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NB 'Talpidae'

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Looking good Ade.


I think you have made the only sensible decision, frankly - anything else wouldn't have given any peace of mind at all.


Interesting to see pictures of the operation, rather than just a description!

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Hi Ade, I remember before you refitted your nb,you scraped,cleaned and used a rust converter/inhibitor or something similar on the steel inside the boat. looking at the pics of the rusty interior, I wonder if you, with hindsight, would use the product again or recommend it. What a sad sight to see the state of the boat after the hard work you put into refitting it.

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Hi Peter,


Yes, I have a definite case of deja vu here, the front end of the boat seems to be exactly as I left it when I screwed the flooring down but the middle to back is exactly as I found it 8 years ago.


I would still recommend that rust converter and am using the same product this time around, but I don't believe it was guaranteed against and has certainly not stood up to 8 years of permadamp.


Lessons learned: My new flooring will not go right up to the sides, there will be provisions made for ventilation and I may even fit a couple of computer fans to get some air circulation going below our feet. The concrete slabs are no longer required and have been removed from the boat.


Side panelling will be trimmed back so it's not hard against the floor, and floor panels will be in smaller sections and removable for occasional checking.



So what's it like under your floors?

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One side is finished:




The other side, not quite there yet:



The front end of the back plate still needs lifting and welding:


And all of the bungs have got to go back in:


But I'm beginning to wish I had shares in a red oxide paint factory:





But while I've been cleaning base sections, chipping off rust and treating with Vactan (and then more red oxide) I've punched another hole through the side, thereby proving that our survey wasn't worth the paper it was printed on, and as Alan said, we've made the only sensible decision we could have. This one's about 2cm wide and again, below the floor and just above the inner base weld.


Finally yesterday, the first coat of black stuff went on the finished side.


Oh, and that tarpaulin, well at the moment the boat isn't quite level on the railway sleepers, neither is she back end down as in normal use, she's slightly nose down so and any rainwater on the roof isn't running towards the blunt end and harmlessly down the sides, oh no, it's running towards the pointy end, onto the front deck, and then quite a bit's getting under the water tank inspection cover and into the cabin. frusty.gif

  • Greenie 2
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Well I thought I had almost finished, except that Steve ground bits out of my fresh blacking to attach some chunky rubbing strips at the front.


It has always concerned or niggled at me that our floor has never been flat. There's a 3x2 inch angle iron welded the full length of the boat along the centre line, and then half members are welded to that every 30" or so. Over time, many of the welds where these cross members join what I think Steve called the keelson have broken, with the result that when the boat is afloat the water pressure underneath the hull pushes the base plate up at the centre line, by about an inch. I hoped that a new baseplate might reduce that, but took the opportunity to have Steve re-make the centre welds, with reinforcement pieces where necessary.


All done, with three coats of bitumen.



And this morning she was hooked up



And up she went. The base plate has also had a coat of red oxide and a coat of bitumen, including jacking her up and moving the sleepers. Painting underneath was not a great deal of fun, at times it was almost impossible to attempt to twist to re-load my roller without blacking my own shoulder.


And in she went:


And the water stayed outside, apart from the rainwater which is dripping from the bottom corners of 3 of the windows. angry.png

And the floor stayed flat clapping.gif

Leaving a one inch gap where the bathroom walls used to meet the ceiling frusty.gif

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Wow!!! Ade, in an idle moment I though I would take a shufty at your build blog to see if anything had been added since those long ago days when I would read your exploits with amusement and delight. What a shocker, but pleased to see that your boat is afloat. Does this mean that the skips around your neck of the woods will, once again, be raided as they were all those years ago? We must meet as I need someone to assess the various single malts I have in stock, unfortunately it will not be when we move to Droitwich Spa marina as Mo wants to go via Alvechurch to visit old friends.

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Does this mean that the skips around your neck of the woods will, once again, be raided as they were all those years ago?



Cheeky sod, I know that I was attempting to fit her out on a fairly tight budget (and that's not going to change this time around), and I know that I made good use of some free hardwoods donated by my father-in-law (a builder and carpenter winding down towards retirement), but I don't think that much actually came out of skips, apart from the solid beech worktops which were being thrown out by a kitchen company.

Any time you need any single malts assessing, I'm your man.

I can't make whisky but I've been doing quite a bit of brewing in the last few years, so I would be interested in your opinion on my beers.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry Tony, I saw your PM on this question but couldn't reply at the time .... and then forgot blush.png


Yes, I would still recommend Vactan plus one or two coats of some kind of paint, but with perfect 20:20 hindsight I would ensure that there was some ventilation going on below the flooring.


That is precisely what I've done this time around, except that I've used red oxide instead of the bitumen coating I applied before.


I will try to get around to updating this build blog shortly.

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Re-refit is coming along quite nicely, and further to another topic where I asked about a product called Ecosheet (link), I've even got rid of the 'temporary' OSB cruiser deck (which has been down for about the last 3 years).



