Saturday, 16 June 2012

How to repair rotten window cills with epoxy and micro balloons

Not just window cills but door frames with  cills as well. Given a homes Meranti frames were at least coated with some thin varnish prior to being built into the brickwork, we should see about 25 years service, just where you live will extend or reduce the service life.

After the initial raking out and cleaning, plus 24 hours to allow the damage to dry out, the repair was fixed in no more than an hours work.

The underside of the meranti window cill has developed rot for the full length of the frame, it can be repaired using a system I developed using our epoxies.

The system works and has prooven itself many times, we supply you with self repair kit of epoxy and fillers. You may require the skills of a carpenter on some jobs.

Using our AR 600 epoxy, I mixed a batch of just over 260 grams. the ratio is simple, 100 grams of epoxy to 30 grams of hardener, any small scales will work for this.

I then mixed the two components and applied with a brush to the affected area, this is working as a primer at this stage.

I next added the 3M micro balloons and fumed silica in more or less equal amounts to make a thick paste.

The mix when applied to the opening under the wooden cill, I used a mixing stick and a spatula to do this. This is quite a messy job, its important to push as much of the white mix into the space left by the rot of the wood. Clean up well, you really do not want to be sanding the white epoxy filler mix down when its gone hard.

Application was easier when the window would open.

I could have left the epoxy filler mix as the final pre painted finish but decided the job would look better with a small wood trim, note the white filler return up the side wall, the wood frame behind looked soft, best to cover it now.

The wood trim held itself in place, note the small wood wedge on the left hand side, that held the wood trim down to the cement white painted cill, there are no fastenings in the wood trim at all.

A simple fixing method, a small wedge made from a scrap of wood.

The finished job before painting, epoxy needs a cover coat of paint as the UV rays will eventually break epoxy down. How easy was this? well given some epoxy and fillers, the wood trim and very few tools I took no more than one hour and I used only a small hand saw to cut the wood trim to length, plus some scraper tools.

Epoxy repaired just yesterday, one coat of Plascon paint on today, next are the white PVA painted reveals, not sure quite when its started to rain but at least we know no water will enter the house through the damaged cill now.

How easy was that!

Some say we can also build boats from the same materials? Epoxies and fillers are available in a carton by post or collection.

A regular blog viewer has asked what the difference may be with using a Carpenter to remove the old cill and refit a new one ? The method will require taking both the opening and fixed sash right out, plus the central bar. The cut and chop out of the old cill, then to refit a new one plus the sash replacements should take about six hours?

Rates per hour right now are around R360, so thats R2160 plus R100 for the new Meranti cill, thats now an invoice to you of R2260 and you still have to repaint it. A 1.3 litre pack of AR600 epoxy and filler powders will cost you R257, OK you may still need a Carpenter for one hour but you can see this sort of method of repair still makes a lot of sense. 


How to lift anchor

Most of us know how to do this by now but when the anchor in question is about two hundred and fifty years old and has a lift eye missing, just how do we manage this one?

As we can see, it takes two HBYC members to do the job.

Plus one more and with his old but trusty crane, I was just too late to get a shot of Ken lifting the clubs old ships sea anchor.

Club manager Alan reminded me we had this anchor outside the original HBYC club house on the beach. It was discovered when part of the V & A Waterfront was being excavated, then donated to the HBYC, how lucky we are!


According to my barometer, this was the weather in Hout Bay

To say winter in Hout Bay can be changable, is putting it mildly, last week the barometer dropped, then dropped again!

We had seen glorious warm blue skies for days, then a low came to visit, just check how low the barometer went down as it arrived.


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Johns Didi mini cruise is ready to launch

John sent me the news yesterday, he has the boat built and ready to move out of the building shed, sounds good but with 10'-00" door opening and a 3mtr wide hull, he has just 1 7/8" of width spare!

With kit Johns order shipped to him in the UK, we kept in touch and over the next year or so sent him the rest of the boat. that was the lead bulb you can see painted red, plus the Iroko laminated drop keel its attatched to. With that order we sent the rudder's and various steering gear, stainless chain plates and also the black powder coated alloy deck stantions and the push and pulpits. We later supplied the full Harken deck gear package, all ex Cape Town and cost effective, even with shipping costs.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Grinling Gibons, master carver

Why would I have more than a passing interest in this man?

