Monday, 19 December 2011

All tanked up

DIY Bottom Blacking part 4
November 2011

With Wand'ring Bark out on the bank it seemed an ideal opportunity to 'do something' about the water tank.

Half way through the job

For a couple of years I have undone the lock and taken a peep through the inspection hatch. The rust streaks I saw were not encouraging so I quickly closed the lid - and forgot about it for another year! Real head in the sand stuff.

Whilst buying the Sealex bitumen from Midland Chandlers I also bought a tin of potable tank black and figured that the job would be a whole lot easier on dry land, when the sides would have a good opportunity to dry out. I therefore left the pump running for about an hour and sucked out the entire contents, and its a big tank.

and a straight down view

Whilst I am 6' 3" and a bit rounded I do still fit through the hatch and can get inside the tank - just. Its a tight squeeze but once in there isn't a whole lot of room to work. I spent 20 mins scraping away the lose rust and old bitumen, turning the dregs of water at my feet to a muddy soup, but I couldn't get it really clean. Then inspiration struck - that industrial pressure washer. Adam set it up for me, I aimed and fired and the results were nothing short of spectacular.

Great clouds of spray rolled out of the inspection hatch whilst inside the filth and grot vanished like magic to reveal pristine sides all ready for repainting. OK, so I had a couple of gallons of unsavoury gloop to get out plus about a litre of rust particles (did we really wash in that?) but then it was as clean as a whistle.

I left it four days to dry out and then repeated the contortionist act to get the new coat of sealant on. Talk about painting yourself into a corner, its a nightmare task. I painted all the 'distant' bits leaving just the central bit on the bulkhead to be reached from outside. Those last bits, and the base are tricky but the problem was overcome by taping the brush to the sledgehammer handle/ cum hand spike and wielding a 4ft long brush.

Now that's not quite the end of the tale. The guy at Midland Chandlers told me to apply as many coats as I wanted the finish to last - 1 coat = 1 year, 3 coats = 3 years etc. Maybe that single coat five years ago wasn't quite enough. My tin lasted long enough for one coat all round and a second coat on the vulnerable section where the level sits when in use. I have therefore left it empty and ready for another coat before refilling it. WB it therefore sitting at an odd angle, about 6" high by the nose.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Oh No! It looks like every bit as bad a job as I feared it would be. Perhaps I'll leave it for anothet year.
Jim