Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Friday, May 12, 2017

Some Cabin And Floor Design Work

On the bow compartment, I had gotten to a point of needing some foam for insulation. I had to do some research and looking before I found the foam I wanted to use for this area. Although this might provide a very small amount of flotation, it's real purpose is to insulate the storage compartment a bit and reduce noise coming from water slapping the hull up forward. I'll get into that discussion in the next post as I only just received the foam yesterday.

While I was waiting for the foam, I decided to return to the cabin design. As many know, I desire to shorten the cabin length and increase the aft cockpit area. With the heat being what it is down here in Texas, and given that the boat will primarily be used for day trips on the lake, I reasoned that most of the time will be spent in the aft end of the boat under a sunbrella bimini top where it's cooler.

My concern with the cabin shortening is keeping the look of the boat as much as possible. It entailed removing one of the windows planned for the cabin sides to gain an additional 18 inches aft.

Of course, shortening the length can potentially change the way the height of the cabin appears. I didn't change this on the mock up as I am not yet sure that it is needed. However the cabin is quite low on this design already, so interior room in the cabin is a concern.

This brings up the third consideration, which the floor height in the boat. As part of my vision for an open design, I want the floor height to be the same from front to back. This means that it is going to be a bit higher in the cabin.

Okay, so what this means is that in order to properly evaluate the cabin design, I need to have flooring in place so that I can make design decisions about seat heights, cabinetry shapes and placement.

The following images with the old building form lumber lying in position, show how the floor will span the frames and how it is higher than frames 3 and 4.

So the first order of business was to make a template for the floor using poster board. I needed something to temporarily hold it at the level the floor would eventually be at, so blocks of wood were used while the shape was determined.

 Like the fairing of the hull that I did several years ago, I don't have a clear idea of how all of this is going to look, except in a general sense. The details still need to be worked out. The best way for me to do this is to think about it for a while and then put something into place. Then back to thinking again. Each new piece in place makes it easier to visualize what needs to happen next. I try to do everything in a temporary manner so that I can back out of decisions if they turn out to be wrong.

In this case, I elected to make temporary flooring out of cheap plywood. This serves two purposes. First, it aids in further design as just mentioned. Secondly, when it is in place, I can then mock up the interior and make sure that everything is the way I want it. There is a third reason actually. I am going to need approximately 10 sheets of marine plywood for the cabin sides, cabin flooring, and fore deck. I plan to order this and have it shipped. However, the price of marine ply being what it is, it is going to be a bit of time before I have enough funds to pay for it. So temporary, cheap plywood allows me to continue work on the boat.

Once I created the first plywood floor piece, I realized that I was going to have to have better supports underneath as the floor came to rest in a slightly different manner than the poster board first indicated.

I've known all along that I was going to have to build up a structure for supporting the floor. By making temporary supports, I can get a better 3 dimensional view of that area. I can see where the supports will need to be.

Here are some images of this temporary floor supports being made and positioned. The top of all these supports are the same height, and level in both fore and aft, and side to side directions.

The last image shows that the outboard edges of the floor will need angled cleats attached to the chine and flooring. I can also see that I want to add more fore and aft supports between the frames. One thought that has come out of this is that the original lower frames (3 and 4) and the area surrounding them, can be used for a long storage area under the floor for a boat hook and oars. This will work as long as the supporting structure is designed correctly.

As for the cabin profile, here are a series of images showing what I am considering. The plan is to reproduce the profile in cheap plywood and mock up the cabin. This will allow me to get a better idea of how this will be assembled.

As can be seen, there is a lot of preliminary work that needs to be accomplished. Some money will be spent on plywood that will ultimately be removed and not used. However, I feel that this part of the build is critical to get right as I will be spending all my time here after she's finished. And the boat has to look right when viewed from a distance or close up. So it's money well spent in my opinion.

That's it for now, The next posting will cover more floor design as well as hopefully completing most of the preliminary assembly of the bow compartment. Until next time, take care.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Yet Another Forward Bow Compartment Post

One of the more nerve wracking tasks remaining for the bow compartment was re-drilling the bow eye holes. Readers will probably remember that I did this once before several years ago, before fairing the hull structure for planking. And then after planking, I drilled the hole back through the skins.

Unfortunately, at the time, I placed the hole too far down on the stem (the bow eye would have been underwater most of the time). Also at that time, I filled in the hole and repaired the bow.

Well, the new location of the bow eye placed the holes in the lower storage area of the bow compartment. Access to these holes will be difficult when the bow compartment is assembled, so I wanted to drill them before beginning assembly.

To make sure that I got them centered, I needed a drilling jig. So I first mocked up one using poster board.

Then assembled the real thing from plywood. I only have this one shot of the jig in process.

In order to have enough room to mount the jog and drill the holes, it was going to be necessary to move the boat part of the way out of the garage.

Then I masked off the area where the bow eye would be installed and flattened the mounting surface.

