Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Head Box Work Part Four - Lots Of Parts

All the smaller details and finishing work that needs to be accomplished for this particular project means lots of opportunities to do little jobs in smaller segments of time. But it also means many hours of work to be accomplished to make large visible progress. And although discussing the construction of a sanitary facility is not the most glamorous subject, it does have its parts where I can express some creativity.

For example, the toilet opening below the seat. Probably the least discussed subject on the planet. But here, I wanted to have a nice hardwood edge, even if I am going to be the only one who ever sees it. This opening, the typical ellipsoid shape, is easy enough to cut out of the plywood. But making the hardwood edge represented a challenge that took me several days of effort.

There was the steaming of the wood and forming it to shape. The first try was a failure because 45 minutes of steaming time was insufficient. The second attempt got two hours. I made his edge in two pieces to make this easier to do.

Then cutting the pieces to final size and epoxying them into place. After cleaning up the excess, the edges were rounded over and the areas sanded.

Here is the end result. 

Then there is the toilet paper dispenser. I showed a few pictures of this in the previous post. I had attempted to steam the back cover from 1/8" mahogany, but that was not going to work. So instead , I used the Cherry paper backed veneer I had left over from the partition. This curved around the back quite nicely. Some fiberglass applied over the back side gave it additional stiffness. Then some stain for color. 

The compost bin is a stainless steel food bin from a kitchen supply store. This doesn't look that great in the previous photos, but my intention was to frame the top side with mahogany and create a mahogany cover to go over it. I am still in work on that , but here it is so far.

The ventilation fan housing needs to be mounted to the outboard (back side) of the head box. There is a circular opening in that panel where the housing will mount.

To give better access to the area behind the head box, an additional access panel opening was added to the back wall. This will make it easier to remove and install the fan housing, should I ever need to replace the fan. And it gives me additional access to wiring and bilge hoses running behind the head box.

There's also plenty of encapsulation work that needs to be accomplished. As usual, this is somewhat slow going since I have to wait for it to cure before I can smooth sand it and apply the second coat.

And finally, in preparation for assembling the head box, I need to get the area it is mounted in, prepared. This involves additional encapsulation and fiberglassing the floor. These areas will eventually be painted as well.

So that's it for now. I'll be off from work after next week so I am planning on getting the veneer work started, perhaps even finished. There's quite a bit of work involved in that so we'll have to see how it goes. Until next time, take care.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Even More Head Box Work

I won't make any crappy jokes about the length of time it's taking me to finish the head box. I am making progress and it's been a bit longer than three weeks since I last posted anything. Cold and rainy weather has been partially to blame. That happened to coincide with the need to epoxy several parts. Cold and epoxy don't get along so there were several days where I was simply waiting for an adequate cure time. 

I wanted to have enough material to post, hence the delay. There are a surprising 
number of small details that needed to be attended to for this part of the boat. And I had a few missteps along the way. I now have an adequate amount of new material. 

The head box has three hinged components. The toilet seat, the inner hinged lid providing access to the bucket, and the box cover that hides all of this. The inner hinged lid is actually three separate parts (although it would have been two if I had been more careful when cutting the plywood). The parts are the actual hinged lid over the bucket and the two parts making up the rest of the lid. These are plywood but I wanted them to have hardwood edges. So I had to spend some time making these, epoxying them in place, and cleaning up afterwards. The plan is to paint the plywood portions and leave the hardwood visible.

Here you can see construction of the hinged lid. The other parts were similar. The only difference is this one has a finger hole for opening the lid. That was accomplished by epoxying in a piece of hardwood with rounded out section. The hardwood edges are all rounded over including the finger hole.

The end result is shown here.

The last picture shows how the toilet seat will be hinged to the hinged lid. Obviously a hole will need to be cut into that lid. The plan is to veneer the edges of the hole with rounded over hardwood for a nice smooth finish. A lot of details for this area, but I prefer to do things this way.

