Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Cabin Housing Part Three

In the previous posting I had reach a point where the side window landings needed to be made before I could continue on the cabin side doublers. This was because the doublers slightly overlap the landings up forward.

Using the strips of mahogany planed previously, as well as some larger pieces for the aft windows, I cut the pieces to rough size and glued them together using the window opening templates as guides.

What was important here was to have the rough wood extend into the opening sufficiently to allow for a 1/2" wide landing all the way around on the inner edge and extend over the sides of the templates 3/4" for the mounting surfaces. Guide lines were drawn on the parts to show where they aligned with the templates.

When these had cured and been cleaned up, it was first necessary to remove excess  material from the inner edge of the parts to avoid tear out when routing the part. This was done using the guide lines and measuring inward 1/2"  and then removing any material past the 1/2" line. A jig saw was used to perform this task.

Then, two-sided tape was stuck to the surface of the parts and they were positioned on the templates again using the guide lines. They were now ready to route out the inner edge. 

Routing was accomplished using a flush trim bit with an oversize bearing, sufficiently large enough to leave 1/2" of material on the inner edge.

What remained was to use a drawing compass set at 1 1/4" to trace out the exterior lines of the part. The excess was cut away using the band saw and then the parts were sanded to the final lines on the oscillating sander.

Here is the end result and how they will be mounted in the window openings. Also shown is one of the window frames placed in position to show how the final product will look.

Moving back to the cabin side doublers I placed them in position over the landings and determined where the overlap would occur. You can see it at the forward end of the doubler in both pictures. Care was taken to draw lines on the doublers to indicate where the overlap edges were.

The doublers were removed once again and using the drawn guide lines, I fashioned an MDF template to make these cuts. 

I had recently purchased a set of router bushings to give them a try as I thought I was going to need to use these instead of a router bearing. The bushings have to be centered in the router and need to be the correct side to insure that the correct amount of material (and not too much material) is removed. 

The template was attached to the doublers again using two-sided tape. The doublers were milled down just enough on the glue face to allow clearance for the window landing thickness and just slightly larger than the size of the landing.

Then the doubler was placed back in position on the cabin sides and here is the end result. In this photo you can see how the doubler now lays over the landing and still mates up to the cabin sides.

The next task was to cut the doublers down along the topside edge to allow for the thickness of the plywood roof. This was performed on the entire top edge until reaching the aft most roof beam cut out because the roof plywood will end there.

After this, I wanted to start on the cabin forward windows, but needed to make more mahogany strips for the landings. At the same time I cut sufficient strips for the extra roof battens. The battens are 3/8" thick strips approximately 2" wide that run fore and aft. There will be three of them.

All of these strips were planed to either 3/8" (for the roof battens) or 1/4" (for the forward window landings). Here you see how one of the roof battens will be installed. The roof beams will be notched on their topside to accept these pieces.

To do the front windows, it was first necessary to make templates for the forward window openings. Using poster board and then MDF, templates were made.

Then the openings were milled out using the router and a flush trim router bit.

Finally, and this brings me up to today, the landings were made and then glued together yesterday. Today, using the same process as used for the side window landings, I cut out the forward window landings. These were placed in the forward windows for the second photo.

I've temporarily run out of lumber to make the frames and will be picking that up later in the week. In the meantime, I will focus on other aspects of the cabin. 

Still to be done besides the window frames is the aft wall of the cabin housing. The aft wall will actually be two narrow walls running from the cabin sides out approximately 5 inches leaving the center section open. I also need to finish shaping the forward window pillars and prepare the window openings for accepting the hinges that the window frames will be attached to. I'll be covering this in future postings.

It's a lot of work getting to this point in the build and I have to constantly remind myself to be patient. But I am happy with the way things are working out so far. So until next time, take care.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Cabin Housing Part Two

I've been lucky. The weather has been pretty reasonable during the holiday season and I've been able to make significant progress.

Work on the front window assembly continued by adding two side vertical pieces between the horizontal parts. This was done using strips of plywood hot glued together to form templates and then using the templates to cut out the parts.

The window openings will be final shaped in the future using a template and a router.

Taking the approach of trying to think five steps ahead so that I don't paint myself into a corner, I decided that before continuing with the front window assembly (namely shaping the forward vertical posts), I wanted to see how all of this was going to tie in with the cabin doublers and roof line.

