Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Seat Box Extensions And Starting On The Cabin Sides

This weekend was another of those milestones that I have been looking forward to for sometime. I will get into it in a moment, but first I am going to cover the continuing work on the seat box extensions.

The extensions are designed to flip up when the seats are used as part of the sleeping berth. This allows for extra width for additional support. Don't have to worry about rolling off the bunk!!

They are relatively simple parts consisting of a frame covered with plywood and then veneered with Cherry. All of that was accomplished in the last couple of weeks.

Before veneering however, I wanted to add hardwood edges to the plywood face. Instead of doing this with the plywood still unattached, I elected to do it afterwards. Using my table saw set to the correct depth and with the table saw fence placed correctly, I ran the extensions of the saw and cut rabbets on each edge.

Then using more of the 1/8" Cherry veneer wood, I covered the tops. I also added a veneer on the aft end as this would be visible.

Once the veneers were cleaned up, I added the hardwood edges, cleaned them up and rounded over the edges.

Then the parts were stained and will wait until next week when I will begin the encapsulation process on them.

Unfortunately, I had difficulties with an order for the stainless steel hinges I had planned to use so they have been delayed and I will have to wait until I can continue on the extension pieces.

However, another exciting development has been taking place. I had decided earlier this year to move to the cabin sides after getting most of the cabin lower parts made. The reason for this was a change of pace and to see how this would affect the upper cabin components that still need to be made.

One of the first things I wanted to do was experiment and see if the cabin sides could be inclined inward a little bit. The plans call for them to be vertical, but I feel they would look better canted in a small amount.

The cabin sides are mounted to the carlings, which are vertical. They was designed this way for ease of construction of the cabin, but I am going to get around this by installing 5 degree wedges.

Making these wedges was fairly easy after a bit of experimentation. Using my band saw, I modified the fence to be taller and attached a small piece of wood down on the table to force the material being cut away from the fence.

Using 1/2 inch plywood, I cut a few sample pieces to try it out.

This made me realize that they pieces had to be the same height as the carlings in order to get the angles correct. Marine grade plywood pieces were cut out and then run through the cutting jig.

The next step was experimenting with scrap plywood to see how the angle looked on the boat.

I was satisfied that this approach will work so I proceeded to the next phase which is making a plywood template for the cabin sides. There is a good reason for this, several actually. But mainly I wanted to make any mistakes in the template so that the final parts will be as error free as possible. The templates also simplified the fitting of the parts and helped me understand how I am going to cut out the real parts.

Then these parts were fitted to the boat. This took a while as they needed to be trimmed for height, and length. Also, the aft end has an angled design element that needed to match up to the transom.

Next, the windows were marked on the plywood, cut out and sanded to final shape. 

There's still more work to do on the template. The front window is currently not level with the deck and this will need to be corrected. I also want to smooth out some of the curves. I'll be spending considerable time thinking through the various parts of the cabin installation and see how that will be accomplished. I want to be totally comfortable with this before committing to the real thing.

So that's it for now. It's pretty cool having this done as I can really begin to tell what the boat is going to look like. After nearly 6 years, the images in my mind are coming into being. Until next time, take care.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Bilge Paint And Working The Seat Boxes

Work continues on the cabin fittings. Many, many details to take care of and at times, not so much visible progress. Sure, I've said this many times before, but it is true. Some time back, I decided to go three weeks between blog posts because of the slow pace of change.

What's really happening is that many of the parts to install, are getting close to the stage where they can be installed, and at some point, the cabin will go from seemingly endless construction to having something to actually look at.

One of those myriad tasks is the painting of the bilge. This is actually a fairly intensive job as there are many nooks and crannies to get to and the bilge paint requires two or three coats to completely cover. Add to that the fact that I am working in a hot garage and you can probably see why progress is sometimes slower.

The bilge is getting white paint and this needs to be done before I can install any parts. It also takes at least a week to dry properly to it's full hardness. The weekend of Memorial Day was spent doing this particular task.

Additionally, the undersides of the floor panels and the inside of the head box and seat boxes where given some white paint. This is not bilge paint but it still required a few coats to properly cover. And as it stands, there is a need to go back and do some touch up work in both the bilge and on the other parts.

For health reasons, I had to take a week long break, but when I returned, I began working on the seat boxes again. This time the effort was in getting the lids and flip up extensions going.

Readers will probably remember that I plan on having extensions, on the seat boxes, that fold up to give extra width when using the seat boxes as a bed. At the same time, I want to maximize the floor space when the seat boxes are used as seats (which will be most of the time). 

The following photo gives some idea of how this is going to work. The extension is the vertically hanging piece. It is not permanently mounted here, only setting on blocks so I can determine how to attach it to the seat box frame. The extension will be hinged and can be folded up. It will be supported by legs which fold down from inside the extension.

You'll notice that the seat box top overhangs to form a sort of pocket for the extension.The extension will be hinged to that overhang which will be permanently mounted to the seat box frame and reinforced with aluminum angles on the underside.

However, the lid of the seat box also needs to open to give access to the interior space. So in order to accomplish that, the lid is cut into two pieces. More on that in a minute.

Before doing any cutting, I wanted to add hardwood edges to the plywood used for the lids.

Next, the amount of overhang was determined and marked off and the plywood cut into two parts.

