Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, January 29, 2017

More Hatch Work And Designing The Front Bulkhead

This is the part of boat building that I really enjoy. Giving myself the opportunity to express creativity and making the boat more personal to me. This week I got the hatch ring fiberglassed on the exterior surface. The interior will be finished later after I have cut the ring to it's final height and have it installed. The fiberglass on the exterior strengthens the ring and gives me a good surface to smooth out the small area that will be exposed to view.

Next up was to get the deck structure made that would surround the hatch ring. Most of the ring will be between the deck and the inner cabin ceiling. It's sandwiched between two 3" wide boards running lengthwise and another crossing side to side behind the ring.

This structure will be epoxied together, but not installed until later after I have finished with the forward cabin, but before I attach the fore deck. The hatch ring will not be installed until after the deck is in place. This way I can place it up in there, trace around it and then cut the circle out with the plan to make the circle fit close to the ring.

I also did more work on the bow compartment. One thing that needed doing was trimming the bulkhead to fit better after all the other parts were placed into position That was relatively straightforward, requiring a bit of back and forth between the boat and the sander.

One of the remaining big jobs for the bow compartment is finishing up the bulkhead. This has to have an opening to allow access to the bow storage area, the opening needs a hatch, and it has some lights that need installing. But most importantly, it needs to look good, because it will be very visible later on.

So I started doing some new mocking up. I wasn't happy with the original hatch idea which you can see in one of the previous pictures(white paper on the bulkhead). It just didn't look right.

I knew that I still wanted a slatted hatch, but decided to make it rectangular instead. I considered different ways of mounting the hatch and decided to make it flush with the bulkhead itself. I would surround it with some trim. So I spent some time designing up what that will ultimately look like. It will need to be braced on the backside.

Some time back I ordered two lights I intended to use for the berthing compartment. The intention was to mount them on this bulkhead.  In order to mount them, I wanted them raised up off the bulkhead, mounted on a piece of wood with finished edges.

So here is what it looked like after mocking up.

I felt like this was rather plain looking and pondered ideas on how to improve it. It occurred to me that a crown above the hatch might look good so I experimented with several shapes in paper until I came up with one I felt looked okay.

But my artistic abilities are rather limited and it still didn't seem right. So I enlisted the aid of my artistic son. The first thing he said was ditch the crown I had drawn. Ouch! "The lights are Art Deco" he said. "The crown should match that." He sketched out some ideas and then we made a mock up and replaced my original crown idea.

It's not easy to see the design in this photo, but it has a definite Art Deco look to it. The top and sides have circular scallops and the center has a bold trapezoidal shape with additional trapezoids outboard. In the center, is the leaping dolphin I plan on including.

I must say that this new design was much better and I was pleased with the way it looked. In these pictures, there is some representational trim molding that looks sort of like rope. I put this in there to see how it would look, and it will be part of the final design. This will be surrounding the hatch door and replacing the rectangular pieces that are sill in place on the sides and bottom.

I had one remaining concern after this session. How was it going to look in the boat? Would it look to busy? Would it be too crowded? I taped up all the mock up parts and then placed the bulkhead in the boat. Next I wired the two lights into position so I could get an idea of the finished look. Here is the result.

It looked good to me and satisfied  my need for a dressier bulkhead. I realize that this is a mock up and readers will probably have trouble visualizing this the way I have it in my mind. But the idea is to make the hatch approximately 1 inch thick, with fixed slats. The hatch opening will be the same size as the door and the door will sit flush with the bulkhead. The trim will wrap around all four sides and sit proud of the bulkhead. The crown will be made from various species of wood and layered to get a more three dimensional look. There will be some color in the crown, that matches the colors for the boat. And the dolphin will either be made from wood and inlaid, or possibly cast from metal. The bulkhead will be white with the trim and hatch done in wood. The panels under the lights will have finished edges of some type.

So that's it for this week. Next weekend, I will be visiting my friend Skip to mill the deck hatch. I am excited to see that in it's final shape. And during this week, I will be starting on making the parts for the bulkhead. Until next time, take care.

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