But prior to that, I did glue the two window frame assemblies together and clean them up. They are ready when I return to the front windows.

The next step in the process was making the cabin side doublers. These are pieces located just below the roof line that support the roof beams. They follow the curve of the top of the cabin sides and then arch down continuing to follow the external wings at the aft end of the cabin sides.

At this point, I had to spend considerable time (about three hours) in the thinking chair trying to wrap my head around how all of this was going to come together. There are many considerations such as how the plywood roof fits into the sides, how the same plywood fits into the forward window, how the cabin sides are trimmed and dressed up, placement of the roof beams, how the aft most roof beam ties into the aft cabin opening, and many, many other considerations.

I started by mocking up how I wanted the aft opening to look. This was as simple as placing a roof beam in the location where it would eventually sit and then clamping two strips of wood vertically to it. These strips went down to the cabin floor. They served to mock up the extents of the small walls on each side of the aft cabin opening. The small walls will fill in the space between the cabin sides and the hanging strips, leaving the center section open. Small decorative arches were added using cardboard.

From this I was able to figure out how the aft most roof beam needed to be placed and how it would connect to the small walls previously mentioned.

Then using large planks of wood clamped to the cabin sides, I traced out the arch of the roof line and side wing. This served to define the top edge of the cabin side doublers. Marks were made the same distance from this curve along it's entire length and then the curve was duplicated to give the doubler's shape.

The parts were cut out, sanded to shape , and assembled using epoxy.

With the basic shape now determined, I spent additional time thinking about the assembly and decided to start with laying out the locations of the roof beams. I determined that they should be 18 inches apart and taped weighted strings to the cabin sides to allow me to insure that the locations were the same on both sides. It also helped to insure that the beams were evenly spaced.

Using the beams, I identified the size of the slots that would need to be cut into the doublers. I would cut them 1/4" extra deep to allow for the cabin roof plywood. 

These slots were cut out and the slots test fitted against a sample of the roof beams. The doublers were placed back on the cabin sides and the openings were traced on the cabin side lumber. This would allow me to line up the doublers when placing them into position.

Next up was removing the doublers again, and then using weighted strings again, determine the centerline of the hull. A string was stretched fore and aft to represent the centerline. Weighted strings were hung on the centers of the roof beams and these were lined up with the centerline string and the drawn markings for the slots.

Using a straightedge, I transferred the angles of the cabin sides to the arches of the roof beams. The excess was cut off the ends of the arches slightly wider than the drawn marks. The side doublers were clamped in place again and the roof beams were fitted into position. There was a bit of back and forth in getting them to fit.

The next step will be to complete the shaping of these doublers. The aft ends were trimmed off flush with the top of the aft cabin sides. There will be trim added in this area later.

The forward section was trimmed to match the forward window openings and shortened enough to allow clearance for the front window vertical posts. What comes next is making room for the cabin side window landings. Readers should recall that these will be placed on the inside of the side window openings giving the window frames something to rest against when closed. 

Because of clearance problems up forward, the side doublers will have to overlay a portion of the forward landings. This means that these landings need to be made next so that they can be fitted into place.

The landings will be approximately 1/4" thick and surround the inside of each window opening. They will be made in a similar manner to the window frames, using slats of mahogany.

I cut these slats from the large piece of lumber left over from making the roof beams and then planed them down to the required thickness.

Once they are glued together into a rough shape , I will be using the window templates I made last month and the router to shape these landings. I'll be covering that in the next posting.

So that's it for now. I still have a few days remaining of time off from work and hope to make more progress, however, there are quite a number of household chores that need to be attended to first. So until next time, take care.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Cabin Housing Part One

The holidays are fast approaching and with them, some additional time to work on the boat. In the meantime, I continue to make progress on the cabin. I am hoping to have the cabin structure completed by the Spring although that may be pushing it a bit. 

After getting the cabin sides installed, the next step was to start on the forward cabin face where two additional windows will be installed. But before getting into that, here are a couple of additional pictures of the cabin sides.

The plan is to have the forward windows hinged along the top edge and able to open like the side windows. I would also like to have them flush mounted like the side windows. 

