Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Forward Compartment Bulkhead Hatch And Other Fittings

I feel like the forward compartment is taking a long time to complete. And in fact, it is. So much so that I will be shifting gears after I am finished with it and starting on a different aspect of the build. However, that is still a bit of a ways off. For such a small part of the boat, there is a surprising amount of work that needs to go into it. This posting covers some of those items.

My plan for this section of the boat is to get all the parts ready, encapsulate and paint the compartment, and then do final assembly. So there is a lot of parts work required before this assembly can begin. One of those parts is the anchor bracket. I had originally intended to make a stainless "U" shaped part to fit over the stem. This part was to been crossed bolted to the stem and have a "U bolt bow eye attached to it for the anchor rope. However, getting into the bow to drill these cross bolt holes was not practical with the tools I had.

So what I came up  with instead is a thick piece of oak with the same "U bolt" bow eye. The oak will be screwed and epoxied to the stem and epoxied to the anchor well floor and port side. In order to get this part to lie flat, I had to flatten out a portion of the stem. The part itself required several tapers at odd angles to match up to the floor and side planking. I am also considering adding a brace to the backside for additional strength.

Next up was a wiring run to protect the electrical wire from the bow navigation light. This light will be mounted on the center line of the deck over the anchor well. The wiring will go through the deck strong back member and run to the aft wall of the anchor well. Then it will run down and across to the starboard (right) side and exit through the frame where it will continue aft to the main circuit board. In order to protect the wiring from getting snagged by the anchor or anchor rode, I wanted to build a protective wiring run. 

I elected to make this from PVC pipe cut in half lengthwise and glued into an appropriate shape. Since the anchor well is going to be painted white, I can also paint the pipe and it will blend right in. Originally, I was going to attach the pipe to the bulkhead and strong back using small PVC tabs glued to the pipe (blue pieces in the photos). But I found these to be of insufficient strength, so instead I fashioned small brackets from aluminum from an old auto license plate. The blue tabs were removed.


 Then work shifted back to the bulkhead hatch. This hatch door is a rather complicated construction requiring a framework to be built to hold the slats, covering boards to hide the slots that the slats fit into, and eventually a structure on the bulkhead to attach it to. I'll cover the bulkhead structure in the future as I am still working on the details of that.

The hatch is made from mahogany and making it's initial parts was covered in the previous posting. When assembling it, I had to take additional precautions to insure it stayed flat while the epoxy was curing. I also wanted to make sure the joints were strong so I drilled each joint to hold mahogany 1//4 inch dowel rod. This was glued up and then the parts pre-stained.

 To make the covering plates, I had to special order 1/8 inch thick mahogany and cut these into 1 inch wide strips. Since I wanted this to look nice, I practiced cutting these strips on my table saw using scrap wood. These didn't turn out so well, so I elected to try something different. Using a cutting bit in my router and a guide, I cut these strips from the mahogany.

 I wanted to have a rounded over edge on both long edges for a more finished look. I was originally thinking I would have to buy (or make) a router table, but I found that I could clamp my hand router in a vise and accomplish the same thing.

 However, the 1/8 inch mahogany presented a problem in that it wasn't thick enough to provide a surface for the the router bearing to ride against. The solution was to attach a thicker piece to the strips temporarily, aligned along each edge that was to be rounded over. I tried using double sided tape, but this was cumbersome and not accurate enough. Then I hit upon the idea of using a hot glue gun. This worked out great and the parts were subsequently rounded over.

The inside edge round over had to end short of the ends on the long pieces so that it would match up with the round over edge on the side pieces. The outside edges were done later after the parts were glued onto the door.

 The cover plates were glued on with their outside edges slightly extended over the edge of the door. This was so that I could trim them flush afterwards for a nice finished edge.

 The outside edges were trimmed with a flush router bit and then rounded over. Everything was sanded and readied for final staining. I am going to wait before doing that final staining because I want to mortice the edges for the hinges. However, that is dependent upon the final structure of the door frame so it will have to wait for a bit longer.

The last thing accomplished was to cutout the opening for the door in the bulkhead. The opening needed to be large enough for the door, and allow additional space for the hinge and cover plates as well as a small gap. I worked out these dimensions and laid them out on the bulkhead.

The opening was cut out with a jig saw and sanded to final edge using an air powered grinder and a sanding disk. The gaps are wide for now because the other door frame structure is not in place.

 Finally, to give a preview of what I intend to do for the door frame, here are a couple of photos showing simulations of the door frame structure. The structure needs to support the door, provide strength to the bulkhead, and cover the end grain of the plywood.

 So that's it for now. As I continue working on my home in preparation for selling, I am having less time to work on the boat so the postings will by necessity be a bit further apart. Take care.

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