CODBLOG 5 : Gwalch — The Work Progresses

We numbered up all the deck beams before removing them. Most of them are shot and need replacing but we will use them as patterns for the new ones.

All the old paintwork and anti-fouling has to be removed, inside and outside the hull. A hot-air gun and a scraper is an effective, if time-consuming method. We have found that the tent gets very warm when there is any sun about. Consequently, operating the hot-air gun soon creates sauna-like conditions to work under!

The anti-fouling and boot-topping are a bigger problem. The hot-air gun just makes it gooey and difficult to scrape off. Also, it gives off some awful fumes and God knows what’s in these old anti-fouling products. The answer turned out to be a coarse fleece attachment to the angle-grinder. It looks like a hard, plastic saucepan scourer but it whips off the paint so quickly it doesn’t get a chance to heat up and fume up. You have to dress up well with the protective clothing with this operation — it does kick off a hell of a lot of crap!

There is a big “plank” in the bottom of the boat called the “keelson”. This had to come out to expose the floor beams below. A combination of rainwater in the bottom of the boat and steel fixings in the original construction had rotted six of the floor beams in the centre of the boat. These had to come out and new ones made.

Each side of the boat there is a “deckshelf” and below that a “stringer”. They have to come out to gain access to the ribs. They run the length of the boat and as they are over 20 feet long we tried to get them out intact. We were 50% successful and as yet are undecided as to whether we repair or replace the damaged ones.

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