Monday, 12 September 2016

Fabrics and handles

Visit 9th September

Since our last visit the carpenters have all been on holiday so we weren't sure how much progress would have been made, but we were pleasantly surprised. Kris had plenty of questions regarding shelves in cupboards, how many, would we like them fixing in place or to be able to adjust their heights etc. As most cupboards I know what will be going into them I made a list of large items to measure which would determine heights of shelves.

The back steps were in place, these are held in position by a big keyhole bracket. This means if you lift them they will become detached from the rear bulk head. One question from Kris was how we wanted the lower doors on the rear cupboards to work. One single door or a bi-folding door with a bolt in the middle. We opted for the bi-folding door. This means we can lift the steps and position them so that they sit vertically against the rear bulk head, the then exposed side of the cupboard door will be able to open giving us access to the lower cupboard. But should we need the whole door to open the steps will need to be removed, the bolt in the middle lifted and the cupboard door will fully open.

Discussions with Louis about the engine bay and positions of the various items going in there brought up that it was all going to be very tight with the boiler and hospital silencer. The lower starboard side cupboard was intended for my work tools, but Oleanna has more storage than our current boat so these could quite happily be relocated elsewhere so that the boiler can be housed in the cupboard. This decision was made as the Boat Safety regulations were complex for the boiler (gas) to be in the engine bay and the instillation would be a lot easier in the cupboard. This also frees up space in the engine bay.

The fridge is now in position and just needs a final adjustment. The bike slot next to it has now a finished drawer below with handle. Not sure what will go in here as yet, maybe shopping bags.

All drawers on the drawer tower have handles and the position of a shelf in the top cupboard was discussed.

The cooker position has been tweaked giving us a bit more space between it and the dishwasher opposite. The wooden surround has been brought forward to cover the sides of the cooker and also help anchor it into position. The granite work top will curve out to meet it.

Samples of worktop were looked at, there was one that was close, but not quite the one we have in mind, so a new sample will be sought for us to look at next weekend.

A stainless steel guard will be put over the woodwork on the cabin side to protect it from the rear burners on the hob.

An adjustable shelf has been added into the triangular cupboard. When this is closed it pulls out on heavy duty drawer runners so that you can access the corner cupboard. This cupboard will have a pan drawer at the bottom so that I can pull it out into the gap and access right into the back corner without having to empty everything out. Above this will be a shelf for things that don't get used quite so often.

The freezer is now in it's drawer under the dinette. There is a small amount of space next to it to be able to slot something else in the drawer, not sure yet but I'll find something.

The broom sits where the corner bubble stove will be positioned.

As the small shelf unit was in position and the trim has been fitted on the underside of the cabin sides I was able to measure up for the sofa and pouffe. The gap under this shelf unit will enable the pouffe to slide into the corner out of the way of the door into the bathroom. It will pull out to either be sat on or lengthen the sofa to make a single bed. We now need to arrange a visit to Bradford to see Michael at Sofa Bed Barn to get the sofa made.

The small box on the bulkhead is for light switches.

Looking down the cabin towards the stern. The ceiling panels are now in, the light surrounds are up waiting for the fittings to go in. Trim on the joins of the panels is mostly up, just a few bits missing.

The windows are on order at Caldwells.

The gap in the floor on the right is where there will be a radiator. The floor will be filled in once the plumbing is sorted.

The towel rail is in position in the bathroom waiting to be plumbed in. The flooring for the bathroom will be ordered shortly.

The sink cupboard is in position and doesn't need supports on it's front edge. The position of the sink needed finalising. At the moment the top of the unit is only a mock up and the sink has been centred on the doors. If it wasn't for the gunnel it would look fine. However as soon as I saw it it looked odd, so it will now be centred on the top, front to cabin side. Just hope it looks more meant than it does now.

The composting toilet is now in situ and the plastic urine tank is under the floor. The toilet only comes with a short length of vent pipe which would reach up under the gunnel, but our pipe needs to reach the roof. A hunt is on for the right diameter pipe to be able to extend it.

This shelf unit will cover the majority of the vent pipe and be handy storage.

The bedroom is all in position now. Wooden handles will be used on cupboard doors. But the two big drawers under the bed will have handles similar to those in the galley to cope with the weight that they will have inside them.

