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David Schweizer

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Posts posted by David Schweizer

  1. 1 hour ago, Iani said:

    Does anyone remember a children’s book called

    ”The Drum the Monkey and the red red rose” or something very similar. 1960’s.About kids holidaying on a relatives working barge and delivering its cargo themselves when he falls ill.’?

    let me know if you have further details or know where I might get an old copy 👍





  2. On 30/11/2023 at 12:10, David Schweizer said:

    Does anyone have list of the narrowboats marshalled as a Fire Service Boat in WW11? I have always understood that Pisces operated as one in London (or possibly in Birmingham), but I have never found any photographic or documentary evidence.




    Looking through some of my old files, I have just found the text from an email sent to me by Pete Harrison, which confirms that Pisces did operate as a Fire Boat in London during WW11. An extract below gives some details:-

    In August 1942 Pisces was hired to the London Fire Service and converted into a Fire boat, operating on the Thames, and based at Greenland Dock/Surrey Commercial Docks. It was fitted with 3 'Large' Dennis pumps, each being rated at 500 gallons per minute. 


    Edited to add photo which is suggested to be  Pisces as a Fire boat:-





  3. Does anyone have list of the narrowboats marshalled as a Fire Service Boat in WW11? I have always understood that Pisces operated as one in London (or possibly in Birmingham), but I have never found any photographic or documentary evidence.



  4. 3 hours ago, BoatinglifeupNorth said:

    Glad they’re putting on lots of varnish to keep them waterproof and to them some protection from narrowboats ramming them👍


    It is very unlikely that they have painted the gate with anything. Traditionally, new gates were submerged in water to swell the joints and make them watertight, it is far more likely that the gates have been recently removed from the tank for transportation, and the shine is geing generated by residual water onthe gate surfaces.

  5. Having spent the first 25 years of my life in Ruislip, I know knew the Lido well. Below are several photos of the Lido building and the official opening ceremony. I am fairly certain that the man on the left in the third photo is Leslie Morton, who was general manger of the GUCCC at the time.















    • Greenie 1
  6. 7 hours ago, magnetman said:

    Yes thinking about it my most comfortable boat was my first narrow boat which was a 30ft cruiser starn. I put a recaro seat from a scrap yard on a beer keg on the deck and sat in that for the steering. Very comfy. A lot more comfy than the trads I had after that but I'm thinking of the bigger picture. Deck boards are a nuisance and canvas covers. A trad deck without a silly lifting lid is ideal. Rain has a havit of getting in everywhere.


    We had one of those on Helvetia, one of the first welding jobs I had done was to increase the size of the drainage channels, which resulted in no more rain getting into the rear counter chamber.


  7. 14 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

    I think that you mean a Dutch barge STYLE narrowboat which, in my view, is basically a cruiser stern with a wheelhouse over it. The better ones might have slightly wider side walkways and vertical cabin sides. Often have improbably large "T studs" for mooring lines.


    There was a thread about this last year.



  8. 2 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:


    There must be a point where the gap becomes so small (1" ?) that pieces of wood and extraneous materials just cannot get stuck, bounce off the prop and continue on their way.


    Or get stuck solid and stop the engine. Something I have seen happen on a couple of occassions.

  9. 16 hours ago, Maudesmaster said:

    Eventually ordered a Left hand 21”x 18 pitch Propeller 3 years ago  was ok but lacking thrust so had it remodelled to 21”x21 pitch 1 year ago worked fine but hectic on right hand bends until got used to the stern pushing to the right 

    Now then I have a throw of 12” ie 24” between skeg and uxter plate 

    Up on Leeds Liverpool just west of Wigan flight top lock picked up a big rock or something winding all three blade ends are like the top of an “r”

    I am wondering if better to have 1” gap top and bottom and going for a 22” prop 

    62’ with a Gardner 3LW 

    not done anything about it yet as needed to descend the flight before it closed



    Over the years I observed that boats with only a small distance between the prop and counter plate had a tendancy to get lumps of wood, and other extaneous materials, jammed between them. We had a 6" gap on Helvetia, and rarely caught anything between the prop and the counter plate, just a bit of banging and watch the wood float off behind us. I would suggest that a 1" gap could be asking for problems.

  10. 35 minutes ago, bizzard said:

    My telly won't switch on by remote control or by it's manual switch unless the ambient temperature is precisely 20c degrees or above. To cobat it's reluctance to switch on I've taken to a harsh method, which works a treat. I tried the usual thumping it but not thumping too hard after all it's been a good telly for about fifteen tears, but I like my money's worth.  I bought a cheap electric hair dryer with the hope that if I train the nozzle at the telly the hot air will switch it on. And hey presto it does at precisely 20c. The jolly old hair dryer is very useful for warming up other things like starting up bl--dy BMC diesel engines which I've done by removing the air cleaner and aiming it into the air intake,by which it started instantly, saved messing with those stupid heater plugs. I don't know why BMC didn't just stick a 12v element in the air intake venturi like some other engines. The hair dryer can also be used to dry out damp nooks and crannies before blacking when in dry dock and general drying before painting. Can be used for drying out your bed if you happen to be a bed wetter. A very useful task for it is is to use it as bellows to revive  dying coals in your stove. To do this open the bottom vent completely and hold the hair dryer close up to it, switch on for a minute or two and your fire should come alive. Remember to make sure that the door is closed beforehand or the draft pressure might blow em off.  Oh and it is not bad for drying your hair also, if you've got any. A cheap one like mine is about £18 on ebay or Amazon.


