National Windscreens send a fitter to Sea Lock to replace the damaged glass in the front screen and side window of the Cub with new toughened glass. Adrian is keen to see how the glass is cut to size on site. The fitter is a friendly and interesting man who reckons to have cut over 30, 000 pieces of glass during his working life. He is not at all fazed about fitting glass to an old crane, saying that he has fitted replacement glass to vintage coaches, railway carriages and ocean-going ferries in the past. Having gone to all the trouble of removing the front screen’s frame from the crane, he says that it was just as easy to replace the glass to the machine as it is to fit it with the frame removed. It is decided that replacing the frame with the glass in is going to be more difficult than without it so they put the frame back in again. It goes in much more easily than when Trevor, David and Adrian struggled to remove it the day before. The fitter cuts each piece of glass and fits them with the minimum of fuss and makes it look much easier than it actually is. He has an unusual method of cutting the plastic layer between the out layers of glass. Once he has measured and drawn out the size required, he scores along the lines with a diamond-tipped cutter, taps the glass to fracture it along the scores and then sets fire to the joints! Having given the replacement glass a good polishing he departed.
Adrian spends the rest of the day working the crane and getting familiar with its controls. By the end of the day he has picked up and moved 2 coping stones, transported and laid them on the top of the wharf wall ready for bedding down. It is much easier to move the Cub around the site than the RB22 being a smaller machine but still has its idiosyncrasies. It will be a while before Adrian feels at home with it as he has become with its bigger cousin.
Norman arrives to help with sorting the mechanics of the Priestman which Alistair has now moved from the top of the drive down to the wharf side A jerry can has been strapped to the back of the crane and connected to the fuel intake because the original, internal tank is known to be contaminated with dirty diesel and water. Adrian cleans and greases all the undercarriage while Norman and Alistair decide to remove the tank in order to thoroughly clean it. Despite having a complete users manual and part manual to guide them removing the diesel tank proves much more difficult than is first supposed so they abandon that idea in favour of leaving where it is. It has a very large filler opening in the top which enables Alistair to get a brush in and stir up the contents which are then drained into an old plastic drum. Having flushed through the tank several times with diesel Alistair and Norman then wash it out with an engine de-greaser and fresh water. Before long the water is flowing out of the tank clean and bright. The tank is carefully dried, the fuel lines flushed out and new fuel filters are installed. Fresh diesel is poured into the tank and Alistair attempts to start the engine. After some moments hesitation it fires up and runs perfectly.
Having satisfactorily completed this task the next job is to reattach to top section of boom which was removed to aid transport. Kevin, a colleague of Alistair has arrived in his lorry carrying not only the missing bit of boom but some more balance beams and a dragline bucket for the Cub. Kevin uses the HiAb on the lorry to lift off the ‘goodies’ and then helps to line up and reattach the boom section. Once this is completed Alistair shows Norman And Adrian how to reeve the crane for lifting. The hook block is attached and Alistair runs the machine through a series of operations to ensure everything is functioning properly. He then gives Adrian a quick lesson on how to drive it. Time has moved on and the crew pack up for the day. Once again Adrian is very happy with what has been achieved.
Adrian is excited because he is expecting delivery of a new ‘toy’ today. He has acquired a Priestman Cub crawler crane which will be used to dredge sections of the canal and wharf basin. Alistair has come for the weekend to help with driving the crane from the low-loader which is transporting it, onto the site. Due to unforeseen complications the low loader does not arrive until gone 11.00 pm! Fortunately the main road has little traffic on it at this time of night and the crane is off loaded quickly and easily. Alistair drives the crane onto the drive at the top of the site and parks it there for the night. The low-loader is packed up and driven away to its yard. It’s a late night but all has been sorted quickly and safely.
Adrian had hoped to continue wall-building today since the the temperature has risen considerably above freezing and the ground is still dry and firm. However the easterly wind is still bitterly cold and prolonged working in exposed areas is not a good idea.
Once again Trevor checks the RB’s batteries and finds, as is now usual, that one has lost some of its charge. Using the battery-booster they start the engine. Adrian works the clutches for a while and then they use the crane to move some stacked wood to a more convenient position in the yard. Doubtless they will find that this new position is also inconvenient at a later date. Timber temporarily stacked in the tractor shelter is relocated outside so that the Kubota can be parked under cover again but the crane cannot be used this time so they resort to the ‘Egyptian Method’ of rollers and brute strength. Using rollers has proved very successful and easy in the past as it does this time too.
After lunch it is decided to take the trailer to Beam Quarry to collect the last of the walling stone kindly donated by the Setchells, owners of Devon Stone.
Despite the shelter of the quarry walls it seems even colder here but selecting and loading suitable stone into the trailer keeps the boys warm enough. The load is taken back to Sea Lock, unloaded and stacked into piles of similarly sized stone ready for when building restarts. Light flurries of snow begin to fall but with no real intent.
The remainder of the day is spent in re-assembling the hook block for the Priestman Cub crane which, following de-rusting, painting and greasing, is now running smoothly. All that is needed now is the crane to which the block will be reattached. Although considerably smaller than the hook block for the RB22 this one is still very heavy and now that the hook and the pulley are turning easily, it is very difficult to pick up and get hold of.
While waiting for Trevor to arrive, who had been receiving the unwelcome attentions of his dentist, Adrian continues bolting the final bracket to one of lock gates, which will carry that half of the cat walk. Everything is going reasonably well when the 17mm socket slips off the ratchet driver and falls between the gate and the lock chamber wall into the water below. Adrian is not amused! As he looks for another socket Trevor arrives and between the two soon have the bracket bolted firmly to the gate. They then check through the stack of sawn Oak for 2 suitable boards for the decking. As is par for the course, the boards best suited are at the bottom of the stack but are eventually extracted and carried to where required. As on the catwalk on the other gate, one plank has to be notched to allow for an upright which supports the paddle winding mechanism but that is quickly measured, sawn and chiseled out. The board is offered up. bolt holes marked, drilled and finally fixed in place. The second board requires some planing so that it fits better to the first. It is also the drilled and bolted down. To get the correct angle between the cat walk boards on either side the two gates are closed. The mitres are set, the angles sawn and 50mm square battens are bolted across the ends of the boards to tie them together and strengthen them. The brackets still need bolting to the gates underneath the boards and then painting which will be left for another day. The cat walks now enable quick passage from one side of the lock chamber to the other and a safe platform on which to stand when operating the gate paddles.