Note: I copy the daily log entries to their repective project pages almost daily. If you want to read all the entries for any project sequentially, go to the "Projects" tab and you will be able to navigate to the appropriate page. Most of the interior contruction projects will be found via links in the "Rebuilding the Interior" page. The rest of the projects have separate tabs on the "Projects" tab.
Note: I added another page under the "Projects" page that should allow smart phone and iPad users to access the separate projects via hyperlinks. I don't know why but it seems that smart phones can't access the drop down menus.
24 Mar 13
I've spent the last week working on the cabinet doors. I cut rails and styles from African Mahogany a few days ago and cut the slots into them for the raised panels. Next, I milled the Birds Eye Maple for the panels. Then, I glued the panels up the day before yesterday and today I took them to the Camp Lejeune Wood Hobby Shop. Jack Neuber is the manager there. He is also a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major. Jack and I both served in infantry and reconnaissance units during our careers though we never served in the same unit at the same time -- he retired a number of years before I did. Anyway, Jack ran the maple panels through their spiral head planer (it is the only machine in the shop that must be run by the staff). The spiral head planer is a terrific machine. My planner uses "knife" blades and can literally tear out the birds eye. The Hobby Shop's spiral head cutting blades eliminates tear out which was a major concern of mine with such heavily figured wood.
I dry fitted the panels into the rails and stiles to see how they looked. They had not even been sanded. The bird's eye figuring should pop when varnished.
Jack Neuber is the manager of the Camp Lejeune Wood Hobby Shop. The shaper is behind us.
Next, I cut the panels to length and then ripped them to width to properly match the dimensions of the slots cut into the rails and stiles. Then, Jack set up the shaper (which is like a router table on steroids), taught me how to use it, and made sure I did not cut my hand off--its a wickedly powerful machine. The slots in the rails and stiles are cut deeper than the panel is wide so it "floats." This arrangement allows the wood panel to expand and contract with changing humidity and is essential for "framed" cabinet doors especial important for inset cabinet doors. If the panels don't have room to move they can jam the rails and stiles into the cabinet door opening. After cutting the raised panel profile into the Birds Eye Maple panels I dry fit them. They look great and I am very pleased.
Tomorrow I'll sand the panels and apply a sealing coat of varnish mixed 1:1 with mineral spirits. The day after I'll start assembly. By the end of next week I ought to have the first couple coats of varnish applied and have the doors hung in the boat.
Last week, while milling the African Mahogany for the rails and stiles, it was apparent the time had come to change the joiner blades. The blades on the planer can be flipped as they are two sided and I performed that task a couple of months ago. However, the jointer blades only have one cutting edge per blade. I could sharpen them and at some point I probably will and keep them as a back up set. In the mean time, I decided to buy new set of blades. I also needed to replace a small part on the blade guard so I ordered it at the same time. Changing the blades and setting the height was not difficult and took a couple of hours. Once completed the jointer was cutting like new. This is part of boat work. As much as I hate to stop working on the Far Reach (every day I don't work on the boat I have to add a day to the other end), you have to perform maintenance on the tools, the shop, and sometimes take time to practice a new skill before you are ready to perform it at the required level of proficiency.
Changing blades on the jointer. Sometimes work has to stop to perform maintenance on the tools and equipment.
15 Mar 13
Today I worked on installing the bead around the inside opening of the face frames. I used a technique Larry Pardey shared with me. Not only is he a master craftsman he is also very clever. It turns out that this not only add an elegant touch to the cabinet doors but it also eliminates the need to mortise the hinges. I used a bead cutter on my router to make the bead. Then I ripped the bead strip about 1/4 thick on my tablesaw. I end up with a strip of mahogany (many strips actually) about 1/4" thick x 1" wide and so many inches long. The thickness of the bead (1/4" thick) matches the thickness of the folded butt hinge. Next, I cut a 45 degree bevel on both ends of the strip measured to fit into the inside edge of the face frame. I work this system around the face frame leaving the side that the hinges will be screwed to until later. The bead part of the strip is installed proud of the surface of the face frame as will the butt hinge. Done correctly, they line up and there is no requirement to mortise the hinge into the face frame. Simple and elegant.
