Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Partition Artwork

I've completed work on an wooden inlay that I originally wanted to use in 2013 when I was assembling frame 6. At the time, the work area for the art was too small for this particular art which is more detailed. I elected to use commercial laser cut software from Chesapeake Light Craft instead.

But over the years I still wanted to use this particular artwork, a clipper ship under full sail. When I decided on adding a partition between the head box and the starboard seat box, this seemed like the perfect place to try this out as the area is larger.

However getting the art laser cut was out of the question at this time due to financial considerations, so I chose to do it by hand instead using a sharp knife. Watching a few You Tube videos gave me the confidence I needed to start.

The following photo was shown in my previous posting, but I wanted to include it here as well since this is basically the start of the process. When I first considered doing this in 2013, I was thinking about using colored (dyed) wood veneers, hence the colored artwork. However, the colors appeared too vibrant for the look I was after when I took this back up a month ago so I took the time to create a wire frame version of the drawing to use in cutting the wood veneers. The colored version was simply used as a guide when selecting the different shades of natural wood colored veneers.

I started out by cutting the oval from the main background veneer with the drawing taped to the wood. Reasoning that the drawing would get more and more difficult to work with as I continued cutting pieces out, I figured the best thing to do was work from the inside out. The first piece cut out was one of the sails. I initially started by adding the final veneer material to the backside before cutting because this was the way they did it in the You Tube video.

The the cut was made through the drawing and the primary background material. Then the final material was cut out, being careful to try and not split the wood. This required 6 fresh blades over the course of this process.

The part was then super glued into position

As I moved on to other sails, I would tape down the drawing temporarily before cutting out each sail. I continued to place the final veneer behind the cut areas prior to cutting. And then after completing all the cuts needed for a given sail piece, I would remove the tape (except a couple of pieces on the side of the oval) as well as move the paper out of the way and then glue in the part.

As I got further along, I learned that it was easier to leave the final veneer off the back until I completed cutting out the primary material. The I could position the final veneer material into place on the backside and tape it down. 

I believe this only worked because the primary veneer is paper backed whereas the others are not. If the primary material had not been paper backed, it would have most likely split at some point as all of these veneers are quite fragile.

By the time I go to this point, my fingers and wrists were getting quite sore. The actual project took me 16 hours spread out over 4 days. This was mostly to give my fingers and wrists a chance to recover.

But now I was getting close and wanted to push through until the end. Many of the parts between the sails and the hull were very small and difficult to cut out. Several broke and had to be redone.

Eventually I got to the last piece and completed the work.

Now the plan is to cut out a matching oval in the primary veneer planned for the partition. Then when I add that veneer to the partition later today, I will epoxy this in place at the same time. Tomorrow (or maybe Friday since tomorrow will be busy with festivities), I will clean up the veneers and give this a light sanding. The primary veneer on the partition will be stained, but this artwork will remain as it is. Eventually the entire partition will be epoxy encapsulated.

I'll cover more of that next time. Until then, take care.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Head Box Part Two And A Little Veneering

It's amazing to me how long it takes to get some of the interior work done. It is not particularly difficult work, but, doing this without plans requires much time spent pondering the relationships between parts and double checking of measurements. Items, that if drawn up as part of an overall plan, could be made in a more production like manner. However, there is also something quite relaxing and satisfying about the process of creating these interior pieces and watching the ideas I have in my head, come to life. 

I should state that when I say no plans, what I really mean is that I am deviating from the original plans and cannot use them for measurements. What I have been doing is making drawings and writing up lists of tasks to keep them in a specific order. The lists also allow me to evaluate these tasks as the situation changes. Evaluation sometimes entails moving tasks to a different place in the order of operations. Evaluation also helps me to remember tasks that have to be done and add new ones as I think of them.

A good example of this multi-faceted process involves making the head box.  The head box is actually fairly complicated, more so than a simple box with a lid. It will consist of two compartments, one for the bucket and one for storage. The top of the bucket compartment must be hinged to allow removal of the bucket. Access to both compartments from the front is also desirable and this will be accomplished with doors on the inboard side. 

