Creating a craftybird

When I first encountered Craftybird, one day in December 2021, it was love at first sight! I came away absolutely fizzing with excitement! Finally I had found a way of having a floating, travelling workshop and shop! All that was needed was to add a few windows to the front end and voila! A perfect light and airy space in which to work, rest and play…

Matt at Aynho Wharf was involved right from the beginning as we worked out how to make it happen. It all took much longer than I anticipated, what with working out exactly how to add a large number of large windows to the infrastructure and keep it weather proof.

I threw a spanner in the works along the way. As I travelled out onto the Thames at a fair lick in the lovely deep water … I took too long to decide whether I was going to go up stream or down stream … Craftybird was turning but not fast enough and a large willow tree in just the wrong place threatened to engulf us (or worse). Craftybird had to go full speed ahead in order to turn in time (slowing down was NOT an option at this point!). It was a sobering and quite terrifying moment! The very expensive aluminium framed windows we had identified, and were on the brink of ordering, needed a rethink.

I realised it was imperative that windows needed to be easy to repair if broken. Trees are beautiful but they can loom up unexpectedly when boating – and cause quite significant damage if approached from the wrong angle!

Matt found a supplier of plastic framed windows with double glazed glass – easy to pop out and pop back in to replace. We had to investigate further to check the frames would fit ok in the structure, and be water tight. They also needed to look right. Thankfully these plastic frames come in a variety of colours so we chose a grey which would match the rubber coating on the outside, and a white frame inside. The supplier was really helpful all the way through the process.

Once in the Wharf, the work started in earnest – stripping back the whole front end, and rebuilding it. Simon at the Wharf was an absolute legend. His workmanship with the wooden framework is precise and professional. Covering the whole of the front end with heavy duty roofing rubber to make it water tight turned out to be a tense day or so, as it was the first time such a large project had been attempted with contact glue! Who knew contact glue came in 5 litre containers? – the tiny tubes I use for my own work are pitiful in comparison!

It seemed a shame to cover the rubber up once it was on – it looked so good! … but I wanted craftybird to look more or less exactly as she did before the windows were put in – to keep her traditional feel with tarpaulins in place.

The windows can open up like wings so I’ll need to be careful to shut them before we move!

The day finally came to take craftybird out of the yard. The finished space is a joy to occupy. I am absolutely blown away by Matt and Simon’s work. They have taken my idea and made it happen. The space is more than I could ever have hoped for.

Thank you Matt and Simon at Aynho Wharf for making my dream come true!

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