The water pump is in under the steps and cupboard doors are going on. Trim up to the ceiling is also being made to fill the gap above cupboards.

During our visit we got to meet Kim who will be doing the upholstery and curtains for Oleanna. We discussed how I wanted the curtains to work, a choice of three hanging methods. Tab tops, eyelet tops, or just a sleeve in the fabric. The later is what I went for. I like curtains to be functional, cut out the light and keep you warm, both the other options would let an amount of light in even if they are blackout lined.

In the bedroom our front doors have little surround to them, which may cause us a problem as we were wanting to have a blind here. The amount of space for fixing a blind isn't good. On our current boat we have roller blinds that are quite compact and are spring loaded. If we can make one of them work for Oleanna that would be good. Photos were sent later on to Kim, measurements need to be checked over.

Our bathroom portholes will need some form of covering, spring sunshine can flood a boat at sunrise even through the smallest of windows. Curtains would look wrong though so it was decided to have a couple of bungs made to fill them. These will need rubber backed fabric so some samples have been sent off for.

Blinds in the galley will have to be fire proof so more samples are on their way with a hope that we can get a colour to match the curtains. Hopefully all the samples will have arrived by next weekend when we will next visit as Finesse and Tyler Wilson are having open days.

At the weekend we will hopefully be able to have everyone in the same room at some point to have a final discussion about the batteries, lithium or wet cell?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Bathroom Sink

Visit 18th August

You'll have noticed a few changes here on our blog. Once we are on board NB Oleanna this will become our cruising blog, leaving NB Lillyanne behind. So every now and then Mick is adding bits and bobs to it.

As two weeks have passed since our last visit and it sounded like there would be quite a bit to see we headed to Sheffield from Goole.

Oleanna has been joined by a shorter boat in the fit out shop which is at the spray foamed stage. Piles of boxes surrounded Oleanna as all the appliances have now arrived. Some have been installed others like the fridge, freezer, toilet and Alde boiler are waiting to go on.

Outside on the port side the water filler and overflow have been added on the gunnel. The stainless steel tank has also been fitted under the well deck. As yet we don't know what volume this holds, but as we will no longer be flushing the toilet our water needs will be reduced.

The most noticeable change inside the cabin is that all the cabin side panels have now been fitted and the window openings have been cut in them. Although these are currently covered in plastic, to help reduce the amount of dust on board, the amount of light inside is great. We are big fans of natural light.
Where the openings have been cut extra spray foam is being used to fill any cavities left by the window. Hopefully our windows will arrive soon and we won't have the problem as happens on most house builds, waiting for the glass to arrive which holds everything else up. Luckily on a boat you can crack on with other things.

In the bedroom the ceiling is up although not fully finished on the panel joins yet. One lonely light fitting had been put up to show us what they would look like through the boat. We liked the oak surround. Not having any power on board yet meant there was no point in putting a bulb in.

The wiring is now in for our bedside lights under the overhead cupboards. These lights will have a narrowed angle to their focus so that each will only illuminate one side of the bed. In the corner by the bedside table is the wiring for one of the switches. This will just be a small switch. Next to this on the side of the cupboard we will have a double socket and a usb charger.

Under Mick's bedside table is our washing machine, snuggly fitted into a cupboard. A few years ago we saw a boat at Crick with the washing machine in the bedroom and thought what a good idea it was. You can put your dirty clothes straight into it out of the way. This is also a condensing drier, which empties through the same pipe as the washing machine does.

A thin cupboard with shelves sits on top.

The bathroom has been mostly lined with blue laminate. The underside of the gunnel has been finished off with oak trim. The gap in the blue is so that pipes can be added from the urine tank (which will be below floor level) up to the gunnel so that we can empty it with a built in or hand operated pump. We will have both should the electric one fail.

The shower is now in position, still with the taps to be added. The cardboard on the floor is protecting the shower tray. Behind the shower and under the gunnel are three shelves for storage. The small switch will work the shower gulper, this pumps the shower water up over the side of the boat as the shower tray is below water level inside so needs a helping hand.

This bathroom door is hung, with it's door furniture.

The ceiling is still to go up in here. This has been delayed as the only space big enough for our 250 watt solar panel is above the bathroom and saloon. So the cables need to be run in for this. Once they are in the ceiling laminate will be glued in place.