The bead is not glued on. The bead is positioned and the miter cuts lock it in then it is secured with brass escutcheon pins. As I mentioned above, the last strip is installed when you position the door. The hinges are attached to the door frame first. Tomorrow, I will install the bead in the cabinet door openings that do not have face frames. I was pleased to be working on the cabinet doors but I am moving like pound water.
14 Mar 13 I finally started on the cabinet doors. Of the ten doors I need to build, four require face frames. So, I started with them first. I began by milling the quarter-sawn African Mahogany to 7/8” thickness and then ripped it to 1 ½” wide. I would like to have made the face frame a little wider but the cabinets are not that big and a larger face frame would have made the doors too small. I used my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig to join the parts of the frame. I have used a Kreg jig for building face frames for at least six years and I have always been pleased with the results. They are not the strongest joints but because the frames are also screwed to the cabinets there is very little stress on the joints. I also glued the joints to make them a little stronger. The kreg jig is much easier to use than making half laps and they are very accurate. For this project I ordered SS Kreg screws. The frames fit nicely and only one required a little scribing to fit snugly to the adjacent bulkhead.
I took a day to run some errands and also drop by the Camp Lejeune Wood Hobby Shop. Though I don’t use the hobby shop often (I much prefer to use my own shop and equipment) they have some terrific equipment to include a beautiful spiral head planer and jointer. These machines are very accurate and are supposed to be the best equipment for machining delicate Bird’s Eye Maple. I also took some measurements of the raised panel shaper bit I would like to use to make the raised panels.
Today, I visited World Timber where I picked up the Bird’s Eye Maple I will use to make the raised panels. Matt and his gang always provide great help to me. I bought twice the required amount of wood as I wanted to get just what I wanted and I knew that I would be able to use the left over wood for other projects. The majority of the wood in the boat is African Mahogany with a little ash, however, the Bird's Eye Maple should really "pop" against the mahogany. The raised panels should add an elegant touch to the interior. I have made panel doors before but never solid wood raised panels. This should be an interesting project.
I also spent a little time today cutting some test bead and cove that I intend to incorporate around all the cabinet door openings.
Tomorrow I will start in earnest and with some luck I should have this project more or less accomplished in the next two weeks.
9 Mar 13
I was able to complete two projects this past week--install the brass stanchion in the saloon and install the LP gas system for the stove.
The stanchions are a key component of the interior layout as they support the table and provide a solid hand hold. The table will be folding but not a drop leaf. By that I mean one half the table will always be up and extend out to the port side. The table will be hinged in the middle and the starboard side will fold over onto the port side, leaving a clear passage fore and aft. The starboard side will be unfolded when needed. I offset the stanchion about five inches to the port side. This keeps the passageway fore and aft a little wider since your shoulders are wider than your hips. The table will not be gimbaled, per se. It will have adjustable brass stays underneath that allow it to be tilted and locked into place to compensate for heal underway. Usually, though, it will be in the normal level position. Or, it can be tilted vertically to allow maximum movement if necessary. The table will also be easy to remove.
I ordered the brass pipes from McMurray Metals Company in Texas. They were, by far, the best price I could find. The pipes are solid brass and 1 1/2" in diameter with a side wall thickness of 1/8". Total cost was about $140. These are stout heavy pipes . . . and they need to be as they not only support the table but also serve as primary hand-hold/grab bar when moving through the boat. They have to be able to take a persons full weight if the boat lurches and one is thrown against them or grabs hold to keep from been thrown off one's feet.
I installed two solid brass stanchions in the saloon that will support the table. There is nothing dark or dreary about the inside of the Far Reach.
