Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Monday, December 31, 2018

Aft Cabin Part 2

I've been fortunate in that we've had decent weather most days this last month. Only a few rainy and cold days. This has given me the opportunity to make some good headway on the aft cabin flooring. 

In the previous posting, I was working on getting the floor supports made and encapsulated. That was completed first. 

When I lay them in the boat to see where they would have to be mounted, I realized that I would need one more long support. This is because the center floor panel is an access panel and would need edge support as well as center support. With the six supports I had made, this left too large of a gap between them.

At the same time, I knew that I needed to make two shorter supports for the aft outboard ends by frame 1. So these additional supports were made and encapsulated.

These additional shorter supports would span the distance between frame 1 and the motorwell bulkhead cleat (also discussed in the previous article). This would require additional small floor timbers on frame 1 and a full width floor timber on the motorwell bulkhead cleat. 

Because this full width floor timber was angled on the bottom, and because I was short of 3/4" plywood of sufficient length, I had to make it from three pieces.

Next I wanted to determine the final placement for the floor supports. One of my main concerns was that the floor supports adequately support the floor panels, and the helm station. Since I didn't have the helm station made yet, I decided to mock it up to get some idea of what it would look like.

This first effort is too tall and there will be other changes as well. It is a mock up and I fully expected it to only be marginally correct. But it helps me to visualize what I want to do with it next. And more importantly, I was able to make sure that it would be supported properly by the floor supports.

With the final positions of the floor supports determined, I went to cutting out the slots in he floor timbers.  This was quite a bit of work, and messy as well. But eventually these were all cut out. 

Because the floor panels are in three pieces, the edges of the center panel and the inboard edges of the other two panels would all need support. In the forward cabin, I had neglected to consider this when placing the floor supports in position and had to add cross beam supports to provide support for that access panel.

In the aft cabin, I added the additional floor support mentioned previously which allowed me to place one support under the two gaps between the three panels. However, the supports were not thick enough and additional pieces of mahogany were laminated on these two supports for that purpose.

Once this was completed and encapsulated, I cut all the floor supports to the correct length so that they end up right where the motorwell bulkhead will eventually be.

The last remaining bit under floor was the four pads for the bilge pumps and float switches. When everything is installed I will have four bilge pumps. Two up forward and two in the aft section. 

The plan was to begin epoxy encapsulation of all these underfloor areas, but colder weather at the wrong time changed my plans. I decided to start working on the floor panels instead.

First order of business was to make templates of the side floor panels where they are fitted around the frames. This was done with scrap plywood, staples and wood glue.

Then I started laying out and fitting the floor panels. The templates made this pretty easy and I was able to accomplish this over two days. At the same time, I made the middle floor panel to replace the temporary one in the forward cabin. 

At this point, I am ready to begin quite a bit of encapsulation and painting work. So depending upon sufficiently warm enough days, that's what I'll be doing for the next few weeks.

The other work I'll be starting on is the fuel tank support and the helm, although I need to purchase some parts before starting on the helm.

So until next time, take care. Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Aft Cabin Work Part 1

This is going to be somewhat short on substance even though it's been a month since the last posting. This is primarily because the work accomplished so far mostly involved encapsulation of the parts. This always slows things down because it's a process of applying epoxy and waiting for it to cure, then applying some more and starting the wait over again.

The first part of the aft cabin to be worked on was the floor and it's supports. It's the supports that took all the time because there are 10 of them, each of which had to be glued together first, then given three coats of epoxy on all sides.

Because of the cold weather, I had to work with the garage closed which made things rather tight to work. And parts had to be brought into the house to cure after epoxy was used to assemble (and later encapsulate) them.

The longer ones required using the boat as an impromptu workbench while encapsulating

These supports are like the forward cabin floor supports in that they are a lamination of 1/2" (12 mm) plywood and 3/4" African mahogany. The lamination of these two materials creates very stiff supports which should eliminate any bounciness in the floor. 

There are 6 pieces that are approximately 8 feet long and 4 pieces that are approximately 3 feet long. The shorter supports go between the frames on the outboard edges of the cabin. All of the long supports cross over the frames in the middle. All will be mounted in slots cut into the floor timbers (when I get to that point).

After these were finished, I started on a template for the floor panels. There will ultimately be 3 panels, like the forward cabin (one on each side and a middle panel for access to the bilge). But in order to get the overall size and shape right, I decided to try a different approach to making the templates.

These were made by using narrow strips of cheap plywood, connected with glue and staples at the joints. 

The template currently is sized for the two sections encompassing the area between frames 1 and 3, however, the floor will actually extend aft to the motorwell bulkhead which is approximately another 15 inches aft.

The long floor supports are over-sized in length for now with the plan being to extend them into the forward bulkhead of the motorwell compartment. They will be suitably supported on this end once everything else is made figured out and made. Once the final length of these supports is established, they will be cut to length.

