Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Friday, January 20, 2017

Deck Hatch Work Continues

After the previous attempts to make the deck hatch ring, I started rethinking the whole process and what I was after. The first thing I realized was that the ring needed to do more than simply set on the deck. It actually needed to tie into the underlying deck structure. This meant that it needed to be taller. After my two earlier attempts at forming the wood around the form, I knew that the steaming or laminating approach wasn't going to work with a taller ring. I'll cover what I decided to do in a moment.

The new idea for the deck ring is illustrated in the following drawing. The ring extends through the deck into the underlying structure. An inner surface on the underlying structure hides everything. When you look up through the hatch opening, all you see is the inside of the ring. The ring extends up through the deck and the hatch cover rests on the ring. The hatch will be hinged to the deck and will have a support rod. There will be a latch to keep the hatch closed.

So how was I going to make this ring? A fellow builder on the Glen L Builder's Forum mentioned a technique he used for an opening ring on a kayak where individual strips were glued edge to edge in a circular shape. At first this seemed like too much work, but after giving it some additional thought, I realized it was the way to go.

First order of business though, was to make a bigger circular building form. From the earlier attempts at the ring, I knew that it was going to need to be a bit larger in diameter. This was because my shoulders were too wide to fit through the smaller ring I originally made. And given the new construction approach, it would need to be taller. However, I was beginning to be concerned about the overall size of this and how it would fit on the deck. So I did a quick mock up to see  what it would look like.

The mock up is made from poster paper. It's flat on the edges only because the paper wasn't big enough for the diameter. It's shown in the approximate position that the hatch will eventually be in. My main concern was that it needed to fit in the space between the frames and still leave enough room for the cabin windows which angle down into the deck forward of frame 5 (aft of the hatch). It looks like I will have approximately 6 to 8 inches of space aft of the hatch before the cabin windows rise up out of the deck.

The following pictures illustrate the building form and the idea for the strips. Once all the strips are glued together around the form, I will remove the form, smooth out the interior surface using some fairing compound and then either paint it or cover it with a wood grain veneer. The exterior will never be seen but will be sandwiched between some structural members under the deck.

I spent several days gluing these strips  together around the form. It took time because I wanted to make sure they didn't move while the epoxy cured, so I didn't put on more than 6 at a time. It took 41 strips to go completely around the form.

During the same time, I also spent time making the parts for the deck hatch. Since it was going to be circular in shape, I needed a circular piece of wood to mill it out of. I mentioned previously that I was going to use an octagon shape to accomplish this. I cut the pieces out and added angles on each end. These cuts needed to be a specific degree of angle in order for the parts to come together into a proper circular shape. It was hard getting this accomplished on my table saw, but eventually I did manage it with a bit of tweaking with the sander. Each piece also had a slot cut in to the end for a spline to strengthen the joint. The slot was also accomplished on the band saw using a dado type approach to cut it.

Then one by one, the pieces were epoxied together, while trying to maintain a flat piece. The part was cleaned up and then sanded. I will be taking this to a friends house where he has a table router . There we will mill the final shape of the hatch. I'll be covering that in a separate post.

In other work, I started on the center deck batten. This extends from the front of the boat to frame 5. It must be tapered to lie flat on the breasthook (triangular bow piece). Later it will be faired on the topside along with the remainder of the topside structure so that the fore deck plywood can lie flat on the structure. Here it's simply lying on position. I won't be installing it until later after the bow compartment is completed as it would get in the way. It's rounded on the edges for the interior side.

The bow compartment got some work as well. I cut holes and bought vents for the lower storage compartment. And did some final fitting. When all is ready, these will be installed. Since the entire compartment is going to be epoxied into place, the vents give the area behind the panels a chance to ventilate and hopefully prevent the forming of mold.

The anchor well above the compartment was always going to have some means for any water, from the anchor or rope, to exit. Originally this was going to be a drain into the bilge, but a friend convinced me that simple drains out the side of the compartment would be better. These needed to be at the level of the anchor well floor. I was quite nervous to cut these drain slots as they had to be in the right position and look okay on the outside. Also, just the thought of cutting holes into the hull, made me nervous. 

They were cut out by making a small template, drilling a couple of small pilot holes, drilling out the final holes using  a 3/4" hole saw, and then connecting the holes to form a slot. One was made on each side of the hull near the aft end of the anchor well. 

The end result was satisfactory and in the right place. It was a bit hard to get to the starboard side to cut this out because of the lack of space in my garage, but I managed. These slots will eventually be sealed with fiberglass and epoxy.

So that's it for now.  The plan for whats next is to mill the hatch, make the deck structure for the deck ring, and start working on the bulkhead for the anchor well compartment. There will be a need to figure out wiring runs for all of the electrical components in this area as well. Until next time, take care.

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