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pete harrison

Water Cans and Handbowls

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The following were known manufacturers of "Boatmans cans" and associated items.

 

Joseph Ash, Birmingham (main supplier to FMC, GUCCCo, BW etc)

 

Bococks, Birmingham

 

W T George, Birmingham

 

S J & E Fellows, Wolverhampton

 

A J Lester, Birmingham

 

Boatmans Cabin Co, Wombourne

 

Whilst many small metalworkers produced a few many of the names are now untraceable, Peraph's we can add to this list?

Edited by Laurence Hogg

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The following were known manufacturers of "Boatmans cans" and associated items.

 

Joseph Ash, Birmingham (main supplier to FMC, GUCCCo, BW etc)

 

Bococks, Birmingham

 

W T George, Birmingham

 

S J & E Fellows, Wolverhampton

 

A J Lester, Birmingham

 

Boatmans Cabin Co, Wombourne

 

Whilst many small metalworkers produced a few many of the names are now untraceable, Peraph's we can add to this list?

 

Do you recall which of the Birmingham makers were located just behind the Farmers Bridge flight (towpath side) Laurence? Which ever one it was, that who I bought my can from in the 1960's.

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I don't know who told you that but I put Buckby can into Google and found some straight away, both unpainted and painted.

 

 

Schoolboy error. I should have written:

 

"A year or two ago I was told that it was no longer possible to buy good quality new Water Cans and Handbowls that can be used on a daily basis for the purpose that they were designed as the known manufacturers were no longer prepared to make them."

 

Water cans and Handbowls need to be well made and watertight, with suitable fittings that can support the weight when full of water captain.gif

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Still there - Anchor Cottage Gift Shop - between Buckby top (Lock 7) and Lock 8 - delightful lady in there who runs it - lots of thank-yous even if you just buy an ice cream. From CanalPlan - http://canalplan.eu/location/vsvi

 

Going back to Pete's original post - I agree than if there can be a thread for painted ware it would really help.

thats the one was a bloke running it the day i went in. Well happy with my old cans

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The cans from "Black Country Metalworks" (in Oswestry) and "Midland Chandlers share the same part numbers if I remember correctly and are the same sourced non British items. The cans and bowls I have seen both plain and painted are of awful quality and certainly not to the standard I had our "Boatmans Cabin Co" ones made too.

If you start with poor quality metal then no matter what else you do it will be a poor quality item.

 

The best cans are the ones which were galvanised post manufacture, although the soldered ones by Lesters and similar if done well are just as good.

 

It may surprise some to know there are still firms capable of manufacturing cans and indeed I have looked into this extensively quite recently. Apart from two parts all other components are already made for other uses so tooling up isn't a problem. The problem is the number required to achieve a sensible price and then where to store them..

Whilst there is much talk of the prices achieved on ebay you have to consider how many would sell each month to warrant the investment and in my opinion the number isn't large enough.

 

Sadly a large proportion of todays boat owners have little interest in traditional decoration or decoration which gives a big reduction in the potential to capture waterborne buyers, you will find few water cans in the tin can housing estates around our "navigations".

any idea of the numbers they would need for a -Run-? We have to buy a set number of units at a time from Bcm to get a half decent price,and then I still have spend time trying to resolder 40 to 50% of them and that's not to hold water just to stay together!

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I've had similar experiences with BCM cans. One sitting in my workshop ( supplied by customer, I won't buy them) has no solder on the seam above the centre band and the soldering itself is decidedly dubious!

 

During my involvement with the Waterways Craft Guild we explored the possibility of new cans without success. I think that a quantity of several hundred would be needed for a production run, a situation where supply would well outstrip demand! So far this year I've probably painted less than 20.....

 

Dave

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We are well on the way to producing a trial batch of 2 gallon cans based closely on the Joseph Ash ones. They won't be cheap as they're hand made at our yard, but at least we can produce small runs to meet demand.

 

We've built a prototype 1 gallon already, and have a set of templates for the 3 gallon when we get round to it.

