... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Battening down the hatches

Not literally, I hasten to add. Almost the reverse, in fact. All summer I have been very worried about rain damaging the wooden panels of Chertsey's rear hatches. These have survived since the early seventies, when they were painted by Ian Kemp, largely because the boat was unused and shut up for much of that time. My fear was that rain would get behind the painted panels and cause them to warp; maybe ultimately to crack or even rot, and they would be damaged beyond repair.

Using the boat every day, to sleep in if nothing else, means that the tops of the doors are constantly exposed. Not only when we are boating, but in winter, with the stove burning, the slide has to be left open for ventilation. So  needed to find a way to seal the tops, the grain of the wood and especially the join between the door itself and the painted panel. We considered epoxy resin, which we will very probably be using on Bakewell's back cabin when we get round to doing it, but we've no experience of using it yet. A strip of brass across the top of the wood was another idea, but would mean cutting more of the wood away to make space for it. Either of these may yet come to pass. In the meantime however I have filled the gap around and behind the right hand panel (the left hand one isn't in as bad a state and doesn't have a gap. Yet) with Evo-Stick All Weather paintable silicone, and was so impressed with its manageability I have smeared a layer over the top as well. This stuff claims to stick to wet and oily surfaces as well as remaining waterproof and flexible for twenty years.

This has really, amazingly, been the first opportunity this year to do any jobs of this sort, with enough time for the wood to dry out beforehand and then for the sealants and paint to dry. Jim has kindly sanded the rest of the inside of the hatches too so that they can all be repainted and the panels revarnished - to which end we made a trip to Stourbridge this morning to get a tin of Craftmaster varnish.


  1. *Pedant Alert* I think strictly epeaking they're called doors on motor boats and hatches on butties. In fact personally I also call them doors on butties as "hatches" seems to be a looser term for the general area ie. including the stern well.

    Keep blogging!

  2. Ooh thanks Paul, I do like to refine my pedantry! Good to hear from you.

  3. Nothing to do with this post, but I thought you might like to know we're in your (old) neck of the woods for a few days - staying near Lewes for a bit of walking. Just about to walk down to the pub - I wonder if it's a Harvey's?