To install the pipes I first had to determine exactly where they needed to be positioned. I decided the simplest and strongest way to attach them would be to through-bolt the bottom end of the pipes to the cabin sole cross beams and secure the upper end in pipe flanges screwed into the overhead. The location of the cross beams would, of course, influence how far apart they could be spaced (they ended up 38" apart). However, the overhead is just 1/4" plywood and there is a 3/4" gap between the plywood panels and the underside of the deck. Last year, I installed 1/2" AP closed cell foam as additional insulation between the two layers. I would need to beef up the overhead panels if the pipes were going to be fasten to them. Also, because I wanted to install the pipes off the centerline, the pads between the pipe flange and the panels would have to be scribed to fit the camber of the cabin top. I made those pads, from mahogany, first and temporarily fastened the flanges to the pads. I cut the pipes a little long, removed the cabin sole, and test fit them in position making sure they were plumb. Gayle and I discussed the location and I left them clamped overnight. Satisfied they were in the right place, the next day, I carefully marked the location and removed the pipes and the overhead panels. Next, I cut out some of the insulation and made hardwood spacer pads that fit perfectly between the underside of the deck and the inside surface of the plywood overhead panel. I wiped the fiberglass down and then drilled some 1/4" holes into the underside of the deck. I mixed up some thickened epoxy and then pressed the hardwood pads in place. My thinking was the thickened epoxy would be forced up into the holes and create a stronger bond. I heavily filleted around the edges of the hardwood pads and left them overnight to cure.
Next day, I reinstalled the overhead panels and aligned the mahogany pads with the marks on the overhead and temporarily fastened the flanges in place. With the hardwood spacer pads in place I can tightened down on the mahogany pad/pipe flange without fear of distorting or crushing the plywood overhead panels. There is a #14 screw in the center of the mahogany pad that goes through the overhead panel and into the hardwood spacer. The three screws of the pipe flange are #10 SS 1 1/2" long that pass through the mahogany pad, the overhead panel, and into the hard wood spacer. I previously marked the bottom of the pipe and cut it so it stops about 3/4" above the water tanks that are under the cabin sole. I drilled a 3/8" hole through the pipe and the cross beam that supports the cabin sole. I then installed a 3 1/2" hex head bolt with SS nylon locking nut. The bolt has full shoulders and with the 1/8" pipe sidewalls I think this is a very strong arrangement. Then, I marked the temporarily plywood cabin sole (the finished sole will be 7/8" thick black walnut) and used a 2" hole saw to cut holes for the stanchions. Then, I ripped the plywood sole right through the center of the hole on my table saw and dropped them into place.
I think this system provides a lot more room in the boat than the original double drop leaf table that came with the Far Reach. A centerline drop leaf table leaves you no place to put your feet when the table is in the down position. Interestingly, as heavy as the pipes are (about 14 lbs each) I believe I also saved some weight as the original table is much heavier. Another advantage to this system is the vertical pipes are a much more convenient hand hold--especially for my kids that would have been able to reach the original overhead grab bar. I suspect this system adds some additional strength to the cabin top as well.
Earlier in the week I installed the propane regulator in the propane locker. Yesterday, the Trident Marine propane hose and vapor proof fitting arrived. After determining how to run the line I cut some small circular blocks from scrap Iroko. I sanded the selected spots and epoxied them in place with thickened epoxy and left them to cure overnight. Today, I installed the hose from the locker to the stove. It is completely out of the way but visible and easy to inspect or replace if ever necessary. I still need to add bedding compound to the vapor proof fitting but I will not do that until after the propane locker is painted. Other than that, the propane system is complete.
4 Mar 13
I am not exactly setting the world on fire this month but I have been working on the Far Reach everyday. Slow and steady wins the race or something like that. Anyway, I wanted to build the cabinet doors but for some reason I just was not mentally ready for that project. It has been cold, dark, and wet here this month. So, I worked on little projects that needed to be completed regardless the timing. Do them now or do them later, they have to be done. They fit my mental state. So, I installed a few deck fitting--aft intermediate chain plates, bow sprit shroud tangs, and the bobstay fitting. I installed mahogany staving around the galley stove, built a divider under it, and applied five coats of varnish. I build some dish rack dividers and varnished them. Lastly, I installed the LP gas system and a custom control handle for the gas valve. There is more information below along with a couple of photo galleries.
The area around the stove is looking pretty good after 5 coats of varnish.
