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Geoff_777

Stiff lock gates and paddles

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I have recently been on a canal boat holiday and found some of the lock gates and paddles on the Staffs and Worcester canal by Gailey VERY stiff, is this typical of the canal network?

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Probably not.

 

Not been on the Staffs and Worcs for a while, but my overall memory is that the gates and paddles were some of trhe easiest anywhere.

 

There are certainly many other canals where they are far harder.

 

It is perhaps too much of a generalisation, because there is simply too much variation, but on the whole narrow canal locks are generally much easier to work than those on broad canals.

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I have been finding this year that a good number of paddles are so stiff that in an emergency you would need to physically wind them down.   Gates haven't seemed too bad.

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A few weeks ago I caught up with a boater at Cowley Lock who said he was stuck as the top paddles wouldn't open. I took Belfast into the lock alongside his boat, shut the bottom gate, walked up to the head of the lock and opened the ground paddle as normal. It turned out he had just bought the boat at Paddington, this was his first lock and he simply hadn't put enough effort into getting the paddle started. Having seen me do it, he then wound the other top paddle without too much difficulty.

  • Greenie 1

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This does highlight an issue which is seen quite regularly. Sometimes the issue is below ground; sometimes it's a simple lack of grease on the winding gear itself. Whilst the former is a job for the winter closures, small issues like the latter could be quite easily be kept on top of by Volockies.  Perhaps there are places where this is the case, but there's a lot of stiff, dry gear even where they are in attendance. There must be some volunteers on here - is keeping on top of minor maintenance and feeding back developing issues not part of the brief? I'd rather this was the primary objective with helping boaters through the locks being a bonus.

  • Greenie 1

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5 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

This does highlight an issue which is seen quite regularly. Sometimes the issue is below ground; sometimes it's a simple lack of grease on the winding gear itself. Whilst the former is a job for the winter closures, small issues like the latter could be quite easily be kept on top of by Volockies.  Perhaps there are places where this is the case, but there's a lot of stiff, dry gear even where they are in attendance. There must be some volunteers on here - is keeping on top of minor maintenance and feeding back developing issues not part of the brief? I'd rather this was the primary objective with helping boaters through the locks being a bonus.

One of the things that has made many paddles far harder to wind than they used to be is the substitution of plastic paddles for traditional wooden ones.  The plastic ones are prone to flexing under the pressure of water in a way that wooden ones don't, the distotion often then causing them to bind.

Edited by alan_fincher

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3 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

One of the things that has made many paddles far harder to wind than they used to be is the substitution of plastic paddles for traditional wooden ones.  The plastic ones are prone to flexing under the pressure of water in a way that wooden ones don't, the distotion often then causing them to bind.

I suspect a change to environmentally-friendly grease which washes out in the rain hasn't helped.

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57 minutes ago, Geoff_777 said:

I have recently been on a canal boat holiday and found some of the lock gates and paddles on the Staffs and Worcester canal by Gailey VERY stiff, is this typical of the canal network?

Just wait until you get to the Buckby flight or try the Leicester Arm from Foxton to the city.....

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We did the S&W between Autherly and Gt Haywood a couple of weeks ago. Don’t remember any paddles being stiff. That is just the way it is, I’m afraid. If you want stiff paddles on narrow locks, try the Huddersfield Narrow. They really are stiff!

 

As to the gates, there are a few difficult ones including the bottom ones at Gailey, due to having very short and angled balance beams because of the proximity of a bridge. The trick with gates generally is just to maintain a firm pressure using your backside if possible, rather than trying to jerk them.

 

Anyway, cheaper than going to the gym to lift weights!

Edited by nicknorman

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The thinking in regard to  cooperation tween the authority & boater has changed ,back in the day a conversation between then BW & boater in regard to stiff  lock gear & if the boater was known to the BW staff & were returning through the locks with stiff gear often a tin of grease would be offered with a request to lube the racks & pinions  more often than not this would be taken up & the offending bits lubed if that was the problem. Changes in materials ,attitude , & knowledge of some users have made this a none event now days in a good #of cases + the attitude of some users into the fact that C&RT should sort the problems as against a bit of all "Mucking " in  possibly depends on the enthusiast spirit of the boater rather than just a user of the system/facilities. Possibly "elfin/safety ois also problematic also

Edited by X Alan W

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32 minutes ago, X Alan W said:

The thinking in regard to  cooperation tween the authority & boater has changed ,back in the day a conversation between then BW & boater in regard to stiff  lock gear & if the boater was known to the BW staff & were returning through the locks with stiff gear often a tin of grease would be offered with a request to lube the racks & pinions  more often than not this would be taken up & the offending bits lubed if that was the problem. Changes in materials ,attitude , & knowledge of some users have made this a none event now days in a good #of cases + the attitude of some users into the fact that C&RT should sort the problems as against a bit of all "Mucking " in  possibly depends on the enthusiast spirit of the boater rather than just a user of the system/facilities. Possibly "elfin/safety ois also problematic also

I used to go boating with a chap who was delighted when we occasionally came across paddle gear fitted with grease nipples. He would always dive into the boat to get his grease gun!

But I haven't seen a grease nipple on ordinary manual paddle gear for years now.

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2 hours ago, David Mack said:

I used to go boating with a chap who was delighted when we occasionally came across paddle gear fitted with grease nipples. He would always dive into the boat to get his grease gun!

But I haven't seen a grease nipple on ordinary manual paddle gear for years now.

Covered by the march of progress sealed for life bearings no maintenance parts with basically stone age technology it' a better bet to maintain with stone age servicing but that requires more constant man power

Edited by X Alan W

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2 hours ago, X Alan W said:

BW staff & were returning through the locks with stiff gear often a tin of grease would be offered

I very much doubt, that these days, the BW staff have a tin of grease to offer.

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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I very much doubt, that these days, the BW staff have a tin of grease to offer.

You could very well speak truthfully they would have to consult the sub contractors & I doubt that some one willin to help would want to hang around a fortnight to acquire a tin of grease to perform a good turn

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Can you imagine the queue of lawyers if you took the tub of grease from crt and in applying it managed to mangle your finger in the lock gear.  Where there is pain there is a claim......

 

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2 hours ago, Chewbacka said:

Can you imagine the queue of lawyers if you took the tub of grease from crt and in applying it managed to mangle your finger in the lock gear.  Where there is pain there is a claim......

 

So whats the difference between mangling your finger winding up rusty racks& pinions & doing the same with a set of gears getting greased? answer greasy flat fingers so if you get a whack with a windlass paddle winding is it a claim Jobbie

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48 minutes ago, X Alan W said:

So whats the difference between mangling your finger winding up rusty racks& pinions & doing the same with a set of gears getting greased? answer greasy flat fingers so if you get a whack with a windlass paddle winding is it a claim Jobbie

Huge difference, first is dumb boater using old canal equipment at own risk, the second is a person under direction of crt to carry out maintenance, so crt are liable, first thing the lawyers will ask for is the training records for handling grease, applying grease, lock gear maintenance, any hazards specific to that lock not to mention MSDS training.......l

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I used to find that if you tried to wind a stiff paddle up nice and smoothly it would not shift. If you walked up to it, growled at it then gave it a good snatch it would start it moving, I expect its frowned upon though 'cos it might break things.

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11 minutes ago, Bee said:

I used to find that if you tried to wind a stiff paddle up nice and smoothly it would not shift. If you walked up to it, growled at it then gave it a good snatch it would start it moving, I expect its frowned upon though 'cos it might break things.

I think there is a Trump joke there, but better shared with the ‘other place’

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7 hours ago, David Mack said:

I used to go boating with a chap who was delighted when we occasionally came across paddle gear fitted with grease nipples. He would always dive into the boat to get his grease gun!

But I haven't seen a grease nipple on ordinary manual paddle gear for years now.

My brother Mike used to post on here, and shared these photos in the past.

When his friend Ian, (who worked for BW at the time, and more recently for CRT) travelled with him, he usually also took the means to lubricate paddle gear.

 

ian oils up.jpg

ians oil can.jpg

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1 minute ago, alan_fincher said:

My brother Mike used to post on here, and shared these photos in the past.

When his friend Ian, (who worked for BW at the time, and more recently for CRT) travelled with him, he usually also took the means to lubricate paddle gear.

 

ian oils up.jpg

ians oil can.jpg

I often do that with Dad's old pump can

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Actually I'm intrigued by the above picture, as it appears Ian is standing on some kind of board that allows you to cross the lock, but nothing was provided to hang on to.

Presumably you were actually supposed to use the bridge?

Is this still the current arrangement?  (We have not been that way in years).

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