Read the latest update from the Pudge restoration project:


"June, July and August were a busy time for the Trust volunteers who have helped get Pudge cleaned up and painted before she was handed back to Kevin Finch of K J Finch Shipwrights in the middle of September.

We have finished the middle phase of the project which required all the major painting and wood preparation work to be undertaken before September when Pudge would be taken back to Kevin and work started on her re-fit.

To make life easy for the team of volunteers, all timber that Kevin had painted with one coat or primer would end up being painted whilst all wood in its natural state would be oiled.

Mick Nolan, Trustee and barge skipper, who is managing the re-fit phase of the project produced a specification for what needed to be done and John Rayment who is managing the volunteers made sure that there were enough volunteers to see that the work was carried out.

Three groups have been working on Pudge, one group on a Monday morning, another on a Thursday and a third on a Tuesday evening.  The policy being adopted was that everything which has to be painted needed two coats of primer, two undercoats and two top coats.  Anything that needed oiling received three coats and anything requiring varnish received five coats.

We started with the carlings and wooden beams.  This was followed by oiling the under deck with Danish Oil.  All this work took around six weeks in view of the number of coamings and beams and the number of coats required

It had been decided that we would remove all paint from the rails as we had identified a large area of rot on the port side near the bitts.  The task of removing the paint was a long one and two of the Thursday volunteers took over two months to complete this.  Thankfully, we did not identify any other big problems, and the repairs needed are in progress.  In the meantime the areas not requiring attention have now had six coats of paint.

Below deck we have also painted the exposed floors and the existing linings. The keelson was taken back to bare metal and has had all its coats of paint added and now looks a bright red so as to be seen by all when below deck. The linings have received a couple of coats of sadolin, along with the chine keelsons.  The inwales have had three coats of Danish oil.  All the bolt heads have been treated to avoid rust and then finished off with silver paint to that they match the galvanized nut.  We have also used Hempadur to paint all the ironwork black.

In order that we can start to replace some of the fittings on deck, we will need to remove the working cover.  So that we can achieve this we have painted the deck following the principle of two coats of primer, two of undercoat and two of top.  We will add a further top coat in due course.  The coamings and head ledges have also received a couple of undercoats and are now painted in Beech Brown.  The foreward hatch boards have also been oiled.

It was agreed that all the under deck would be oiled rather than painted and this has also taken many weeks. The oil offsets nicely with the completed off white carlings and will hopefully make Pudge much brighter below deck.

The final piece of work that needed to be completed before we could handover to Kevin were the ceilings.  Pudge has for many years seen her ceilings painted red, however to make the barge brighter and to show the effect of the new ceiling timber which has been laid, we have just completed 5 coats of varnish.  They look really good and reflect the light.

During September, the volunteers returned to Hythe Quay and began to work on other items of equipment for Pudge including her standing rigging.  Meanwhile Kevin Finch and his team of shipwrights started to replace the windlass and other deck fittings along with completing the hatch boards on the main hatch.  All the boards look as if they can be removed, although only those towards the aft end of the hatch will actually lift off.  This will allow items such as the engine to be removed if the case ever arises.

Source: Thames Sailing Barge Trust on Facebook

Read more about The Thames Sailing Barge Trust and Pudge, one of our Shipshape Network East projects. 

Pudge update October 2021 Region East