    It used to be possible to buy a inlet heat conversion kit for Nuffield/Leyland  tractor engines, from some Agricultural Merchants, I believe it could also be used on the BMC 1.5 and 1.8 engine.

  11. All this "buy it from Howdens" and adapt it, but don't bother too much about fitting the cabinets to the hull tumble home is not Cabinet Building it is general carpentry with a bit of bodge thown in. I was taught by a Master Cabinet Maker, and he regularly stressed that any decent Cabinet Maker will give as much attention to the back of the cabint as he will to the front and sides, even no one else will see it.

    • Greenie 2
  12. 3 hours ago, truckcab79 said:


    Thanks. I’ll be happy just to find the time to do my own. 

    Im new to all this but already feel that there’s a lot of nonsense talked about having to find someone who specialise is boats for stuff. Most of it doesn’t matter what the location is as far as I can see…..except tradesmen won’t want to drag their gear half a mile down a towpath or marina when there are so many easier jobs to go to. 😂


    As far as the actually work is concerned it’s irrelevant. Kitchens are always a lot of work as all of the finishing is bespoke if you want it to look ‘fitted’. I’ve just completed one where the designer deliberately ignored the boxing out in the room which contained all of the property’s gas water and electric.  Client had told him but his response was ‘don’t worry the fitter will sort it’.  Meant he could sell a few extra cabinets.   Also meant I had to remake all of the units on that section. When it’s done you’d never know. That’s what you pay for. 


    I am assuming that you have never done any boat fitting or you would be a little more circumspect about it. The first thing you will discover will be that none of the "walls" are flat or perpendicular, you will not find a spirit level or plumbline of much any use. and will need to invest in a couple of roofers squares, hoping that the floors are flat and level. I re-fitted my boat including a fitted galley, making all the units in my workshop at home, Large sheets of cardboard are  the main essential as all the unit building will need to preceeded by making templates. It all takes a lot more time, and having also fitted a full kitchen in my house, I know which job was easier.



    • Happy 1
  13. 1 hour ago, LadyG said:


    The fitter measured the sink worktop at 165, that is cm, so 1650mm, the sink is on the website at 850mm by 500mm.

    I was against oak worktops because English oak will blacken and is not used in boatbuilding, however I expect Howdens have found it satisfactory as it is the only wood they sell, no mention of whether it is English or American, I suspect it will be American . They suggest the colour can be changed by the oil.

    They only have 40mm thickness, on the website , I assume they will be stable. I'm now thinking two kitchen worktops plus the dining table all matching.


    I am not sure where you get your information from, but European Oak has been used, and is still used, for boatbuilding (including Narrowboats) for centuries. As for blackening, it is true that American Oak will  blacken less than European Oak beacuase it contains less tannin. However, American Oak is far more water absorbant than European Oak, and is not really suitable for boatbuilding, or for any othe outdoor application. Where it excells is as a timber for Furniture and indoor panelling etc.

  14. 4 hours ago, LadyG said:

    OK, well what I want is a curve where the cooker is, at the moment it looks like two triangular pieces of wood on either side of the cooker lid, not pretty.

    The sink side is rectangular, 165mm long so no problem with the worktop,  I've selected the 850 ceramic sink, there will be glossy doors and drawers, matching glossy sheets to make it all shiny snd easy clean.

    I have already trimmed my ply panels on the cabin with Ameranican oak, which is warmer than my view of English oak. Maybe Howdens have American oak worktops, which are red rather than brown 

    Fitter is visiting Howdens this week, will ask him to check the

    oak worktops, he fears that 25mm for the dining table will warp if solid,which i assume is staved,  like planks rather than small blocks of wood 



    European Oak timber is actually a darker colour than American Oak, which is often referred to as White oak, because of it's lighter colour. However, it is sometimes referred to as Red Oak because that is the name of the tree, from which it comes, named Red after the colour the leaves turn in Autumn. American Oak has a straighter grain than European Oak and is often devoid if any Medulary Rays. A not unattractive wood, but I much prefer European (preferrably English) Oak which is a beautiful timber, and which mellows to a wonderful deep honey colour in time.



  15. 21 hours ago, Tracy D'arth said:

    Not much worktop left after cutting the hole. The front needs to overhang the base unit too.  Would you be better with a smaller sink?


