Saturday, 24 December 2016

Tanked up for Christmas

Tanked up for Christmas
December 2016

The Jam Butty has been receiving some attention over recent weeks as we turn our thoughts to the 2017 trading season.

My time sleeping on the butty identified a deficiency, apart from a lack of internal height which is inescapable! Whilst the cross bed is very comfortable, there is no way to secure the back doors and hatch from the inside. I discovered this in Walsall Town Basin and I spent a night wondering which would open them first - a gust of find or a curious local. In the event the doors stayed shut but some catches were needed and this has been addressed.

Tearing a new hole "where the sun dont shine".

The next change was to maximise the storage space for jam at floor level. Last season I took the side panel off the locker under the long seat and exposed a space to store nearly 400 jars. To extend this even further I converted the drawer front under the "bed ole" into another side opening locker and made space for an extra 200 jars - all nice and cool below the waterline.

The latest development has been the creation of a locker in the stern triangle off the stern deck. In its previous incarnation the butty contained a raw water cooled diesel generator fed from a diesel tank in the stern. The generator is long gone and our needs are met by a 2kw petrol unit purchased from Aldi. The problem this brings is the storage of petrol - the boaters nemesis.

There is no way I am keeping any petrol in the body of the butty so I decided to convert the old diesel tank into a ventilated locker which will be perfect for a small can of petrol.

Good idea in theory but achieving the end proved a bit of a challenge. First I marked it out and then drilled each corner - so far so good. Then I attemped to cut it out with a metal jigsaw blade but after a difficult six inches it was clear the tool wasnt up to the job. Time to wield the angle grinder. I came armed with a set of 1mm discs and set to - soon discovering that rather then the 3mm steel I expected it was 5 or 6mm, and soon wore out the cutter discs. Another trip to screwfix and I set to with some 3mm cutters which although slower, did manage to achieve the desired cuts.

Inside a diesel tank

I had drained off the diesel before I started but I was very aware that there was some left sloshing around in the bottom of the tank. I know diesel is pretty inert stuff, but I was not entirely sure what would happen when it was showered in sparks from the cutter. I therefore had an extinguisher and a fire blanket to hand during the process.

As I cut the bottom line I thought I had trouble. Suddenly I was enveloped in foul smelling smoke, but rather than setting fire to the diesel I had burned out the motor on the grinder! It hung in there till I had almost finished and was able to pull the steel panel out, and then died a death.

The old tank was found to contain maybe 12 litres of the most disgusting diesel you ever saw. This was all decanted out and the tank wiped down ready to have a set of doors added. 

All in all a bit of a disgusting job but well worth the effort.

1 comment:

Ade said...

Good work Andy, shame about the angle grinder giving up the ghost!