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Everything posted by Peter72

  1. Any competition and choice on the Portsmouth to Caen/Le Havre crossing is to be encouraged. However the single daily sailing is very restricitve. Due to shift working we normally travel on the Tuesday afternoon sailing returning on Thursday morning 9 days later. This crossing at the end of November is £174 on BF but the nearest crossing on LD is overnight so less time in France and costs £283. If LD are looking for the regular traveller they need to introduce a discount scheme and further crossings. For the price difference I will put up with the happy little faces! and boring menus on BF. Regards Peter
  2. Suggest you make friends with your French neighbours, a couple of meals each visit and a few aperro sessions will see you inundated with the veg in season. Regards Peter 72'
  3. Try a lime render about 3:1, damp the wall first and it will stick like the proverbial to a blanket then plaster over that. Worked for me. For stains through plaster try "Stain Block" spray and then paint over it. Regards Peter
  4. Build up in the flue pipe is probably caused by the fire not having enough air to burn all the volatiles off. These come out of the top of the chimney as a thick smoke and form tarry deposits when they condense out on the relatively cool flue pipe or form soot at the warmer parts and if allowed to build up can eventually catch fire and cause a chimney fire. You can brush off these deposits which is what sweeping the chimney does. You can minimise the soot build up by firing correctly, use enough air to allow the fuel to combust fully and burn off the smoke, a decent wood burner should return the smoke to the fire to allow this, and set the stack (chimney) damper to control the ammount of draw on the fire and hence the output. Wet or resinous wood will make the problem worse. Villager recommend that you run the fire at a high setting often, ie daily, to burn off these deposits but I would not recommend this with a dirty flue as the soot, which is nearly pure carbon, will burn in the flue which is bad news. If your flue pipe suddenly starts to glow and you only have a small fire then it will probably be on fire this can usually be put out with a fine water spray up the flue from a stirrup pump to sufficate the fire, beware of scaulding. Regards Peter
  5. Thanks for the replies. However I should have given more detail of what I want. Lutece 3000 comes(came) in two versions, C or court and L or Long for the working times and I use it for skimming plasterboard. Lutece 2000 comes in the same two versions. The 2000 however is designed for thick coat ie 12 to 20mm while the 3000 was designed for thin ie 3mm coats. I have tried the 2000 and it is suitable only as a filler/base coat. It appears that the French system is to fill the joints and screwholes on plasterboard and paint over it, a far inferior finish to skimming. What are my options for a thin coat finish plaster. I normally buy from Resau Pro or Point P.   Regards Peter  
  6. No not that kind of dating. Does anyone know how to date our very old house in France? My voisan suggests that roof pitches can be used as a clue. Any ideas? Regards Peter
  7. Does anyone know why Lutece 3000 is no longer available? I have had a different tale from each Builders Merchant that I have visited ranging from "the product spec is being changed" to " the factory that makes it blew up" can anyone recommend a suitable alternative for board finish? Regards Peter
  8. Dave/Olive, I have got a nice new stirrup pump, brass and black plastic you are welcome to borrow it, I will even deliver if I can watch you painting the bedroom ceiling with it!! Regards Peter
  9. Reading all the discussions about hard and soft solders is making me loose the will to live. Surely the difference in the two when used on normal plumbing at up to 6 bar is academic and I do not follow the argument about frost resistance. If a pipe freezes the water expands and something has to give to relieve it. If this is not a joint then it will be the pipe. It is a lot easier to repair a sprung fitting than cut out a length of split pipe and replace it. With this in mind I was advised many years ago by a plumber to fit a compression joint somewhere in a susceptable run which will merely pull off the pipe and can be refitted. Altenatively fit section isolating valves and permanent drain valve (not cocks)run to the outside so that you can drain the system easily before leaving, works for me. The point about soldering wet pipes, either bung a piece of bread up them to stop the drip or better still use a compression fitting for the last connection to an existing wet system. As for resoldering already fitted joints, just open another bottle of wine and forget it. Regards PG
  10. We have a Villager wood burner with back boiler running our CH in France. It is a normal vented system with header tank and works really well. Since we do not live in France permanently we consider it a novelty having to load it with wood every few hours, cut the wood, store it until it dries etc, and it is a lot more interesting to watch than French TV. However when we return home to Wales it is also nice to have fully automatic gas CH. If you do go for wood take care to design the system to fail safe with sufficient heaters sited to absorb the heat output of the boiler if the electricity should fail and a cold water make up with ball valve. The thing to remember about heating systems installed in the type of houses generally bought for refurbishment is that they were installed by people with a great deal of inginuity but limited funds with little or no regard for any standards. Regards Peter