In addition to adding the hinges and the inboard cabinet doors, there are three more details that need to be attended to before I start final assembly. There is a ventilation fan that will be mounted to the outboard side of the box. This actually is made up of two assemblies which I'll cover in a moment.

The second and third details are the parts that will be fitted into the remaining portion of the inner lid. This is a toilet paper dispenser and a lidded compartment to hold composting material (most like peat moss). 

For the toilet paper holder, I needed to inset it into the lid so that the box's top cover can close. I looked at several commercially available inset style holders but could not find any I felt would look good here. So I elected to make one instead. It will made from wood.

Here is the mock up of the part. The actual part will be covered in the entire open area between the two curved pieces. During my research I happened across a comment from one vendor who stated that there tube holder was mounted far enough away from the bottom of the semi circle to keep the paper from dragging on the dispenser even accounting for the difference in size of the cardboard tube and the spring loaded holder. A small detail, but one I am glad I saw as I would not have thought of it.

This project is one that I had several missteps, even with the mock up. My original plan was to steam 1/8" hardwood for the backside curved cover. I made a mold to do this and then tried to do the steaming and molding. You can also see that the mock up also has the sides of the box too close to the paper roll. I didn't notice this til later.

However, it didn't work out. The material just wouldn't conform to that small of a radius. Perhaps if I had steamed it longer, I might have been successful. But while contemplating a second attempt, I realized I could use some of my remaining paper backed cherry wood veneer for the same thing. This easily conformed to the curve, and I can reinforce it on the backside by adding a layer of fiberglass cloth. Since that side will be painted, this seemed idea.

The mock up also has a square frame which is also 1/8" hardwood. However while making this, I ended up breaking it once while trying to sand it on the sander. Had to throw that one away. The second was too small. I am getting around the too small part by inserting a plug in two sides. However, before realizing it was too small, I had already glued on the side pieces. When I realized this, I snapped them away and they unfortunately broke.

Anyway after recovering from all of that, here is the holder as its current state of construction.

The lidded composting compartment is going to be a stainless steel steamer food tray covered with a wooden cover. I've got the steamer tray on order and should have it sometime next week.

Getting back to the ventilation fan, this will be vented overboard, most likely on the side of the boat near the deck. Although I don't expect to actually use this very often, I did want to have the capability if needed. 

I am using a speed controlled computer fan that will be mounted in a small box that I am making. Connected to this box, will be the tubing to vent overboard. Here is another of those places where small details are important.

Because of it's location, replacing the fan if it ever fails will need to be allowed for. I will be attaching the fan box from the inside of the head box. There will be an access panel in there to get to it since access from the top will be prevented by the electrical equipment section above and outboard of the head box.

Another small detail, since the vent is on the side of the boat, the possibility exists that water could get into the vent line. A check valve in the vent line won't work because the pressure from the fan will be low. Instead what I am doing is making the parts from PVC tubing and allowing for a small catch reservoir near the fan. This reservoir will have a drain hole so any water will drain into the bilge and then be pumped overboard or drain out the back of the boat when on the trailer. The idea is that the water will drain from the reservoir instead of getting into the fan and ultimately the head box. In case something gets in there and plugs the drain hole, the reservoir's bottom end has a screw on cap which can be accessed from the access panel mentioned previously.

Here is the original idea for the tubing and the modified part with the reservoir as well as the mock up for the fan box and the actual box in work.

And finally, some of the encapsulation work that is ongoing. The head box top cover, the lower V berth faces, one of the seat box flip up extensions, and the partition are shown.  

And here are pictures of the beginnings of the seat box flip up extension which I'll cover in more detail in another post.

That's it for now. There are still many things that need to be accomplished on this section of the boat. At times it seems endless. Even accounting for the fact that I am trying to focus more on functionality that finish, there a many items that need to be accomplished sooner rather than later as they would be more difficult or impossible otherwise.

Until next time, take care.