Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble

Featured Posts

Over many years I have painted ramsheads, swan necks or Z irons ( take your pick of preferred title) with stripes. I’ve worked out an almost foolproof method of setting out, which works for me. Until recently, I’ve never given much thought as to the direction of the stripes, my only preference being that the spirals are gentle rather than tight wrapped. In a recent Facebook post, one highly experienced boater with boat feet in the traditionalist/working boat camp, suggested that in working days, the direction of the spiral was a visual reminder of the direction of rotation of the blades. This is a new one to me...have any others of you come across this idea? Imagining myself standing behind the counter of a motor, I’m not sure I could see which way the spirals ran, right or left....over to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IIrc most of the boat with siprels were clockwise looking rear wards from the footboard although a good number of boats had 3 panels usually red, white/cream,,green /blue ,not heard the prop direction theory though toward the end of carrying the decoration (unless carried out by the boater) was simpler & less of it Maybe a regional thing similar to the naming of the bent lump of metal that the paint was applied to

Edited by X Alan W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's get our definitions established.

If we are speaking of a right hand blade, I would say it rotates to the right when viewed from behind - a blade rotating in a clockwise direction and visa versa for a LH blade. What affects whether it be R or L depends on both crankshaft rotation and any gear driven reduction box, which will reverse the crankshaft rotation and define a R or L hand blade.

TYCHO's Petter rotated right hand when viewed from behind (gearbox end), but had a 3:1 gear driven reduction that demanded a left hand blade, and I believe most working narrow boats had reduction boxes so the same will apply if the crank rotated in the same way. Had there been no reduction box, then clearly it would have needed a R hand blade.

 

All this is reversed if looking from the front of course!

 

As to spirals, I fancy (and with no appreciable knowledge of same) that it may have been the easiest way for a right handed painter - or a left handed painter - to paint? And as the majority of folk are right handed, which way would you naturally mark up a shaft or ram's head without concious knowledge of which way the blade turned? The idea of it representing the blade rotation is an interesting one nonetheless. But one done in hindsight - or foresight? Deliberate - or accidental?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Why would a boatman need to be reminded of which way his blades were spinning?

Sounds utter tosh to me, unlike the accurate tradition of which side of the pigeon box the exhaust pipe emerged. 

 

It was long believed that was due to which side of the block the exhaust manifold emerged before bending upwards.

However listening to the groups of boatmen as they congregated around the Labour Exchange in the early 60s as boats were being stacked one on top of each other in The Wendover Leg I learnt differently.

If the exhaust pipe was to the left of the pigeon box then it was to remind the boatman he parted his hair on the left, and if to the right of the pigeon box then clearly on the right.

Very few were in line with the pigeon box because there weren't many boatmen in church choirs.

 

It's also the reason Arthur Bray wore his trilby when steering Raymond, he had no reminder to rely on …… butty boat, no pigeon box you see!

 

We need to record more of these old traditions so they can be kept safe in our memories and preserved forever in the accurate history of our canals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, dave moore said:

Over many years I have painted ramsheads, swan necks or Z irons ( take your pick of preferred title) with stripes. I’ve worked out an almost foolproof method of setting out, which works for me. Until recently, I’ve never given much thought as to the direction of the stripes, my only preference being that the spirals are gentle rather than tight wrapped. In a recent Facebook post, one highly experienced boater with boat feet in the traditionalist/working boat camp, suggested that in working days, the direction of the spiral was a visual reminder of the direction of rotation of the blades. This is a new one to me...have any others of you come across this idea? Imagining myself standing behind the counter of a motor, I’m not sure I could see which way the spirals ran, right or left....over to you.

 

And can you tell us fools what your almost foolproof method is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the method I use. It’s easier with the swan neck removed and in a workshop, at least for this ageing painter.

You need:

Masking tape, several short pieces of, say, 1” stuff to act as anchors.

Strip of paper to wrap around the bar

Long enough piece of string to set up one twist.

Small piece of thin card.

Chinagraph or Stabilo wax pencil

6mm or narrower lo tak or fine line tape.

 

Start with the swan neck painted overall in the lightest colour, usually cream or white.

