Frustration and Exhaustion
Frustration and exhaustion in equal measure. The shot blaster is an unpleasant invention of Satan himself. Only one who resides in the depths of hell could have designed a hose, with 2 other smaller control hoses running down its length supported at intervals. These are destined to catch every corner, piece of angle iron, sticky outy thing and piece of detritus over a foot long. Add to that the helmet (again designed by Beelzebub himself) which tugs and snags the airline, yanking your head and digging the air valve into the back of your skull. The blast hose tries to tear itself out of your hands whilst you balance precariously on 2 bits of angle steel and smack you in the face and fire glass fragments through your clothes at about 150mph... The frustrations of working single handedly and the exhaustion of the up and down, loading 300 kgs of blast media into the hopper a day and then descending into the bowels of the hold to disgorge it is obvious. By the end of the day my 'mountain goat' impression has been replaced by a 'new born giraffe'.
All I can say is it was a good job the blast hood and compressor drowned out the expletives. Not sure what colour we will eventually paint the barge but the air is most definitely blue.Apart from learning how to shot blast (a dubious skill at best) I have learned how to string together innocuous words and curses in several languages to produces a freaking cornucopia of expertly crafted blasphemous profanity. Now that is a skill most definitely worth having...
My plasma cutter has been pressed into service again to rid myself of the steel of the floor of the skipper's cabin. The air feed has popped the hose twice so some 'boy scouting' has made some repairs to keep it going.
The tank under the floor of the skipper's cabin has been revealed and will meet the sweet kiss of the plasma cutter very shortly. It is still a quarter full of water so no doubt tomorrow's job will involve a bilge pump and a hose.
I have also managed to remove more of the steel and with luck I will have a helper tomorrow and some plasma cutter training will take place while I finish the shot blasting in the cargo hold.
The steel has had the unfortunate effect of degrading the frames around the skipper's cabin where the steel floor was welded to it. This will no doubt need patching and building up with weld but it is an annoyance nonetheless.
I think this is a product of the steel holding any water from leaks or condensation and then allowing it to sit and rust over many years. Without a 'mouse hole' for water to run where it will cause less damage it has pooled and corroded. Something I will be avoiding with the next flooring.
One of the next major jobs is the removal of over a tonne of fine glass fragments from the bilge. I may well keep some of them to recycle as fine blast media as they should prove fine enough to blast the portholes without damaging them. However, the rest will need to be swept up, bagged and then the remainder hoovered up. I may not be able to get around to running the blaster over the bilge rivet heads, but I can find the worst of the bilge and use the blaster to strip the oil/grease mixture as best I can. The rest will have to be done with a wire brush.
Still no news on an updated quote from the high pressure water blasters. The commercial vessel is only having a surface wash not strip so there may not be the savings I had hoped for financially.
So what can I say about the blasting? A good or bad idea? Given the cost of 2 tonnes of blast media, and 2 weeks rental of the pot and compressor I could have hired a contractor for one, maybe 2 days maximum, it was financially a good choice. The hard graft involved has been relentless and hasn't yet finished. My word of advice to anyone who is considering a barge renovation - try to get one which is already back to bare steel. It'll save you at least a year and a fudge load of work and money...
Brownian motion-type musings on barge renovation, life and other bits of flotsam.