Friday, 24 November 2017

Thoughts on a Narrowboat Part 3–Bedroom

Not all boat shells are built equal.  On the four occasions we hired boats I noticed the curve to the pointy bit at the front (the bow) started where the cabin met the cratch and I naturally assumed this was ‘the standard’.  It therefore came as quite a surprise to discover Waiouru’s curve to the bow commenced seven feet into the cabin and this is where we had planned to locate our cross over bed. 

After doing some measuring I realised one side of our planned king size bed was going to be 6ft long and the other 5ft10ins.  We had already ruled out a lengthwise bed.  There were two main reasons for having a cross over bed.  The first was that in a lengthwise bed one person is squeezed under the gunwale where it can be cold.  The second reason is a lengthwise bed usually results in a unused corridor which we felt was a waste of space.  A cross-over bed utilizes the corridor thus maximizing available space.  However we had a problem with the dimensions.

My solution was to remove the timber battens off the steel framing below the gunwale.   The timber battens were replaced with strips of ½” thick dense sponge foam.  The plywood lining was screwed directly to the steel framing with the sponge foam acting as an insulation barrier.  This enabled us to claw back 3 inches across the boat.  One side of the bed was them 6ft3ins and the other 6ft1in.  This proved to be quite successful, although if I were doing it again I would varnish the back of the plywood sheets to ensure there was a suitable vapour barrier.

The base of the bed had a footlocker at one end and drawers opposite.  There was a long term storage locker at the head.  I didn’t want the top of the bed frame to be solid ply because I was concerned about the memory foam mattress ‘sweating’.  To avoid this the bed extension pulled out over the walkway and locked into the lid of the foot locker.  It was a ‘comb’ design allowing air to circulate.  to further ensure all the contents of the drawers and lockers were kept dry and warm they were fitted with heater elements connected to the central heating system.  We installed heater panels in the two wardrobes either side of the cratch doors to keep those area dry and warm.  All this proved to work rather well.

Initially we had a problem with condensation forming on the inside frame of the Houdini hatch above the bed.  Whilst the portholes and hatches were double glazed we did get a small amount of condensation forming on the inside of the frame.  This only occurred during winter and Jan resolved it by making bungs to fit in all the portholes and Houdinis.  It made little difference to the natural light as there wasn’t any!

There isn’t anything we would have changed with the bedroom design.

Meanwhile there has been more progress on our Perth bed.  All the drawer fronts have been given a second coat of varnish.


I have decided I will fit the recessed drawer handles before giving the timber a final coat of varnish.  It will mean I’ll need to mask the stainless steel handles but the advantage is the 3rd coat will conceal any marks from the handle installation.

I also managed to fit the oil catch can to the 4x4 today.  Obviously things have changed with vehicles over the last 40 years.  When I started tinkering around with my first car (a 1967 Vauxhall Viva) there was oodles of room in the engine compartment.  Today I’m just thankful I have small hands! Smile

The bad news is the full height glass panel beside the sliding back door shattered. 


My fingers did the walking and today Colin from Newcastle came and replaced the damaged panel.


Colin is originally from Newcastle (UK… not NSW) arriving in Perth via Auckland, NZ in 1990.  He told me he loves NZ but there simply weren’t the same work opportunities compared to Australia.  I understood having made the move for exactly the same reasons.

1 comment :

Quaysider said...

That has given me an idea... EVERY night I climb into bed, I get annoyed at the length of our cross bed - it being called that because it makes me cross. I'm only 5'11 but I'm forever clonking my head or feet - if I can take the insulation and lining back 1 inch either end that might make ALL the difference and STOP it being a "cross" bed!