And once the location of the bulkhead is determined, the floor template will be added onto to include the additional flooring aft.

This motorwell section needs to be a certain size in order to accommodate the outboard when it's tilted up. It also needs to accommodate the outboard's side to side turning extents.

The entire motorwell is designed to perform two main functions. First provide additional strength and support to the transom to take the stresses of the outboard's propulsive power. And secondly, to allow any water coming over the transom cutout to drain back out of the boat without getting into the interior of the boat.

Secondary functions are to build the appearance of the aft end of the boat and to provide additional storage areas.

This will become more clear in a future post once these parts are made and installed.

For now, the forward bulkhead of the motorwell needs to have a template made to get its shape correct. In order to do this, it's location fore and aft has to be established.

The requirement for my boat is to provide 25 inches forward from the transom cutout. Since the transom is angled, I rigged up a measuring tool and dropped a weighted line to determine where the bulkhead would be on the floor.

Trying to make a template at this measurement would have been difficult without some means of support while assembling it. So I elected to make the bulkhead lower cleat and install it. This is two 3/4" by 1 3/4" pieces of African Mahogany bent and attached to the inner hull battens and keel on the bottom of the compartment.

The laminations make it easier to give the cleat the slight curve necessary to conform to the inner hull shape.They were epoxied and screwed into position. The motorwell forward bulkhead will mount to the aft side of this cleat. There will be other structure as well which I will show in another post.

With the bulkhead position now firmly established, I will be able to finish the floor template and start on the bulkhead template. Once these templates are completed, I can make the actual parts and do any final fitting.

There were two other items accomplished not involving the aft cabin. I've finished encapsulating the cabinet for the forward cabin. This photo shows that in process.

And the anchor well up forward needed a small section of plywood added to the top of the aft bulkhead as a filler. This was cutout, glued in, cut to shape, the seam fill and prepared for paint. In the photo the area has not bee painted yet.

In preparation for the installation of the motorwell, which will make it too difficult to enter the boat from the transom anymore, I purchased a small one step stool to set on the floor in the interior. My normal three step stool will be used on the outside to clamber into the boat from the side. This is definitely more trouble than coming over the stern, but I keep telling myself that it means I am getting closer to completing the boat, so it's a small price to pay.

That's it for now. For those of you who celebrate the holidays, Happy Holidays and it's likely that the next post will be after the end of the year. Until then, take care.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Working The Punch List

As winter approaches and yet the end of another year, I am focusing more and more on getting the boat to a functional state. The absolute must do stuff gets refined as time goes on. This is not to say that other lower priority items are being put to the wayside. There's always time when waiting is the name of the game (epoxy curing, saving money, scheduling time to pick up new materials, etc.) During those times, I am working on other punch list items such as figuring out the layout of the aft cabin, determining what each piece's structure and design are going to be like. And doing additional work on the cabinet for the forward cabin.

The cabinet will have a drawer which will require a place to mount the drawer slides. That is shown in this photo being installed

The cabinet was stained followed by a waiting period of one week before encapsulation started. Encapsulation is a rather boring step of the process other than imparting some shininess to the part. So I'll only show the beginning of that process here along with the stained cabinet.

My prime focus has been trying to get the fairing for the top deck finished and starting on the aft cabin floor. In order to complete the fore deck fairing, several items needed to be completed on the anchor well and deck structure.

I had previously written about the fiberglassing of the anchor well. Before painting this area, I wanted to install the anchor rope bracket. This is a solid piece of oak with a stainless steel bow eye installed. The oak is fitted to match up to the stem and the port side planking. It was assembled and then glued into position after first applying some white bilge paint in the area behind the bracket. It is also installed slightly above the anchor well floor so that water can drain from the area forward of it.

This part was subsequently cleaned up and the remainder of the anchor well was given three coats of white bilge paint.

Next up as installing the remainder of the fore deck structure that supports the hatch that will eventually be installed. This structure was partially assembled well over a year earlier and was waiting for the appropriate time to install. The center athwartship member was made high so that it could be cut down to match the curvature of the other frames.

To mark the curvature of the frames on this piece, I devised a simple jig which rode on the frames fore and aft of the part. The jig had a pencil attached to it and by moving the jig along the other frames, I was able to get an approximation of the curve. 

This was subsequently cut down and faired to match the other frame's curve. These next photos show a scrap piece of plywood being used to test the fairing.

Aft of this part, another fore and aft beam needed to be installed to give additional support to the hatch structure.

The upper deck from frame 5 forward to the anchor well was faired using the scrap plywood to test the fit. This was a gradual process requiring that the plywood be clamped into position, the fit tested, and then material planed off a bit at a time and repeating the process until I was satisfied that the deck planking would lay in nicely over the entire fore deck.

