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Steve Priest

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    Aquila & Bingley
  • Boat Location
    Grand union

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  1. Steve Priest

    Belmont butty

    I am afraid that I can’t say too much at the moment but I can put your minds at rest. Talks have taken place, Belmont will not be scrapped and will probably have left Snibston by Christmas. Steve
  2. Steve Priest

    Braunston to Oxford

    Regarding the problems with lock 9, I first got stuck there when I first bought Aquila in '93. She had spent years in Oxford and on the Thames and had not had bracing chains in for ages and had spread to 7' 4'' I managed to get a couple of inches off, but she was still well over 7' and we had bother in several places north of Banbury, so I thought little of getting stuck in no 9. After Aquila was rebuilt, we went through Napton again at Easter 2012. Heading south, we had no trouble, didn't even touch, but when we returned, coming down the lock, we got stuck. I had a winch with me, and with winching and flushing we got out in about 30 mins. I didn't bother CRT or even report it at the time. Margaret Clark attempted to take Mercury up no9 last September to see if she could do it, and failed to get in, I think Richard Parry was with her at the time, as was Steve Powell, and some other local CRT men. Margaret then began to campaign for something to be done, and I joined her in this, especially after it was rumoured that something might be done during the stoppage of last November, but wasn't. My next trip through Napton was last new year. This time, I nipped very slightly whilst going up, but on coming back down I got well stuck. We got through with the same method as before, but it took a good bit longer, with as much strain on the boat as I would want to give it. I reported this to CRT, and Margaret and I had a meeting with Richard Parry at Braunston during the show weekend to discuss it with him Incidentally, one of the CRT dredgers, Petra, I think, won't go through either On a personal basis, what would do it for me is that there is a patch of relatively new brickwork just inside the chamber from the offside bottom gate which seems to me to be proud. If this were cut back, I believe I would be ok. The engineer in charge is Neil Owen, He has said that he is undertaking a series of laser surveys of the chamber to see if it is moving or not, and with that knowledge will decide what could be done. I believe that he completed this series of surveys in July, so he should now be in a position to make that decision, and the more reports of people having problems there, the better the chances that the problem will be resolved. From my experiences I believe that it is moving, and will begin to affect more boats if nothing is done So, if you have had, or do have, any problems there, please report it to Neil Owen, and copy in Richard Parry, and Mike Carter of the Navigation Advisory Group. Their email address are :- Neil.Owen@canalrivertrust.org.uk Richard.Parry@canalrivertrust.org.uk mc@marinesurveysltd.co.uk Steve
  3. Steve Priest

    nb Beech

    Well yes, we find it works, but to clarify, I mean the Yarwoods version, not the Pimblotts. However, one thing that does need tweaking is that I find the clearance between the rudder shaft and sternpost a little tight and I prefer to add a couple of inches to this
  4. Steve Priest

    nb Beech

    Thank you for your comments
  5. Steve Priest

    nb Beech

    I've come to this post a little late, and perhaps it has moved on from the original comments, but as I have been mentioned a few times, I thought I might join it. I am interested by your comments concerning our little Woolwich copy. Few yards make as much effort to get shapes accurate as we do at Brinklow Boats, and the little Woolwich copy, which was named Astraea, was measured from my own boat, Aquila. Allowing for tweaking the width, depth and length to those more typical of a new built boat, the shape is accurate. If sheer is what you want perhaps our tunnel tug Hasty is more to your taste ( google tunneltug Hasty) In this case we used original photos as a concept, and developed the shape from there. I don't recognise the josher copy attributed to me, it could be one of Simon's The Admiral copy (which was named Pellew) was built using copies of Yarwoods drawings (probably from you, Laurence?) . Whilst the internal framing was different, the external hull shape is correct, including the counter bottom and swim. In fact, we have now adopted this swim shape in most of the boats that we build. Anyway, Beech. I went to see Beech when she was for sale at Les Allens, I think in the winter of 1976, following an advert in the Exchange and Mart. In those days most boats were advertised in the Exchange and Mart, or in Motor boat and Yachting. The boat looked marvellous, straight, and immaculately painted, with a largely rebuilt JP2 and an asking price of £3500. I made an offer, and was second in line, but didn't get it. Ian Kemp owned it for a while, after he sold it, it did a couple of seasons as a camping boat in the WFBCo fleet, by then it was clear that there was a lot of filler under the paintwork. A few years later on Ken Ward ended up with it, and moored it at the WFBCo. I used to keep an eye on it for him and pump it out when it needed it. By that time although it still looked quite good it was clear that there was a lot of work to be done, and Ken, amazingly undaunted, took it to Charity dock ( if I remember correctly) and got on with what became a complete rebuild. He was always clear that he didn't intend to retain the exact shape, he wanted to make re fore and stern ends finer, and also give the hull sheer along its length. I mean it as no disrespect to the work that Ken did, but the shape is not really typical of a wooden Josher any more, including the amount of sheer that the hull now has. I hope that Beech ends up with an owner that can do the work that is necessary and can give the boat a good future, not only for the sake of the boat, but also in memory of Ken, and I wish you all the best with whatever you decide to do. I have heard it said several times that whilst Beech was a maintenance boat at Hillmorton, the Bolinder was taken out and went to the museum at Stoke Bruerne, and is the one that now sits in the corner of the tea shop. Steve
  6. Steve Priest