Before doing anything I needed to get some idea of what this was going to look like, so using some small scrap wood, I temporarily laid out the design I had in mind.

From this I determined that the window center post would need to be further aft or it would interfere with the deck hatch that I will eventually install. I also was able to figure out how the forward faces were going to tie into each other and the cabin sides.

The basic structure consists of a center post angled back the same as the cabin side forward edges. Two blocks would be attached to those same forward edges and dado slots cut in them and the center post to accept slats which would frame the window. The slats will initially be slightly oversize so I can trim out the window openings later.

First up was figuring out the center post. This was rough cut from 2 inch stock and angled on one end to set on the deck at the correct angle. This angle was determined by measuring the side cabin forward faces and using a post to temporarily support the center post. A block of wood was taped to the deck for the lower end to keep it from sliding forward.

Next up was adding blocks on the cabin side forward edges. These had a rabbet cut on one edge to allow them to lay over the forward edge of the side pieces. A second rabbet was cut on the opposite side to accept the remaining window frame parts. The plan is to eventually round over these blocks.

Next I spent quite a bit of time trying to determine where the horizontal members would need to be. There were many considerations here, such as having them appear correct when viewed from front and rear, leaving enough material on the top edge to blend into the cabin roof when those are installed, and determining the angles of the dado slots that needed to be cut into the center and side posts.

The dado slots were difficult to visualize because they are not cut perpendicular to the post sides. Once these angles were determined, I had to spend quite some time rigging up angles jigs for the router table. But eventually this was accomplished.

Two horizontal members were cut out first. Making these also presented a challenge as the shape of the boards is a trapezoid rather than a rectangle. Getting the angles correct on these was also very difficult.

I had quite a bit of trouble with the center post wanting to move from side to side and sliding forward on the deck. The post needed to be centered side to side and I was constantly having to re-measure and check to see that it was in the correct position. After struggling with this for awhile I decided to mount it to the deck. I had originally wanted to wait until the structure was assembled before doing this but it was necessary to do so first.

It was screwed to the deck. Later, when the structures are completed, it will be reattached with epoxy and screws. There will also be an angled support on the aft side to give it additional strength.

Once it was screwed down, I was able to make and fit the lower horizontal pieces. These were a bit easier than the uppers since I could use the uppers as templates, only having to lengthen the parts to allow for the additional distance at the lower edges of the window openings.

As can be seen, the lower members need to be cut to match the curve of the deck. Additionally, they need to be tapered on the lower aft edge to fit the angle of the deck in relation to the windows.

To accomplish this, I first cut out a piece of MDF for a template. I originally planned to clamp the MDF to the window frame and trace the outline of the deck curve onto the template using an elevated pencil.

However, this didn't work as planned as the amount of curve was too shallow in the center. I determined that I had to have the template standing vertical when tracing the curve.

Once this was done and cut out and sanded to shape, the template fit the deck curve perfectly. The horizontal frame pieces where marked to clamp a straightedge. The initial measurement was just enough to allow the curve to reach the ends of the boards. The curve was drawn on the forward faces.

To determine the backside angle and curve line, I measured the gaps at the ends of the horizontal pieces when setting in the window structure. This measurement was subtracted from the forward side measurement used for the straightedge and drawn on the backside of the part. Then the straightedge was clamped to this new mark and the curve from the template transferred there as well.

Next, the band saw table and oscillating sander tables were set to the closest angles I could get to match to the two curve lines. The parts were first cut close using the band saw and then sanded to the forward face line using the curved part of the belt sander.

This got me close. From there, it was simply a matter of test fitting the parts and making additional sanding adjustments until I was satisfied with the fit to the deck curve.

There is more work to be done but, when most of that is accomplished, I will temporarily tape some sandpaper to the deck and do the final finessing of the curves on those lower members.

Still to be accomplished is to make two vertical pieces for each window opening. These will fit between the two horizontal members. The center and side posts still need to get their final shaping and window openings will need to be cut out of the forward facing boards. I'll need to make a template for that and will use the router to make the cuts.

The top edge of the entire forward assembly will need to be cut and rabbeted to match the eventual cabin roof plywood. But that will have to wait until the cabin roof arches are fitted into place.

So until next time, take care.