Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

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.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Cabin Work Continued

With the head box mostly assembled and work starting on the port side, I have made some photo worthy progress. During this phase of the build, I began evaluating more deeply, just want I want to accomplish before floating the boat. Having a mostly usable cabin is up there on priorities. One of the items of the cabin, the cabinet across from the head will only be partially installed prior to launch and for now, will remain unfinished. The electrical box is necessary, but will only be partially finished as well. 

For both of these, this has to do partially with the need to get the cabin sides into place so that I can get a better idea of the relationships between the upper cabin and the cabin sides. 

There is still work to be done in the cabin before moving on to the cabin sides, however. This is mostly work under the floor and getting the existing cabin components installed. One of those components is the pair of seat boxes. The plan for these is to complete the basic box and top so that there is a seating area, but leave the flip up extension until later.

As shown in the previous post, I had started on the port side seat box. Work continued on that, assembly and encapsulation of the frame, and making and veneering the face plates. The starboard side box's face plate was also made and veneered.

Veneers for these are partial because portions of them will not be visible. These will be stained after assembly. The port seat box needs to have a corner Cherry edge piece made in a similar manner to that used on the head box corner.

Veneering these face plates was done slightly differently than the previous time. Instead of placing clear plastic on the floor when bonding, I added painters blue tape on all the areas where epoxy would seep out. This worked out well and was much less trouble.

In order to get the existing components into place, I need to finish the floor and underfloor. As mentioned, underfloor still needs to be worked more (mostly painting). The port floor board needed to be fiberglassed, encapsulated, and final fitted. That was accomplished as well. Also encapsulated was the port side planking outboard of the floor.

Additionally, the lower V berth face plates were finally installed. You'll notice a gap at the bottom edge on the second photo. This is a ventilation gap and is intentional, allowing ventilation of the seat box areas.

The head box was stained and encapsulated on the exterior. The interior is still in process of getting additional encapsulation touch up work and then will be painted as soon as I can decide what color I want to use.

And here is everything showing the various elements as they are coming together.

You can see the open floor space aft of the port seat box. Eventually the cabinet will be installed here, covering the open floor and un-veneered seat box aft face plate. The cabinet will not be as deep inboard to outboard, as the seat box, probably about half as deep, giving a it more floor space. It will be approximately 30 inches tall.

This has been an exiting time for me because I am finally getting to see how all of this is going to look. Of course, still much to do, but what else is new? So that's it for now. Take care.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Going Hard A Port

After what seems like decades of working on the starboard side of the boat, I am moving over to the port side. I'll only be doing a limited amount of work on this side for now, just enough to allow me to get the floor in. 

I was going to do the port seat box and the port cabinet, but realized that before putting in the cabinet, I need to have the cabin sides in place first. So I will be shifting gears soon in order to start working on the cabin sides. I've only done some preliminary thinking about this so far so I won't go into any details on that aspect of the build as things will likely change.

But today's post is about the work accomplished on the port side of he cabin. Before getting into the new work, I have a bit of remaining information on the head box. After the last post, I got all of the veneering accomplished and cleaned up. The box is not assembled completely yet, and the door panels will be left for later date.

The interior of the head box had a little more work to accomplish, namely gluing in the back wall pieces. Murphy's law came into play on this episode. As much as I tried to be careful and account for all items of the construction, I missed a piece and had to make a compensation.

The back wall has an access panel opening with a panel that will be held in place by small wooden latches that turn over the panel. I had added the latches to the panel, however, I neglected to account for the center dividing wall in the head box and the latches on the left slightly interfered with the wall and could not be turned.

 Fortunately, this was not a hard fix and in the scheme of things, a minor setback. The solution was to cut two small holes in the dividing wall in the areas of the latches to give them clearance.

And then the panel was glued into place.

The other panel was also glued in place, but I don't have a photo of that at this time. The head box won't be completely installed until later as I have work to do under the floor panels.

So next up was starting to work on the port seat box. Like the starboard side seat box, this will have a flip up extension to make it wider when being used for sleeping. However, I won't be working on those for awhile. I mainly wanted to get the frame done as this affects the floor panel on the port side.

The port seat box is different in one other way. It is 4 inches longer to allow extra room for me when sleeping. The top frame had to have an extension in order to accommodate this 4 inches and still allow it to be supported by frame 4. The extension is on the right in the next photo. Frame 4 will line up with the inner cross piece.

Fitting and assembling the frame was similar to the work accomplished on the starboard piece. The only tricky part was figuring out the order of assembly to allow insertion of the silicon bronze screws in the area where the angled piece meets the extension.

As I mentioned, I started designing the cabinet that will be aft of the seat box. I didn't get much done on that other than to decide on a final size. I am still thinking about the final shape and styling, but more importantly, because of it's height, it will be necessary to install the cabin sides in first. This is why I have not done much work on the cabinet.

But in the photo below, you can see the vertical support clamped into place. The most significant deviation of this from the original mock up is that I have decided to make the cabinet much shallower in order to increase the amount of floor space in front of it. The pole shows the approximate depth in relation to the cabin side.

Since getting in the floor has to be accomplished, I stopped work on the cabinet and moved to the port floor panel. The center floor panel will remain the temporary plywood for now, but after many back and forth sessions of trial and error fitting, I had the port floor panel fitted and shaped. 

There will be a little more tweaking of the floor board required, mainly to accommodate clearance for the bilge hose and make the floor panel a little easier to get into place. Of course, at some point it will be fiberglassed and encapsulated. In this last photo, you can sort of get some idea of the amount of floor space that I have managed to keep in the cabin. This was a high priority for me as I want this boat to be comfortable to move around in.

So that's it for now. I'll be working under the floor quite a bit for the next few weeks while I save for the lumber needed for the cabin sides. I am pretty excited to get to those as it will really make the boat look like it is coming together. So until next time, take care.