On top of the hinged cover will rest the toilet seat, itself hinged. The top over the other compartment will contain a small storage bin for composting material, and a toilet paper dispenser. On the back of the head box on the bucket side, a ventilation fan and ducting is needed. And of course to hide all of this, a second hinged cover over the entire box is necessary.

It starts with the frame work, which will be tied into the floor structure and attached to frame 3 as well as the partition. 

Because the top over the bucket compartment is hinged separately, it must have something to rest on when closed. And his can tie into a divider between the two compartments. Since the bucket compartment requires a ventilation fan, a means of closing off the back of the head box is necessary. And the doors on the inboard side will also need a landing in the center.

The reader will no doubt have noticed that the back of the box is angled in on the forward end. This is necessary because the floor underneath is also angled this way to clear the hull sides.

Covering this framework will be various thicknesses of plywood, most of which will be veneered with cherry wood for appearance. 

Notice in these last photos the lumber running across the back on top of the head box. This is the hinge point for the hinged top that will cover the entire box. The lid under the toilet seat will be hinged to the framework under the plywood. The top of the box is made from mahogany and plywood which will also be veneered. And eventually, an electrical panel will be mounted in the wall behind the head box. 

I am not sure exactly how this is going to look, but the plan is to have some kind of compartment behind the wall with a door covering the actual electrical panel, fuses, and wiring. As a side note, there will be a large PVC tube hidden behind the carling (which runs the full length of the cabin area). This tube is where all the wiring will run from the fore and aft parts of the boat.

Of course, the seat box forward of the head needs to be completed and I have done some work on that as well. Mostly just epoxying pieces together. At this point, only the starboard side is being worked on.

Forward of the seat box, under the V berth, I will need to finish the panels that cover the lower V berth compartment. A portion of these will be visible in the cabin and needed to be veneered. Again, I used cherry wood for this. 

For all of the components, I plan on using cherry wood for corner pieces, and edges on the plywood. These edge and corner pieces will blend into the cherry wood veneers. The end result will hopefully look like the cabin is made from cherry. This cherry will eventually be stained giving a nice warm tone to the interior.

I have the cherry wood for the edging and the thicker veneers as well as a thin cherry veneer for the partition. The thicker veneers will be planed down from thicker lumber as soon as I can get to it. 

Finally we come to the partition separating the seat box from the head box. When my first attempt at this started curving from the veneering process, I elected to make a new one from a thicker piece of plywood and use a thinner veneer. The thin veneer in the previous photo will be used for that. 

This next image is a repeat of one shown a bit earlier, but it shows the partition to good effect for the remaining item I am going to speak about. That large surface on the partition above the head box is a great place for some artwork. 

I am going to attempt to do a wood inlay of a clipper ship in this area using various woods. I had originally wanted to use this design on one of the gussets on frame 6 but the design was too fiddly for that smaller area. But here on the partition, I believe I can make it work. In the image below you see two versions of the artwork, a wire frame drawing that will be used to cut out the wood and a color drawing for reference only. On the left of the drawings are the woods I plan to use. I will not be using any of the colored wood, only the natural wood colors. We'll see how it works out, but I am hopeful that I can pull this off.

So that's it for now. There is quite a bit of work still to be accomplished just on this section of the boat. many tasks, not mentioned,  have to do with routing hoses, wiring, painting, encapsulating, adding access panels, and numerous other items of work. All of this is in the plan list I wrote up.

Until next time, take care.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Head Box Work

I had hoped to have more to post about (don't I always feel that way).One thing I've definitely learned, is that this build is going to take some time. Tasks that are easy to think about will almost always take longer than I figured on to accomplish. Throw in life, shortage of funds, general tiredness, and any other number of "excuses" and the build progresses as it does.

This posting will cover the work I have been doing on the head. As readers no doubt remember, my plan is to use a composting toilet, hidden away in a box in the cabin. Since this is not a full size box, the height of the box is dependent upon the height of the toilet bucket. The width and depth of the box is dependent upon the space available and the desire to allow for certain other features of the construction. And finally, the head box is dependent upon the floor that it rests upon. So after three weeks, I have some progress made and the basic shape of the head box built.

