that I’ll be living without heating on board for one moment longer.


Blogger Fran said...

Don't give us the sob story about your wallet. You guys love any excuse to buy new tools!!!!!!!

7:40 pm  
Blogger bowiechick said...

You can always rent tools by the way. However, on a damp boat, the BTUs from wood are the best for taking that chill off. However, the dust from wood stoves is a bitch too.

6:52 pm  
Blogger steve said...

I'm a big fan of the idea of getting things sorted for winter during the summer. It's so much easier to get lots done when it's not sub arctic, and by the next time winter rolls around you'll be that much more prepared.

9:26 am  
Blogger rob said...

A cheap diamond edged disk for your already owned 6 inch angle grinder (about £5) will cut all you need ;o)) nice job by the way.

12:41 pm  
Blogger Janys said...

I just had to giggle to myself after reading how heavy the whole process was... and ask... are they in the place that they will end up? No... I retract... you couldn't be that silly! That's something more in keeping with my way of doing things!

On less of a daft point, I have to say that I was really most impressed by the heat given off by our local barge friends' wood burning stove. A nice dry, all enveloping cosy heat. Are you going for pellets or logs? These friends have one of each, but the log burner does tend to produce more smoke than the pellet one.

7:06 am  
Blogger Janys said...

ps. I just noticed bowiechick's mention of dust... I think some of the newer generation pellet stoves actually recycle/reburn some of that dust, and our friends say that they just give a quick hoover to clean up the rest every few days.
Here are my ramblings on pellet stoves...

7:10 am  

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