The only area not faired now is the area surrounding the anchor well. There is also a piece of deck support structure that needs to be installed there as well. I haven't gotten to this yet and this will be covered in a future post. The reason for the delay is that I am waiting to purchase plywood for the deck next weekend and I also need to temporarily move the boat back so I have access to fair this part of the deck.

In the aft cabin, the first order of business is to get started making and installing the floor supports. There are several considerations for this area. A fuel tank will be installed on the port side. The helm station will be installed on the starboard side. The motorwell bulkhead and structure must tie into the floor structure. 

I started by making additional frame floor timbers for frames 3, 2,and 1. Frame 3 only needed some small floor timbers added on the aft outboard side.

Frame 2 required a full length floor timber on the aft face as well as smaller floor timbers on the fore and aft faces. Frame 1 a was similar except that the smaller floor timbers are only required on the forward face. 

The reason for these smaller floor timbers is twofold. The frame gussets are a bit thicker than the frame so the full length floor timber cannot extend over them. Secondly, I wanted to insure that I could install fore and aft floor beams as far outboard as possible. All of these floor timbers were installed and cleaned up after the epoxy cured.

Not shown, as I do not have pictures yet, are the floor beams themselves. These are going to be made like the floor beams in the section forward of frame 3, namely laminating plywood and mahogany lumber together to get a very stiff beam. The beams in the middle will be longer extending from frame 3 to aft of frame 1 and will tie into the motorwell bulkhead. The outboard floor beams will be shorter as they must end at the frame and gussets where the smaller floor timbers are installed.

Also not shown yet is the tie in to the motorwell as I do not yet have the plywood for this. That same plywood is needed to complete the floor beams. I will be making a trip to Houston this coming weekend to pick all of that up.

I am in the process of designing the fuel tank support, the cabinet that will hide it, the helm station and two fold away stairs to make entering the boat easier. These designs will gradually be covered over the next few months as I get to them.

So until next time, take care.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Anchor Well And Cabinet

In order to continue with fairing the upper deck structure, it is necessary to complete the construction of that structure, namely the structure supporting the fore deck and surrounding the deck hatch.

The deck structure that needs to be installed is mostly completed, having been made well over a year ago when I was working on the hatch cover.Installation of that structure will be covered next time. But before that can happen, I needed to complete fiberglassing the anchor well since access to it will be limited afterwards.

As fiberglassing is a lengthy process and because the weather was somewhat cooler, I also spent some time getting more work done on the cabinet for the cabin.

The anchor well is an oddly shaped area, triangular in shape with three vertical and one horizontal surface. It has overhangs from the chines and breasthook and the stem sticks up from it in the very front. Therefore, fiberglassing this presented something of a challenge. 

I knew from the get go that trying to fiberglass the entire interior in one shot would be extremely frustrating and stressful so I elected to handle it in three pieces, starting with the horizontal surface first.

Working with fiberglass cloth is somewhat fiddly and trying to cur an odd shape to fit was even more so, but eventually I had a piece of cloth that was approximately the correct shape, with additional material to overlap up the sides a bit.

This was laid in the anchor well and the sides folded up over each other so that I could apply thickened epoxy into the corners between surfaces. The filleting in the corners was accomplished using a spoon to smooth out the fillets.

The the cloth was unfolded and carefully epoxied using a foam roller and shortened chip brush.

All of this, the filleting and the fiberglassing was done in the  same session and the cloth overlapped up the sides approximately 1 inch. This was later trimmed with a razor and then fiberglass cloth was cut for the two forward vertical surfaces.

These were far more difficult because of the overhang, but by carefully applying epoxy with the roller, I could get the cloth to stay in place. The shortened chip brush was used to epoxy under the overhangs and everything was smoothed out as best as possible.

It sat like this for nearly a week because of colder weather until yesterday when I was able to complete the aft vertical surface. Some smooth sanding of the overlaps was necessary before this last piece could be added.

Then today several fill coats of epoxy were added to smooth things out. Once this is cured, I am going to install the anchor rope bracket and then paint the interior with white bilge paint.

The cabinet is being worked on when I am waiting for other things, but a fair amount of progress has been made. The tapered fiddle was added to the top shelf as were the Cherry edge strips on the top edges of the wings.

Also shown in the middle photo are the quarter round trim pieces that were subsequently installed and then trimmed to length.

Before getting to staining, I needed to add a center divider with face plate to support the right side of the drawer. Additionally, the left side drawer support was made and prepared for installation. 

Not a huge amount of progress on the cabinet, but once the other drawer support is added and the cabinet given a final sanding, I can get it stained and encapsulated. The drawer and doors will be made later since I am still trying to stay focused on getting the boat functionally ready.

So that's it for now. It's a slow process, building this cruiser, and I need to try and stay motivated as I work through the thousands of individual tasks. Hopefully, the readers won't get too tired of waiting to see the finished product!