Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Cabin Floor Supports Part 3 And Going Vertical

This stage of the build is falling into that pattern where it seems like there is a lot of work being done but it doesn't have a lot to show for it. I work on this boat almost everyday. Since I still work full time and have other responsibilities, this usually means 30 to 60 minutes per day. So by it's nature, this means that it will take time to get things accomplished. When coupled with the need to setup things in my garage every time I need to work and adding in waiting times for epoxy to cure, it can sometimes feel like the pace is slowing to a crawl.

However, progress continues to be made. The floor supports for the cabin were completed. I used a different approach to making the second set. They are a simpler design which provide the same level of stiffness and were much easier to install. Basically they are a piece of mahogany bonded to a similar sized 1/2" piece of plywood and then fitted into slots on the floor timbers. This avoids the complicated center support I used on the forward floor supports. Eh! Live and learn.



You can see the slots in this photo.


In the previous compartment, before installing the floor supports, I elected to paint the bilge white before doing the installation. As I was doing this second compartment while off from work, I wanted to maximize the amount of progress I made and avoid long unproductive waits for the paint to dry. So I elected to wait to apply the bilge paint until a later date and focus instead on getting the floor supports installed. 

Also in this compartment, there will be two sets of bilge pump and switch combos. In order to attach these to the hull skin, it is necessary to provide a small mounting pad to screw the parts to, rather than screwing directly into the skin and risk opening a hole into the hull. These pads also allow me to mount the parts perpendicular to the hull rather than at an angle. There will be a pump and a float switch on each side of the keel. As I only have one set at the moment, I cannot show both at the same time. However, I will be purchasing these fairly soon.




 The important point of this installation is that there is good access to these pieces as they will eventually need replacing.  They also have to fit under the floor, so I spent some time researching and thinking about this before doing the work and buying the equipment.

The floor supports and mounting pads were installed and then a temporary floor placed into position. The plan for this floor was originally to provide a center access panel running it's full length. The panel was going to be the same width as the center floor supports. But as I got to thinking about it more, I realized that access to the bilge was still going to be somewhat difficult. I eventually decided to increase the width of the access panel to the outer supports and make most of the floor easily removable. Only the sections under the seat boxes would be permanent. I'll cover this more in detail when I actually get to doing it.

Here are some photos of the support  installations and the temporary floor .





Next up, I could finally start moving in a vertical direction. Working on the boat is satisfying, but working down near the bottom of the boat is uncomfortable and I am glad to start moving up for a change of pace. 

As I am deviating quite a bit from the original plans interior, there is a lot of thinking time needed, combined with trial and error fitting and custom part manufacturing. I spent quite a bit of time drawing up sketches of how the parts fit together (or at least how I thought they would fit together). When I started actual construction of course, most of this turned out to be inadequate planning and I had to do additional thinking and trial and error fitting.

Because all the parts attach to each other, it is necessary to build somewhat in the order that they will be assembled to get spacing  and size requirements correct. For this portion of the project, that meant starting with the seat support structure and vertical facing for the forward V berth compartment. These are going to be plywood facings, covered in a mahogany veneer. The support is simply a horizontal cleat to support the forward end of the seat box. The support mounts to the facings, so the facings had to be made first. Here they are in progress. I still have to make the veneers for them.



Next up was making the structure for the starboard seat box. This needs a vertical support at it's aft end and two horizontal supports. The seat box is at the same height as the V berth as it forms the aft portion of the berth. The previously mentioned cleat on the facing and another cleat mounted to frame 4 provide the mounting points for those supports. The vertical support needed a gusset to attach its lower end to the frame.






 Spacing of these parts had to take into account the next set of structure and a partition. The partition is necessary because I realized that the person sleeping on this side was going to have their head right next to the head box and I wanted to provide some separation between the two. I wanted this partition to be tall enough to provide adequate separation, but not so tall as to make the cabin seem cramped or block view to and from the person sitting on the seat box. It mounts to frame 4.



The partition is plywood and will also be veneered with mahogany. Additionally, it will have a mahogany cap on it's edge for a better appearance. You can see the mahogany strip setting vertical in the previous photo. It will need to be steamed and wrapped around the curve of the partition. I'll do this after veneering both sides.