This area is where our sink will be. I chose an oval sink which will go across the corner. Paul the chippy had some questions for me about this. On NB Lillyanne our current boat, our cat has her litter tray in a cupboard under the sink. This is a good place for it as we go to the toilet in the bathroom too, it doesn't get in the way, it is where it can be cleaned easily and she gets a bit of privacy.

The problem is she is not a standard cat and does not sit down when she goes to the loo, so needs more of a plastic crate than just a tray. Now that they have the sink the cupboard can be made, but fitting a rectangular crate into a triangular cupboard was making it rather big for the space.

Paul had cut out a template for the crate and then drawn out a plan of how he saw the sink working in the space there is.

We scratched our heads for a while and then decided that it may be better to have the whole thing open underneath. So float the sink. All the gubins, pipes etc and underneath of the sink will be hidden behind a cupboard which hopefully will have enough space to give us a shelf too.

If it is possible to just float the sink with it's cupboard and granite surround that will be great, but should the need arise two chrome poles could be added to help support the front edge. This will leave plenty of space underneath for Tilly's crate. I hope she likes it!

The TV mantel has been made. The opening on the top right is where the TV will be, mounted on a swivel arm, so that it can come out from the recess to access the slot in it to play DVDs. This unit will also house a digital car radio and a PVR. We should have space left over for DVD and CD storage. All the sockets will be hidden behind the panel on the top left.

The piece of wood next to this is what we call the Houdini Shelf. This will be fixed to the cabin panel above the TV mantel so that our cat can have a great view of all that happens outside. We were asked if the TV mantel would suffice for this, but it is a good 8 inches below the bottom of the window, how is a cat meant to snooze and watch the world at the same time?

The end of the dinette has back boxes for double sockets and a double gang CAT5 socket. The CAT5 is so that when we are moored in areas with numerous WiFi signals we can connect to our router directly, therefore avoiding our devices getting confused as they do currently.

The dinette was in position. The backs are slightly angled for a comfier sitting position. There is a lip which will help hold the cushions in position. Behind the seats is a narrow shelf. We know that we will end up putting things on this, but it serves to cover storage for a drawing board and model making materials. A section of the lid and the side open up for access.

The galley now has most of the cupboard and drawer fronts on. Masking tape handles are in pace to help open them. The corner cupboard behind the dinette is on runners so can pull out to reveal the contents right in the corner.

The dishwasher can be seen here. I think we may have to buy a few more plates to fill it even though it is a compact one.

Corner shelves are on the right, under these is where our cat Tilly will have her food bowls, just out of the way so we don't kick them.

Opposite the dishwasher is the cooker. This has to sit slightly proud from how it would normally be fitted in a kitchen so that the back rings are a safe distance from the cabin side. The doors of the oven and dishwasher open fine, but a mental note of making sure the opposite one is fully closed will have to be made as there is only just enough space.

The vent at the rear of the cooker will mean that the cabin panel above will need a bit of adapting to reflect heat away from the cabin side. So a section of the oak frame will need to be removed and replaced with stainless steel.

Beyond the cooker is a gap for the fridge, then a slot for one of our folding bikes. Below the slot is a small drawer. This helps nudge the bike up so that it can sit partially over the swim of the boat, meaning it can go further in.

As yet I'm not sure what we'll put in the drawer, but I know it will be filled very quickly when we move on board.

Opposite the bike slot is the stack of drawers. The fronts of these and the cupboard above them have been made from one sheet of oak, so the grain follows through from ceiling to floor. Between them and the dishwasher is a cupboard which will house a pull out larder.

The starboard side of the galley has a thin MDF work top at the moment, this will actually be the template for the granite tops to be shaped from. The sink and tap positions still need to be marked on them.

The electrics cupboard still has all the wiring coiled up inside. This will eventually have doors over them. The back steps are off the boat at the moment to make access into the back cupboards a lot easier.

One bit of homework will be to find some simple low profile handles for the galley units.

In the engine bay, not much has happened as yet. Until a final decision is made on the type of batteries we are having the engine can't be ordered. We are still waiting for some information to come back regarding the Victron inverter/charger, the solar panel controller and the domestic alternator before we finally make our minds up on this.