  11. 1M SDS drill - Screwfix. But if your walls are like ours then you only need to drill the first 100mm or so and then pick the rest out with a bit of re-bar. How about extending the 3/4 bsp tapping on the bottom of the CE upwards with suitable pipe and then mounting the GdS at the end of the pipe, the cold feed connected to this extension. Since the GdS will be directly connected to the CE without any valves between it will act in the same way as if it were screwed directly to the CE tapping and dump excess pressure, very little water is normally involved. You can then run the overflow outunder the eaves into the rainwater gutter. Regards Peter
  12. Has anyone done anything with a home made solar heating system? Suggestions for collectors - copper pipe, what diameter?, black plastic pipe, old radiators etc., what sort of pum - body material, speed control, temperature control etc. I am not really interested in ready made systems but more in experementing. Peter
  13. John, If the wood is dry and decent quality, we use oak or chestnut, then there is plenty of heat available, wet wood will use up to 80% of the clorific value just to boil off the water before it starts to heat your toes. The one thing I have found invaluable for use with a wood fired CH system is a wife who enjoys stoking the fire, on a really cold day she will get through about a barrowfull in 24 hours, but we have to wear very little cothes since it gets so hot. A comment about the system that has an open pipe at the top, as someone said the pump is really a circulator and to be able to pump water out of the top of the pipe it will need to find water from somewhere, the harder it pumps the harder it sucks and so runs balanced. You could upset this by fitting a head tank in the wrong place and giving it extra water to pump out as you would on a badly designed UK system, this is called 'priming'. I hope anyone fitting a sealed system and using wood (or coal) fits a safety valve somewhere, an exploding boiler is not a pretty sight. At least with a vented system if the pump fails (rcd trips in a storm!)the head tank makeup will keep some water in the boiler and stop it destroying itself, provided the pipework had been designed correctly. Keep up the good tips. Regards Peter
  14. The AB SLC500 was meant as a joke (I have a couple of second hand ones waiting for a suitable project to turn up, sledge hammer maybe but cheap!!) but how about the Vellman 6501 kit for 60 eur from http://www.selectronic.fr/recherche_abecedaire.asp?recherche_lettre=V&page=2. p.s. how do you insert hyperlinks into these replies. Peter
  15. VJ Have you seen the latest little remote control gaget in the RS cat 505-6610, sends an SMS when a contact makes and you can reply by text to get it to operate two relays. Nice but not cheap. Now for the auto wood burner, something based on an Allen Braddley slc500 should do the trick, lighting should be simple enough with a small propane burner and a spark generator, air operated rams for the stack dampers, doors and air controls. Wood could be fed in either from an inclined ramp at the front or from a hopper with a chain conveyor. I assume that you would be able to empty the ash manually since ours only need emptying about once a week even when used flat out. It should also be simple enough to set up a webcam so that you can enjoy fire-gazing while sitting in the ferry. Now getting the wife to accept the gagetry in the lounge - that's the challenge, probably best to use our system called Nicole! Regards Peter
  16. Lorribee, Don't know which post on jointing zinc gutters you wanted but one I wrote is here: http://forums.livingfrance.com/shwmessage.aspx?forumid=285&messageid=160864#bm162946 Hope this helps, have fun. Regards Peter 72 and Cardiff
  17. Before using the linseed oil wash the tiles with a Hydrocloric acid solution then rinse several times and allow to dry. Mix the first coat of Linseed oil with White spirit about 1:1 and brush on, subsequent coats will need less White Spirit but beware it takes a long time to dry and will smell of Linseed (not unpleasant) for some time. Linseed Oil (Huile de lin), Hydrocloric Acid and White spirit is available in Bricomarche. In the UK a good source of Linseed oil and all polishes and wood finishes is Fiddes of Cardiff www.fiddes.co.uk and very reasonable priced especially if you can collect from the factory. Regards Peter
  18. If you have a very friendly voisan who makes cider, no one in the village speaks english and no telly, you don't really care about the rest. Regards Peter
  19. The following is how I learned to solder zinc by trial and error and watching artisans at work, (with a little gentle questioning) there may be other ways but this works and is very satisfying. I am sure that someone will reply to this and advise you not to drink the acid or dab it behind your ears but I assume that most of us are not completely stupid. If you are uneasy use zinc flux obtainable as below. I accept no responsibility if you manage to set the cat (or anything else) on fire or ruin your best trousers with acid splashes. Having used solder in several forms from electronics construction and repair to installing several bathrooms and central heating systems I was anxious to try my hand at zinc work, French tradesmen always seem to use a copper soldering iron heated by gas which just happened to be part of my excellent Rothenberger kit, this is just a 250 gram lump of copper with a gas jet pointing at it. However before taking the simple route I wondered why an ordinary gas flame was not used. After a few trials it became obvious that it is very difficult to heat the zinc