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Mike Jordan

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About Mike Jordan

  • Birthday 29/02/1944

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    Ive been a waterways enthusiast for more than 40 years and a boat owner/builder for about 35. In that time Ive built and fitted a number of shells and fitted out others made by various fabricators. Although Ive fitted ready built engines I much prefer the financial and quality advantages of marinising my own, I have always had a liking for the leyland 1.8 diesel. (2013 Update)Author of - "Narrow Boat & Dutch Barge Joinery Designs for Boat Fitters" ISBN - 978- 0-9576824-0-5
    (And still making the occasional cratch board)

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  1. Pigeon/Dog box finish

    I would agree with the idea of using Iroko for the box, teak is better but heart stoppingly expensive. Like the deck light in the photo you would be well advised to have it flush glazed with double glazing. The flush glazing removes the need for retaining beads and drainage channels to get rainwater off the glass. Maintenance will be reduced if you have a tailored cover with transparent top surface for overwintering.
  2. Cratch - What Is Important

    System 4-50. Yes. Guilty as charged. Mike.
  3. Cratch - What Is Important

    I have owned five boats and never had a cratch board on one, I have, however, made literally hundreds of them. They are very usefull for drying wet clothing, boots, dogs etc. Most also act as a fuel store and place to keep low value items,barbecues and other mucky things that are not welcome inside the boat. There are folding tables of various designs that allow al fresco dining and drinking which are part of many boaters enjoyment of the lifestyle. They are also a good method of protecting a posh set of expensive hardwood front doors Proportions matter if the assembly is to please the eye, although I accept that not everyone will see things the same way. I think that the top of the board looks mean and unattractive if it comes to a point or has a width less than about 300 to 350mm wide. The top plank should fit up to the back of the board and never be on top. The height that you place the top plank above the roof needs to reflect the overall height of the boat. The average total height is about 80mm above the roof. Most boards feature glazing so that the forward view is not lost, it's not compulsory but I thing laminated glass is a must have, it's obviously safer than float glass and, should you be unlucky enough to break it, it will normally stay in place. The prize for least attractive must go to either a floating plastic greenhouse or one of the front covers fitted over a couduit frame with a flexible front panel.
  4. Dobson Boats?

    In the late 60s I spent a day visiting the workshops of Hancock and Lane and Springer Engineering, the plan was to buy a shell to fit out. It was a day of contrasts! I'm not surprised that a shell from Hancock and Lane has lasted well, I think it was in their premises that I saw a huge shot blasting setup used to prepare shells for painting. Towards the end of their time as shell builders they also sold pre profiled kits of steel parts for home builders.
  5. Dobson Boats?

    Hancock and Lane were formerly agricultural engineers working in Daventry, they made complete boats and a huge number of shells for other builders. Their quality was very high in my opinion. Dobsons gained good publicity when they fitted out a shell built by Trent Welding of Burton on Trent, The boat owner was John Gagg who was a very regular contributor to Waterways Worlld. The travels of "Nike Four" featured monthly I think.
  6. Dobson Boats?

    Dobson and Son were owners of a yard at Shardlow Derby. They built wooden cruisers and fitted out narrow boats based on steel shells built by others.The had a reputation for quality work and were one of the original suppliers to early pleasure cruiser owners and operated the first chandlery stores I remember visiting. Im sure that someone will provide you with much more information about the company, they have a long history
  7. Door panels

    I would agree that using adhesive is quick and easy, but when you need to replace the panels it's a nightmare! Experience it once and you will avoid doing it ever again. The best quality job would be to have hardwood frames approx 22mm thick, properly jointed and with veered ply panels let into grooves. The space at the back of the panels can be insulated and the whole secured in place with screws through the edges of the steel panels.
  8. Sharp Corners!