So the engine bay stays dusty for a while, cables and pipes wait to be connected up. The stern gland is visible at the top of the V, this is where the prop shaft goes from being driven inside to revolve the prop on the outside. A gland which is packed with grease stops water from coming into the engine bay

The engine will be one of the last things installed as it gets in the way of everything else being fitted as it is quite a big lump.

Outside on the starboard side cables for tv aerials have been brought through where there will be a socket for us to connect the aerial.

Also here we will have a socket for our 4G internet aerial, which we are likely to fit onto a heavy base to sit on the roof.

Today we broached the subject of a completion date. In the autumn we have to be on the other side of the Pennines, Our hope is that Oleanna will be ready in time for us to move on board in Sheffield, put NB Lillyanne on the market and then head over the Leeds Liverpool Canal to get through a stoppage on the Bridgewater Canal that starts at the end of October. We are mindful that we don't want anything to be rushed for the sake of it. So hopefully in a few weeks we will know better if this scenario will be possible. Otherwise we will need to find somewhere to launch her and move NB Lillyanne there to meet her.

A very good visit, lots of questions asked and answered on both sides. Things are getting very exciting!

Friday, 5 August 2016


Visit 3rd August

Before we cruised away from handy train stations we arranged to visit Sheffield to see how things were progressing and see if there were any questions that it would be easier to answer on site.

The carpenters hadn't been told that we'd be around but were happy for us to go on board before Ricky and Louis joined us. It looked like virtually all the wiring had been put in and most of the engineered oak flooring was down. Most of the cupboards were off the boat stacked up in the workshop. Most have now had the satin lacquer applied to them where they will be seen. I'm very used to seeing things in this state as it's far easier to apply finishes when things are in pieces.

All of our bedroom was stacked up with a couple of drawers that will go in the cupboards for socks etc. You can see on the side of the bow steps that the top surface has had lacquer applied but not the sides as these butt up to cupboards.

Holes have been drilled in the cabin at the bow for the navigation lights and cables were showing on the starboard side.

The insides of the hatch have been clad now with oak. The insides of the steel doors have also been painted to match the stripes on the exterior. A nice touch, except the red stripe still needs to be addressed.

The rear cupboard and bike slot were in position inside Oleanna and I checked the measurements of them. Our bikes would fit, but only just at a squeeze. A hiccup in translation, they normally work to overall outside dimensions of cupboards. Luckily we'd spotted this now rather than when all the appliances were in place. Having a very close look at our bikes we can move the saddle slightly which should give us back some tolerance in the rear cupboard. The slot will be altered to give us a bit more height.

Wiring hung from the ceiling everywhere, coiled up ready for back boxes, fittings, switches and sockets. The cabin sides were half in place, some had been removed to start cutting the window openings in them.

The insides of the food drawers can be seen just next to Mick. They still need drawer fronts adding to them.

The ceiling in most of the boat is still unclad, but in the bedroom (sadly didn't get a photo) it is up with holes for the lights already cut.

All the cables run back to the starboard side rear cupboard which will be the electrics cupboard. Here coils of many colours hung all labelled.

The thick blue cable is the 240 volt ring main and the grey coil is Cat 5 that we will have running to the TV and dinette area. The others well I have no idea!

This is the corner of the saloon by the bathroom. A hole has been cut for a double socket below the gunnel, the blue ring main is looped through it.

A section of the engineered oak floor is visible, most of it is covered for protection with cardboard. There is a section of floor that is just plain ply, this is where the sofa will sit. Most areas where cupboards, beds etc cover are done this way as they will never be seen. However if there is enough of the flooring left over this is an area that may get seen as the sofa is a stand alone sofa bed which may in years to come be replaced, revealing the floor.

In the bathroom the plumber has started. The hole in the floor is for the drain from the shower. A cross member of steelwork has had a section removed to help with this. Pipes for hot and cold water come up from below the floor.

The composting toilet and urine tank are on order along with the sink and taps for the bathroom.

The panel that the shower is fixed to is not in it's final position in this photo. Fixing it all together whilst the panel is loose makes it a lot easier to reach the back. The two copper pipes protruding will be for the hot and cold water. On our old share boat at one time the tap and temperature control in the shower were very smooth, which made it almost impossible to turn off when you have wet hands. We checked that our tap has some grooves on it.

