Saturday, 21 December 2013

Hatching up a plot

New Hatch Installation
December 2013

Every winter Wand'ring Bark is treated to a significant enhancement / improvement. One year it is a new cooker, another a new toilet or a major bit of  carpentry - you get the idea.

Well, this winter the "improvement" has to some extent been forced upon is - as it was last year when the holding tank perforated. The windows on the right hand side (starboard if you have a salty disposition) have always struggled to keep the water out and in spite of refitting them about four years ago, both of the larger front windows started to leak in the autumn.

 The hatch arrives

As ever, the immediate solution was a strip of duck tape along the top which was 100% effective, but it was neither beautiful nor enduring. So a longer term solution is needed and we started to consider the replacement window options. They come in all formats but whichever way you go there never seems to be enough ventilation on hot days, and more importantly, no way of trading off the boat if the weather is windy or a bit wet. What we need is a hatch....

It works!

I remembered Bones having a hatch retro fitted and her blog contains the number for Martin Kedian who specialises in this the fabrication of hatches, doors, even hand made stoves. So I gave Martin a call, discussed the size of the window opening and the available open to us.

I was thinking of solid doors and a chunk of perspex inserted when its wet, but then he suggested glazed doors which let in the light when closed, and the air when open. Great idea and no more insecure than the existing window.

Undercoat applied

And so Martin arrived yesterday with a freshly painted hatch frame in the back of his van. The original plan was to go and measure up first but because the window it will replace is a standard size he had made it straight away and we went to the boat just to check the fit. No problem - it will fit like a glove.

So now its time to do the preparation at home before canalside fitting. First task is to get it undercoated, and then glossed up in Union Green to ensure its all protected from rust. Then it will involve sticking in battens to carry the glass and finally I will have to carefully open out the curved bottom corners of the old window hole to accept the rectangular frame, which is simply tapped to the steel sides and bedded onto two silicone beads.

It costs twice as much as a new window, but we gain a fully functioning hatch - great!

I will let you know how I get on.

The final snag is that the other window in the saloon is also leaking so I can see the I will still be on the lookout for a new window before the winter is over. In the meantime thank goodness for duck tape!

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