Well there is a wood carving in the old timber framed home known as Rufford Old Hall, the Hesketh family home (james hunt F1 connection) the house is outside Liverpool and past Ormskirk.

Very little is known about his early life. The name Grinling is formed from sections of two family names. He was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and it is sometimes thought that his father may have been the Englishman Samuel Gibbons, who worked under Inigo Jones, but even two of his closest acquaintances, the portrait painter Thomas Murray and the diarist John Evelyn, cannot agree on how he came to be introduced to King Charles II. He moved to Deptford, England around 1667, and by 1693 had accepted commissions from the royal family and had been appointed as a master carver.[1] By 1680 he was already known as the "King's Carver", and carried out exquisite work for St Paul's Cathedral, the Palace of Windsor, and the Earl of Essex's house atCassiobury. His carving was so fine that it was said a pot of carved flowers above his house in London would tremble from the motion of passing coaches.

This carving can be seen at Hampton Court, England, the carving at Rufford Old Hall has similar style but is far more delicate, it is a brair bramble and all the leaves are undercut, It is carved from a single piece of wood.

This carving has been at Rufford Old Hall at least 55 years as I remember, a local to the area suggested it was carved by Grinling Gibons?

The old hall, Shakspeare was said to have performed in the old house. Its well worth a view when your in the north west of Lancashire, England


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A new Sport boat from Dix Design

The DS15  or Didi Sportboat 15.

This one is quite new to me, Dudley has had it under wraps and only worked with the boats builder to date.The design looks like a rocket and so well built! Plans are not yet available, when they are we can sell you the plans and if required a bulkhead and backbone kit also.

Dudleys blog words:

A few months ago I blogged a Sneak Preview of a new design that was developing in North Carolina. That boat will not be ready for the Wooden Boat Show in Mystic Seaport later this month as expected but it is progressing. It should be there next year.

Yesterday I received the latest photos from the owner builder, taken this past weekend. When you look at them, please bear in mind that this man is an amateur boatbuilder and this is his first ever boatbuilding project. He has been a very hesitant builder, unsure of his own woodworking skills being up to the task that he had taken on. He has occasionally needed my reassurance to guide him in the right direction or confirmation that he is doing something correctly. He has shown himself to be a meticulous craftsman, working to a higher degree of accuracy than I have in any of my boatbuilding projects.

Read Dudelys blog on this, as the boat in the picture was built by a guy with no previous boat building experiance, what a great finish!



Monday, 11 June 2012

Using Bio-Magic,these little piggies dont smell

We have for some years now sold Bio-Magic under the name of,we have had various results and many customers return for more Bio-Magic to help sort out problems with things like smelly drains and blocked soakaways.One such customer has just purchased his fifth batch,so for him it works big time,no,its not for him but his two rather large but tame pigs! They have access to the home but use a yard to do their daily business,odour was the result and when Bio-Magic was mentioned on Cape Talk 567 radio,a local AM station,we had a request to supply product to do a test,that was around April 2008,so we must have past that test.

Now made in and imported direct from Great Britain!

Bio-Magic,what is it,well its a liquid and made soley in the USA ,we are the South African importers,its base is oxygen and Nitrogen,mixed with water and added to most things that smell and give off odours,it will remove the smell by having the biomass present go into overdrive,causing the smell to stop by natural reaction,with no nasty chemicals involved,its 100% bio friendly,safe on your skin and clothes too.

Commercial sizes in bulk are available .

Check the link for full details.


The Max Collie show

The place was Sea Points Weitzman Hall,the year was 1969? the venue was packed and I had invited a girl from the office staff to come and see what Max Collie was all about,was her name Julie? she was blonde for sure and lived around the Wetton area.

We sat about mid floor,right of the center isle,Max invited some from the audience to join him on stage and from those he built up his show.

Max Collie

From those on the stage Max would soon have them under and make them do various acts,one was to give a guy a raw potatoe,tell him its was a nice sweet apple and enjoy it while he got on with the show,then while the potatoe was fast disapearing,Max woke the guy up,he was horrified to see and taste what he was eating!

Another became Bob Hope,wow,this guy is good thought I ,this was more than some fluky show,it was live theater,remember we had no TV here back then.

The stage lot all quite fast asleep.