Discussions about positions of sockets on the dinette were had, as the dinette seating has had to be raised slightly to house the freezer this means there is no space above the cushions for sockets. So all power will go on the end of the dinette along with the Cat 5 sockets.

We have now had a price for Lithium batteries given to us, which we are really interested in as we shouldn't have to replace them for about ten years, maybe more. Before we go ahead with it we need to know a little more regarding the charging voltage of the alternator and means of connecting the solar panel either via a dedicated MPPT controller or directly into the inverter/charger. We have also asked if space can be left by the battery bank, so that if we discover that we are running out of power in the first few months then we would be able to add an extra battery wired in parallel. We hope this is unlikely, but we'd feel happier to have the option available to us.

Although little was in place we were happy with the progress that is being made.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Carcasses and Electrics

Meeting 21st July

Most of the chaps at the yard had been on a weeks holiday somewhere hot. This either meant that not much progress would have happened since we were last there or a lot would have happened. It was the latter.

First we had a catch up on the battery front, more conversations had been had with the Lithium Battery people and Mick and I had put together a power audit. The audit was based on a winters high usage day. Without running the engine we reckoned we'd use about 82 Amp hours of power. The suggested batteries may be enough as it would be unlikely for us to not run the engine on such a day. Ken and Ricky will put together the prices so that we can decide if we can afford the greater initial outlay.

More fabric samples had arrived and luckily there was one that stood out from the rest for the dinette covers. This and others were taken down to Oleanna to see what they would look like in situ.

A lot had happened since our last visit, although everything was just placed in position for us to see as the floor is still to be laid and the ceiling will go in shortly. It's most probably best if I talk through photos from the stern.

Carcasses have been made up for the cupboards at the stern. From the furthest back on the starboard side working forwards. The electrics cupboard above a cupboard which is challenged by the swim of the hull, this will be for deep storage. The cupboard door for the electrics cupboard will open above the rear steps.

The next unit will mainly be drawers. Our current boat has drawers that are high enough to hold a bag of flour, so we have two such drawers, a cutlery drawer, T towel drawer then a deeper drawer at the bottom and a cupboard filling what space there is left at the top.

Next will be an undercounter pull out larder unit. Next to that will be a slimline dishwasher.

This is the port side. A long cupboard with hanging space accessible from above the steps. The base of this will be where we keep our second folding bike, which comes out on rare occasions.

The top of this unit will have an open shelf so if/when the heavens open we can pop things there that we want to keep dry. There will be a shelf in the cupboard for the tool kit.
The stern steps are half steps or loft steps. We have these on on NB Lillyanne and really like them as they take up less space but don't feel as steep as normal treads would. They have however been made with the leading step the opposite way round to our current configuration, so we shall have to be careful for a while. Our standard "Go in backwards, right foot first" will have to change.

Next to the tall cupboard is where there will be a slot left for our other folding bike. This will sit above a cupboard or drawer lifting it as high as possible under the worktop. This is so that the bike can nestle as close to the swim as possible without sticking out too much. We wanted the bike to be in a handy position. Following on from this will be the fridge, then the cooker, then some angled shelves.

Following on from the dishwasher will be the sink unit with the drainer going into the corner. The triangular cupboard will house crockery etc. This will be able to slide along the half bulkhead behind it so that you can get access into the cupboard in the corner.

I'm hoping that the corner cupboard will have a couple of pull out shelves/ drawers to make access even easier.

All these units are on feet and there will be a plinth below.

The cabin sides have been clad with painted birch ply and framed simply with oak. The ceiling has yet to be clad in a similar way. This can only be done when the electrics have been routed to where they need to be.
Between each panel is a joining strip which covers the join, this also allows there to be a small gap for expansion and contraction of the cabin sides. It has a simple detail of a grove down it. Other boats we'd seen in fit out had much more detailed panelling, but I preferred it to be simpler.

Below the painted panels, where visible, it will be clad in plain oak faced ply.

The windows have yet to be cut into the wooden cabin panels. Everywhere apart from the bathroom the liners will be oak. In the bathroom we have gone for metal liners as this will be where the most condensation occurs, which can stain wood.

Here the glazed doors for the side hatch are shown. These sit inside and open inwards, outside the metal outer doors will close to protect these doors when it is raining and for security.

