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    Samson & Oates (formerly Esquimaux)
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  1. Last October we went up the Llangollen and back from Audlem. Day 1 Audlem to Willeymoor; Day 2 to Ellesmere; Day 3 to Llangollen. Same moorings on the way back. We are deep and hence we’re slow at times and you could knock off 5 or 6 hrs for the Audlem to Nantwich stretch in both directions but you would be hard pressed to do it in four days I think. In my opinion if you are going up there it is well worth going all the way to the end. We didn’t in 1997 and finally rectified that last year. Alec
  2. 'Proper red oxide' is rust particles. Red lead is a different thing, and a different colour - distinctively orange. It bonds far better and is also a better barrier, therefore gives better corrosion protection. It was always more expensive though. Lead was added to 'red oxide' as recently as the 1970s to improve it but pure red lead paints were also used. We recently had to remove some from a load of gas pipelines installed in the 1960s before we could test the material against hydrogen. The red lead paint was pure red lead, the red oxide contained around 10% lead. Whether a modern paint is 'red oxide' or coloured zinc phosphate often depends on the price - rust is far cheaper! Alec
  3. 'Red oxide' is literally powdered rust. It is used as a pigment because it is cheap, however it is not of itself very effective as a barrier. Paint consists of the pigment and the binder - what you really want is for oxygen and water to have to work their way round the pigment particles through the binder, because the longer and narrower the path they have to take, the longer the paint holds up. Red oxide is therefore not great because the water and oxygen do not have to work their way around, they can go straight through. Zinc phosphate is a much better pigment, as is titanium dioxide. You can then add colours of your choice to make it look like red oxide. Epoxy is a particularly good barrier and bonds very well to the iron underneath, meaning that oxygen and water have a much harder job displacing it. Polyurethane is an exceptionally good barrier but doesn't bond so well. All of these make excellent paint systems for difficult or very long lasting applications. More recently, epoxies have been blended with siloxanes - this is a matrix which is an even better barrier than standard epoxy and unlike amine epoxies which chalk and dull, polysiloxane epoxies remain with their final finish under UV and weathering so can be used as topcoats. I have found them to have a satin finish rather than gloss, rather an industrial look, but exceptionally durable and probably a very good choice for a bilge. Alec
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  5. Strangely, I have been doing both of these with trees this week. I have been pruning the orchard and re-laying the hedge. When you lay hedges you make the cut from the back so the strip on the front bends, when you want to lower the angle of a branch on an apple you can put a partial cut on the front face and pull it down closed, re-kerfing each time to keep the bend going at one point or using a series of parallel cuts for a more gentle bend. I don't think this helps with Harry's insulation much! Alec
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  7. Yes, but most pubs say yes if asked, or if they say no you have other options for parking in the vicinity. Alec
  8. We visited Willeymoor Lock Tavern last autumn - they accommodated a party of nine at short notice and the food was perfectly acceptable - definitely basic pub but the price reflected that. It was certainly good enough to choose to stop at on the way back down. However, that was the mistake as there is an issue/feature which is worth being aware of. The pub is in a very isolated location, with no parking other than the pub car park itself. The lane to the pub has signs indicating that it is a private drive and that joins the A49 which is a busy road with no lay-bys. Suffice to say that the pub staff appear to take a very strict interpretation around people using their car park only when they are at the pub, so if you had friends visiting overnight and you all ate at the pub and then stayed on your boat, or if you needed to do a car shuffle, or if you drove out to the pub, had a couple of pints and decided it would be a good idea to get a taxi back and pick up the car the next morning, or you went to the pub and then fancied going for a stroll along the towpath before heading off, or anything else which is not a strict interpretation of 'customer of the pub' then you may not end up having a positive or enjoyable experience. Since there is nowhere else to park a car nearby, it would probably be advisable to choose somewhere else. Alec
  9. Other than replacement, you have two general lines of attack. One is to use something resin/adhesive based, the other is to use something metal-based which wets out to the stainless. The total exposure is very small, so I wouldn't personally be worried about whether what you use is technically food grade or not - you simply won't have enough of it present and if it is going to work it won't leach, because if it is leaching it is dissolving so would be the wrong approach anyway. There is very little pressure and it doesn't have to deal with getting hot, so the biggest challenges with the resin/adhesive approach are that it has to wet the stainless properly to get a good bond, and it has to then not break down over time. Getting a good bond is about surface preparation. You would need to drain the tank and thoroughly dry the area, then clean it, degrease it (acetone/aka nail polish remover is the best) and then abrade the surface - sandpaper is OK but around welds a scotchbrite will get in deeper. Ideally you would want something low viscosity which creeps into the holes first, something like a creeping crack cure, then seal over the outside. I would use a