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Solar Panels now available online and in store!

We have just teamed up with a local Energy saving company who have been importing Solar Panel and other energy saving products for over 10 years.

The range of panels include flexible and ridged designs, the ridged are available in both Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline (more on this in my next post).

There will also be a complete range of accessories

  • Solar Controllers both MPPT and MPW (again more on this in my next post)
  • Solar Cable
  • MC4 connectors, Y’s,T’s, diodes, etc
  • Cable Glands
  • Adjustable and fixed brackets

We can even supply the cable, fuses and connectors to connect the solar system to the battery

The fist kit we have loaded on to the site is our 200w Solar panel kit ideal for most narrowboats.

More products will be added over the next week


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The importance of proper maintenance(hull blacking)

This is an article published in Tillergraph about a customer of ours who’s boat I was blacking.

The first time the boat was dry docked by us it was quite evident that any existing rust had never been cleaned of before blacking and it they had just over painted it, unfortunately it ultimately (4 years later) resulted in a small hole that cost a lot of money.

Maintenance: catching corrosion

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Bottom Blacking

February half term is a busy week or two for us at Thorn Marine.

For those of you who don’t know we have a day boat and a small boat we have had for a few years that we have never done any thing with.

Half term and the week after is our time to black the bottom and re paint the sides and roof, I will explain more about the repainting in my next post.

During the two weeks I also had a customers boat to black as well so that is 1 x 36′ 1 x 30′ and 1 x 40′, Whilst doing this I got to thinking, nobody ever discusses blacking and what it involves. I decided to have a think about what questions you should ask when getting you bottom blacked.

Blacking before
Jet washed and wire brushed all the loose stuff off with a grinder

1. What surface preparation do you need to do?
This can range from a quick jet wash through wire brushing or scabbling to grit blasting. I know of some companies who just give the hull a quick jet wash to get rid of the weed growth and then black the boat, they do nothing about any rust build up on the surface.

2. If your previous coats of bitumen are stuck on well do you need to remove them?

3. What has the boat been painted with previously?
Comastic, Bitumen, epoxy.
This effects what you can use and what surface prep needs to be done epoxy needs to go on clean steel, comastic cannot be put on top of bitumen.

4. What product are you using?
Are they using a product specifically designed for use on boats, under the water or just a roofing product that is designed to get wet occasionally and then dry out. Rylard paints have two products that are designed to be used together one that works in to all the marks etc on the hull and a much thicker one to give film thickness.

5. How many coats are being applied and how thick are they?
The Rylard paint system is 2-3 coats, International recommend between 2 and 5 coats, depending on application method.

6. What drying times and launch times are used?
Most bitumen products require 8-24 hours between coats and 24-48 hours before submersion.

7. What else will be checked when blacking?
Anodes, are they in the right place how much longer will they last.
Prop condition, bits missing or bent.
Stern gear, is there any movement/excessive play.
Rudder condition, bolts corded etc.
General hull condition, pits, corrosion etc.
Welds, are the rubbing straights continuously welded, etc.

8. Do you paint inside the weed hatch/cover?
Some people don’t remove the weed hatch. The tape may need to be replaced as well.

9. A great one to start and argument is does the bottom plate get a coat!

Let me make one thing clear this is not a guide to painting your hull/getting it painted. I am not a surveyor or have any steel/chemistry qualifications, these are just the thoughts of a guy who has been in the industry for about 20 years and have blacked a few boats over the years. Some have been great some have been so badly blacked before they will need the sides over plating.

All I want this to do is to make you think about how your boat is blacked. Remember a boat without a hull is not a boat! You may not see it but the bit in the water it is the most important bit!

Blacking finished
3 Coats of Rylards Blacking Premium Protection, Rytex and then a final coat of Premium Protection.
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IWA National Campaign festival 2016

The IWA have announced they will be holding the National Campaign Festival At Eldonian Village on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, the Award Winning development at the top of Stanley Locks.


The Festival organisers aim to increase leisure activities on a relatively underused part of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal as well as promote the event in celebration of the bi-centenary of the canal.

More information can be found by following the link below, including booking detail:

Don’t forget to call in and see us at Thorn Marine on you way to the festival.

If you need any thing you can order and pay online and collect form the shop, alternatively come and have a rummage through the shop with all the new shelves and racking. to quote a phrase used by many of my customer “a Proper Chandlery”

Don’t Forget you maps and guides:

Pearson’s Canal Companion: Leeds and Liverpool

Pearsons leeds & liverpool

Nicholson Guide – North West & the Pennines Nicholson 5 North West and the Pennines

Or if you just want to head that way from the comfort of your arm chair have a look at this great DVD

Leeds and Liverpool Part 1 and 2

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Changes at Thorn Marine

Some of you may know that is owned and run by Thorn Marine, its all in About Us.

The news from Thorn is we have been updating the Chandlery recently with some new racking and and made it easier to find what to need, its still not perfect but its getting there.

Here’s a few pictures of where we are up to:

new shop minatures  new shop boats new shop fridge magnets  new shop general  new shop gas fittings

new shop deck fittings new shop fire

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Repairs to Walton Bridge

I decided to go and take a look at Walton bridge as I had not been to see it yet and was pleased and surprised to see the repairs well under way.

I was however a little shocked to see the bricks they were using, I thought it was a listed structure and therefore would have to be in keeping, suitable materials, etc.

This is what I found:
Walton Bridge

And a Close up

Walton Bridge close up

Now I am now expert but it looks very different! They don’t appear to be the same type of brick. Obviously it will age with time but the old brick have black burnt bits on then the new ones don’t.  It looks like a nice job when you look at this.

Walton Bridge

Looking at it it might cause some confusion and this looks like a new bridge, but the Toast Rack (A56) bridge is Walton New Bridge according to Pearsons Cheshire Ring.

Here is the listing on British Listed Buildings.

The canal is open proceed with care, but the towpath is closed.

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Dutton leak!

As it was not a breach maybe we should call it a leak, anyway its fixed, YES!!!!!!! I hear you cry, however, repairs to the wash walls from Preston Brook Tunnel to Soothill bridge (200) means the canal is still closed. BOO!!!!

Here is the link to the closure!

A rumor that is being circulated around here is that they are planning to repair all the canal walls around the area of the breach, and that it is going to cost over £80 Million to do and CaRT are planning to get a bank loan to do it! Wow wish I had a bank that would loan against mud and water!

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Catching up!!!

This week has mainly been catching up with my every day work at the shop. The online chandlery has taken a bit a of a back step this week, I am still hoping for it to go live on the 1st March, probably with a few less lines that than I wanted but is’s a start.

Need to look at the marketing next, watch out for the next generation of “We’ve been to Thorn Marine” window stickers, just working on our free gift to give away with every purchase…….. There may be 2!!!!!!

So remember “Buy before you go” and make Canalstore “Your 1st port of call”