    I've just found an even better collection of potential pain and injury delivering features! This time on a boat with a £150,000 price tag, the glowing report on this boat is by Adam Porter in Octobers Canal Boat magazine. The shell, engine, and joinery quality look superb but why would any designer create an obstacle course of lethal sharp corners in a narrow boat? The builders are one of the most experienced makers of river and offshore boats with a reputation for quality. There is no mention that the tester has even noticed the hazards, the boat is described as being aimed at those who have not been canal boating before. If they are not very carefull the experience may leave a lasting impression in more ways than one. I don't believe that any experienced narrow boat user will be much impressed. In this article even the proof reading is below optimum, the editors instruction to remove a picture and replace it with the correct one has been printed over the wrong photo and proudly published. Times are tough in the magazine industry at the moment with subscriptions falling and buyers being reluctant to make a casual purchase at nearly £4.00 a go.
  9. Converting working boat to live aboard

    Anyone capable of doing the job (or claiming to be) who hasn't got a waiting list, should be regarded with extreme suspicion. No sensible person can give a price without full details of what you want.
  10. Unlike timber dog boxes with double glazing, Houdini hatches are great for causing condensation problems, it's not the double glazing but the alloy frames that seem to cause the grief. I've wasted hours trying to persuade new boaters who are determined "lie in bed and look at the stars" that its not a good idea. It's possible but rather costly to fit a glazed secondary frame beneath the Houdini to reduce the problem but I would avoid going there in the first place. Perhaps someone with a hatch will add their opinion.
  11. Water stains

    Sorry, I failed to mention that you will need to strip off the varnish prior to trying the oxalic acid. Hence the reference to painting being easier. Hi watever You are right, it's the basis of a number of bleaching and metal cleaning products. I don't think it's a good idea to use it before having a look at the H and S details. One of its drawbacks to my mind is that the crystals look just like sugar, on the rare occasions I've lent my box of crystals to a boater it's been the whole box complete with all the warnings on the side. I did read of an instance of a pub landlord drinking a fatal dose thinking it was gin. Not sure if the tale is true but it makes me very carefull! Painting the roof panels and superstructure with a light colour is quite common now, I think it makes the boat feel more spacious and takes away the coffin like look that you tend to get with older varnish which has gone darker.
  12. Water stains

    The only methods that spring to mind are - bleaching the oak veneer with oxalic acid ( suggest you google the name for details and safety considerations) or perhaps much easier, consider painting all the roof panels with a suitable light colour to cover the staining.
  13. ID this hardwood :)

    My money is on Iroko, as teak has not been used for lab benches for a very long time due to the staggering cost. You will find Iroko to be easier to work with than teak although it has interlocking grain which makes it tear out if you are not very carefull. If I am wrong and it proves to be teak you will not be able to machine it without investing in TCT cutters and planer knives, the blunting effect is spectacular! You can only glue Iroko with epoxy resin two part glues although polyurethane is also reputed to work well with it. Best of luck with it. Mike.
  14. Which fence paint.

    Creosote is a by product of coking plants and other smokeless fuel manufacture,and was found in every towns gas works before natural gas. in its original strength its toxic, corrosive and horrible to handle. Makers of fence panels immerse them in a tank of the stuff before standing them on a giant draining board! That ensures that the little gaps and hidden faces get treated, not a thing you can do with a brush or spray coat. I think the versions which are readily available at the DIY sheds are thinned down to make them safer to use. The most convincing part of it as a preservative is the smell, it smells as if it might be doing some good.
  15. Which fence paint.

    The decay that destroys the panel starts where two layers of wood come together with a minute gap between. Water trapped in the joint where paint can't get rots the panel. Some will make preservative an annual ritual in the belief that the panels are going to last longer. If they weighed up the cost of proper preservative I am certain that they would put the cash towards the cost of new panels and avoid disappoint . External joinery, garden gates and doors etc are now imported in vast quantities and sold "in the White" at low prices. In days gone by the boards and frame of the gates would be painted with primer in all the areas that would not be accessible after assembly, so no pieces of unpainted timber would come together during the making and make a water trap. Again there is little point other than appearance reasons when the modern preservatives are applied to the ready made item, the water traps are built in.