Then came an attempt to put the entire audience under a spell,we had to stand up and hold our arms above us and think deeply,I was trying not to be sent under and was still ok when the attempt was done.Julie was ok too it seemed,the show ran its course and Max bid us all good night and folk started to leave. I then turned to Julie and started to leave,only to find she was fast asleep,when I tried to wake her she was just out,so there I was on my first date,with a hypnotised girl.



Diesel Duck 38 kit set

We built one to order,cost wise it was an unbeatable process,work wise its not to be understated but the designer,George Buehler does cover this side in some detail in his really good book 'Back Yard Boat Building',I recomend this book,its a great read and often a good laugh,buy it!you also get a lot of his early free boat plans in the price,when you buy his Diesel Duck plans he supplies a builders book for free,thats good value.

Sergey launches his Didi Mini Transat in New York

Its really great to get feed back from our customers world wide as they proceed to build and then launch their chosen kit design,Sergey,In New York,started with one of our Dix Design Didi Mini Transat kits,proceeded to build it,then later bought the rest of the boat from us,rudders,foil,keel,lead ballast,deck stantions,rudder and steering parts too,here is a note from him.

Hi Roy,
I did it! Thank you for great support and warm wind from Afrika. I made some changes in design including installation of inboard Yanmar engine. I can share it with anybody, who will interested in.


Longitude by Dava Sorbel

One of the nicest things I learned from writing Longitude is that a book can actually improve by virtue of being read. Numerous attentive readers took the trouble to write to me to point out typos or other errors in the text, which the publisher then corrected in subsequent editions. (For example, the typesetter had inexplicably swapped the word “latitude” for “longitude”—and vice versa—on several pages.)

Many more people wrote to say they'd enjoyed reading the book, and quite a few asked questions that the story had raised in their minds. Almost all of the correspondence about Longitude went back and forth by ordinary mail, and although I still answer reader's letters by hand, with a fountain pen, I see this personal web site as a way to continue and perhaps widen the dialog.

Longitude by Dava Sobel
184 pages, Walker and Company, New York $19.00
Review score: *** out of *****
I have a Seiko watch, that I bought years ago at what is now Cost Co. The watch has been very reliable over the years, needing nothing more than a new battery. My Seiko uses a quartz ossilator and it is probably accurate to a couple of minutes a year. Although by modern standards this does not make my lowly Seiko a chronometer, by the standards of the early 1700 my watch would be considered a miracle.

The clocks of that era lost as much as several minutes a day. For England, the leading maritime power of the era, imperfections in time keeping were not an abstract problem that would cause one to be late for tea. In some cases, they were the difference between life and death.

Ships navigators were able to fix their latitude, but they had no way of calculating their longitude. As a result, they were lost at sea on any voyage of more than a few days. In the first few pages of her book "Longitude", Dava Sobel, describes the horrible cost of these navigational errors. On a foggy night of October 22, 1707, two thousand sailors and officers of the British navy lost their lives to a navigational error, when four ships struck the rocks of off the Scillies Islands. All these lives were lost because the ships officers had no way to fix their longitude and so misjudged their location.

The terrible loss of life prompted the British Parliament to pass the Longitude Act of 1714, which offered the sum of 20,000 pounds to the person who invented a reliable method of calculating longitude at sea. This was a huge sum of money, equal to millions today and the longitude prize caused an avalanche of crack pot schemes.

Mathematicians and navigators realized that an accurate clock would allow a ship's captain to fix his longitude, by comparing the time difference between local high noon with a clock set to the time of the port of origin. But no clock at the time could keep accurate time aboard ship, where there was constant motion and large variation in temperature. The inventor of the first successful chronometer was John Harrison, who has been largely forgotten by the modern world, until Dava Sobel wrote her book.

Sobel is an excellent writer and she engagingly chronicles the attempts of the time to fix longitude, by celestial means and with time pieces. The struggles between Harrison and the astronomers of his day to claim the Longitude prize are recorded in contemporary accounts. But few details are known about Harrison himself and we never get a feel for who John Harrison was and what motivated him to create his revolutionary time pieces. Harrison's intricate time pieces still survive in various English museums, proof of his genius as a clock maker, even though the man remains an enigma.

