Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Continuing Work On The Forward Bulkhead And Hatch

Another week of working on the forward bulkhead hatch and opening. But I am getting close to the point where I can assemble this compartment. The opening was cut into the bulkhead and then I started making all the parts for the opening framework.


The original plan was to hinge the door on the left side, and careful measurements were made to insure the opening was big enough to allow for the hinge and door framework. However, during discussions of this on the Glen L Builder's Forum, it was suggested that I do the hatch without hinges. The advantage of this approach is that it gets the hatch completely out of the way when it's opening and it eliminates the difficult joinery work trying to get the door and hinge in the correct position. It also eliminates the need for the hinge hardware, which I wasn't too happy with appearance wise anyways. I decided to go with this approach instead.

The way the hinge less approach works is the hatch has a tab on it's forward bottom edge that "hooks" over the door framework. The hatch is then rotated up into position and held in place with some sort of latch.

Because I had already cut the opening slightly wider on the left (to allow clearance for the hinge), I would have to make some sort of filler to take this space up. Fortunately, there will be trim surrounding the door opening and the filler will be hidden.

The framework around the opening consists of four reinforcement strips on the forward side of the bulkhead along with three backup plates to give the hatch something to rest against, and four covering plates to hide the edge of the plywood.

Here is that framework being made and assembled. You can see the various parts before gluing into place.

First the reinforcement strips were glued into place and then cleaned up.



Then the three backing plates were glued in. No pictures of that operation. Finally, the covering plates were glued in place. I wanted to clamp these during the cure, but the sides of the bulkhead, being angled, made it necessary to create a clamping jig for the two side covering plates.



The top and bottom covering plates were clamped directly.


The hooking tab was added to the hatch.



Everything was cleaned up and sanded. I will still have to stain and varnish all of this down the road. I just had to see how this was going to look in the boat.  Here are a series of photos showing different aspects of this.

In this first photo, you can see how the hatch top frame member will serve as the aft support for the anchor well floor above the storage compartment.



These next series show how the hatch fits up into the bulkhead




I plan on surrounding the hatch with trim pieces to hide the glue seams of the opening framework. These and the other trim work, (making the light pads, the decorative artwork above the opening, and making a vinyl covered trim board) will all be accomplished in the future.


And here you can see the relationship of the anchor well to the storage compartment. The anchor well floor is visible at the top of the first photo.



All of this took most of the week. I am trying to get all the remaining small tasks accomplished so that I can do final assembly on the forward compartment.  One of those tasks was to round over the edges of the drain slots for the anchor well. This was accomplished with a router and and a round over bit followed by light sanding.


Tasks remaining include fiberglassing the storage compartment walls, drilling the holes for the bow eye (this one has me quite nervous),  and encapsulating and painting the areas that will be covered by panels. All of that is is coming up. So until next time, take care.

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