The Steam Tug Kerne Preservation Society Ltd


December 2017

Posted by Allan Hickson (Mod) on January 11, 2018 at 5:20 AM

With the year drawing to a close and thoughts moving towards turkey and the trimmings plus a small libation or two, our intrepid gang of volunteers pressed on to the bitter end (well, until 23rd December) when we allowed ourselves a short break to over-indulge and enjoy a bit of R & R.

During the month, work continued in the Forward Cabin, the most welcome element of which was the installation of our new coal-fired stove. In order to comply with the MCA recommendations, the stove sits on a fire-resistant hearth and nearby woodwork is protected by heat-resistant tiles. This has now been fully tested, transforming the Forward Cabin from a shivering ships compartment to a warm, welcoming space. This newfound warmth allowed further painting and varnishing to be carried out cutting the paints’ drying time from days to hours. We are now into re-wiring, the former installation suffering from the hasty strip-out in Cammell Lairds’ drydock during our HLF Project.

Down in the Boiler Room, the boiler interior has finally dried out, allowing us to vacuum out the remaining dust and debris, the bilges beneath the boiler being similarly treated. Several valves, which were removed for routine overhaul away from the vessel have now been returned in fine fettle and await re-fitting. Access to the main steam stop valve, and valves to the whistle, injector, auxiliaries and pressure gauges is via the Valve Chest adjacent to the funnel, and unfortunately, with the continual lifting of the hinged cover, one of the hinges gave up the ghost. Now one would think it would be a simple job to replace the hinges, but not a bit of it. Apart from the cover being rather heavy steel, this is also of convex construction, whereas the chest onto which it sits is flat. This means that spacers are required to the underside of the cover so that the hinges are attached to parallel surfaces. To add to the problem, the locating holes to the new stainless steel hinges did not match their predecessors, so new holes had to be drilled whilst holding the cover in position. The good news is that no fingers were lost in undertaking this job!

Work on the Low Pressure Valve of the Main Engine has stalled somewhat. This, Dave assures us, is not due to any lack of enthusiasm or commitment on his part, but to what Neddy Seagoon famously described in the Goons as ‘The Dreaded Lurgi’. Dave has recently described in somewhat graphic (unpleasant and un-repeatable) detail the nature of this condition. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Our year ended with the very good news that Kerne has been granted a Restoration Award of £1,000 from National Historic Ships UK, which will be put to good use in funding essential repairs.

Happy New Year indeed!!

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