It was time to install a few more deck fittings. I installed the last of the chain plates--aft intermediates. Pretty easy to do. I drilled up through the steel plates that are glassed into the hull under the inward turning flange. Then, I chamfered the holes and bedded the bronze chain plates with butyl rubber. I installed 316 1/2" bolts.
Next, I installed reinstalled the original bobstay fitting but in a new location that I worked on over a year ago. Because the new bow sprit will be longer than the original plank style I needed to improve the angle of the bobstay to counter the leverage arm of the head stay. The new location is about 10" lower than the original location. It is still above the water line. The original location was well up on the stem so I had room to move it lower. I drilled the holes previously so it was a matter of just bedding the bobstay fitting with 3M 4000 and three new bronze bolts with a double set of new heavy duty nuts for each bolt. Simple project.
In addition to the gammon iron I designed and Port Townsend Foundry Cast almost two years ago I had to install the bow sprit shroud tangs on the topside just below the gunwale. They are secured with three 3/8" bronze carriage bolts. I had to remove some of the ceiling in the forward compartment and make very careful measurements to drill the holes. The tangs should align with the sprit shrouds. I used some scrap G10 for the back up plates. To determine the correct angle I installed the original bowsprit mock up I made a couple of years ago. I ran some lines between the tangs and the kranze iron, drilled the holes and installed the tangs bedding them with butyl rubber. It was nice to get those three projects out of the way.
The big project during the last two weeks was designing and installing the LP gas system for the stove. The most difficult part of this was coming up with the gas shut off valve system. I did not want an electric solenoid because I do not want to be dependent on an electrical system to operate the Far Reach. I want all the systems to be simple and manual whenever possible. With an electric solenoid if you lose power you lose your ability to cook--or you have to by-pass the solenoid which requires a jury rig and now you have bypassed a key safety system.
Two years ago, when I designed, built, and installed the propane locker, I bought a gas valve made for a gas fireplace. It's UL approved and manufactured in a ISO 9000 plant. It is made of brass. It is designed to be able to turn on a ball valve that allow gas to flow by turning a handle on the other side of a wall. When I saw it, I thought it would do what I wanted done--keep the valve in the propane locker (in compliance with ABYC standards) yet allow the valve to be operated from outside the box (ABYC standard) without compromising the vapor tight integrity of the system. The trick was how to operate the valve, installed in the LP gas locker, from inside the boat--six feet away. Way back when I built the box I knew what I wanted to do, I had the valve I needed and knew where to install it, but I was not sure how I was going to operate the valve.
So, this week, I pulled all the parts together ( a Trident Marine LP gas regulator, the shut off valve, some 1/2" copper tubing, and some 1/2" copper water pipe). I played around with the parts for a couple of hours in the boat and propane locker looking at what would work. I needed to be able to fit the regulator in the box in a way that I could see the pressure gauge (with the lid up) which is a key component of leak testing the system, yet I needed room for the bottles. It was a tight fit. I decided it needed to be installed at an angle so I cut a piece of scrap teak with the appropriate angle to accomplish that. I had bought some copper tube and a tool to allow me to flare the tubing to fit with flair fittings.
I drilled a hole in the forward end of the propane box which is glassed into the port side cockpit bulkhead (it separates the lazerette from the port locker. I made a wood block for the locker side and scribed it to fit into the radiused corner. I test fit the valve. It looked good. I installed the regulator and hooked up the copper gas tube between the regulator and the gas valve. Next, I needed to come up with a way to turn the handle. I cut the handle off the end of the key that came with the gas valve so I had the socket with a 1/4" diameter shaft about two inches long that fit into the back side of the valve. I drilled holes in a brass hose barb after filing off the barbs. I used thickened epoxy to glue the shaft of the socket into the hose barb. The holes helped the epoxy grab onto the hose barb. Next I drilled some holes into a copper repair sleeve for 1/2" copper water pipe. Then I epoxied the threaded end of the hose barb into the copper repair sleeve. I then cut a six foot section of 1/2" copper water pipe and it slid perfectly into the other end of the repair tube. Now it was only a matter of drilling the hole through the main cabin bulk head above the stove keeping everything lined up. I used a piece of string to determine a level line and drilled a 5/8" diameter hole through the bulkhead and staving above the stove. Next, I removed the water pipe and took it into the shop. I cut a handle from left over 3/32" thick flat silicon bronze I used to make the brackets for the kerosene navigation lights. I fit the handle to the water pipe by cutting a slot in the end of the water pipe with my jig saw. I reinstalled the 6' pipe with the handle in the boat. It worked great . . . at least in practice.