 

Anthony

  • Greenie 3

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I often use a chrome one same as the smaller windlass in your picture. I find it tucks into front of my belt quite nicely (I am thin and wear a wide belt). Not keen on putting a metal tool into the back of my belt as I have heard that my spinal cord runs down that way and its worth looking after.

If you are wearing a jacket/coat put the windless around the back of your neck tucking the handle /eye under either side of the collar

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If you are wearing a jacket/coat put the windless around the back of your neck tucking the handle /eye under either side of the collar

 

That is how Dennis taught us to carry a windlass. It is particulary helpful during very cold or freezing conditions as the windlass handle is kept warm inside your jacket and prevents it from freezing onto your hand during use.

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That is how Dennis taught us to carry a windlass. It is particulary helpful during very cold or freezing conditions as the windlass handle is kept warm inside your jacket and prevents it from freezing onto your hand during use.

 

smiley_offtopic.gif

 

When travelling, my windlass lives on the roof. In the days when my steering wasn't good (last week, I think), we would end up travelling through trees which would sweep stuff off the roof, onto the deck and into the cut

 

To stop this happening to the windlass, it sits with the stock in the roof gutter and the handle on the forward side of the mushroom vent on top of the Alde boiler on the right hand side. If a branch should grab the windlass, the mushroom rescues it

 

The handle doesn't half get hot when the boiler is on

 

Richard

Edited by RLWP

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smiley_offtopic.gif

 

When travelling, my windlass lives on the roof. In the days when my steering wasn't good (last week, I think), we would end up travelling through trees which would sweep stuff off the roof, onto the deck and into the cut

 

To stop this happening to the windlass, it sits with the stock in the roof gutter and the handle on the forward side of the mushroom vent on top of the Alde boiler on the right hand side. If a branch should grab the windlass, the mushroom rescues it

 

The handle doesn't half get hot when the boiler is on

 

Richard

 

So did mine in latter years, but when I was boating on Pisces in the 1960's we all had specific duties, which incuded being on Lock wheeling, and the lock wheelers only returned to the boat on long lock free stretches, otherwise they were cycling up the towpath ahead of the boat to get the lock ready, with windlass tucked into the neck of their jacket,

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One of series of pictures taken in a studio, it is a horse whip.


any idea of the numbers they would need for a -Run-? We have to buy a set number of units at a time from Bcm to get a half decent price,and then I still have spend time trying to resolder 40 to 50% of them and that's not to hold water just to stay together!

 

500 to get a sensible price.

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It was Hairy Neal yes

 

I was not quite sure if that was a joke as his forum name was a bit similar to Harry Neal who was a famous windlass blacksmith from years ago.

 

 

Not a joke. Hairy Neil used to be VERY hairy. Age seems to have provided him with a razor and scissors!smile.png

 

Sorry Neil.

 

George ex nb Alton retired

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I've always considered soldering as being used on smaller items - are the BCM cans soldered completely, or are they welded down the "seam"? Is there a norm?

 

From my observations they are always soldered.

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The following were known manufacturers of "Boatmans cans" and associated items.

 

Joseph Ash, Birmingham (main supplier to FMC, GUCCCo, BW etc)

 

Bococks, Birmingham

 

W T George, Birmingham

 

S J & E Fellows, Wolverhampton

 

A J Lester, Birmingham

 

Boatmans Cabin Co, Wombourne

 

Whilst many small metalworkers produced a few many of the names are now untraceable, Peraph's we can add to this list?

Are there records or drawings of the cans produced by the different makers that survive available to view? Were there differences, like we see with boats?

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The BCM cans have minimal soldering throughout, often missing in vital areas to maintain water retaining capacity. As a working painter, I only decorate them if supplied by the customer, I personally wouldn't touch them with a long shaft. Having seen the prototypes produced by Rose Narrowboats, I'm more than happy to pay the extra to paint a properly made and solid can, an attitude upheld by the small queue of customers who want the quality. I'm a little surprised at the furore of disinterest from the Rose post, I doubt I'll be their only customer once production gets under way.

 

Dave

  • Greenie 1

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