polyurethane ideally, second choice an epoxy, but if it is not vulnerable to being knocked then a hot melt glue gun would do a very good job. Adding layers to form a true patch shouldn't be necessary if it is just weeping, as you are not really needing to resist the pressure. Using metals to seal it will be stronger and definitely permanent. Welding would be ideal - TIG is neatest and is likely to be how it was first made, but it can be done with 1.6mm rods in MMA if that's all that is available. For this, you would ideally want a rod with a cellulose-based coating rather than rutile, as you can drag these along the surface like a pencil which makes it much easier to control when working at an awkward angle. Brazing (aka silver soldering) does work with stainless, but the fluxes to strip the oxide off the stainless (which is the thing that makes it stainless in the first place) are quite nasty, giving off hydrogen fluoride gas, so if it is in a confined space I would be inclined not to do that. For welding, you would again want the tank drained and really dry, ie dry with hot air, as otherwise you risk hydrogen embrittlement and yes, that can happen with austenitic stainless steels as well as ferritic ones, and you would then want it clean and degreased. For brazing you would prepare it as per for adhesive bonding. Hope that helps. Alec
  10. To reiterate a few points I would agree with. 1. It is all about the weather. You can generally tell in advance based on the forecast and the amount of rain over the preceding 48hrs whether the levels will be OK. If the weather is OK and stable when you set off, I would do the river section first, ie down Tardebigge. Down the Severn is short and quick, up the Avon is longer and slower. When we went the other way round (setting off from Wootton Wawen) we were advised to down the Severn and up the Avon. We went against the advice and were the only boat to make it back to the hire base, all the others being stuck on the Avon. 2. The clocks change after your first night, so the light won't be ideal on the first day, but it can be done. I would talk to Anglo Welsh and also turn up early. That should mean you are the first boat away. As has been mentioned, many boats moor up for the day from 4pm these days, so you are very likely to get a clear run. There is one pound (around lock 6 or 7 from the bottom I think) which is long enough to moor in overnight, so long as you get away early in the morning. It is a sensible walk from there down to the Queen's Head. If you make it to the bottom then great, but otherwise it is a reasonable Plan B. We did the route in a week, including a run up to Gas Street and back. It means reasonably long days, but not painfully so. We stopped at Cadbury World (back in the days when it was still good) and at Avoncroft, and had a couple of hours in Worcester, so we weren't running dawn 'til dusk every day. Alec
  11. I have no idea whether it is available anywhere but a video was shown at last year’s Ellesmere Port gathering which was a boating version of the three classes (John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett). One of the lines from the ‘upper class’ boater with an ex working boat was “my boat does two hours to the gallon, of Brasso”. Alec
  12. Sticking a Seasearcher on them overnight would be a problem; tapping the side with the magnetic catch on an iPhone not so much. Alec
  13. Do you have these scanned at a higher resolution? Usually with scanned photographs you can zoom in quite a bit before losing clarity but the scale they are posted at means I can't zoom in at all. I stand a chance of identifying the boat in the first photograph if you can post the highest quality image possible. Alec
  14. Check it with a magnet. If it is magnetic then it is plated steel so you need a re-plater. If it is just the lacquer breaking down then wiping it off with alcohol, polishing and re-applying new lacquer is what is required. For indoor work such as this, shellac is good. If you do it yourself (which is not too difficult) then shellac flakes dissolved in isopropyl alcohol is the easiest to handle. Bear in mind that whichever way you go, it will need to be separated out from the surroundings if you want to avoid any accidental drips or runs on other parts. Alec
  15. I suggest looking at Norbury Wharf as somewhere to hire from, on the Shropshire Union. If you are thinking of going out of season they may well be amenable - they do winter hires for example. If you want to minimise locks, I would head south, then turn right at Autherley and head down a bit of the Staffs & Worcs. There are some nice places with good pubs not that far down. If you find you want to travel for longer then it continues to be a pleasant route as far as you would reasonably get. There are also some nice places to stop on the southern Shropshire Union itself - Brewood and Gnosall spring to mind. it is a sensible trip back from Gnosall on the final morning if you moor there on the last night and there is a good choice of pubs for food. Another option would be to hire from Chas Hardern and head north to Chester, with the option of going on up to Ellesmere Port. This is not very far and not particularly ambitious, so if you found you were back early you could head down to Barbridge in the opposite direction. I think you would fairly easily do pick up on day 1 and head towards Chester. Head on the next day and go to Ellesmere Port for an afternoon at the museum, then head back late afternoon and moor in Chester. Day 3 would be either a walk around Chester and back up to the general vicinity of the boatyard, or a shorter walk around Chester and up as far as you get (Bunbury or Barbridge) and Day 4 would be head back, depending on whether it is a full day or a short day would determine where you wanted to moor. Both are pleasant, fairly easy routes. Slightly more locks on the latter but they are not difficult with a crew of three or more. Alec
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