I had to figure out a way to hold the jig in place.

After drilling the holes, I saw that although they were centered on the bow (yay!), they were slightly rotated (not so yay). But reasoning that trying to correct this would cause more damage than living with it, I elected to leave it alone.

This particular bow eye isn't going to work because the threaded rods are too short to protrude out the other side of the stem on the inside of the boat. I could counter bore the stem to make room for nuts and washers, but would prefer not to. So I am going to see about getting one custom made with longer threaded rods.

The next major task was to encapsulate the various bow compartment pieces with epoxy. This took some time because three coats were needed and some sanding between coats was necessary. The plan was to encapsulate everything and then paint the entire compartment white. The encapsulation will protect the wood against water, and the white bilge paint will make it easier to clean the areas. It also provides an extra protective coat for the epoxy.

The two inner compartment walls, being made from 1/8" plywood, were a bit flexible, so I elected to cover them with fiberglass.

Encapsulation was performed on the surfaces that will be hidden after assembly.

There is a "V" spacer that needed to be installed.

And finally, masking off and painting the bilge paint on the hidden surfaces.

I still need to apply a second coat of bilge paint. I also need to purchase and install some insulation foam for behind the inner compartment walls. Then assembly can begin. During assembly, there will be several times when I have to apply epoxy and fiberglass. So assembly will be a gradual process of put something together, apply epoxy and paint, then put something else into place and more epoxy and paint. The anchor well, will get a layer of protective fiberglass cloth. I'll cover all this in a future post.

One final thing though. Yesterday, two good boat builder friends came by to see my progress and we discussed various details of the build. In preparation for their visit, I temporarily assembled the various parts I have been working on. This was partially to show some evidence of work accomplished, but also to give them a better idea of my plans. This way I could get some constructive feedback.

Here are a few photos showing the compartment with the parts temporarily installed. Most parts are in various states of completion and will need additional work,

So that's the state of the build as of today. I am anxious to complete this phase of the build. It has taken far longer than I imagined it would. I suspect this is par for the course for interior work, but it does try my patience. Anyway, take care.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Continuing Work On The Forward Bulkhead And Hatch

Another week of working on the forward bulkhead hatch and opening. But I am getting close to the point where I can assemble this compartment. The opening was cut into the bulkhead and then I started making all the parts for the opening framework.

The original plan was to hinge the door on the left side, and careful measurements were made to insure the opening was big enough to allow for the hinge and door framework. However, during discussions of this on the Glen L Builder's Forum, it was suggested that I do the hatch without hinges. The advantage of this approach is that it gets the hatch completely out of the way when it's opening and it eliminates the difficult joinery work trying to get the door and hinge in the correct position. It also eliminates the need for the hinge hardware, which I wasn't too happy with appearance wise anyways. I decided to go with this approach instead.

The way the hinge less approach works is the hatch has a tab on it's forward bottom edge that "hooks" over the door framework. The hatch is then rotated up into position and held in place with some sort of latch.

Because I had already cut the opening slightly wider on the left (to allow clearance for the hinge), I would have to make some sort of filler to take this space up. Fortunately, there will be trim surrounding the door opening and the filler will be hidden.

The framework around the opening consists of four reinforcement strips on the forward side of the bulkhead along with three backup plates to give the hatch something to rest against, and four covering plates to hide the edge of the plywood.

Here is that framework being made and assembled. You can see the various parts before gluing into place.

First the reinforcement strips were glued into place and then cleaned up.

Then the three backing plates were glued in. No pictures of that operation. Finally, the covering plates were glued in place. I wanted to clamp these during the cure, but the sides of the bulkhead, being angled, made it necessary to create a clamping jig for the two side covering plates.

The top and bottom covering plates were clamped directly.

The hooking tab was added to the hatch.

Everything was cleaned up and sanded. I will still have to stain and varnish all of this down the road. I just had to see how this was going to look in the boat.  Here are a series of photos showing different aspects of this.

In this first photo, you can see how the hatch top frame member will serve as the aft support for the anchor well floor above the storage compartment.

These next series show how the hatch fits up into the bulkhead

I plan on surrounding the hatch with trim pieces to hide the glue seams of the opening framework. These and the other trim work, (making the light pads, the decorative artwork above the opening, and making a vinyl covered trim board) will all be accomplished in the future.

And here you can see the relationship of the anchor well to the storage compartment. The anchor well floor is visible at the top of the first photo.

All of this took most of the week. I am trying to get all the remaining small tasks accomplished so that I can do final assembly on the forward compartment.  One of those tasks was to round over the edges of the drain slots for the anchor well. This was accomplished with a router and and a round over bit followed by light sanding.

Tasks remaining include fiberglassing the storage compartment walls, drilling the holes for the bow eye (this one has me quite nervous),  and encapsulating and painting the areas that will be covered by panels. All of that is is coming up. So until next time, take care.