Wrap the paper strip around the bar, mark off and unroll. Measure to determine the circumference then divide by 4 to give the width of each stripe. Cut the card to this measurement, this will be useful in subsequent marking out.

I then make 4 marks at the top of the swan, where it narrows for the tiller bar. These are at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The Stabilo is good for this. 

Next, I tie the string to the narrow part and lead off from the 12 o’clock mark, twisting it to my preferred rake of spiral. It’s useful to  anchor it as you do this at odd places, especially where the string goes around the top bend. When you are happy with the look of things and the string is tight, mark along it with a series of dashes using the pencil. Once done, remove the string.

Using the fine tape, follow the marks to set up one side of the first stripe.

Next, use the cardboard strip, one edge against one edge of the tape and follow it, making a series of marks as before.

Now tape those marks. This gives you the first stripe ready to paint. I usually do the second lightest colour now, usually yellow.

When dry, remove the tapes.

I then tape up to one of the yellow edges and then use the card strip again to mark the position of the 3rd stripe. Tape to these marks then add the 3rd colour, often red. When dry, remove tapes.

Repeat this for the final colour, working from the other side of the yellow stripe.

 

This sounds harder than it actually is. As a signwriter, I usually use a long sable chisel writer, size 6 or 7, to quickly apply paint. An artist’s one stroke will do the job, albeit more slowly. It’s not unknown for a bit of freehand fettling to be needed subsequently, especially if paint creeps under the tape or a wobble when applying it becomes apparent.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Dave

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, dave moore said:

Here is the method I use. It’s easier with the swan neck removed and in a workshop, at least for this ageing painter.

You need:

Masking tape, several short pieces of, say, 1” stuff to act as anchors.

Strip of paper to wrap around the bar

Long enough piece of string to set up one twist.

Small piece of thin card.

Chinagraph or Stabilo wax pencil

6mm or narrower lo tak or fine line tape.

 

Start with the swan neck painted overall in the lightest colour, usually cream or white.

Wrap the paper strip around the bar, mark off and unroll. Measure to determine the circumference then divide by 4 to give the width of each stripe. Cut the card to this measurement, this will be useful in subsequent marking out.

I then make 4 marks at the top of the swan, where it narrows for the tiller bar. These are at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The Stabilo is good for this. 

Next, I tie the string to the narrow part and lead off from the 12 o’clock mark, twisting it to my preferred rake of spiral. It’s useful to  anchor it as you do this at odd places, especially where the string goes around the top bend. When you are happy with the look of things and the string is tight, mark along it with a series of dashes using the pencil. Once done, remove the string.

Using the fine tape, follow the marks to set up one side of the first stripe.

Next, use the cardboard strip, one edge against one edge of the tape and follow it, making a series of marks as before.

Now tape those marks. This gives you the first stripe ready to paint. I usually do the second lightest colour now, usually yellow.

When dry, remove the tapes.

I then tape up to one of the yellow edges and then use the card strip again to mark the position of the 3rd stripe. Tape to these marks then add the 3rd colour, often red. When dry, remove tapes.

Repeat this for the final colour, working from the other side of the yellow stripe.

 

This sounds harder than it actually is. As a signwriter, I usually use a long sable chisel writer, size 6 or 7, to quickly apply paint. An artist’s one stroke will do the job, albeit more slowly. It’s not unknown for a bit of freehand fettling to be needed subsequently, especially if paint creeps under the tape or a wobble when applying it becomes apparent.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Dave

... and then just practice it enough times until you get good at it.  I'm utterly convinced that you would make a better job of it than I would.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, zenataomm said:

 Why would a boatman need to be reminded of which way his blades were spinning?

 

Fancy having to repaint your tiller every time you reversed somewhere, or maybe that's why reversing is so difficult.....

Edited by matty40s

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think its bull shit, not your painting but the direction of the spirals, I doubt the boatmen were that bothered about which way the prop went, they would have know how the boat behaved when put astern if it a referral to the water wheel effect, likewise breasting the butty as soon as he set off on a strange boat.

No evidence for that , just my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.