The veneers take the form of seven 1/8 inch slats per partition side and each needs to be fitted after the other is installed. This is similar to the approach I used several years ago for the transom veneer. So making these slats gave me an opportunity to finally use a power planer I bought a few months ago. Installing them, however slowed progress to a snail pace. The process after installing the first veneer was to clean it up, fit the next veneer and then install that next veneer. Only one of these clean up/fitting/installation sessions could be accomplished per day due to having to wait for epoxy to cure and because of my other responsibilities. This is why it was slow going.

I used cinder blocks and a piece of scrap plywood to provide the necessary downward force to bond the veneers to the partition. Plastic wrap between the veneer and the scrap plywood kept the parts from being bonded together.




And the final result after doing one side. It's not installed yet as there is more work to be done.




I need to make more mahogany slats and finish the veneering process. Also install the end cap. The partition installation will require spacers (still to be made), and of course there is the next structure parts for the head box.

Trying to explain all of the thoughts and effort involved in this would make for pretty boring reading so I won't go into any more detail about that. Suffice to say, that this process will continue until I have a full structure for the starboard side. Then additional veneered facings will be needed to box it all in. 

And the seat box will need the additional parts needed for the flip up extension I have in mind. I'll cover that more in the future.

Before I can move forward, it is necessary to make more veneers. These are going to be made from a 2 inch thick piece of mahogany. My first attempt at cutting this ended up not working, so I am going to try a different approach. Hopefully, I won't turn an expensive piece of wood into firewood.

So that's it for now. Until next time, take care.

Click Here To Comment:

  1. Carl, how sensitive is that bilge pump activation switch?

    There's a reason I ask. I have an automatic Rule bilge pump in my boat, mounted as low as possible, while still being removable. When I tested it the first time, I found the water level alarmingly high before the switch activated the pump. It works, reliably. However, if I'd known this at the time, I'd have looked for a more sensitive arrangement.

    If you can find a way to get the float end of the switch lower, you may want to investigate that possibility. From the photo, it looks like the bilge pump could be halfway under water before the switch activates.

    I do hope that switch is a lot more sensitive than the internal one on my pump (Rule BilgeMate 500).

    -Michael

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    1. Michael,

      The switch is packed away for now, but I believe I remember seeing something about 3/4" activation movement. I am not sure what I could do to lower the switch as it is resting in the full down position right now and is in the lowest part of the boat.

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  2. Hi Carl, thank you very much for the amazing blog. Full of information about the Vera Cruise build as well as the build process. I´m still deciding which model I´m gonna build as well as the necessary pre-requisites before engaging on this adventure. I´m leaning towards the Vera Cruise and recently bought the Glen-L Plywood book and another portuguese reference here in Brazil to prepare myself for the endeavour. The Glen L book has not yet arrived and I´m still trying to figure out where I will have space to build the 21 feet boat. 17 would be possible, such as the Sea Knight, but would like the extra room as well as build it as an inboard. I have lost account of the times I`ve read your blog and would like to send my best wishes so that you are able to finalize asap. :-) The boat is looking really great! amazing job by the way. Looking forward for your next post. No pressure here since i´m still creating my business case. Cheers, Renato

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    1. Hi Renato, I am glad that you find the blog enjoyable and useful to read. I don't get many comments so I sometimes am not sure if many people are reading it. The Vera Cruise is a nice looking boat, and definitely has more room than the Sea Knight, but as you've probably noticed, I am shortening the length of the cabin to get more aft cockpit space. There are several nice cabin cruiser designs in the Glen L catalog that can be adapted to (or already are designed for) inboard/outboard or inboard engines. For the Vera Cruise, the weight limitation of 700 pounds for the inboard engine and outdrive made me decide to go with an outboard motor instead. I also wanted more aft cockpit space. I think that the Sea Knight would be too short for an inboard/outboard conversion and is best suited for an outboard. As for space to build, well my garage is just barely long enough to fit the design in and at times it's been challenging to work on with the space limitations, but it can be done. I will, however, have to finish the windscreen, above the cabin, outside because it will be too tall to get through the garage door opening. Good luck with whatever design you do choose and please post your progress to the Glen L BoatBuilder's forum as it helps other's keep motivated and you'll find it helps keep you motivated as well. Take care.

