Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More Transom Work And Floor Plan Teaser

Yesterday and today were the only semi warm days this last week and it is supposed to get down to polar temps again after tomorrow so I probably won't be able to do more work this week.

But between what I accomplished earlier 2 weeks ago and what I accomplished today, there is sufficient material to make another blog entry.

When I wrote the last regular article, I was still trying to determine the best way to strengthen the transom. I had mentioned applying a 3/4" plywood sheet that would fill the area between the frames. Then on top of that I was going to apply another 3/4" motor board that was the width of the cut out for the outboard motor. At the time, it seemed the sensible thing to do.

However, like most things, these plans changed. I was convinced by discussion with others and further research that my approach would have been overkill and added additional weight. I was also still unsure of the width and depth of the cut out. I have since decided to go with a 20" long shaft outboard which determines the depth of the cutout. And by choosing 34" as the width of the cutout, I would have a width that slightly exceeded the minimum recommended width for the cutout. I chose a slightly wider cutout because at least one of the engines I am considering requires greater than 33"

One additional consideration that I wanted to address was how I was going to build up the motorwell area and make allowances for seating and storage in the aft cabin. while none of that work will be performed very soon, it is affected by the design of the motor board.

I want to have additional seating in the aft cabin. I was originally thinking of having a seat on each side of the motorwell. But with the 34" cutout, I would have only had 18" of width for each seat. I felt this was inadequate if side seat cushions were considered so I elected to try a different approach.

The following picture illustrates my in work drawing of the floor plan of the boat. It is mostly the way I want it, but I still need  to do some more thinking on the design. I do feel, however, that the bench seat design at the back is the way I am going to go. I will cover this floor plan in more detail in a future article.
So this is relevant because it allowed me to move forward with the transom motor board. As part of the motorwell design, the motorwell sides need to tie into the bottom battens on the hull structure. Unfortunately, the nearest battens were in the wrong position athwartship (side to side). In order to correct this, I would have either had to move the battens (unacceptable at this point), or widen them (undesirable as I would have had to purchase quite a bit more expensive mahogany), or find some way to tie the motorwell sides into the existing battens. 

I decided to cut the batten notches a bit wider and add small sister battens alongside the two that will tie into the motorwell. These sister battens only need to extend two additional frames forward. The following photos illustrate what I have in mind. The first shows slightly widened notches. The second shows a scrap piece of wood simulating the additional sister batten. This will be glued to the regular batten and braced further on the inner surface of the batten. The motorwell side will tie into the side of the sister batten. This particular view is on the right off the centerline when looking forward. 

This third photo sort of illustrates the motorwell sides and how they tie into the motor board. You can also see where they are approximately aligned with the batten notch in the frame member. Later in construction, when I get to the motorwell, this will become more clear.

One of the artistic touches I want to have on my boat is a nice wooden cap in the cut out to hide the edge grain of the plywood motor boards. In the previous photo, you can see the shape of the cutout (although it will be deeper than illustrated here). So it was necessary to make the motor board slightly wider than the cutout that I can extend it to the top of the transom and provide an edge for the cap. You can sort of visualize that in the previous photo as well. I plan to do the cut out after all the motor boards are glued into position.

The big task today was getting the first motor board glued into position. I am still planing on adding two 3/4" plywood sheets to reinforce the outboard mounting. But both of them will be the same width. The first one was glued into position today. The second will be covered in another article as I haven't gotten to it yet.

The following series of photos show the process (and yours truly). The process is similar to what I have used in the past. Both gluing surfaces are pre-wetted with unthickened epoxy resin, then coated with thickened resin, assembled, and then screwed together. The large of an area took a considerable amount of epoxy so I had to work fast to get this done before the epoxy began to set up. Fortunately, it was a very pleasant day and I had no issues.

In this next photo, there is still insufficient thickened epoxy and I was mixing another cup .

The motor board in position.

Lining up the parts and adding initial screws to hold in position.

And the final results after initial clean up.

So as previously mentioned, because of the coming colder temps, it will be a few days before I can continue with the transom. But the next plan is to finish preparing the second motor board. This will be slightly different in that it will need to fit around the knee. So a portion of that board will be cut out for that purpose.  I will show all of this next time.

Until, then, take care.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Short Update

Just a short update today. Because of other life requirements and then because I've gotten sick, I haven't accomplished much on the transom over the last two weeks. Unfortunately, it's going to be cold again for several days so it will be a bit longer.