Where the cut line is, required additional hardwood edges which are in process.

The larger piece, which is the hinged lid, will need a landing when closed. It rests on the sides of the seat box, but the remainder of the frame is under the smaller piece. So I bonded an extra piece of mahogany to the frames to serve as the landing.

And finally, so that I have both flip up extensions, I've started making the port extension. The starboard one was made last year when I first started on the seat boxes. At the time, I decided to wait in case modifications were needed.

I'll be adding a plywood top to this extension frame and then both extensions will be getting hardwood edges on the plywood. I've ordered the hinges for the extensions and have the hinges for the lids. I still need to purchase the aluminum reinforcement angles.

So that's the extent of this session of progress. It can be difficult at times, trying to keep patient when it's nice out and I see other boats heading to the lake. One of the things I occasionally do is go to the marina just to walk and be around the boats. It's not the same as being on the water, but it does help.

Until next time, take care.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Prepping For Bilge Paint

Well the title sounds simple enough and at first glance, you might think, "Oh great! An article on masking!" Well if it was that easy, it would have been done months ago. In reality, painting of the bilge in the cabin area is one of the last things to do before installing the cabin components. And since I wanted to try and keep the bilge area as clean as possible, I elected to wait until after most of the wood work and installation in this area was completed, so I would only have to clean and paint once. Frankly, I am not particularly thrilled about painting the bilge. But it's one of those steps that needs to be accomplished, so I will do it.

Before that can happen, the following items had to be completed. First up, I wanted to make some headway on the basic seat boxes. This means adding sides to the framework, staining, and encapsulation. I'll leave the seat tops for another day.

Readers will recall that I plan on putting flip up extensions on these seat boxes, for extra width when sleeping. The extensions were not worked, nor installed in this go around. That will also come later. But there is an inner wall on each seat box and an end wall on the port seat box. These were made from 3/8" plywood and veneered with Cherry. This was covered in the previous post.

After veneering, they needed to be installed on the seat box frames using epoxy.

And on the port box, there needed to be a Cherry hardwood edge at the corner between the inboard and aft panels. This was cleaned up and rounded over.

These boxes were subsequently cleaned up and stained and then left to sit for a week while the stain completely dried. As this process is similar to that used on the head box, I didn't take any additional photos. 

But while I waited on that, I returned to the floor panels. These needed a triangular piece added on the outboard forward edge to take up the space between the floor panel and the bottom of the hull. I made them so that there was a small gap at the bottom and forward ends, but covered enough of the area, to prevent things from sliding under the floor panels when stowed in the seat boxes.

These photos show how the triangles fill in the gaps. The white area in the photos is where the seat boxes will be mounted.

Next up was mocking up the cabinet that sets aft of the port seat box. This entailed some serious consideration of what I wanted to use this for, and then some playing around with design ideas. The final design will be less deep than the seat box and approximately 36 inches high. The top will have a curved side panels that come up just below the windows.

There will be a small working surface and a small sink. Below, in the cabinet will be small freshwater and gray water tanks. The working surface is large enough for a small one burner propane camp stove that will not be permanently mounted there, but which will be available to make coffee or heat something up. I plan on using one of those small portable camp stoves with small propane bottles. This will allow me to stow it away when not in use.

For now, the mock only serves to get the basic shape and size figured out and to help in identifying where the cabinet framework mounts. 

By making the cabinet less deep, I preserved some of the floor space. But it did make me realize that I was going to have to add an additional floor joist under the front of the cabinet to support the cabinet frame and to improve support for the floor panel.

This additional joist was mounted in the same fashion as the other joists and made the same way. Namely a piece of African mahogany bonded to a 1/2" piece of plywood with plywood added to the frames to support it.

After that, I went back to the seat boxes and got them encapsulated.

Where the cabinet mounts to the floor, I needed to cut access holes for the vertical supports to mount to the new floor joist. Then plywood gussets were made and installed for the two supports for the cabinet and the one for the seat box. All of these needed to be installed before the floor panel is installed as I will not be able to get to them afterwards.

Finally, the last thing was to determine the actual bilge hose path and how I was going to run the wiring from the bilge pumps as well as the port side of the boat to the electrical panel on the starboard side.

The bilge hoses need to be clamped into place in a few strategic positions and I wanted to see where those points were in case additional mounting pads needed to be bonded to the skins for the clamps mountings. 

In the next two photos, you can make out some small blue tape which indicate the approximate position of the clamps. The starboard hose runs easily from the bilge pump area to the side of the boat, but the port hose had to travel aft first before curling around and up the side. This was because of the new floor joist which had insufficient clearance underneath at the front of the section for the hose.

Most of the wiring will be in a conduit running under the floor. The exception will be the bilge wiring which will follow the bilge hoses out of the forward corners of the floor panels. I'll cover the design and installation of the conduit in a future post.

After all of this was completed, the entire area was vacuumed and washed out. Then all the encapsulation was touched up as needed. Today, I started painting the bilge and will be doing that for the next week. This painting will encompass the area under the V berth (mostly touching up, but also includes the forward sides of the vertical faces), and the areas between frame 3 and frame 5. Painting will only extend up the sides part of the way for now, until I am sure I don't need to bond anything to the skins in these areas.

So that's it for this post. Not a lot of photogenic things to show, but that's how it goes. Until next time, take care.