maintenance: good practice

In terms of maintaining Grace – we’ve tried to make the fixing and cleaning as much a social affair as possible, bringing people together when the heavy work needs to be done -  and this is a key part of the whole adventure which I really hope can continue.

Thinking back to the first big clean at the co-operative hackspace, overhaul at Static and more recent mends and mods for the Leeds-Liverpool Canal journey and Manchester escapades, one figure has been central, and this is Simon Derwent, who has brought a wealth of nautical knowledge and diy maker mentality to making sure Grace is shipshape.

In the medium term however (and in the spirit of our Open Source philosophy) we need to be confident that the responsibility and know-how for keeping Grace operational is shared throughout our Swandelier group. I think that one way to ensure that knowledge (and confidence) regarding repairs can be shared will be through getting the correct information for how to fix Grace (and what repairs have been previously attempted) up on our wiki-manual:

At the moment there are a lot of gaps, but once people start adding checksheets, links to different techniques and fixing products and notes from their own experience I think the wiki-manual will be our best bet for the future.

One thing we need to know before the manual and documents can be got in order is how difficult these repairs and maintenance checks are, for the uninitiated – and what the barriers are – we can all help with this. I went over to Leeds and made my own attempt at getting her shipshape – below is a video I made on my phone describing the repairs that needed to be done following the inspection.

I would recommend that future maintenance (and most projects) could follow/improve upon the simple process for documentation described here:

  • pick a hashtag for the activity (in this case #fixGrace)
  • do an initial inspection and, on one of the postcard sheets make a note of any damage and any work you’d like to do
  • make a video on your phone, talking through the proposed repairs and try to show what you are seeing
  • everyone take photos, tweet, make videos and generally cover what is happening as it is happening
  • use Storify to bring the elements together and embed this into our blog (at least then we have a simple trace of what happened!)
  • add your notes, sheets templates and concerns to the wiki-manual!

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