Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

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!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Fairing The Upper Deck Structure

Work continues on the interior fit out but at a reduced pace while I change gears for awhile to do something different. One of the more involved tasks that still needed to be completed is fairing the upper deck structure in preparation for planking the deck. Planking itself, is still some time off in the future as I want to complete more interior work first, but the deck fairing is something I wanted to finish before doing any more interior work, because it is quite messy and it will be easier to clean out the boat now, than later.

Faring the deck structure is similar to the work performed when I was fairing the hull. The main goal is to have a surface that the plywood deck planking can be applied to that is free from any dips or sharp angles. Any curves should be gentle and fair so that the plywood will have no problems conforming to the shape.

When the carlings were installed, I realized that fairing the deck was going to be more work than originally considered.The angle of carlings top surface is different than the angle of the sheer top surface. As a reminder to the reader, the sheer is the outside edge of the boat and the carlings are the internal boards running for and aft and attached just inboard of the sheer.

Before starting the fairing work, I needed to first complete the wedges that go between the carling and cabin sides. Remember that these wedges are being installed to cant the cabin sides inward slightly for better appearance. These were all installed, trimmed, and cleaned up on both port and starboard sides. 

Fairing ultimately requires the angles between the sheer and carling tops to be parallel at each point along the length of the hull. The image below shows several things. First it shows the carlings and sheer in relationship to each other, and shows the improvised tool holder along with the primary tools initially needed for fairing.

However, it is somewhat more complicated than that. The first order of business was to get the top outboard sides of the structure to be a straight line running fore and aft. This straight line runs from the transom top outer corner to frame 4 (near the bow) before angling downwards slightly towards the front deck structure.

In order to get this edge straight, I set up a laser level and struck a line from the two points previously mentioned. This is somewhat subjective as a simple straight line may end up requiring the removal of too much of the sheer structure. So the process involved some back and forth work, adjusting the laser line up and down until a good compromise position was reached. These points were marked on the side of the hull at various points and the a long wooden start edge batten was clamped into place at the points.

The batten serves as a sanity check, more easily showing the amount of material that needs to be removed and insuring that the final line will be straight when cut. This whole process determines the outboard edge.

The inboard edge was going to be the high point of the carlings inboard edge as this was already straight fore and aft.

In order to fair this entire area flat, I elected to start by cutting  1" wide slots in the top surface approximately every 9 inches. These slots were cut in the following manner. First a straightedge razor saw was used to cut slits every 1/8" or so stopping the depth of the cut when the saw blade reached the inboard top edge of the carling and the outboard line represented by the batten mentioned previously. You can see how that works in the following picture.

After cutting enough slits for an approximate 1 inch wide slot, the wood between the slits is broken out using a chisel and hammer, going down to the approximate level of the cut dept.

After removing the excess wood, a file is used to flatten out the slot, leaving two slots that are parallel to each other. Using a straightedge piece of wood is used to confirm this and the slots are filed additionally as needed to get this parallelism.

Theses slots are cut along the entire  top edge of the deck structure. Each slot may be different from the next depending upon how deep the outside edge needs to be cut, and the amount of material is required to get the two slots parallel. Over the length of the deck this insures that that representations of the needed angles are in place for the next step in fairing.

Next, I used an electric hand planer to plane down the entire top edge, using the representative slots to indicate how fair to fair down.  However a bit additional work was needed on each vertical frame which now extended slightly too high and had to be trimmed do to match the lines between the sheer and carlings. By basically flattening the areas between the slots, I achieved this goal as shown with the sample plywood in the next photo.

All of this occurs aft of frame 4. The area forward of frame 4 will be a addressed a bit differently when I get to it next and I'll cover that in the next posting.

As for the cabinet, last shown in the previous posting, the largest piece of work accomplished on them was to make and install the trim boards. These face boards were 3/4" thick pieces of Cherry with decorative groves cut into their face. The grooves were tapered at the ends. I accomplished this by rigging up an improvised router jig and very carefully cutting the grooves.

The face boards were attached to the cabinet sides and the cabinet was assembled to the shelves (except the top shelf).

The top shelf needed to have a large hole cut into it for the sink, so this was done first. Then that shelf was installed into the cabinet.

For now, that is where the cabinet is at. I am slowly working on finishing it up and will present additional progress photos next time. I will also have additional coverage of the fairing process.

So until next time............... Take care.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Cabinet Work Continued

I was hoping to have more done on this by now, but I've decided to get a post out since it my be several weeks before I complete the preliminary work on this project.

Here's a brief recap of the plans for the cabinet. It will contain a small sink and fresh water spigot, mostly for washing hands. The cabinet will have a small drawer and two cabinet doors, all of which will be above the water tank level. The lower section of the cabinet will contain a fresh and gray water tank as well as the pump for the spigot. This lower section will have it's own floor hinged panel to provide access to the tanks and pump.

The cabinet is a combination of African Mahogany framing, plywood sheet, Cherry veneers, and Cherry hardwood edges. The top will be curved down on the sides (for appearance purposes) with the top shelf sandwiched between the curved sides.

Because the cabinet extends high enough to cover a portion of the cabin sides, it has to be made in such a way that it can be installed in pieces during final assembly.

So I started by making the basic side panels and lower shelf.

Next a middle shelf was made and supports added for this.

The middle shelf had to be high enough to give room for the water tanks.

Next I had to figure out how these side panels would be mounted to the boat and how they would support the drawer assembly. The previous photo shows two vertical boards simulating a center support structure. On the sides, I added a wide structure which will support the drawer slides and mount the side panels to the boat frames.

One of the features of the cabinet is a piece of wood across the face of the top shelf to keep items from sliding off. In boat terms, this is called a fiddle. I wanted my fiddle to be a bit more decorative than a simple vertical edge. It is going to be shaped like the curved top.

In order to accomplish this, I needed to see how it would set in relation to the front cover boards and the side panels. There is also a hardwood edge planned for the curved edge of the side panels and the fiddle would have to fit into that as well.

So I experimented with ideas until I came up with something I liked. 

The fiddle was made from a piece of Cherry, planed by hand to the shape of the curve.

Then it was back to completing the side framing.

The veneers for the side panels came next. These are 1/8" Cherry boards on the exterior and paper backed Cherry veneer on the interior in the curved areas.

 And finally (for the moment), I've started working on the design for the front cover plates. These will have some decorative grooves cut into them and will blend into the curve of the fiddle along the top edge. The photos show the cover boards before adding the decorative grooves. The last photo shows the fiddle in relation to the cover boards. Try to imagine the curve being extended down into the top edge of these cover boards to give a rounded edge appearance to the cabinet.

You can also see a simulation of how the lower floor hinged door will appear. Of course, it will extend across the entire width of the cabinet.

The heat here has been very high for several months and my productivity is suffering because it. Therefore, the cabinet construction is going slower than I would like. Having to custom design everything also slows down the pace.

I have a bit more work to do on the cabinet; cut the decorative grooves in the cover boards, make the drawer support structure and drawers and the cabinet doors. I am not sure how much of this will be done now, and how much will wait for later. This is because before I can install this cabinet (or any of the other interior pieces) I need to complete fairing the top of the boat structure for the top deck. Then the cabinet sides need to be made and fitted. 

For those reasons, I will probably only do part of the remaining cabinet work and then stop to move on to the fairing. I realize this can be somewhat frustrating if someone is waiting to see the finished product, but I try to balance work with the need to do things in a certain order (in order to avoid difficult rework), my stamina in the heat, my free time, and the necessity of having to deal with other non boat related things. It's frustrating to me as well since I would very much like to be using the boat. But this is the way it has to be.

So until next time, take care.