At this point, everything fits nicely. I have some finish work to do. I will fabricate a support point for the long copper pipe. I'll solder on the handle to the water pipe and drill some holes and install a bolt or two to secure the water pipe to the repair sleeve. What I like about this set up is I can remove the entire thing if necessary. I can buy replacement parts at the hardware store. And, the handle comes out right above the stove. It is right there where you can see it. When the handle is horizontal the gas it off. When it is vertical the gas is on. What could be simpler? To turn the stove off just turn off the gas. When the flame goes out you know the valve works. Then, turn the stove off.
There will be a shelf build behind the stove so the handle should blend in well. I measured for the gas line and put the order in for the hose and a vapor fitting from Trident Marine. Now if I can only get started on those cabinet doors.
12 Feb 13
Funny how things happen. Last night I was sure I would start work today on the shelving above the counter top. But, as soon as I entered the boat I decided I should test fit the stove. I have had the stove for well over a year. I had to buy it in order to install the bulkheads so I was sure everything would fit. It is a new model Force 10 that I picked up for about 50 percent discount. Anyway, I had all kinds of drawings in my binder that I made last year showing how everything would fit together to include the support cleats. I installed the cleats per the drawings. I unpacked the stove and Gayle helped me lug the beast up onto the boat. It dropped right into position and fit like a glove. Fantastic. By temporarily installing the stove I was able to confirm that everything fit as planned . . . was there ever any doubt? Ha. I can also better visualize how to address the design and installation of cabinetry behind the stove.
The stove fit perfectly. The large opening in the center of the photo will have a sliding door that will slide between the stove and the cabinet face.
You might notice that the stove is oriented fore and aft instead of 'thwartship and it is not gimbaled. One of our objectives when rebuilding the Far Reach was to make the boat as safe as possible and reduce hazards that could lead to serious injuries. One of the potential injuries we wanted to eliminate was burns. On starboard tack, with a gimbaled stove, the cook can be thrown into the stove while water is boiling. On port tack, the cook is actually below the stove and a pot of hot fluids could be thrown onto the cook. I have read about these kinds of accidents. Bill Seifert, the well known delivery skipper, offshore cook, and writer described this very hazard in his book Offshore Sailing. He has a neck to toe rubber apron he wears to protect himself. I don't see that as something we want to wear--what a hassle. By mounting the stove fore and aft hot fluids, if they splash out of tall pots, should go to port or starboard protecting the cook. This method requires the use of tall pots and very good pots clamps and sea-rails. It does not seem to us that this is a big inconvenience when one considers that you'll likely be cooking 90 percent of the time anchored and only 10 percent of the time underway. We also have more storage room with this approach as there is no loss of space behind the stove. Lastly, the stove is more securely held in position and less likely to come adrift in a knockdown due to the poor design of many gimbaled stove brackets. Is it a perfect solution? No, but if we can eliminate burns from cooking for ourselves or our kids then it is worth it.
During yesterday's post I mentioned our ongoing indecision about whether to install an electrical system or not. Ever since the Zartman family stayed with us 18 months ago I have maintained correspondence with Ben. You may recall the Zartmans from their many Cruising World articles and his recently released book "We Who Pass Like Foam." Ben, his wife Danielle, and their three young girls live and cruise on their 31' Cape George Cutter Ganymede. They have zero electricity and Ben says he does not miss it. Last night, my best friend Steve and I were discussing the lighting issue and he sent me a video of a newly invented light called the gravity light--what a great thing these two inventors have developed. Perhaps we could adapt and modify something like this for our own use. Or perhaps there are some hand crank LED lights that are reliable and practical for our application. Anyway, we should not feel compelled to follow the herd. Interesting stuff.
