This weekend, we decided to give Willow’s counter a bit of attention. First, we wanted to reduce the amount of ‘play’ in the tiller – previously if you moved the tiller there was a bit of a lag because the central stock which should have been a tapered square had worn down to something more rounded. First job was to grind down the blob of weld which held on the bolt, then remove the nut and the tiller arm completely. Those of you who have been reading our blogs for some years will remember that we’re no strangers to tiller removal, although this time it wasn’t a tree on the Nene but a deliberate removal with a 1″ spanner!
Then it was a case of cutting some steel strips to shim the rudder stock (and sanding/priming a few scratches and nicks while the grinder was out) before putting the “swan’s neck” back on, and securing it tightly onto the new steel shims with the top bolt. The result is that the rudder now responds immediately to movement with out any lag at all.
Next, I got on with touching up some rust spots along the join between the cabin and the gunwales, whilst James got into the bilges under the counter. First he used Charles the wet vacuum cleaner to suck up the water, the cleaned and painted the stern gland bilge with Danboline.
Whilst down there having a bit of a sort of the engine room, James was cleaning under the fuel tank (right at the back under the counter) and found an old penny. It’s a bit corroded but it’s possible to make out that it is a 1d piece from 1938, minted just three years after Willow was built. Traditionally boatmen used to set “lucky pennies” into their cabin steps so I wonder if it came out of an older step? We’re planning to set this one into the step. I love how old boats keep on surprising you!
Today, while James is away coxing at Peterborough regatta, I’ve continued working on painting the counter. Now, all four colours are retouched and it’s looking much better, although a certain tortoiseshell feline did leave a couple of paw prints on the black paint before I shut her in! Don’t want her treading any more paint through the boat!