to the right temperature without melting a hole in it, the zinc oxide forms a skin which melts at a higher temp than the zinc below. So back to the iron. First turn on the iron and let it get up to temperature, as the copper heats it will melt a bit of solder rubbed against it, wipe it clean against a bit of cotton rag (old overall is ideal, synthetics will just melt) and apply a little hydrocloric acid with a small brush as a flux then a little solder to tin the bit, it should look nice and shiny and smooth. You may have to repeat this periodically especially if the iron is too hot, adjust the gas to get a nice temp. If you do not tin the iron solder will not stick to it. As with all soldering clenliness is of prime importance, use wire wool to shine the bits to be soldered, apply a little hydrochloric acid to the joint, melt a little solder on the iron and apply it to the joint, as soon as it sticks leave it and repeat the process until you have covered one side of the joint with solder then do the same for the other side.A stick or bar of solder is best, both available from Bricomarche or M Bricolage. Next offer the parts together and then use the iron without any extra solder to melt and solder two parts together, first a few tacks and finally finish off by making a nice smooth fillet with the hot iron. I would suggest a trial on the bench first as it can be quite exciting up a ladder trying to balance a pot of acid and a hot iron at the same time. Sorry this reply is so long but it is really easy when you have mastered it. Let me know how you get on, Regards Peter PS Are you still out there George?
  20. Just to add my two pennorth to this discussion. Regardless of how much your French neigbours snigger wear the gear. They may feel invulnerable in shorts and a tee shirt but it don't work for me. It is well worth re-stating that any Personal Protective Clothing (HSE term not mine) should not be the prime method of keeping yourself safe. Basic training is very important. Chainsaws seem to put the wind up lots of people but what about other lethal weapons such as 9" circular saws? All power tools have the ability to injure and frequently do. Regards Peter
  21. From what you describe there seems to be a restriction in the cold water supply to the Chauffe eau, the pressure drop is only apparent when you have a flow Is the cold tap on the group de securite fully open?, Is there another valve in the line? Is there a filter in line with the GdS? Is there a presure reducing valve in the line to the CE but not in the cold supply?. Is there a pressure difference between the hot and cold supplies when used alone? Is the pipework supplying the CE much smaller than that supplying the cold tap? Sorry it's all questions but they should lead to most faults. Regards Peter
  22. EDF changed our 6kW (3X10A) supply to a Monophase (1x30A) supply free of charge, they simply changed the current overload unit for a bigger one and ignored the other two phases on the supply side so, the option is there for going back to 3ph. When checking the chauffe eau to see if it requres the 3 phase supply beware that some of them use 380V (connected between any two phases) As stated in a prevoius post you will probably need to rewire the distribution board, this in itself is enough to make paying for the upgraded supply seem quite attractive and then you can run huge circular saws and other interseting equipment. Regards Peter
  23. We installed a Villager type A with factory fit boiler about 4 years ago, this stove has an output of about 13kW and performs very well. On the coldest days it will easily keep the house at 22C. We also looked at buying in France but in the end bought from http://www.countrywidefarmers.co.uk/countrystores/locate_a_store.htm in Bridgend, they were by far the cheapest. It is also much nice to look at than most of the alternatives and better constructed than the MM ones. Beware that the sove weighs 136Kg and you need a suitable vehicle to transport it. The manager at Bridgend was very helpful and kept the stove until the morning we took it to France and then loaded it into our Galaxy with a forklift, getting out at the other end is another tale. Countrywide have stores all over the West Midlands/Welsh border. If you intend leaving the house unoccupied for any length of time in the winter do not forget to use a central heating anti-freeze.
  24. Bob, We used the adhesive method for the new terracotta tiles but the maximum thickness recomended is only 6mm and is a swine to level even at that thickness, it also costs an arm and a leg. The lime/sand mix is cheap and has been in use for well over a hundred years on earth floors. I see no gain in using modern alternatives that are so expensive when the traditional mix works. A point I would like to throw in for discussion is : Why do many French professionals insist in doing things the hard and expensive way. Some of the things that come to mind are: Plumbing - why so many pipe sizes and different types of fitting? Why do plumbers insist on braising tees into large diamiter pipes, a job which takes much longer than a ready made joint? Why do they still use screwed iron pipe for central heating and over size boilers? which I feel quite at home with since working in power stations for many years. Cynical old ******s might think it is something to do with the time taken to do a job and the amount charged. Regards Peter
  25. Now I can see the significance of the red cross, the guy in the third picture needs a Red Cross parcel! Seeing your pictures has cheered me up no end. Do try taking the piccys before the aperetif though! Peter 72
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