11 Feb 13 Let There Be Light . . . Or Maybe Not.
We have been putting off the decision to either install a fixed lighting system or go with just the oil lamps and LED headlamps for a long time. We are quickly approaching the point where we must decide. On the one hand, we like the idea of really keeping it simple--as long as we have everything we need and everything works. This keeps the cost of the boat from sky-rocketing out of sight and makes it a lot easier and affordable to maintain. On the other hand, we are not gluttons for punishment, though some people might think otherwise. I know from personal experience how hot oil lamps can make the interior of a sailboat. But, augmented with some LED headlamps it would not be too bad. Still, a fixed LED lighting system with a couple of portable 12 volt low amp fans would be very nice. I have priced the fixed system out several times over the last two years--all good stuff mind you--and it always comes out about the same--$4000-$5000. That is a lot of "ching" for lights. Sure, the lights are not cheap (we chose Alpenglow) but it is the cost of the supporting electrical system that is the real expensive part. Batteries (I have looked at everything from 6 volt wet cells to 6 volt AGM and gel-cells), breaker panel, battery switch, wiring, solar panels, regulators, and a fixed mount system all add up pretty quick. And, at this point, I don't think I am mentally ready to hang a solar panel off the Far Reach. Some see all that glass and SS as a thing of beauty . . . but I see it as an eyesore. I could do it less expensively if I went with cheaper components but that would defeat the purpose of having an utterly reliable boat. We have always been about keeping the boat as simple as possible, focusing on it's sailing capabilities, and on our ability to maintain it for a reasonable cost. Yes, we have spent a lot of time making it comfortable too, but to us that means lots of accessible storage, good sleeping arraignments, simple convenient bathing system, good galley layout with plenty of work top space, an efficient icebox, and uncluttered decks. To this point, we have not spent that much on the rebuild when you consider how much we have done. Most of our funds have gone into wood, epoxy, a couple hundred feet of biaxial tape, fasteners, varnish, bottom and topside paint, and sand paper (a lot of sandpaper). We bought the heater, galley faucet, stove, water tanks, SS kerosene tank, three though-hulls and seacocks, and windvane new. We bought the bronze for the bulwark brackets but we fabricated them ourselves. We bought the dinghy, oil nav lights, bronze bilge pump, and bronze windlass used. We still have to buy the cushions and upholstery and new rigging. We have some sails to purchase along with some anchor chain and additional ground tackle. We will make our own canvas. There have been a lot of below the radar expenditures but we have kept track. Many of the tools I already had and the ones I bought I don't count since I use them for other non boat projects. The boat is in our back yard so there are no boat yard fees. Of course, I have a couple hundred thousand dollars of labor in the project but I owned the labor all ready . . . so I don't count it either. Having said that, we have no plans for refrigeration, watermaker, radar, SSB, shore power, electric auto pilot, inverters, or a chart plotter. So, cost wise, we are in great shape.
Back to the lighting--the smart thing to do would be to run the wiring for a basic system now, shunt the ends, and it will be in place if we want to go that way later. But, it's still a distraction . . . . I'll think about it some more over the next couple of weeks . . . then I have to decide.
I admit I have wasted some time the last week wandering around trying to get reoriented on the next project. I did not know whether to start on the cabinet doors or finish off the galley shelving. It did not help that the winter "plague" that we have managed to avoid the last three years really walloped us this past week. Everyone got sick. But, we are on the mend now. Finally, I started working on shelving for the galley (below the galley counter top) and the port side locker. I also glued up the mahogany staving for the divider (and applied five coats of varnish to it) that will support the dish rack above the galley counter top. This evening I glued and screwed the fiddle to the portside galley counter top. Tomorrow I'll install the galley counter top and probably start work on the dish rack.
