Tag Archives: Bronze

Keel Bolts, Cupcakes, Crystals and Kant

So it has been a while since I put pen to paper, (or finger to keyboard), and updated this blog. No excuse really, just life getting in the way and lack of funds…. who knew glue could be so expensive!? Anyway, there has finally been some progress, prompted in part, by my eldest who apparently looks forward to his father’s, loosely boat restoration based ramblings and has commented on the dry spell.

Glue purchased, laminating jig thoroughly tested, preparation table prepared, sunny day….. there really were no more excuses.

Cling film to stop the glue bonding to the jig
Cling film to stop the glue bonding to the jig
All ready for gluing
All ready for gluing

It was quite hard to find any information about how much filler powder to use and consequently the first mixture was a bit thick.

Glued up and clamped up
Glued up and clamped up

Quite tricky getting enough pressure to create the shape but not so much as to force all the glue out. It was so cold that I didn’t dare un-clamp it the next day, so it languishes in this state ’til next weekend.

Meanwhile, despite working in TV, I didn’t have “one I prepared earlier” with which to show you the next step, so I looked at my ‘to do’ list and thought I’d attempt a keel bolt extraction. Like a tooth extraction, I have not been eagerly anticipating this job. It has hung in the back of my mind like a bad smell in the back of a fridge. You know you should investigate it but really don’t want to find that ‘way past it’s use by’ product. All the advice I have gleaned from forums and websites says inspect your keel bolts regularly. However much of a pain it might be, it’s not going to be as painful as the keel falling off in the middle of a storm, or a smiling joint allowing water ingress and the inevitable rot.

Flamingo is up on blocks, and if I’d thought this far ahead I’d have made them higher. Instead I had to dig a couple of holes in order to drive the bolts out from inside the boat.

Holes dug to receive the keel bolts
Holes dug to receive the keel bolts
Undo the nut, drive the bolt out..... simples!
Undo the nut, drive the bolt out….. simples!
The 'wet' end of the bolt
The ‘wet’ end of the bolt appearing

The nuts came off remarkably easily, and using a lump of wood to prevent damaging the thread, the bolt was driven out reasonably quickly. With bated breath I clambered out of the hull to peer under the keel and see what condition it was in.

The sight that greeted me was of the shiny bronze shaft of a keel bolt looking as good as the day it was made, as my father might comment, ‘my cup runneth over’ or indeed, ‘let joy be unconfined!’

Shiny bronze bolt
Shiny bronze bolt

I was sorely tempted to simply drive it back up and leave it at that but remembering one of the worst areas for corrosion is the join between keel and hull I decided, for piece of mind, to take it right out.

500mm Bronze Keel Bolt
500mm Bronze Keel Bolt

A quick clean with parrafin, (thanks be to Brian) and here it is. Apparently the discolouration is nothing to worry about (thank you Vyv (engineer33)) and there is no pitting or thinning at all. I don’t know if these are original bolts or whether they are replacements. If original they have done fantastically well to survive 86 years in such a hostile environment. Driving out two more showed them to be in much the same pristine condition, so a job that could have ended in tears and the expense of bespoke made replacements has gone better than I could have hoped.

But where are the cupcakes and crystals?

I hear you ask…. or was it a random title chosen for it’s alliterative value with little or no basis in reality? Life intervenes in boat restorers dreams and crystals and cupcakes are just some of the distractions.

Breakfast Cupcakes
Luke’s Breakfast Cupcakes

Sadly I’d already eaten, but Luke made these delicious looking breakfast cupcakes; roll some bread flat, line a muffin tin with it, line that with bacon, crack in an egg and sprinkle with cheese. cook in the oven ’til it’s done. Top (hindsight) tip from Luke….. GREASE THE TINS!

Meanwhile, nearby ….. Tilly is growing crystals in a beautiful shade of blue, and Joe is sitting at the kitchen table writing an essay in which he argues whether God’s perfection is proof of his existence or proof that he only exists in our imagination…. eat yer heart out Kant.

Crystals
Crystals

Not wishing you to get the idea that all is sunshine and roses here, this worrying photo shows a large slice of lead peeling away from the keel! I’m hoping to find this is perfectly normal, like a snake sloughing away an old skin, but I fear that is just wishful thinking and this is more like the drooping ear of a dog who has done something so nasty on the carpet it’s going to ruin your day.

Worrying delaminating Lead Keel
Worrying delaminating Lead Keel

’til next time.

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