Ian Kaplan - 2/96

Lin and Larry Pardey

Lin and Larry Pardey: Best, every new landfall. Winning races in various ports (often against modern race boats in light wind areas. Some of our inland excursions--including seven months in the Kalahari desert and a motorcycle tour of Europe. And of course, seeing Cape Horn to starboard as we headed into the Pacific.

Worst, being weather bound in various harbors. Unseasonable cyclone only 90 miles from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.


Lin and Larry Pardey: Go small, go simple, but go now.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The cruising life of the family McBride

We had a years break, I took the boat from Cape Town to Salvador, Brasil with good friends and once there the family flew out to me me.

A prime members mooring right in front of the Royal Cape Yacht Club.

How nice was that!


Making holes in gaskets with hole punches

A nice bit of kit for any workshop that has to produce gaskets is the simple hole punch,I have checked my set and found they are made by at least three different companies,from England to Germany.

With a few of these in your tool box, both time and money can be saved, buy some Flexoid gasket paper to make those instant gaskets like a professional.


The loss of yacht Donella.

The yacht Donella was attempting to make a landfall at Port Resolution,Tanna Island,Vanuatu,in the South Pacfic,this was,July 31st 1995,three other yachts were already in the anchorage and by VHF conversation with themselves and Donella decided a night arrival was possible,the plan was they would have their mast head lights and radar on,Donella would home in on them and be guided by their radar,the fact that Donella had no radar was a deciding factor in the outcome to this decision?

Donella in better times, this is in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil, check the link for

Donella,Donella,Donella, this is Ingrid Princess.Over,this was called out every 15 minutes for the prievious three hours,when at midnight no reply came in,they decided to wait untill the first light in the morning,when a search would be possible.

This was published in Cruising World some years back, Chris and his wife now live in New Zealand, they got another boat and named it Donella of course.

( In the dark Donella had hit a reef and by the time they found her the next morning she was holed and about to become a wreck)

Nelson,HMS Victory and the Battle of Traffalgar

Anecdotes and traditions:

Another good wooden boat, she is still on active service and the Queen visits each year for a meal I am told?

As the British Fleet bore down on the Franco-Spanish line Nelson directed Lieutenant Pascoe, the signal officer of Victory, to send the signal to the Fleet “Nelson confides every man will do his duty.” Captain Hardy and Pascoe suggested this be changed to “England expects every man will do his duty”. Nelson agreed. As the signal ran up Victory’s halyard the Fleet burst into cheers. Nelson followed this with his standard battle signal “Engage the enemy more closely”.
Nelson was a remarkable man. He combined a gentleness of character with an extreme ruthless aggression in action. This combined with his technical brilliance at sea made him an invincible enemy. Nelson’s tactic at Trafalgar was simple but devastatingly effective. Nelson was widely feared. If Villeneuve had known that the British admiral was present outside Cadiz harbour it seems unlikely that even the scathing messages from Napoleon would have enticed him to sea. An American captain sailing into Cadiz assured the French admiral that Nelson was still in London.
Nelson default instruction to his officers was “No captain can do wrong if he puts his ship alongside the nearest enemy”.
HMS Victory, Nelson’s Flagship, lies in Portsmouth Harbour preserved as it was at the time of the battle.
In his final letter Nelson asked that the Nation look after his mistress, Lady Emma Hamilton, and their daughter, Horatia. Nelson’s brother was ennobled and his wife awarded a pension. Nothing was done for Lady Hamilton. She died in reduced circumstances in Calais in 1815.
The naming of the warships: Many of the Spanish ships carried religious titles: Santa Anna, Santissima Trinidad, Santo Juan Nepomuceno. Classical labels were popular with the British and French: Mars, Ajax, Agamemnon, Minotaur (British); Scipion, Pluton, Hermione, Argus, Neptune (French). There were Swiftsures and Achilles in the British and French Fleets. The French had an Argonaute and the Spanish an Argonauta. Three British ships held French names: Belleisle, Tonnant and Bellerophon, marking that these ships or their predecessors had been captured from France. The French took names from heroic characteristics: Redoutable, Indomitable, Intrepide. Two British names reflected great size: Colossus, Leviathan.
All three navies had a ship named after the classical god Neptune
You can trace any member of the British Fleet by searching on this web site:

File pictures but I do have some that are similar and taken with my Canon FT film camera.