This stuff is 100% recycled and 100% waterproof. It doesn't seem to get slippy when wet and although there's a bit of bounce to it, one cross brace under the largest panel seems to be more than adequate. I will be very interested to see how this stuff stands the test of time.

Inside, mostly new flooring has been laid. It has been cut back so that it doesn't meet the side steelwork but extends only a quarter of an inch or so beneath the wall panels. Those have also been planed so that they don't quite touch the floor, and therefore flooring can be lifted in future without stripping out the whole damned boat. When I decide what furniture to build, vents will be cut into the flooring beneath any storage compartments so that the whole thing will get a chance to breathe.

I was told some time ago that once a boat reaches the point where you can go out and start using it, that is often the point at which any interior work ceases. Combine that with the fact that I am the sort of person who never quite seems to manage to finish any DIY job, and Talpidae never really stood a chance. Contrary to that, I am very attentive to detail on the bits that I do finish, so for example where trim strips have been fixed to cover joints and screws/nails in the tongue-and-groove ceiling, all of the screw heads are aligned down the length of the boat, it's just that I never quite got around to covering all of the joints.

This time around I am trying to finish all of the bits I never quite got around to. It's not just decorative touches, I never quite got around to fitting a door on the bathroom, for the last 8 years there's just been a full length curtain on a wire. Now there's a door.

New worktop has been fitted, with the sink draining board on the high side to satisfy Mr. Newton.


Existing kitchen unit carcasses have been re-used but wood-look plastic coated MDF doors and drawer fronts will be replaced with real wood when funds permit.

Furthermore, I have visited the empororium of messers Block and Quayle and at great expense have invested in some of their Prestige drawer units which do not slam shut, but rather close quietly yet positively, requiring a modicum of effort to then open them again, such that Mrs. Mole's drawers shall no longer be rent asunder at the whim of any passing hire boater with water skiier in tow, or should multiple persons attempt to board simultaneously.

New front step hides water pump and accumulator, shelving unit (hiding inspection hole, stop tap and water filter) is likely to be replaced by 'L' shaped seating / single / double bed, while on the left hand side plans are in hand for 2 seats / small Pullman dinette / single bed, i.e. one double or two singles.


At the blunt end, back wall (previously bare OSB) has finally been clad and I have even built a box plus door over the lectrix panel. New back step hides a big inspection hole. I'm not entirely sure about that Ecosheet stuff being used as a new back door, even when I get around to painting it, but the old plywood one needed replacing before it completely fell apart.


Blunt end really is a blank canvas. Where there was previously a fixed 4ft not-quite-a-double bed I am now planning to build a 5ft cross bed. We went to IKEA to look for ideas, they had a 10cm thick king sized mattress reduced to £50, so that's currently on the floor.


Question: I've lost any fitting instructions long ago, can a Whale Gulper be wall mounted vertically like that? It was only tacked temporarily for the photo.

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Thanks folks, and especially to Keith for the link. Damn, that's a shame, so it's back to being floor mounted under the bed.


Peter, carpets front and back and vinyl in the middle might have the occasional tack where necessary but aren't fully fixed and can be easily lifted. Previously, carpets were nailed every six inches and ceramic tiles were glued down in the galley and bathroom. That was a real PITA as I had used a very good tile adhesive and they had to be smashed off in tiny pieces with a hammer and chisel. All flooring panels can be lifted after removing one or two stainless M6 bolts. Where furniture is built on top of the flooring, inspection panels will be incorporated. With improved ventilation I hope this will get rid of the permadamp conditions which existed before, but I will be keeping an eye on that.

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Ade thanks for the info on VACTAN, as you have determined 'our' problem also lies with a lack of ventilation add to which badly leaking roof vents to supply water and a recipe for disaster ensues. I will be putting ventilation holes under the area where the fridge and cooker sit so that they 'pull' the air up from the bilge, and arrange for ventilation along the length of the underfloor area together with an inspection hatch at the rear right corner. I have suggested installing a computer case fan and my pal suggested powering it by a small solar panel!!


In answer to your question about the 'Gulper' - mine is mounted vertically and works just fine. However, I will check to see which way up it is - I may even have the instructions in my 'ELEMIAH's Book of Stuff'.


The bed - ELEMIAH has a king-size bed that is 4ft wide when stowed - I made a section that slides out (and is self supporting) which creates the extra 12". The 5' bed can be created in about 3 minutes as the bedding 'folds' with it. That said, we have an expensive 2 piece mattress and the 12" section, adjacent to the gunwale, is rotated upwards . This means that if I am at the boat on my own I can use the bed as a 3 footer without having to create the bed.


Finally: that is a great looking re-fit you are doing Ade, I'll put money on you never having to lift the flooring again!! We will arrange a close encounter of the Single Malt kind once established at Droitwich Spa.

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  • 1 month later...

Ade great blog spent much of today reading through the 14 pages, hats off to you excellent stuff. Also a mention for your good lady as she has no doubt been a star giving you the time and sorting stuff when your boatbuilding. A great read.




yes I'm Ade too!

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