I am hoping to get back to work by early next week. As soon as I have something significant to post, I will add another blog entry.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Transom Continues Part 2

This week was about assembling the transom. Last week, the parts were cut out and sanded to shape. However, the weather was too cold to do any epoxy work. I did receive the lumber for the chine and sheer members. The wood looks great but the thickness of the chine lumber scared me a bit when I first saw it. I knew conceptually, that the wood was thick. 1 - 1/4" to be precise. I had made cut outs in the transom frame to fit this thickness. But when I saw the wood and realized how thick 1- 1/4 inches really is, I was concerned that I would not be able to bend this wood at the bow frames.

Fortunately, I have access to photos from two other builders of this boat as well as photos from other boats with similar thickness chine members. Seeing that the builders of these boats managed to bend this wood gave me confidence that I would be able to manage as well. Just to clarify, the wood in the above photo will be curved in the short direction as it transitions from the straight sides of the boat to the curved bow. This will be more clear in the future when I actually get to this point in construction. Basically what I will need to do is soften up the fibers in the wood either through steaming or boiling water and then gradually bending the wood to the curvature I need.

When the weather warmed up, I taped off the area on the transom skin that would be receiving epoxy and pre-drilled and countersunk holes in the frame parts for the wood screws. I knew that the actual glue up and assembly process was going to take some time so I wanted to get as much done beforehand as I could. I also wanted to keep most of the epoxy away from the notches since these areas would have been difficult to clean after the epoxy set up.Hence the tape.

The glue up and assembly process followed the same pattern I've used in the past, namely, pre-wet the glue surfaces with un-thickened epoxy, then coat them with thickened epoxy, assemble the parts, add the wood screws to hold everything together, and then wipe off as much excess epoxy as possible.

This process took me a few hours to complete but the results were worth the extra effort. The notches were relatively clean.

Because the transom is mounted at an angle in relation to the boat, the bottom edge of the frame was beveled earlier this year. The plywood skin was purposely cut a bit larger on this same edge so that it could be beveled to match after the epoxy cured. These two following photos show this.

The first shows the parts before clean up. You can see how the skin edge is at a different angle than the frame. The second photo shows that edge after the transom was cleaned up. When the bottom skin is added to the boat, it will lie flat across this area and be attached to the frame members.

I also glued on two gussets to reinforce the corner joints. These were similar to the gussets I applied to the other frames earlier this year.

Cleaning up the glue lines took a few hours, mostly because of having to sand the skin edge to match the frame bevel.

At this point, I started thinking about the remaining work that needed to be done on the transom. The transom needs to have a cut out for the outboard that will eventually mount there. It also needs a motor board to reinforce the mounting area.

I needed to do some research on the mounting requirements of the motor I had in mind. It was here that I realized I was going to have to make some additional changes to the original design of the transom.

When this boat was originally developed in the 1950's, higher horsepower outboard engines were a rarity on small boats. Engines also weighed less. The transom was originally designed to have 3/4 inch skin and a 3/4 inch motor board reinforcement for a smaller motor. The total thickness would have been 1 1/2 inches. However, the motor I intend on user requires a minimum of 2 inches of thickness. This is because it is on the higher end of the horsepower range for this boat. It also weighs significantly more.

Therefore, I am going to add two layers of plywood to the inner surface of the transom. The motor board will still be 3/4 inches thick, but will rest on an additional 3/4" thick piece of plywood that will fill the area between the frames.

I will also be adding mahogany planking to the exterior of the skin which will eventually be finished unpainted to give the back end of the boat an attractive appearance. This planking will be 3/16 inches thick.

Before adding these parts, I need to cut out the middle section to accommodate the outboard. There are certain size requirements for this. A certain width to allow sufficient room for the motor to turn, and a specific height so that the motor is mounted correctly in the vertical direction, Additionally, the internal structure of this area needs to line up with other structural members.

I did some initial laying out of the lines for the cutout, but I need to do some additional research and thinking before making the cut. I don't want to destroy this part.

In order to get the height, I needed to measure a specific distance down from the keel which required me to temporarily remount the transom. I had taken a photo of the method I used to get this vertical dimension, but for some reason, my stupid phone camera didn't actually capture the shot. But basically, the vertical dimension needs to be 20 inches measured perpendicular to the keel. You can just make out the lines of the cut out on the lower edge of the transom in the photo.

