Monday, August 13, 2018

Log Orders being taken for 2068!

by Dave P.

Dave and his merry men are moving into arboriculture by the looks of it and when they are all the wrong side of the grass their successors will thank them for having such wonderful foresight.

Admittedly the saplings have self-seeded – goodness only knows how – and the picture shows (from L to R) oak, sycamore, oak(2) and ash. There’s also a hawthorn hidden from the camera.

In addition we had a lovely visitor to the Logs Depot today in the shape of a red underwing moth, Catocala nupta picture attached.  Quite common apparently – but I’ve never seen one!  It will add to our wildlife collection as a stoat was spotted last Wednesday.

"Local Company donates a shipping container"

by: Frank Laurenson
Western Depot

Over the past five to six years "Tricel (Stonehouse)" has donated hundreds of imperfect trench boards, which any volunteers who deal in the art of getting dirty will be well aware of.  We have been very grateful to the company as it helps provide safer working areas, and we expend less energy by not tramping in mud.  They also adorn most of the yard at our Eastington depot.

Last week we were given the opportunity of a 20' shipping container, provided we shifted it as soon as possible.  Say no more, as it will be useful for storage and shelter when 1B gets under way. 

Needing a haulage company urgently this morning, I was steered by local knowledge to see if Andrew Wheeler could assist us.  What a brilliant result, as a vehicle made for the job was heading back to their base at Ryeford, and they diverted to help us move the container to Brimscombe Port. 

Dan Wheeler did a marvelous job of extracting the container from a tight fit amongst the factory stock in the yard and delivered it to Brimscombe.
We would like to thank both Tricel, and Andrew Wheeler for their help. 

Link:  Tricel

Friday, August 10, 2018

Traffic delays, Bridge 32

Not a common occurrence, but today, there were hold-ups at Bridge 32 on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal as 4 boats owned by CCT members from Western Depot converged on Bridge 32.
Bob H, heading south on the return leg of his epic holiday to the Wash and beyond, followed by Peter A. running just behind met Dave P. and Richard A. sailing north.  Unsurprisingly, some words were exchanged as each took it in turn to go under the bridge. 
Later in the day, a thunderstorm struck and the heavens opened.  Fortunately, a brief event.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Pat's Progressed

There's a great satisfaction when you can embark on a quest to produce something from the 'junk' that is to hand -  a sort of Scrapheap Challenge.

We wanted to make a transit hanger for the Pat's heavy jib (Item 1), a rough idea of the design had been sketched with a borrowed pen on a recycled piece of corrugated cardboard.  10 minutes spent routing around in one of the containers and various other likely places produced the makings of component.
A casting which had a couple of forks at the right spacing, which given the chop in a suitable place and the holes made/modified, really looked the part.  Bars were produced to complete the assembly and the bits welded together.

In a rash dose of over-confidence, we actually applied the first  coat of red oxide and together with item 2, headed off to the boat for a trial fitting.

Item 2
You may remember that a new flexible coupling for the exhaust was sourced.  This had to be grafted onto the two flanges from the broken part.  The new coupling was welded in place, double checking the overall length which had to fit the gap in the engine room.
In order to test Item 1, It was extremely desirable to have Item 2 in place to start the engine!   One thing immediately apparent was that the engine vibration now coupled quite well into the metal structure of the cabin, with a resonance that occurred near tickover.  We raised the revs slightly to avoid this resonance, which also ensured the alternator charged the battery.  We're considering fitting a second flexible joint.

Up the front, Item 1, was a great success.  All the parts fitted correctly first time and it did the job.  The first coat of yellow paint has now been applied.  It will be possible to leave it fixed to the lower eye and drop it in over the hooks when required to park the jib in the transit position.

Now, to Item 3.
Much thought is being given to the safety of deploying the spud legs at 90 degrees, which involves inserting a rod, releasing a pin and cranking it round.  Our first improvement was to make an extension piece that could extend the rod, so that the forces taken to shift it were reduced.  This worked well.  Further thinking is needed and initial ideas as to what else can be done are beginning to take shape, but not physically - yet.

Stop Press. Weedie back in action

by: Myron

After months of trouble with the mesh and steering on Weedie, it was returned to operational service today. This involved taking the mesh from stowed out of service mode to where it is ready for use. Many thanks to the team for showing up in sufficient numbers to make light work of it. A special thanks to Colin from Western Depot whose expertise on Weedie was badly needed again.

