Let’s Build Some Walls! Building our off-grid, electric narrowboat | Weekly Update 9

Let’s Build Some Walls! Building our off-grid, electric narrowboat | Weekly Update 9

This week, we’ve got a rapidly approaching deadline and so we get started on building some stud walls – called bulkheads – in our off-grid narrowboat build. We’re finding this new task in the boat build incredibly challenging. Have we mentioned before just how tricky it is to do a straight line in a boat?!

The deadline: the new owners of our original house boat, Flora, want to move onto her next week. That gives us just 7 days to make Artichoke, our boat build project, liveable. We’ve decided the next job in building our off-grid floating home, is putting up the stud walls. We’ve never built a wall in our lives – and now we have to build five. It’s a daunting task to tackle, but hopefully, once the walls are all up, it will transform the inside of our new home Artichoke.

We have done a lot of research into how others have set about building their bulkheads. How thick does the wood need to be? What part of the wall do you assemble first? Do you secure it to the ceiling, floor, and side lining, or not? Like everything we’ve come across so far in the boat build, everyone seems to have a different opinion. It feels like a lucky dip in choosing the right way of moving forward. We buy some battens, 1 x 2″, quite thin but they don’t need to be as thick as in a house, and it’s time to get started.

We start with stud wall number one, the one that will split the living room, behind the stove, and the study area. We lay the first batten along the floor, laying it as straight as we can against the side of the boat, and then assemble the rest of the wall. It’s not as simple as that. There is a lot of cursing, a lot of sighing, and a lot of cutting the wood short. But we plough on into the evening, hoping to achieve one stud wall built before calling it a day. We go to bed on day one of building stud walls, with almost a full wall built.

The next day, the wall comes back down. Somehow, in the night, it’s moved. What seemed straight last night is not in the morning. Oh the joys of boat building. We continue on day two of boat building, and again end the day with a wall almost but not quite, built.

This has got to be the toughest challenge to date in building our off-grid home. It’s taking huge patience, and perseverance, but we’ll know we’ll get there in the end. It’s all about the journey, right?

You can watch this week’s boat build in our latest episode on YouTube. Warning: tantrums incoming…

One week to build our HOUSE BOAT 😮 tight deadlines means tensions run high | this tiny life
Jack Miles
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