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EdwardMeades

First time buyer, opinions on this wooden top?

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Not too far from where I am based and well within my budget. I'm looking for a liveaboard.

 

https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/malcolm-braine-62-traditional/640157

 

Anyone offer any advice on wooden tops? Limited pictures but she looks in good condition. 

 

Thanks and apologies if I'm on the wrong part of forum, new to the site. 

Edited by EdwardMeades

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Providing there is no internal evidence of leaks (from the metal/wood join) and the hull is sound, with that engine I'd say it is not a bad buy. Problem with a woodentop is that it will probably leak / rot eventually unless you keep a wary eye on it, speaking of which, the external paint looks rather new. Be very wary - worth getting a surveyor to have a look anyway.

 

eta_ starboard front, just before the well deck, where the wood / steel joint is, there is a classic sign of rot

Edited by Mike Tee

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Woodentop usually equals lots of maintenance chasing leaks. A fundamental problem is the differential expansion characteristics of wood and steel. Steel gets longer when it gets hot. Wood gets longer when it gets wet. So the tend to shrink/expand in opposite sense and at the boundary, maintaining a seal is very difficult.

 

Many early build woodentops were covered over with glass fibre to try to cut down on leaks, this one seems not to have been. It does look quite nice but not for the faint-hearted I suggest.

 

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I’ve known Malcolm since the mid 60s. He built some fine looking boats, even in the early days. The problem with wooden tops is that there are almost always water ingress issues where wood meets steel. One option to prevent this was to clad the entire wooden cabin in fibre glass resin. Later on, when Graham Edgson had taken over from Malcolm, he developed a technique called reskinning. This involved removing the outer wooden timberwork, leaving the inner intact and adding a new steel skin over the woodwork. Problem solved! If you are considering purchase then the wooden cabin issue should be worth a long hard think. Please.

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19 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

Providing there is no internal evidence of leaks (from the metal/wood join) and the hull is sound, with that engine I'd say it is not a bad buy. Problem with a woodentop is that it will probably leak / rot eventually unless you keep a wary eye on it, speaking of which, the external paint looks rather new. Be very wary - worth getting a surveyor to have a look anyway.

 

eta_ starboard front, just before the well deck, where the wood / steel joint is, there is a classic sign of rot

Good spot - I see it now. If there is one area I can assume there may be others.

13 minutes ago, dave moore said:

I’ve known Malcolm since the mid 60s. He built some fine looking boats, even in the early days. The problem with wooden tops is that there are almost always water ingress issues where wood meets steel. One option to prevent this was to clad the entire wooden cabin in fibre glass resin. Later on, when Graham Edgson had taken over from Malcolm, he developed a technique called reskinning. This involved removing the outer wooden timberwork, leaving the inner intact and adding a new steel skin over the woodwork. Problem solved! If you are considering purchase then the wooden cabin issue should be worth a long hard think. Please.

thanks for the advice, great to hear from someone who knew the builder.

Any ideas on cost of re skinning of just replacing in steel? If I sold a few years down the line would I recoup the cost?

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It might be worth speaking to Sarah Edgson, Graham’s daughter, who runs the yard at Glascote. Not all yards have the expertise to carry out the sort of work involved, she may be able to hazard a guess at likely costs. To construct a new steel cabin from scratch would also involve lots of extra work in refitting the interior which a reskin would avoid. As has been said, wooden tops require much more maintenance than steel counterparts. I’d advise caution and a good surveyor if you are tempted. Google Norton Canes Boatbuilders for Sarah’s details. A good yard....

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I think if you contact the owner you will find the top sides have been virtually rebuilt over the past 5 or 6 years I can't think there would be 2  like this on the Coventry canal. The one I am thinking of was moored at the Lichfield Cruising Club

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I don't know the boat, but I think you could do a lot better (and in all steel) for that sort of money.

1975 is pretty ancient.

 

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It's a lovely looking 'real' boat with a proper engine - Pity they can't spell the engine's manufacturer properly.

Great for someone who want's that and can put it into a boathouse every day when not used.

Not only a wooden top but T&G on the sides and the roof - lots of oportunities for water to get in.

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The photo of it in the water was taken at Kings Bromley Wharf where for sometime this boat was moored. As a minimum I would be looking at overskinning with good quality ply and then using West system resin to seal it. You will still have the differential expansion problem. The T&G boarding could leak anywhere but what we don't know is what is it fitted over there could be somthing like Tyvek roofing membrane which would add a lot to the aterproofing.

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4 hours ago, EdwardMeades said:

Any ideas on cost of re skinning of just replacing in steel? If I sold a few years down the line would I recoup the cost?

The first narrowboat I looked at was a steel hull with a fibreglass top, Harborough Marine IIRC. After a bit of info/advice here, I ran a mile.

 

If you are even thinking about putting a steel top on it, just get an all steel narrowboat..... it's not as though there are none for sale.... or is it?

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6 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

I think if you contact the owner you will find the top sides have been virtually rebuilt over the past 5 or 6 years I can't think there would be 2  like this on the Coventry canal. The one I am thinking of was moored at the Lichfield Cruising Club

The advert says comes with a mooring in the Coventry Canal, Lichfield...

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