A narrowboat renovation project by Nick Goodall.


Rusty, dusty thunderstorms

18th June 2023

The downside of living under trees is that it rains for hours after it officially stops. This week there were thunderstorms (there’s even one as I’m writing this), and although slightly inconvenient as I have to cover the now-windowless holes in the side, they’re useful for a shower to save some water.

On Monday after removing the other 3 windows and pre-drilling holes for the support batons, I got to work grinding away the rust in section 2, the front part of the lounge/saloon. It is dirty work…

Rusty second lounge section Dirty Nick

It went well for 2 hours until the angle grinder stopped… again. And this was the new one, not even 24 hours old. WTF. I tried cleaning it inside and checking the connections, but still nothing. Makita be damned, I got me an equivalent one from DeWalt at Toolstation, which I sure hope DeWon’t give up. It’s been wonderful so far and the switch is easier to engage, which makes a difference on your thumbs after a day.

Most of the rust didn’t survive past Monday, but a thunderstorm hit in the afternoon and I had to wait until the following evening to finish up (Tuesday is for work, I’m a software engineer):

Cleaned second lounge section

Then, with the dust settled, I could get it ready to paint. Now my usual tactic for this is reams of blue roll and a spray bottle, meticulously wiping away all the grime and dirt. This works fine, but it’s slow. Very, very, very slow. I did this for the ceiling and part of the sides on Wednesday, and then I had an idea: I’m next to a near-limitless supply of not-too-dirty water, and I have a sponge.

An hour later with a handful of buckets, the rest of it was clean and primed to paint. It takes about 5 or 6 hours to do one coat, and this Sunday I finished up number 3 after being away on Saturday:

Painted second lounge section

It felt like this would’ve taken me 4 weeks 6 months ago, but to go from rusty metal to 3 coats of paint on 1/4 of the boat in 5 days is wonderful. There’s another coat of primer I’ll do, and then 2 white overcoats for the looks (not strictly necessary as I’m insulating over them, but extra paint can’t hurt and I want that factory feeling). Oh and the windows… they need cleaning and re-installing, and I have some glass to order for the one that I broke while removing.

Until next week!

- Nick

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