A narrowboat renovation project by Nick Goodall.


We are (mostly) insulated!

1st October 2023

Omg, happy October!

The week started frantically, as Monday was perfect for insulating and I had so much to do: buy a gas mask and some overalls, move a bunch of my shite out of the way, clean all the surfaces and masking tape everything I didn’t want foam on. And I mean everything: I learned this the first time round, that any exposed surface will absolutely, positively become insulated, even just a little bit. This included my phone screen, which I had left outside, upon which I could feel a smattering of tiny particles later.

By ~14:45 we were a GO, and I made a little time lapse of the first coating (excuse the flapping plastic):

Unfortunately the 2 panels at the back didn’t set correctly (to the left and right of the camera where you can’t see), and I then spent the next hour cleaning what felt like syrup and dough off the walls before trying again. By 17:30 I was done with the lot, and couldn’t wait to remove my sweat suit. I had half an insulated boat!

Insulated stern

On Tuesday I did some work, and I returned to… the generator by the side of the canal. Where the fuck was the boat?! Looking up and down the canal I couldn’t see it, and I was getting stressed. I figured nobody stole it, because why wouldn’t you take the generator? For some reason “right” felt correct, so off I ran back up the canal, and 200m later there it was, neatly moored up alongside (I didn’t think to take photos).

Luckily I had a working engine to take it back (😁), and the following morning I found out what happened when a woman and her dog stopped by to tell all. My piss-poor mooring (my words, not hers) set the boat adrift, around a corner and under a bridge, before settling on the other side of the canal. Anthea was her name, living on a boat just up the canal, and she asked a passing boat to hand her the mooring lines before tying it up herself. I was incredibly grateful, and inspired by her mooring lines.

I also re-torqued the engine cylinder head that day, along with checking the rocker valve clearances again. It’s just… so good, and runs wonderfully without any smoke or steam. AHHH *chef’s kiss*. 🤌

Thursday my new coffee grinder arrived, and with some freshly-roasted beans my caffeine game has reached new heights. I may not have walls, or running water, or plug sockets, but I have good coffee. And then more battening — the final ones! — with some prep before more insulating on Friday:

Lounge insulation prep

It was once more a colossal mess, but it’s not over yet: I still have the hatch, doors, portholes, and chimney area to do, and 3 of the wall panels didn’t set correctly again; they turned into a syrupy sludge, and I’ll do those with the rest of it next time. And the tanks are still half full, so I’ll also go over other parts of the boat and make it absurdly insulated. Like, ridiculous levels, question-the-second-law-of-thermodynamics levels.

Over the weekend I cleaned up the old chimney collar and started painting it, along with some additional welding to the hatch for the door lock and some “wings” to keep it down:

More hatch welding

A few tasks to do next week before insulating is over, and then… new adventures await!

Until next Sunday!

- Nick

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