Julynian – A Wide Beam Self Fit Out Part 2

Continued from Part 1

The boat yard is on the river with steel floating pontoons. We paid to moor the boat here over the winter period. The pontoons were quite large so plenty of room for working outside in the warmer weather and a constant 240 volt supply.

This is when the boat was ballasted, around 14 tons of 2×2 concrete slabs, and 6 pallet loads of paving brick. Took five of us a good day to get it all in place. All the ballast was laid on to plastic strip. This allows air to circulate under the ballast, and also stops ballast scratching the base plate if movement occurs. Plastic strip also protects where ballast touches the bearer sides again allowing good circulation of air.

This now completed the plywood floor was replaced and screwed down.

Pine Ceiling

This is where we began the ceiling in T&G pine. We knew this was going to be a tricky job as the roof insulation would be applied as enough T&G went up to accommodate it.

We ordered the T&G from a local merchant, getting a good deal as we had to order over 400 metres at 15mm thick. This was then all sanded down before applying caustic soda to age the wood as we wanted an antique pine finish.

When the caustic dries it again has to be sanded smooth before applying. Each plank was then offered up drilled screwed then plugged. 2 screws every 2 feet for each plank. This took the best part of 1000 screws and plugs, all plugs were cut on a pillar drill and glued into place. When dry they were all cut off with a Chinese saw and again sanded down prior to staining and 3 coats of varnish.

The whole ceiling and front bulkhead and engine room took around 10 days with Lynn myself and my dad as a helper. The final result though was well worth the effort.

This included the fitting and wiring of ceiling lights which were originally wired for Halogens but have now been replaced with LED MR16 bulbs with 38 individual Led’s in each fitting. Plenty bright enough and these latest bulbs have a nice Yellowish tint that mimic the soft light you get from Halogen bulbs. We also have some Luxeon star Led’s with just 3 super bright Led’s which are also very good but much more expensive.

These are the last pictures taken.


Next up was the lining out. We ordered Oak faced 9mm ply from a company in Bristol Again a good price for a large order of 40 sheets. This process was quite quick and easy. All the battening was spaced to maximise the 8f/t lengths of ply. They basically needed trimming down width wise and applying with 30mm screws where necessary.

We then had lots of off cuts of Oak ply which we used to do some lining out in the engine room creating cupboard space for the electrics and other equipment.

This was quite tricky as the sides of the boat curve into the stern and not much to fix to so some clever stud framing was required. A good job to do though during the colder weather and the whole lot done with off cuts.

Next up was the lining out. We ordered Oak faced 9mm ply from a company in Bristol Again a good price for a large order of 40 sheets. This process was quite quick and easy. All the battening was spaced to maximise the 8f/t lengths of ply. They basically needed trimming down width wise and applying with 30mm screws where necessary.

We then had lots of off cuts of Oak ply which we used to do some lining out in the engine room creating cupboard space for the electrics and other equipment.


On the move

The mooring at Keynsham was pretty expensive, so now the boat was navigable, we moved from Keynsham onto a BW winter mooring in Bath on the K&A at Bathwick in October 2004. My brother also moved from the yard a couple of weeks earlier. He had moored on the River Avon in Bath where we joined him for a few weeks en route to the mooring.


This location was great as My Mum lives opposite and could see both boats from her flat window. So security was good. We also took the boats up to Bath weir a few times to get used to the handling.

The winter mooring at Bathwick ran from November 04, so we made our way on to the cut. The mooring was ideal just a couple of hundred yards from the main road.


We continued working most the weekends we could. My dad checked on the boat daily through the winter period as he lived just down the road.

Having the boat lined out and a couple of radiators fitted, it was quite warm and comfortable to live on although very open plan at this stage.

Once the main lining out was completed our next task was to build the galley. We always wanted to keep the living area spacious and open plan. So the entire front 27f/t of the cabin space is a lounge galley diner.

Fitting of Galley

Firstly the galley almost central is constructed using a standard kitchen from Ikea. However some changes to the standard kitchen have been utilised.

The height of the kitchen is about 3 inches higher than a standard kitchen. The reason for this is that preparing food and washing up at a standard kitchen height gives both me and Lynn back ache. So raising this height on the boat has now illuminated this problem.


Having a higher than standard fitted kitchen created additional usable space under the units, so a drawer has been made to utilise this space. As it’s so low down it’s a good place to store things that require cooler storage. Although you can use this storage space for almost anything we want.

The drawer is about 8 inches high 20″ deep and 38 inches wide, a very useful space. The drawer has been made and fits and slides nicely, just needs the front facia fitted which will match the dark Blue plinth. I’ve used good quality ball bearing sliding rails which lock in the closed position like many modern kitchen unit drawers do now. The rails can take a massive weight so even if full of tinned food or bottled water it’s man enough for the job. I’ll router out finger slots to the front which will add ventilation to the drawer.

To the Right is a New World cooker purchased from Midland Chandlers. It’s of course LPG with built in oven and grille and hob.