Then it was a case of moving her down the canal to where it is needed most. Dudbridge locks – no problem, getting passed Sampson – no problem, even Lodgemore Bridge – no problem (apart from a couple of near heart attacks pumping the bridge up). But Chestnut Lane bridge would not co-operate as usual. So we moored up at Strachans Close slipway and went off to the Clothiers for a thorough debrief.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Dudbridge Grill

by Andy P.

A simple update as it was finished last week. Just needs some steps to get down to the platforms
If you wanted to know what there is at the end of the tunnel-a light of course
From the previous weeks it was nice to see Patricia and her new small friend were looking on

Monday, August 6, 2018

A new Tug!

by : Dave Irving

Our new tug Margaret had a good day today.  After her exertions last week, her prop had picked up a lot of 'stuff', so we took the time to remove it: we found a large industrial strength plastic bag as the prime culprit, but a lot of sturdy weeds as well.  Her weed hatch made this a more convenient job than it is for Goliath, but it still took us close to an hour to remove all the tightly wrapped detritus. 

So off we went, aiming to make it all the way to the western end of the navigable cut - 'To the Ocean!' we cried.  Once past Ryeford locks, we found the pound about 6 inches down, and could feel Margaret encountering underwater obstructions of various types.  Dragging through Ryeford Wharf we disturbed the usual mountain of horse chestnuts, and by the time we reached Upper Mills it was clear we should look at the prop again.  It turns out that bicycle tyres can trap a lot of weed!  But we were soon(-ish...) off again.  By Boakes Drive (aka Stonehouse Wharf), the clear water showed us both shallow water and a blanket of weed, but (with frequent reversals of the engine helping to clear lightweight weeds) we made it to the Ocean swingbridge, where we turned and had a well-deserved cup of tea. 
The return was similar to the outward journey.  The major differences were that travelling back through the channel we'd just cut clearly made life easier - we need to do more of this!, and this time we found that sweatshirts can also trap a lot of weeds and can also be very reluctant to unravel from the prop. 

Arriving back at Ebley, we moored and decided to have one last look at the prop (we're already getting well practiced at lifting the weed hatch).  And look! - another large industrial plastic bag, plus clothing, plus weeds.  We wonder how long it will take us to find all the submerged rubbish in the canal. 

Pat's Progressed

With our girl at Ebley now, it is a case of meeting at Western Depot and carefully organising what it is we wish to do and then making sure that no widget is forgotten before heading off.

Today, two jobs.  'Fitting' some holes into the clam shell bucket, secondly, attending to the fractured flexible exhaust coupling on the engine.

Cutting holes required the services of the mag' drill and that, in turn, required the services of a rather large generator as the drill was rated at nearly 2kW.  A wheelbarrow at WD was commandeered to gather the bits together for the work plan.
The steel on the clam shell was quite easy to drill, which made the task that bit easier.  The drill pattern used on Dredger No.5 was adapted, since our bucket is 150L and No.5's is 250L.  On completion, we grabbed hold of a bucket load of weeds from the canal surface and observed the draining process in fill swing.

Down in the engine room, our assessment of the exhaust coupling fitting resulted in us removing the existing one for modification at WD.  It was not possible to get the replacement to fit without the services of a proper workshop.
Our thoughts also turned to a transit hanger for the boom, a sketch produced.  Not too difficult to fabricate, but it might be possible to acquire one from somewhere from an old JCB 3CX.

Here's the piece, if you know of one going spare.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Pat's Progressed

Our quest for more suitable ballast took a distinctive turn for the better yesterday after an impromptu visit to our local scrap yard at Ryeford.  By chance, there was a quantity of un machined iron castings which would do nicely and they were prepared to energise the great magnet and extract them from the pile for us.
Each one weighed 1.13kg and we were after about 0.25T's worth.  So, this morning, a van headed over and collected the load, which later found its way to Patricia via Western Depot.  At WD we located and cut in half, a number of empty 25L oil containers.  These were ideal in that they made handing the load much easier and safer.  A few old milk bottles made an impressive contribution also. 
At Dudbridge, the old breeze blocks were extracted and the new iron loaded into the bilge.  Our main task for the day was to relocate Patricia to Ebley Mill.  Goliath was to called upon to tow Pat backwards, as there was no suitable location to turn her.  
The mighty fight with silt commenced.  Progress was very slow, but we eventually reached a point near Ebley where it was necessary to call in the services of Margaret with her many more horses with webbed feet!
The cavalry soon arrived and made easy work of dragging both Goliath and Patricia.  All vessels were then moored outside the mill adding a significant splash of SVCC purple to the area. 
Patricia is just visible live if you visit:
Pat's Cam