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  3. Hi Carl, I haven´t seen many Vera Cruise blog´s or forum colleagues sharing their experience. I will for sure create a topic on the boat I choose at the end. Your message already made me think about the motor wheight and I should consider it for sure. I wanted a family boat with sunbed and haven´t found one at Glen L site or elsewhere. The Riva Iseo would be my dream boat but surely a difficult one to build. Gotta keep things realistic but wanted to build a boat that would be similar in space distribution in a smaller boat. I saw your garage and the tight space that you are buildin and it gave me courage to try to build it in my garage as well. I understand that there is no challenge that we can´t sail through once we made our mind. Congrats on the build and looking forward for the new posts. Will keep checking your tips and how you did find solutions for the challenges. Best wishes. Renato

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    1. I believe the lack of information on the Vera Cruise is due to a few factors. First off, it's only been about 20 years since posting on the Internet has become commonplace and this design is probably bigger than most builders want to take on (due to the size constraints and complexity). Then on top of all of that, many builders concentrate on building and don't care to post anything. It doesn't surprise me that there is so little available on this design. The same can be said for nearly all the other larger builds from Glen L. On the other hand, you see many Zip and Squirt builds because these designs fit readily in a builders garage and they can be built in a year or two.

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  4. Hi Carl, I´m building the business case in order to check the costs and was evaluating the frames wood amount that I should buy. On the BOM (Bill of Materials) it mentions "85 Randon Bd. Ft. with some 12´´widths" and of course it will depend on the supplier board size. However, I was wondering if you did any sort of calculation and kindly ask you to share with me, if possible. I´m keeping this question on your blog since I understand it could really help others. If you prefer I can send you a mail next time I have a doubt. I bought the Study plan but they don´t have all the measurements so that I can calculate the area of the frames. Thank you and best wishes! Renato

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    1. When I was trying to figure out how much lumber to buy, I made scale drawings of the parts and then tried to find the best layout on a random size board (also drawn to scale). I made some assumptions about how wide I could get random wood at. In the end, because I have never worked with wood before and because I had limited tools, I bought finished lumber (S4S). It was more expensive that way and it took me longer to make the purchases because I had to spread them out over many months. But the scale drawings gave me a rough idea how much lumber to buy. I am sure there are better ways to make this calculation.

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  5. Another comment: I could not visit your 'Building the frames Gallery" and was curious about which tool you used to perform the first cut of the frames. Was it a Jig Saw? Sorry for the many questions :-) tks!

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    1. Sorry for the delay Renato, I've been away from my computer for several days. I'll look into the Building the Frames photo gallery to see what is going on with it. All of the frames were cut out using a jig saw. A band saw would be better because you could probably cur real close to the drawn lines. I was forced to cut away from the lines and then use the sander to get to the final shape. It took quite a bit of time to do that. In retrospect, because of the fairing of the hull that was done later in the build, I could have cut on the lines with the jig saw and as long as I was careful, that would have been good enough.

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  6. Hi Carl, again your blog is really helpfull. I`ve been reading it whenever I have a few minutes. Also, I did find some of the information I asked you on your blog hosted on Glen´s forum. I apologize for that. I am already receiving some of the lumber quotations and believe will do as you did as well to buy them more or less finished. I do have some experience in woodworking and will build the VEra Cruise for sure. I´m already decided. Thank you for fixing the Frame´s Gallery. I did take a look there and as always a valuable resource for me and others. Regarding the tools I will try with the Jig Saw as well. I´m looking at the process of building first a template on plywood and later routing the excess wood. I saw the fairing process and took note of your comments as well regarding the lines and light :-) Regarding the amount of lumber to buy I believe I will buy the plans, draw the pieces and later buy the lumber. I will have to save some money to be able to buy the lumber. My wife thinks that the boat construction will only happen in a near future but I believe I will start asap. Just need to align this not to have diplomatic issues hehe. Well, thank you and looking forward for you new posts. (again, no pressure :-) )Best Regards and good luck there! Renato

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    1. HI Renato,
      It's been my experience that every time I try to buy lumber or hardware or tools in anticipation of future work, invariably I end up spending money on items that I do not end up using (thereby wasting money).

      There is something to be said about avoiding unnecessary shipping by buying in bulk. The same applies if a discount is available when buying in bulk. I've gotten in the habit of evaluating each scenario separately and deciding what I want to do . Often times, I do not have enough money to buy larger quantities and if I wait until I do, then I have to stop work on the boat. So what I will typically do is evaluate what I can afford that will allow me to keep working and then make the purchase. In the end, I may spend more money this way, but it is spread out over several years so it works for me and allows me to keep working on the boat everyday.

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