About Oakley

This is a record of the restoration of narrowboat Oakley, a large Northwich of the Town class of the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co. Ltd. built in 1936 by Yarwoods in Northwich. Her fleet number was 159, she was registered at Rickmansworth number 98 and her gauging number was 12631. She originally had a Russel Newbury DM2 engine. She was originally paired with butty Oxted. She was absorbed into the British Waterways fleet in 1948. If you have any information regarding the history of Oakley then please contact me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Here' some photos of the launch, still struggling with my computer.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

broken computer

My computer has not been performing at all until today, so unfortunately I am quite far behind with my blog.

In fact so far behind that she is now insulated with spray foam painted in a holding coat of ocean blue and she FLOATS. I re-launched her on May 18th and to my relief none of my welds leaked, but one rivet in the skeg did seep slightly, this rusted up within a couple of Days. once in the water I decided I needed a well deserved break. So a week off and a trip to Angelsey for the bank holiday was taken.

Feeling refreshed but under no pressure I went back to work on her. First job was to load ballast in that i had acquired. So far I have put two and half tons in, which is not enough! Think I need the same again so some bricks shall be ordered.

Also been cutting the excess spray foam back which when the weather is like it is at the moment, is a bloody awful job, but nearly done.

Photos to come.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

All the rivets are now on and look good.

The original mushroom vent has been fitted in the back cabin, this was not brass but cast iron and needs to be painted black.

Inside all the tags for screwing the wood to before sprayfoam have been fitted. The floor and bottom six inches have been painted with black bitumen.

Externally almost all the steel work is done, I am in the process of removing all welding splatter and cleaning everything up ready for the first coat of paint.

The stern gear and propellar shaft pretty knacked and I am trying to work out how to remove the old stern gear so i can refurbish, replace it. Any one know how to remove the stern gear? Seems like it might have been bodged at some time.

Still haven't made the rudder stock or rudder but will probably do that this week.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Been very busy on Oakley recently, first jobs were doors and engne room hatches. I have decided to make wooden doors at the front, to the well deck so I can put windows in them. The roof hatches are lift up, but only an inch deep so they are not proud of the hand rail.

The hand rails have been made, this has prevented the problem of everything I put on the roof falling off, it also looks good! Steve, a fellow boat builder, has been helping me alot recently and he has made the pigeon box and air intake for the lister engine. These both look spot on.

Port holes were then positioned and cut out so I could put all the cabin framing in to straighten out the sides, once this was in I could weld. Spent a good week, evenings and weekend, welding and grinding the whole boat. Then I removed the braces from the inside and was very relieved to have no movement, she has stayed straight.

Rivets. Or in my case pressed washes welded on and made to look like rivets. So far I have pressed and fitted 800 and all the cabin sides and door hinges are done. Just the roof to do now thank god! But they have finished the boat off and she definately looks the part.

Monday, March 3, 2008

cabin detail

Still busy on the boat and I don't feel like blogging in the evening, but I do manage it every now and then.

She's beginning to look like a real one now, the roof has been welded and ground to a nice radius, the flat along the top of the cabin is ready for the fake rivets, but I will save this till one of the last jobs.

The slides for the back doors are complete, the engine room and front of cabin roof beams are done. I'm still waiting for my water tank, which should arrive tomorrow then I can complete the front bulkhead. The cut outs for the engine room slides are done but I have decided to make lift up hatches for these doors as they will produce a better seal and will not scratch my paint work every time I open them.

Engine room Bulkheads and all the door way thresholds are done, so next jobs are roof hatches and doors.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Well the steel arrived three days late as it does and I had to send one roof sheet back because it was rippled.

Over the last week I have put the front well deck in, fabricated the back bulkhead, all the cabin side and roof sheets are tacked together.

Bulkheads are been made for the engine room at the moment. Then I can start all the detail on the cabin. I am waiting for my water tank which should arrive at the end of the week, until then I am unable to fit the other half of the front bulkhead as the water tank will live under the well deck.

If anyone out there is wondering why I am putting a full cabin on and not the traditional backcabin and engine room with an under sheet conversion, it is because BW shortened the boat in the sixties and I believe that the under cloth conversion would make the boat look stumpy. I have not lengthened the boat back to seventy foot as this will restrict me as to where the boat can go, ie. the Leeds Liverpool canal only has sixty foot locks.

Ps if woz is reading this I may well be interested in working on her sister at some stage please contact me on the above email address.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Front Decks

Been busy on the boat, front deck has been completed. I made the cants and decks out of steel, wood on steel is what they were originally made from, it's a sure sign of rust. The hatch is the original and I had to remove 70 years of paint prior to fixing. The floor has been put in the gas locker which was a horrible job, welding through paint in a tight space means alot of fumes.

I have also fixed the framing for the well deck at the front of the boat, fitted the bottom guards on and I am now waitng for the cabin steel to arrive on Monday.