So let's start with the partition between the head and the seat box. My original design for this was a 1/4" piece of plywood with 1/8" mahogany veneers on both sides. This was a tedious process of adding one veneer at a time, cleaning up the epoxy, and then adding another. Each veneer took a full day to accomplish because of epoxy curing times and subsequent clean up.

Then I had to find a way to make additional veneers because I had used up my initial batch. I had a 2 inch thick piece of mahogany that I tried to cut on a friends band saw and table saw. Both attempts failed because of user error and the machines struggled with the density of the wood.

I tackled this  in a different manner with my table saw, namely, cutting the thinner slices in shallower cuts and then progressively raising the blade. Because of the width of the wood, I had to flip the wood over and make the same cuts from the other side. Needless to say, instead of getting 7 or 8 pieces out of this lumber I managed 4. They were very roughly cut to varying thicknesses but planed down nicely to the pieces shown in the picture.

At this point I went back to the partition and realized that I had a problem with it becoming curved from the veneering process. Furthermore, I wasn't very happy with the appearance of the narrow veneer planks. I started thinking that perhaps I needed to step back and rethink the whole approach. This also got me to rethinking about the overall colors of the interior. 

I got my wife's help in coming up with a coherent plan for colors which involved lighter colored wood. We brainstormed about design ideas and I am happier with the path forward in this regard.

But to deal with the partition curve, I elected to scrap the part and make a new one from thicker ply. The plan is to veneer it with thinner veneers of the same type of lighter colored wood planned for the rest of the interior. As for the veneers I made previously, well they are back in the spare wood pile since I will not be using them as intended!

Next i wanted to get back to making the structure of the head box. But before doing that I needed to have some idea how the toilet was going to be constructed.  Instead of buying one of these (which are quite expensive), I found plans on the Internet to build my own. It essentially requires the use of two large plastic buckets from the home supply store. The material of these buckets can be plastic welded using a heat gun. Here are photos showing the process of making the basic bucket with built in urine diverter. I'll be adding the smaller remaining parts at a later date.

This gave me the bucket I needed for height measurements of the head box. This and the toilet seat allowed me to come up with the final dimensions necessary.

However, to be sure, I wanted to make the floor under the bucket first.This involved yet another diversion because it was affected by the desire to make the center of the cabin floor removable for bilge access. 

I had originally planned on a 15 inch wide panel running full length of the cabin floor. But after thinking about it some more, I decided that a wider panel, nearly the full width of the cabin would be preferable. Only a narrow strip running down each side of the cabin would be permanently mounted. This narrow strip would be tied into the floor going under the head box.

This last photo shows the end result, however getting to that point involved making various cleats to support the floor, cutting holes in the floor to allow the vertical head box supports to extend through to the structure underneath, and of course making the various support pieces. All of this tied into thinking the process through continually.

Here are some examples. The vertical supports had to be a certain height. This required setting the floor piece in place and the toilet on top.

The partition had to be temporarily mounted in it's final position. This required making spacers for the areas of the frame that it would be mounted to.

The head box eventually needs a privacy curtain which will be drawn across the cabin opening. This means there needs to be a space for a rod to hang the curtain. And some means of making this space look better. A white poster board mock up of a potential idea is shown in these next photos, although I will be doing additional design work on this later.

Next I had to make the support frame for the head box and get it glued together.

And finally, another shot of the end result.

There are a couple of additional bits of information that I will convey about the last photo. The center floor panel is still yet to be made, what you see in the photo is the temporary floor I made earlier this summer. Only the starboard side floor strip has been made so far. 

Secondly, the seam between the center floor and the side strips is not supported, so I am in the process of making floor support cross beams for these areas. That will be covered along with other progress in the next post.

So that's it for now. The next several days will involve encapsulating 12 cross beam floor supports and getting them mounted. After that, I am not sure yet, but I may start on the other side of the cabin.

Until next time, take care.