Sunday, 4 May 2014

Harry Houdini can’t get out and the first 2014 BBQ

Another sunny day which had the solar controller ticking over nicely.  Mid afternoon we decided to open the Houdini hatches for the first time this year.  No issues with the bow and stern hatches but “Harry” in the middle didn’t want to open.  Another unexpected maintenance task!  Trying to understand why it wouldn’t open proved problematic.  Initially I though the surrounding timber frame had swollen jamming the pivoting support arm.  Giving the hatch cover a wiggle suggested something would break rather than the hatch freeing.  Another consideration was the hatch hinges might have jammed or seized.

To eliminate the latter I removed the bolts that secured the support arms to the hatch cover and then pushed the double glazed hatch up.  It moved freely so the hinges weren’t the cause of the problem.  The support arms each slide in a “U” shaped trough and they appeared to have seized in the trough.

You can see the sliding mounting block at the left arrow in the above photo.  As the hatch is lifted it is supposed to slide in the “U” trough towards the right arrow.  The above photo was taken after I’d fixed the problem.  To free the seized support arms I unbolted them from the frame allowing them to hang down.  The hatch was raised to the vertical position and a small amount of CRC squirted behind the sliding block at the other end of the support arm.  I then carefully applied a small amount of downwards pressure until the block moved very slightly.  Having now confirmed this was the problem I applied more CRC into the “U” trough below the mounting block.  By applying pressure upwards and downwards I was able to gradually free each seized mounting block.  Once they were moving freely I then applied a small quantity of vaseline into the “U” trough.  The hatch was then reassembled.  It looks like this may need to be an annual preventative maintenance task.

Daniel had volunteered to try out the new BBQ (which he purchased).  He’s obviously much more of a BBQ expert than me.  He had made something to coat the pieces of chicken and purchased special sausages.  The steaks were seasoned and I was told they must not be squashed.  The meat was even “rested”.

Getting the BBQ to light proved a bit of a chore and it appears modifications are required.  The base requires more holes to allow additional air to reach the charcoal.  I’ll need to get onto this before he leaves to ensure he volunteer’s for a pre-departure BBQ.


Halfie said...

CRC? That's a new one on me.

I like the pyramidical design of the barbecue. It looks like you can get maximum heating effect from minimum charcoal. And minimum scorching on the grass below.

Tom and Jan said...


The cone shape and collapsing design is very good. The problem is the plate that forms the bed for the charcoal doesn't have sufficient holes to draw air. A small modification is required (ie... more holes)!