    GU tanks photos and sizes

    I have no experience of the Woolwich prototypes, so I'm afraid I don't know how the tanks were set up, but I would not expect to find the locking bar on anything but a big boat
  7. Steve Priest

    GU tanks photos and sizes

    With regard to Woolwich tanks, the overall height of the big boat tanks is the same as that of little boat ones, but the horizontal portion of a big boat tank is much deeper than a little one, with the vertical triangular part proportionately shallower. Consequently, the big boat tank holds quite a bit more diesel. The fillers and vents are as shown in Fulbourne, the fillers have a male thread which screws into an insert soldered into the tank top. The diameter of the filler is about 4'' bsp but interestingly enough little boat and big boat filler caps are not interchangeable, the big ones being very slightly bigger, the look the same, but they aren't. Woolwich vent fittings are 1'' bsp, with a 180 deg female/female return bend. With regard to Northwich boats, again the horizontal portion is a lot deeper in a big tank than in a little one, but the vertical portion is a similar height in both, so they look to have a similar height in relation to the gunwhale. Again, the big tanks hold quite a bit more than the little ones. I am honestly not sure how middle boat tanks are, but I think they are similar to little ones Fillers are, I think, 5'' bsp and are a stub of pipe with a male taper thread, and a cap with a female thread in it. I have made Northwich style fillers using 4''bsp fittings, using a barrel nipple cut in half and extended with 41/2'' tube for the stub pipe, and a 4'' socket cut in half to make the caps. The vent pipes are 1'' bsp capped with two 1'' bsp wrought female /female elbows joined with a running nipple. The caps are, as Madcat says, in a different position on each side, one side by the bulkhead, the other by the side, and yes, Flamingo's tanks are original. Big boat tanks, Woolwich and Northwich, were made lockable, little and middle ones weren't. The Northwiches had a hasp welded to the tank top that closed onto a tab on the cap, Woolwiches had a hinged locking bar that went across the top of the cap and closed onto a tab on the other side. Big boat tanks are deeper because the engine beds are deeper and the floors fitted higher than in little boats, because the thickness of the wooden bottoms in little boats had to be allowed for, in relation to the postion of the skeg. I have fitted new Northwich style tanks to the Antlia, Scorpio, and Sextans, but have only ever made one Woolwich tank, that being for the Greenock.
  8. Steve Priest

    Historic Boats for sale online

    105 referred to the cylinder bore, 105mm, the 111 series was a development with a bore of ( to state the obvious) 111mm. Volvo bought out BM in 1950 but they continued to trade under the BM name until, I think, 1970. My luxemotor is fitted with a Volvo Penta MD67C which I think was produced between 1954 and 1966, ( the automotive version of this engine was fitted to the early Volvo Viking truck.) It is a six cylinder engine, 6.7 litres, 96hp at 1700 rpm, It has a bore and stroke indentical to the BM 111 series, and seems to me to be Bolinders technology under a Volvo Penta badge. I have a feeling that I may struggle to go slowly, though!
  9. Steve Priest

    Our "New" Back Cabin - Who painted what?

    I was about to say that The cabin doors were replaced around a year ago, but looking at some photos that I took at the same time it would seem to be over three! They were painted by Ron Hough whilst off the boat, before their final fitting. I think Robert Macintyre did the graining. I agree with Phil that the weather board is definitely Dennis Clark, and I had thought that the table was as well, but I take Phil's point, Ron's early work is a possibility. I'm not sure about the castle on the table, it is very basic and seems to have been done very quickly but think it does have a Braunston feel to it in spite of this. I agree with Tony Dunkley that the coal box is much more recent. I don't recognise the painter but I think that Carol Leech ( Ivor and Carol had the boat converted) did do some painting, perhaps it is her work Steve
  10. Steve Priest

