Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

V Berth Compartment Part 2

I am sure that most people have times where "Life Happens", "Life Takes Priority", or "Life Gets In The Way".  Well the last month has been like that for me. I won't bore you with the dirty laundry, other than to say that nearly everyday this last month has been used in dealing either with work, or many of the "Life Occurrences" that came up.

Nonetheless, I have made some progress. In addition to several iterations of design work on the cabin seat boxes, head box, and cabinet, I have completed most of the structure for the forward V berth and installed the threaded inserts for the lower V berth floor.

The design work came about when I started thinking about how the remainder of the cabin interior was going to tie into the forward V berth. I realized that although I had a general idea of how I wanted to make the seat boxes and the head box, I had no real idea of what the structure and construction of those items would look like. I started by sketching these out, thinking that this would be sufficient. Of course, that was a fool's errand as I quickly realized there was much more to this than originally thought.

For example, how was I going to provide separation between the head box and the seat box so that the person sleeping on that side would not have to get any unpleasant odors? How was this separation going to tie into the structure making up the seat box and head box? How high is the head box actually going to be and still provide room to open the top?

One big problem was my desire to place the electrical panel outboard and above the head box. The original design of the head box with the side grab rails would have required the head box to be too tall. It would have left insufficient room for the electrical panel and would have blocked the view into the cabin.

This required a rethinking of the head box design which in turn changed the structure and it's tie into the seat box. I had to come up with real world dimensions for the seat main box and the flip up extension.

All of this and much more was worked out and will be covered in more detail when I begin construction of those pieces. I decided however to move back to the V berth and complete most of that work first. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to have some real visual progress rather than a bunch of parts waiting to assemble. Secondly, I needed the structure of the V berth in place so I could start finalizing measurements for the seat boxes. And thirdly, I had already rough cut the V berth platform and wanted to get it installed.

Before I could do the V berth structure, I had to finish the lower floor support work. This entailed  installing threaded inserts into the support pieces to be used when installing the lower V berth floor. The actual installation of that floor wasn't critical, and in fact it still needs to be painted. But I thought it might be difficult to install the inserts with the upper structure in the way.

These threaded inserts are designed to be installed in a 25/64ths hole by threading them into the wood. They have cutting teeth on their exterior and have 10-32 threaded on the inside for the screws that will hold down the floor piece. They come with a special installation tool from the manufacturer, however I found this tool to be virtually useless as it would begin chipping the insert long before it was fully threaded into the wood.

What worked far better was using a screw with a nut on it and threading it into the inside of the insert until the nut was up against the top of the insert. Then using a socket and a ratchet, I was able to drive these inserts in. It required a bit of care to make sure they stayed perpendicular to the surface when first threading them in, but it worked well otherwise.

Here is the special tool and how it is intended to be used. The slots in the top of the insert would start to chip away after threading the insert about halfway into the wood. I didn't use this tool for any of the installations.

Here is the way that I installed them instead.

And after finishing.

The V berth structure was initially shown in part 1 of this series. But what it still needed was a way to support the outboard ends of the platform. Originally, I was going to place cleats on the side planking like I did for the anchor well. But that approach requires a lot of extra effort in getting the cleats made at the correct angles at each location. That had been a real pain when I did it in the anchor well. I happened to see a photo of another Vera Cruise V berth where diagonal braces were added instead. This seemed like a much better idea and this is the approach I took.

The idea here is that these supports will also get threaded inserts to make it possible to remove the V berth platform if needed in order to work in the lower compartment (once I figure out what I want to use it for). So far the best idea I've had is to install a marine air conditioner in this area, but that entails a fairly large expense, so for now, it will remain empty. Hence the need for the removable platform.

I have not final fitted the platform yet as I only just completed re-encapsulating the structure (remember "Life Happens"?).

So for now, that is it. I will be touching up the white paint in the V berth area. I've decided to leave the support structure as simply epoxied because it looks nice (even though it won't be visible unless you look inside the lower compartment). I will also get the lower floor painted and installed and then fit and install the platform.

Then, the remainder of the cabin can be started. Until next time, take care.

Click Here To Comment:

  1. Nice work, Carl! I like your use of the threaded inserts for the floor panels. Great idea!


    1. Thanks Michael. My only concern with these is that they might eventually cause corrosion. I've added them to my inspection items in the maintenance manual I am putting together.


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