Saturday, 1 November 2014

LIGHTSHIP CORMORANT / LADY DIXON - Chapter 68



Re-decking the ship proved to be slower than imagined – and harder!  The computer-generated diagrams I put in earlier posts made everything look quite straightforward, but of course it wasn’t. The first task was to get a 100x100mm timber grid structure in place.
With the ship’s sides being curved and the decks sloping fore/aft and port/starboard, with odd projections here and there, everything had to be measured and placed carefully. We started on the stern and with the grid in place, proceeded to stage 2 – filling the spaces in the grid with 100mm foam panelling, each piece tailored to fit a specific space. (Photo) 


The foam is very easy to cut and any small gaps were filled with an expanding foam gun. The gun was a very good buy as it enables you to squirt the amount you want, when you want it, whereas the normal canisters cannot be left idle for long. That’s Chris the ‘roofer’ on the left and Simon on the right waiting for his chance to measure up the next panel.
   With the insulation complete and the plywood panels screwed firmly to the grid, Chris applied a layer of bitumen with a roller (Photo).   

This seals the ply and provides a key for the bitumen material layer which follows. (Photo)

    The bitumen layer has to be carried up onto the bulwark to ensure rain does not get underneath. As the bulwark was, in places, showing its age (136 years), the spray foam came into play again filling in some gaps before the layer went on.  After 5 days hard graft, I was showing all of my 76 years, but the foam wouldn’t work on me!
    All this took time and the final layer of gritted roofing felt had not been put down before I left. However, the starboard deck was also brought to the first layer stage and that might have been a much smaller area, but it was much more complicated, with light boxes and scuppers to cater for. (Photo)   The scuppers are important of course so they were left clear and dressed into the bitumen layer. 

    The light boxes can wait until next year (by which time we should have sorted out exactly how they are going to be made watertight and walkable on) and the ply, having been cut out, was replaced and the bitumen layer was uninterrupted. (Photo)   

That projection in the right foreground is a filling point, marked “Calor Gas” and below is a pipe going down into the bilges where I assume there is a gas tank.  Not knowing how well drained the tank is, we decided not to cut the filler valve down to deck level and Chris had to work round it!
David