    Historic Boats for sale online

    Lapwing was built as a motor, at Saltley, 1913, one of the first batch of Bolinder boats ( Linda, Lynx, Laurel, Lily, Lupin etc)
  11. You may have joined it late Paul, but not as late as me! Years ago I had heard rumours that G U boats originally had a cable throttle control but didn't think much about it until I bought Aquila back in 93. At the time I was disappointed that the boat didn't have a speedwheel, but looking at the lever and cable I began to think that Aquila probably has never had one. I talked to quite a few people about it, I remember Ian Kemp and Tom Lapworth in particular, and the story I was coming up with is that the lever and cable version was original, the speedwheel was a later modification, and that the speedwheel was first fitted by a boater who had found one of those upper window opening mechanisms that used to be fitted to high factory windows and adapted it and fitted it to his boat, the engineers saw it and decided to start making them to replace the cable throttles. The picture of Sun is not very clear, but I can make out that it is a lever and is the same as the one I still have in Aquila. They are fairly small, brass, or bronze, and have no ratchet, they work by friction. Tom Lapworth said that a few boaters preferred them, and so some did survive. He told me that he used one himself at one time. They have a small screw or bolt in the centre, which needs to be nipped up from time to time to stop the throttle slipping, so I keep a spanner in the ticket draw so that I can do so whenever needed. They seem to have been made for a Bowden type sheathed cable, but I think they were fitted with a bare cable working over a small pulley on the engine room roof. Originally, I kept the one in Aquila because I am pretty sure it has always been here but I'd have to say that I have got used to it and now prefer it, I would post a picture but I haven't a clue how to. I think Nutfield still has one, and we fitted one to Antlia which was actually being used as a stop lever when the front half was a separate boat. I also remember Ron Wilson, who was a dredger and dragline driver for BW at one time, telling me that they were fitted to Ruston Bucyrus draglines, so they may well have been a standard throttle lever available at the time
  12. Steve Priest


    I don't know what this boat is, but it isn't Malvern. The shape of josher motors evolved over the years, and the very late boats were distinctive in the shape of both ends, especially the counters, the top band of which was much deeper than any of the earlier boats. My feeling is that this boat is an early Yarwoods boat and would date from the mid nineteen twenties
  13. Steve Priest

    Question for serious rivet counters

    Yes, it is Argo, it has a recent wooden bottom in opepe, but poorly fitted, so Roger is replacing it with steel. As far as I know it is for sale as is but with the demand for butties being what it is at the moment it would seem likely to be cut in half. It would be a shame, it's a really nice boat, but probably inevitable, I had my eyes on it for a while, but I bought a Dutch boat two years ago and I think three boats is probably enough! However, if anyone would prefer a Northwich butty we still have Lupus at Brinklow
  14. Steve Priest

    Question for serious rivet counters

    I've just come across this topic, and being a professional rivet counter I thought I might contribute. I think Reading/Redshank had a welded replacement cabin at Stockton a few years ago, and as regards butties, I would agree that Corvus was the last of the little boats with an original cabin. As far as I know Leonids still had its original cabin the last time I saw it, but I haven't seen it for some time. If it still has, that must be the last of the butties with one During my career I have riveted replacement cabins on Triagulum, Tarporley and Tipton whilst working for the WFBCo, Antlia and Sextans whilst working for myself at Stockton, and Towcester, Rufford and Scorpio as part of Brinklow Boat Services, and I know that Ian Kemp has done Sculptor, Regulus, Leo, and Malus. When they were built Northwich cabins were lined with 1/2 inch fibre board which was attached with brass countersunk machine screws which were drilled and tapped through the cabin side and roof - if anyone has stripped the paint off an original cabin and wondered what the brass discs on the surface are- that's it. The fibre board was fitted flush with the 1/2 inch steel framing which was left exposed, most of the angle frames were capped, but there was still a lot of steel left exposed which would have run with condensation, they must have been horrible to live in. Both Sculptor and Scorpio have been restored like this. BW decided that the best remedy was to cut the cabin off and replace it in wood, although a few boats retained their steel cabins which were relined with tongue and groove in a more conventional manner which I would have thought was a better option. When I worked for the B'ham and Midland and had the Yeoford the cabin was original and was fitted out like this, but as regards rusting internally, after a 'robust' days boating you could guarantee that the bed would be full of scale! On all of the little boats and the middle boats originally the engine would come out through the bulkhead, which was bolted on. The cabin/engine roof on both little and middle Northwich boats was riveted on in one piece, whilst in the big boats (both Northwich and Woolwich ) the engine would come out through the roof, which was consequently separate and bolted on, and the bulkhead was riveted. Whilst most little Woolwiches were altered to a bolt on roof ( the only ones left with a riveted roof flange are Caillisto, and Corolla - which has a bolt on roof inside the handrail line, and when restoring Aquila I decided to rivet the roof on as per original ) none of the little Northwiches were altered. As regards composite boats, the Sculptor is still composite and was rebottomed at Brinklow boat Services two years ago after a campaign to keep it so - there was a move to replace it in steel but the right decision was made in the end - and I am sure that Bellatrix is composite also. I believe that it is correct that Ash is still composite, but Carina lost it's wooden bottom a couple of years ago