The restoration of Mr Brightside, our 65ft Springer Narrow boat project has begun!! 🙌💕 Angle grinding, giggles and Mr B's first war wound...

Work has begun on Mr Brightside, our 65ft Springer project Narrowboat!! Yay! It's such a momentous step in our journey to life on the water...

So when we decided to take on a project boat, we wanted to do as much of the work ourselves as we can safely, and hopefully competently, do. 

Mr Brightside has a really really weird steel appendage welded to him and the first thing we need to do before we can move him closer to home for the steelwork to begin is to cut it off!! Easy right?! 

Cue Angle Grinding for Dummies... Episode 1....

My Dad used to be a top of his profession welder, working on structures like the London Thames Barrier and planning plant rooms for high profile companies. Unfortunately he's not well enough at the moment to be able to do any work himself but I showed him lots of videos and pictures of the spot welds on the "steel carbunkle". He gave us some awesome tips, and armed with our new Makita angle grinder, sexy eye-protection goggles and a whole bunch of enthusiasm, we were good to go.

How hard could it be?!

Give these 2 a Paintbrush and you'll be truly shocked at how fast, neat and skilled they are... they constantly amaze me when you have seen a plot before they go in. Holes and missing plaster and gloopy glue all over frames, skirtings, just everywhere from the previous trades... Angle Grinding 10mm thick steel ... well, that was a new one for both of them!

Since signing the paperwork, we had done a LOT of research into which size angle grinder would be best for the job... 4 inch is easier to handle,  9 inch is the big bad boy... which blades to use, best techniques etc. But the best way to learn is always by doing isn't it?!

When shopping for our fun new power tool, the guy in Wickes' advised us to go with the 4 inch based on it being easier to control, cheaper and more popular with other customers... but with 10mm solid steel to cut through, my top tip for you should you ever need to cut up a 15ft high steel monstrosity... go big or go home!!

The 4 inch grinder just didn't touch it, even the messy spot welds just didn't want to play... but thankfully a guy at the boat yard had a 9 inch he kindly lent us for the day.

This is probably the most unorthodox deconstruction method but hey... it worked ...eventually!


We had initially planned to remove the roof of the "lean-to" and then take away the sides...

I need to work on my project management skills for the future...  the most valuable lesson I learned on Day 1... boys and power tools have a whole agenda of their own!!

Despite the hour and a half drive to the boatyard sharing gross angle grinding horror stories from the internet and how you must not apply too much pressure, naturally boys will be boys and we had one hairy moment with a shattered disc flying through air... eeek! Luckily it was a 4 inch fibreglass one and we are fast, so no damage was done! From then on, it was slow and steady wins the race.

We kinda tackled it like opening a tin.... cutting and then peeling back small manageable amounts at a time....


All in all, the process was a lot of fun and we learned a lot...

1. How many Painters it takes to change a cutting disc... more than 2! You need to throw a crocheter into the mix!

2. Bigger is better when it comes to cutting steel - the 9 inch grinder actually gave more control despite it's heftiness.

3. Angle Grinding is tough on your body! Be sure to keep hydrated, fed and ideally not have a rush plot to paint the following day

4. Even if the welds you are needing to remove look messy and poorly done, don't be fooled! Metal is metal! It's tough!

5. ALWAYS wear your gloves! Mr B took them off just to open his drink and then Paul was ready for him to move the metal side panel and BAM... it was First Aid time. He's gonna have a cool scar on his thumb as a reminder of Day 1, but it could have been a really bad injury.

6. Don't be afraid to talk to people - we chatted to a few interested fellow boat restorers at the yard and learned something from each one, and even helped eachother out along the way.

Check out that victory stamp from Mr B...

Next up... demolition of the 'steel wheelhouse'.. this time we are better prepared, after all, now we all have a whole day's worth of experience right?!