    Tell me about it. there was a huge amount of timber left over when my daughter had a new worktop fitted to her central island. In hindsight, I somewhat foolishly, agreed to make a couple of coffee table tops from the surplus timber, that is when I discovered what rubbish rainforest hardwood worktops are. The top and edges looked fine, but the interior was made up from random sized bits with many air gaps between the pieces of timber, plus filler  in the larger gaps. Eventually I managed to make two reasonabley good tops, but if anyone ever asked me again what I could do with leftover work top timber , I would suggest chopping it up and putting it in the woodburning stove.

    • Greenie 1
  16. 2 hours ago, blackrose said:


    A few months? Maybe I've just been lucky. My IKEA butchers block beech workshops have had 18 years of liveaboard use and are still unstained or darkened and just as good as when they were first installed. 


    Decent quality and laminate worktops is a contradiction in terms in my opinion. Unless you're still stuck in the 1970s with Bob & Thelma.


    Genuine Beech Butchers Block work surface is a completely different (and superior) product from modern rain forest timber work tops. We had them in the dairy on the farm where I was Saturdy boy, and you don't need to treat it in the same way. I agree that some most modern laminate work tops a less than impressive, but if you are prepared to pay for decent quality, it is available, and if low maintenance is an issue, it is worth paying more for a better product.




    53 minutes ago, MrsM said:

    I'm in the market for new worktop for my house. Do you have any recommendations for decent laminate? Thanks


    I am not able to recommend anyone in Lincoln, but what you need to do is earch out a local company which specialises in good quality produxts and discuss your requirements with them. the first thing is to ensure that the laminate is a decent thicknes and not like paper.



  17. 2 hours ago, LadyG said:

    Modern worktops are a laminate covered chipboard, very much a standard B&Q look.

    Real wood looks like real wood, and I want a wow factor.



    If you buy them from B & Q then that is what you will get, but you can get much better laminates these days which are virtually indistinguishavble from real wood, but you have to go to specialist suppliers, and be prepared to pay for them.

  18. I am not a fan of Vactan, never ever having had much luck with it. When I painted my engine bilges, I cleaned as much old paint and rust off, and after de - greasing gave it two good thick coats of what was called Finnegans Smoothrite in those days. Finnegans had assured me that providing I let it cure completely, the paint was both heat and oil resistant, after ten years there was no sign of deterioration. Smoothrite is still made, but under a new name of Hammerite Smooth.

  19. For what it is worth I think wooden worktops are a future problem waiting to happen. They always look lovely for the first few months, but no mattwer how much oil is rubbed into them, they eventually start to stain and darken, requiring a complete re-furbishment, and just hope that a tap does not start to leak whilst you are away from the boat! I settled for decent quality laminate covered tops, which are minimum maintenance, and always look the same as when they were installed.



    • Greenie 2
  20. I bolted a 7.5mm thick round steel plate to the bottom of the bilge pump which held it down by weight. This did mean that the pump would not completely drain the bilges, but as my bilges were always dry it was not really an issue, but it would have worked if there was an ingress of water.



  21. 39 minutes ago, magnetman said:

    Yes I've had lots of boathooks like that out with the magnet. Most of them are now with Michael Pinnock .



    I gave him a sack full of them quite recently. 


    I did wonder about this. Its not all that big and I would have thought they would carry heavier stuff but I suppose if it had a heavy wooden handle it would add to the overall weight of the tool. 




    I was thinking of poleaxe in the sense of socially distant one to one combat. The hook could be used to take a leg down during the fight. 


    Like knights used in ye olde days of yore. 


    Or a jousting pole end. 



    I suppose it might be for a high up window latch. 




    Maybe the wedge shaped end is a sort of screwdriver for something. 


    It was my interest in old tools and Agricultural History which led me to describe what I know as Pole Axe. My complerte lack of enthusiasm for Military History led to me not being aware of the term Pole Axe being more commonly used to describe a Medieval instument of war.  Your item may have been a Military Pole Axe, however, I feel it is more probably a loggers tootl used for the moving of unprepared timber.


    Below is a photo of an Agricultural Pole Axe used for the slaughter of cattle:-









    • Greenie 1
  22. 5 hours ago, magnetman said:

    Yes it is a bit similar to a hookaroon but a lot smaller. I do use it for picking up pieces of wood sometimes by spiking. 



    I feel @David Schweizer might know what it is as he is very knowledgeable on iron tools. 


    I did a quick search in my dictionary of old tools (yes, there is one!) but could not find your hook illustrated. I will have a word with my friend, who is a real expert. One thing I can confirm is that it is not a pole axe, which is quite different with a double head, one side has a  triangular axe head, and the other has a long tube about 4" long and an inch diameter, sharpened at the end. This is the end used to kill a bull or cow, there is also a small hole at the handle end of the tube, which enables the blood to shoot out when it is used to strike the beast's head. Outlawed many years ago, although the slaughtering process was apparently both effective and quick.

    • Greenie 1
  23. 1 hour ago, noddyboater said:

    Has anyone actually looked at the photo I posted several hours ago?

    It clearly shows the wooden cabin with an added rail behind the traditional square.

    Presumably for safety when used as a tug.


    I noticed, but as the modification bore no resemblence to Yarwoods handrails, I chose not to comment.

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