To the Left a Bosch fridge 240 volt A+ rated but with a slight difference to other fridges. This one has a flush flat slim door. The fridge contains 3 sliding shelves that pull out, so no need to bend down scrimmaging around for food. It all appears before you. The lower drawer will take full size bottles of milk and 3litre soft drink bottles. So will store all the stuff any normal fridge would.

Under the fridge are 2 computer cooling fans which draw cold air from the bilge and help keep the back of the fridge cool in the summer.

The U shape of the kitchen could cause wasted space in the 2 corners it creates. We used carousel units so to maximise this space. 2 round shelves that rotate forward bring the equipment you’re looking for to you, so again no bending down searching for things.

The only actual cupboard is the centre door beneath the kitchen sink and drainer. All other units are drawers.

The worktop is also IKEA solid Oak @40mm thick. Their Oak worktops are such a keen price you usually have to order them well in advance. We put a small Blue tiled splash back to the sink area, and plan on some Blue glass splash backs to either side.

The galley is built directly below the pigeon hatch with a porthole over the kitchen sink and opening side doors opposite.


Stove and hearth

The stove is a Bubble corner stove 5kw as I recall. This was pretty easy to fit also following manufacturers instructions. I did cock up the chimney though by putting 2 kinks in it, however this did affect the way the stove burned so will be replaced by a straight pipe already purchased.

The hearth either side is natural slate about 4mm thick purchased from Walcot Reclamation in Bath.

The lounge floor is natural cherry wood. This was from a tree felled by lightening on an estate in Dorset where we currently live. We seasoned this in out warehouse for over a year before getting it planed up for the floor. Cherry wood has varying colours from Cream to Red with Greens and Orange and even pink is some grain. Really warm looking wood. We had some left over that was used in the bathroom. More on that later.


The Black and white tiling we think makes the area stand out, we also plan on having some wrought iron steps made up for entry to the cratch. The doors colour is not decided yet, the 2 inner door panels will be filled in with mirror glass which Lynn will adhere some lead design which will contain some coloured sections in the pattern.

The porthole liners have now been fitted and doors painted but not the final colour we think LOL

This is the latest photo’s with the addition of a Schatz barometer & clock & TV


The Oak faced panel below the door tread is removable by pulling a couple of pins out from the door tread, this releases the panel which allows access to the S/S water tank. The space above and around the tank is very useful for storage. Summer folding chairs fishing rods etc etc.

The dining area is straight forward no fittings cupboards, just the bamboo flooring that runs from the lounge through the kitchen diner bathroom and bedroom.


First thing to get fitted was the double shower, with this being to the side of the boat it had to be completed first. It’s a basic double shower tray but extended a little with some mosaic tiling making the length of the shower just under 5 f/t


We managed to get some quality sliding shower doors from Karma fortunately avoiding a bespoke order as the size of this shower was designed to the size of the doors.

Next up was the composting toilet. Not to every ones taste it seems but for us ideal. No holding tank. No pump out fees. No smells. Just an efficient toilet that needs emptying about every 6 months. It does need a chimney though, so we thought we would turn this into an advantage rather than a possible eyesore.

Composting toilets need ventilation and composting works at it’s best in warm conditions. So when the heating was fitted a spur off to a small copper coil was fitted so when the heating is on there’s direct heat under the toilet to speed up the composting process. You can buy the toilet with a 12 volt fan, but we simply fitted our own at much less cost using a standard computer cooling fan. This increases air flow which evaporated liquid waste.

There’s an overflow for liquid waste if it gets excessive, we rigged this to overflow into a canister under the floor, to date it’s only needed emptying once.

You might notice that the plinth around the toilet is the left over Cherry wood from the lounge floor. The composting loo by Sun-mar does stand quite high and comes with a flimsy step, the plinth however does a much better job. The flooring is Bamboo but a slightly darker shade than the rest of the bamboo flooring.


The sink is to the Left as you enter and again some left over Cherry wood made a nice little plinth pedestal cupboard to support it.



The bathroom walls are covered in a plastic tongue and groove product purchased from B&Q it’s 15mm thick but hollow box sectioned. This stuff is so easy to clean and surprisingly doesn’t condensate. It simply is stapled to the plywood walls I fitted previously.

With the bathroom now finished we have a fully functional boat. My brother suggested we went for a cruise as 2 daughters were on Easter holiday. So end Feb beginning of march we headed off toward Devises hoping to reach the bottom of Caen hill lock which at that time was closed for repair, although there’s no way we would be attempting it.

The cruise went brilliantly well and we reached Devises in time to return with ease. The visits to pubs and other places en route were great, and we could have happily continued on with a half finished boat. Unfortunately reality kicked in and 3 weeks later it was back to work.

We kept the boat on the water through the summer and continued to get work done.

Space was getting tight on the boat and I had to get the Oak trim fitted. The Oak trim is 75mm x 15mm and was all cut and planed to that size by a company in Martock in Somerset who specialise in hardwoods. I think all the oak needed was just under £700 including vat.

It’s now November 06 and having been on the water for 18 months we decide to take the boat out of the canal and place on dry land. This was mainly due to changes and expansion with our business, but gave an opportunity to re Black the hull and finish all the work off with relative ease having a 240 volt supply and old removal van to store tools and equipment in.