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.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shop And Bulkhead Door Work

The last month has had me occupied with working on my home as I try to get it ready to sell. The ultimate goal is to move to the country and acquire property with a proper boat building and shop.

However, I have to live with the garage shop that I currently have. Fighting my way around the lack of space, and tripping over things while I try to squeeze around something that gets in the way, was getting to be too much for me. I was finding myself getting angry in the garage when I should have been enjoying myself.

Since I needed to get a storage unit as part of the moving process, this seemed like an ideal time to re-arrange the garage and get some things out of the way. One of the biggest culprits was a shelf I had in the corner. It took up a lot of valuable floor space, forcing me to put tool boxes in other areas, thus leaving less space. The shelf did hold some things, but overall, it's usefulness was overshadowed by the drawbacks of having it there.

Of the many different tasks I have performed, mixing epoxy has been up there near the top of things I do often. This required epoxy, mixing supplies, and a scale to be readily available. The epoxy was stored on the shelf. The supplies took up a valuable deep drawer in one of my roll away tool boxes. And the scale sat on my workbench, always in the way. To get around this, I decided to make a mixing cart to eliminate the need for the shelf in the corner and to free up the tool box drawer.

The cart was made from leftover lumber and plywood from the boat flipping structure and building form. It took me approximately 10 days working about 30 to 45 minutes a night to complete it (lots of other things to do after work unfortunately).

It contains a drawer for holding the supplies and storing the scale. There are two shelves, behind doors, for the epoxy and paint. I placed the cart on casters so I could move it around. Putting all of the epoxy stuff in this cart eliminated about 70% of what the old corner shelf was being used for. The remaining items went into storage or were moved to overhead bins which were freed up when other items were moved to storage.

Once the shelf was gone, I was able to re-arrange the toolboxes and get all of them on the same end of the shop. This is handy because I was getting very tired of having to walk back and forth across the garage just to get tools or put them away. With a little creative re-organizing, I manage to free up some floor space. An added benefit was getting the table saw close to the garage door again so that it's easy to move outside when I need to use it.

Another issue I was having was with the accuracy of my table saw when making 90 degree cross cuts. I have been watching YouTube videos about shop organizing and something that most woodworkers do is create a cross cut sled for their table saw.

Taking some more of my left over lumber and a few extra evenings, I put together a workable sled. 

Unfortunately, my table saw leaves quite a bit to be desired and the sled was less than perfect, making it still somewhat difficult to slide in the tracks and use. However, I can now get accurate 90 degree cuts which was great when I started back on the internal joinery of the boat.

The first use of the sled was in making accurate frames for the bulkhead door which will eventually allow access to the forward bow storage. This door will be ventilated by using a slat type design, similar to window louvers. 

In order to create those louvers, I had to figure out a method of creating the angled slots on the sides of the door frame. There are any number of expensive jigs out there for doing this, one in particular which I would love to own, but I really need to keep expenses down on the boat construction, so an alternative approach was warranted.

What I decided to do was to cut slots at 30 degrees  every 3/4" using the original cross cut slider from the table saw and rigging up a stop block that allowed me to get accurate placement of the slots. Then,  using shallow cuts of the table saw, I cut the slots. 

The plan is to cover the open ends of the slots with a cover board on the front and back of the door.

Cutting the actual slats was relatively easy using the cross cut sled and stop blocks. I cut 12 of these from 1/4" thick material and temporarily placed them in the door for a photo shoot.

These slats will be sanded to more pleasing profile and the cover plate over the door will probably have some decorative milling. We'll see on that. I am still in process trying to figure out how I am going to dress up the forward bulkhead using the mock ups I created earlier this year and still allow maintenance down the road.

So that's it for now. Not a terrible amount of work, but at least I can move around in my garage again, and starting work on the door has re-started my creative urges. Until next time, take care.