 At the end of the galley the half bulkhead has been made into a 6 inch wide cupboard. This is so that I can store a drawing board and model making equipment. Being here it will be hidden away, but easily accessible when needed. There will be a lid and door on it as my drawing board will need to slide up and out of it's storage.

The L shaped dinette has mostly been put together.  On the corridor end of the seats is a drawer for a Waeco freezer. Behind the drawer there will be a storage space, only accessible if you remove the cushions.
Below the longer section of the dinette are two doors that open when pushed. This means we can access storage here without having to lift the cushions.

The front facia of the long side pulls out and the back of the seat flattens out to cover the storage below. The back cushion will then become part of the mattress for a double bed. This is such an easy way to make up the bed compared to what we have now.

The table will fold away and be stored under the gunnels opposite the end of the dinette.

At the end of the dinette is a small book case. This originally was going to have open shelves, but now we have a ships cat we need some easy access storage that she can't access hence the door.
Next to this will be a 2.5 seat sofa with a shelf unit on the other side going into the corner with the bathroom bulkhead. A little bit was lost in translation with this unit as it needs to be open to the floor below to be able to store a pouffe that will extend the sofa into a single bed when pulled out.

In the bathroom some of the blue laminate was in position around the quadrant shower tray.

In the opposite corner there is no floor as yet as this will be where our urine tank for the toilet will be. We did some research into calcification of urine, a steel tank would be fine unless you needed to clear any blockage. The best solution to this is to use some acid, which over time would eat away the steel, so we are having a plastic tank which won't be affected by acid. Better safe than sorry in a few years time!

The tank would last Mick and myself about four days, although we'd empty it long before then. But it will give us capacity for when we have visitors, so that we won't have to be emptying it every day.

Then the bedroom. The porthole opening has been cut away above the bed. Carcasses of the cupboards by the bow doors were in position along with cabin steps. These cupboards will mainly be shelved, but one will have some hanging space that goes down below the steps. Not much need these days for hanging long dresses. I suspect most of this cupboard will end up being used for folding chairs etc.

The opening facing away from the bow doors is where our vacuum cleaner will live.

On this side of the bed at floor level will be the washing machine. This is mirrored with a narrower cupboard on the other side of the bed. There is a ledge big enough for a mug and books on both sides too.

Three thin cupboards span the width of the bed above the porthole. These are likely to be used for bed linen.

 All the holes are ventilation under our mattress. This is the cross bed. The open section at the back will be for deep storage, winter clothes and duvets, maybe work things.

Under the holes are two large drawers at floor level, one each side of the bed, his and hers drawers.

The holey bit is two layers, the top one pulls over to span the boat to make a cross over bed. The mattress on this will have a hinged section that we fold over during the day and push the base back in to create a corridor.

 Looking out through the front doors the cratch wood work is complete. The well deck on Oleanna is higher than on NB Lillyanne, so we will have to stoop more when the cover is on out there. I suspect on fine days the cover will get rolled right back so that there is more head height.

Front doors looking rather fine with an inset of darker wood in the bottom panel.

The lock looks good and has two more keys than our current front door has. Although when we returned to the boat later the doors and surround had been removed. I suspect they will stay like this for a while to make it easier to get things in and out of the boat.
The front doors in situ with the cratch in position.

After discussing various things inside we sat down to discuss the electrics.

Two meetings ago I had produced our plan for lights, switches and power sockets. This was our suggestion based on how we live currently. Last time we had visited positions of switches was discussed, but there wasn't enough time to go through everything. Today it had to be done, otherwise it would start to hold everything up. One or two reductions in the number of light fittings, but mostly it is how I had drawn it. Positions for switches and Cat 5 sockets were discussed. With some hunting on the internet I have since found some chrome Cat 5 covers so they won't look too out of place.

Confirmation of appliances is needed soon. Very sadly the cooker we were wanting will not be possible. We had chosen a 600 deep cooker with a lid, but forgotten that positioning it on the side of the boat would not work due to the gunnels. So we have a mission to find a cooker without a lid that will fit our needs and position. If this had been pointed out earlier the galley would have been designed differently. A similar cooker to our current one is not on our cards as we haven't had Yorkshire puddings for two years and I dream of having them again with a Sunday Roast.