Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bow Compartment Continued and First Attempts At A Deck Hatch

First off, Happy New Year everyone. Let's hope that this year will be good to all of us.

Time off for the holidays has given me a chance to work on several different boat related projects. I continued working on the bow compartment. I started thinking about what I want the bulkhead that closes off that compartment to look like, and I started working on a design for a deck hatch.

First off, the bow compartment. After the last posting, there was work still needed to provide mounting points for the inner walls. These would be cleats similar to those used for the anchor well floor. 

However, adding the cleats made it necessary to do some additional trimming on the inner wall panels in order to get them to fit correctly. I also ordered some of the parts needed for the compartment. This included vents, a new bow eye, berthing compartment lights, and an LED light strip. 

One of the sets of vents arrived yesterday and I modified the lower compartment floor panel to hold these. Since this floor panel will be epoxied into position, I wanted to provide some means of ventilating the area below it.

Next I needed to determine what the bulkhead, that closes off the bow compartment, looks like. This was important for several reasons. First off, I need to have a hatch in the bulkhead to access the storage compartment. Secondly, I want to see if there are any additional provisions needed for electrical wiring. And thirdly, I wanted to see what that section of the boat is going to look like so that I can make sure it is a pleasant area to be in.

The hatch for the bulkhead needs to also allow ventilation for the compartment. I am planning on making a slatted hatch with the slats overlapping each other. The hatch opening is restricted on how big it can be both from the anchor well above and the need to provide clearance for foam cushions in the berthing compartment. It also needs to be able to open and allow sufficient access to the compartment. One thing I do not want is a center post in the middle of the hatch opening, something that would be necessary if the hatch consisted of two side opening doors. Finally, there are two lamps being mounted to the bulkhead which need to clear the hatch door when it opens.

So I mocked up this hatch in thick poster paper to try and get some idea what it might look like. The picture below doesn't show this very well, but I will make a second mock up from thicker material before committing to real wood. The lamps will mount in the area above the hatch. Since this is the aft side of the anchor well, provisions for the electrical wiring for the lamps will have to be made. I feel like the hatch should probably open upwards, but at this point I am still not satisfied with the design and will be tweaking it as soon as I receive the lamps.

One of the next projects to work on after the bow compartment is completion of the overhead deck battens. This includes an opening for a deck hatch which will have to be boxed into the framework.

The original plans call for a rectangular hatch, however I always felt like this wasn't all that aesthetically pleasing. I want to try designing a circular hatch. Something like this, but made from wood.

The wood structure of the hatch would have to be thicker, but I believe I can make something that will look quite nice on the deck of the boat.

For my boat, the hatch consists of two parts. The hatch cover, which I discuss more in a minute, and a deck lip. The deck lip rises up from the deck, one inch and keeps water from the deck spilling into the interior of the boat. It also serves as a supporting surface for the hatch cover.

A rectangular deck lip would be easy to make, but a circular one presents challenges. I had two ideas about how to tackle this. But first I needed to make a pattern for the deck opening and hatch cover.  This was accomplished by drawing an 18 inch circle on poster paper and then drawing in the details of the deck lip and hatch cover.

The deck lip would be on the exterior of the 18 inch circle (inner circle in the drawing). My thought was that I could make this from 1/4 inch mahogany, steam bent around a circular form. I created this form from 3/4" plywood and added clamping slots around the perimeter. In the photo you can also see the strip of mahogany I planned to use for the deck lip.

Unfortunately this approach didn't work too well. The material was too stiff, even after steaming for an hour. But here are the steps I took.

As some of the later pictures show, there are flats spots in the curve, which were not acceptable for my purposes. So the next idea I tried was creating thin strips of mahogany and laminating them to build up the thickness.

This second attempt also failed as I could not create thin enough strips using the tools that I have. The last photo shows both attempts. With the first attempt I was also concerned about making the glue joint strong enough. The second attempt's failing are obvious.

I have one more idea how to tackle this, but I will explain my approach for the hatch cover first.

This cover is going to be made by epoxying 8 pieces of lumber together into an octagon shape, using 1 inch thick mahogany. The edges will be joined with slats of 1/4" material for strength.  Here is a pattern for the octagon shapes.

From this octagon, I will mill out the hatch cover using a router. I believe this approach will make a perfectly round circular hatch and should give me a pleasing shape as well. 

And that brings me back to the deck lip. I can use this same octagon technique to make the deck lip ring, although it will waste quite a bit of wood to do so.

There is one other issue which I need to address. The 18 inch opening does not appear to be large enough for my shoulders to get through. It fits the rest of me fine. So I may need to increase the diameter a bit.

So that is where things are at for now. The bow compartment is waiting on several parts to be delivered before I can move forward. The deck hatch is going to need more thinking and design work.

Still, overall, I am pleased with the progress and look forward to completing the work on the bow compartment.

Take care.

Click Here To Comment:

  1. That's a lot of clamps! Will be interested to see the end result.

    1. Actually, this approach didn't work out. I will be posting a new blog soon with the approach that I ended up using. I'm waiting for a day or two more while I have enough material to post. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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