Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Even More Head Box Work

I won't make any crappy jokes about the length of time it's taking me to finish the head box. I am making progress and it's been a bit longer than three weeks since I last posted anything. Cold and rainy weather has been partially to blame. That happened to coincide with the need to epoxy several parts. Cold and epoxy don't get along so there were several days where I was simply waiting for an adequate cure time. 

I wanted to have enough material to post, hence the delay. There are a surprising 
number of small details that needed to be attended to for this part of the boat. And I had a few missteps along the way. I now have an adequate amount of new material. 

The head box has three hinged components. The toilet seat, the inner hinged lid providing access to the bucket, and the box cover that hides all of this. The inner hinged lid is actually three separate parts (although it would have been two if I had been more careful when cutting the plywood). The parts are the actual hinged lid over the bucket and the two parts making up the rest of the lid. These are plywood but I wanted them to have hardwood edges. So I had to spend some time making these, epoxying them in place, and cleaning up afterwards. The plan is to paint the plywood portions and leave the hardwood visible.

Here you can see construction of the hinged lid. The other parts were similar. The only difference is this one has a finger hole for opening the lid. That was accomplished by epoxying in a piece of hardwood with rounded out section. The hardwood edges are all rounded over including the finger hole.

The end result is shown here.

The last picture shows how the toilet seat will be hinged to the hinged lid. Obviously a hole will need to be cut into that lid. The plan is to veneer the edges of the hole with rounded over hardwood for a nice smooth finish. A lot of details for this area, but I prefer to do things this way.

In addition to adding the hinges and the inboard cabinet doors, there are three more details that need to be attended to before I start final assembly. There is a ventilation fan that will be mounted to the outboard side of the box. This actually is made up of two assemblies which I'll cover in a moment.

The second and third details are the parts that will be fitted into the remaining portion of the inner lid. This is a toilet paper dispenser and a lidded compartment to hold composting material (most like peat moss). 

For the toilet paper holder, I needed to inset it into the lid so that the box's top cover can close. I looked at several commercially available inset style holders but could not find any I felt would look good here. So I elected to make one instead. It will made from wood.

Here is the mock up of the part. The actual part will be covered in the entire open area between the two curved pieces. During my research I happened across a comment from one vendor who stated that there tube holder was mounted far enough away from the bottom of the semi circle to keep the paper from dragging on the dispenser even accounting for the difference in size of the cardboard tube and the spring loaded holder. A small detail, but one I am glad I saw as I would not have thought of it.

This project is one that I had several missteps, even with the mock up. My original plan was to steam 1/8" hardwood for the backside curved cover. I made a mold to do this and then tried to do the steaming and molding. You can also see that the mock up also has the sides of the box too close to the paper roll. I didn't notice this til later.

However, it didn't work out. The material just wouldn't conform to that small of a radius. Perhaps if I had steamed it longer, I might have been successful. But while contemplating a second attempt, I realized I could use some of my remaining paper backed cherry wood veneer for the same thing. This easily conformed to the curve, and I can reinforce it on the backside by adding a layer of fiberglass cloth. Since that side will be painted, this seemed idea.

The mock up also has a square frame which is also 1/8" hardwood. However while making this, I ended up breaking it once while trying to sand it on the sander. Had to throw that one away. The second was too small. I am getting around the too small part by inserting a plug in two sides. However, before realizing it was too small, I had already glued on the side pieces. When I realized this, I snapped them away and they unfortunately broke.

Anyway after recovering from all of that, here is the holder as its current state of construction.

The lidded composting compartment is going to be a stainless steel steamer food tray covered with a wooden cover. I've got the steamer tray on order and should have it sometime next week.

Getting back to the ventilation fan, this will be vented overboard, most likely on the side of the boat near the deck. Although I don't expect to actually use this very often, I did want to have the capability if needed. 

I am using a speed controlled computer fan that will be mounted in a small box that I am making. Connected to this box, will be the tubing to vent overboard. Here is another of those places where small details are important.

Because of it's location, replacing the fan if it ever fails will need to be allowed for. I will be attaching the fan box from the inside of the head box. There will be an access panel in there to get to it since access from the top will be prevented by the electrical equipment section above and outboard of the head box.

Another small detail, since the vent is on the side of the boat, the possibility exists that water could get into the vent line. A check valve in the vent line won't work because the pressure from the fan will be low. Instead what I am doing is making the parts from PVC tubing and allowing for a small catch reservoir near the fan. This reservoir will have a drain hole so any water will drain into the bilge and then be pumped overboard or drain out the back of the boat when on the trailer. The idea is that the water will drain from the reservoir instead of getting into the fan and ultimately the head box. In case something gets in there and plugs the drain hole, the reservoir's bottom end has a screw on cap which can be accessed from the access panel mentioned previously.

Here is the original idea for the tubing and the modified part with the reservoir as well as the mock up for the fan box and the actual box in work.

And finally, some of the encapsulation work that is ongoing. The head box top cover, the lower V berth faces, one of the seat box flip up extensions, and the partition are shown.  

And here are pictures of the beginnings of the seat box flip up extension which I'll cover in more detail in another post.

That's it for now. There are still many things that need to be accomplished on this section of the boat. At times it seems endless. Even accounting for the fact that I am trying to focus more on functionality that finish, there a many items that need to be accomplished sooner rather than later as they would be more difficult or impossible otherwise.

Until next time, take care.

Click Here To Comment:

  1. No "crappy jokes" about the head box! Good one!

    Keep up the good work!

    — Michael

    1. Yep, I'm getting my share of those jokes. Thanks Mike.

  2. Great blog. Thanks for taking the time to share with us!


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