Finally, just for the heck of it, I have two photos of the transom mounting showing the keel joint and the knee which mounts on the other side of the keel and reinforces the transom. The knee will be installed later when I install the keel. It will be bolted to the keel and to the transom. The excess material on the keel will be faired away to match the angle of the transom.

So over the next two weeks, I will be verifying the dimensions of the cut out, cutting that piece out, and adding the additional plywood to the transom. The mahogany planking will be applied at a future date. Once the additional plywood has been added, I can then encapsulate the transom for water protection.

That's it for now. I am going to be rather busy this coming week with non boat tasks so I may not get as much done. I will probably wait until I have enough accomplished before posting another blog entry. Take care.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Starting On The Transom

With all the waiting I have had to do over the last several months, progress on the build has slackened somewhat. I go out to the garage and the boat almost looks the same as it did in September. Of course, there has been some progress, and when something significant is completed, I get to once again enjoy the satisfaction that comes with building a boat.

The build has been at one of those points in a project when much of the work still to be performed must wait until either some material is acquired or some other assembly is completed. Eventually, the project hits a point where all the delays have been worked through and all of a sudden it starts taking off. I feel that I am rapidly approaching that point. We'll see as the future pans itself out, but I have most of what I need to complete the hull structure.

Whenever I peruse other builder's projects, I often see these cool top down shots of the full length of the boat structure. For a variety of reasons, I haven't been able to get one of these shots until recently. Even then, I was somewhat hampered by lack of space in my garage. So that being said, here are a couple of photos taken from the bow end. I was as far away from the bow as I could get when I took these pictures. In fact the second one was taken with the camera resting against the wall.

This last week has mostly been about preparing the transom for final installation. The plan is to build up the transom, encapsulate it partially, re-install it on the building form, install the keel, then install the chine, sheer, and battens. At that point, the boat will be ready to begin fairing the wood so that the skin can be attached.

I listed the steps in the order that I intend to accomplish them, so the transom is the current focus. Before assembling this component, I needed to add notches for the chine and sheer to the frame corners. Since I am still awaiting delivery of the chine and sheer lumber, I had to mock up  pieces of each and use these mock ups to cut the notches. The reason for adding the notches now is because once the transom skin is added, it would be very difficult to cut the notches.

You would think that notches are pretty straightforward, however, the chine and sheer are both curved members so they intersect each frame at a different angle. So to insure a good joint, each notch needs to be cut at the correct angle and the correct depth. These two photos show how the pieces will intersect the frame members at an angle.

Once I had these marked out, I put my new Japanese pull saw to use cutting them out.

Another element that needed addressing was the keel and battens needed to be cut at an angle where they rest in the notches in the transom frame. Remember that the transom is mounted at an angle  rather than vertical like the other frames.Here are the keel and the battens cut to match the transom mounting angle.

Some months back, I had already prepared the transom frame mounting cleats so that they could be used as positive locators for the frame when it is re-installed after skinning. So I removed the frame from the building form and used it as a guide to trace the transom skin on a 3/4 inch piece of marine grade plywood..

I barely had room to work on this , but I managed. You can see in the photo that the plywood takes up most of the space between the boat and my work bench. The two small blocks on the frame are the mounting cleats. These are only temporary pieces and have been wrapped in wax paper so that they are not glued to the frame when I add the plywood skin. The photo doesn't show it, but I lined up the open end of the frame with the straight edge of the plywood to save cutting one edge and to insure that edge is nice and straight.

After marking the skin, I used my jig saw to cut the part out the skin. Today I sanded the skin edges down to the traced lines and temporary assembled the transom for a photo shoot.

The next step will be attaching the plywood skin to the frame using bronze wood screws and epoxy. We are expecting a cold snap tonight or early tomorrow, so this may have to wait a few days for warmer weather so the epoxy can cure. I want to encapsulate as much of this assembly as I can while I can lie it flat to avoid runs in the epoxy. However, there is another piece of plywood  (the motor board) that must be bonded to the inside of the transom. Also, the transom skin will have a cutout in the middle to accommodate the outboard motor. I have not yet determined what that cut out measurement is. So some parts of the transom will be encapsulated at a later date.

As for the exterior, I am considering planking over the plywood with 3/8 inch mahogany so that the transom can have a nice wood finish. That will occur at a much later date in the build.

So by next week, weather permitting, I hope to have the transom assembled and have begun the encapsulation process. Lets hope for good weather to return soon. Take care until then.