6 Feb 13
Yesterday, I cut the teak for the trim around the sink. I used epoxy and clamped the teak in place overnight to cure. As I mentioned before, my preferred option was to install the sink over an ash counter with ash trim--the same as the workspace counter top to the left. But, since I used a solid surface under the sink I decided to trim it in teak. My thinking was that if the counter was going to be impervious to water I might as well use trim that was equally rugged. My only concern is there are several different colors/wood in a small space. The teak needs to be sanded to clean up the very light epoxy smudge and I need cut a very light radius on the aft peice of teak trim. I removed the clamps this morning and drilled the hole for the Fynspray brass galley faucet. I think the entire sink system is very practical. I'll have to let my eye get used to the different woods and colors before I decide if I like the look.
I taped everything off and appied straight epoxy and let it tack up before adding a thin coat of slightly thickened epoxy. Then, I clamped the pieces in place to cure overnight.
I temporarily installed the galley sink and counter. I drilled the hole for the Fynspray brass faucet.
Over the last week or so I applied six coats of varnish to the lower cabinet face under the head sink. I decided to match the same face that is part of the closet just aft of the sink. It is removable to gain better access under the sink. There is a little storage under the sink but not a lot due to the slope of the hull. I'll install some cleats for shelving.
The 3/32" silicon bronze I ordered from Atlas Metal last week arrived. I used my jigsaw to cut two strips about 1 1/2 wide and 6 1/4" long to serve as a bracket for the nav lights. I filed the edges smooth. I clamped them in a vise and bent a small "S" turn so there would be a 1/8" offset. Then I drilled two holes in each strip of #8 x1" bronze screws. I attached them to the lower part of the dinghy chocks just above the Nav Light pads. As you can see in the photo, the slot in the back of the nav light fits over the bronze bracket. I'll eventually add a safety lanyard with a snap hook. Early this evening I lit off the nav lights. The are quite bright and the lens is at least 4 times larger than the original incandescent navlights that came with the boat. To make this work, and not be a PITA, I need to install a tap off the main kerosene feed line for the refleks heater. The tap needs to be near the bottom of the companionway ladder so lanterns can easily be filled directly into the resivoir without a funnel or associated kabuki dance. The main kerosene tank is 10 gallons and it's located in the starboard side cockpit locker and has a direct feed to the refleks heater in the forward part of the saloon. When I bought the lanterns, I found them used, I replaced the burners with ones that have a chimney which makes them unlikely to be blown out in high winds. The mod was simple. Unscrew the original and screw the new one right into the reservoir.
The bracket is cut from 3/32" thick silicon bronze. I bent the "S" turn into the bracket by clamping it into a vise. The slot in the back of the lantern drops right over the bracket. It's very secure.
I have often heard folks say oil lamps are not bright enough. They look plenty bright to me.
4 Feb 13
For the last couple of days I have been working on the galley counter and the sink countertop in particular. The countertop work station, on the portside that runs fore and aft, is solid ash. I plan to leave it bare. But, what to do about the counter under the sink. I had originally planned to leave it bare too but the Opella SS sink that I bought has a problem. The lip is not flat. It curves down on the ends and so it would not lay flush. I made numerous phone calls to Opella, leaving voice mails, and sent emails but they never responded. So, I won’t be buying an Opella product again. More on the flange later. I thought about having the bare ash with an under-mount sink and that might work. But, I figured the space is small and there is some wood movement issues with the wood frame surrounding this particular part of the counter. I also begin to have second thoughts about the bare ash around the sink. I looked into some granite and other options but it just didn’t feel right. The other day I stumbled onto a solid surface manufacturer up the road so I stopped in to chat. They ended up giving me an off-cut for free. The best part is it looks like real granite, much better than others I have seen—the crystals are random size and scattered. They make their own tops out in the work shop right behind the store front. It’s basically a Corian knock off. I was not sure it would look right but I thought I would give it a try since it is waterproof and bonds well with epoxy, etc. If it worked, it would solve the concerns I had and cost almost nothing.
I made a template of the space and took the off-cut outside. I decided to lay out the template in such a way that I would have enough for a second one if I messed it up. I traced the lines and cut the top with my jigsaw leaving about 1/8” outside the line. It cut easily. Then, I used a straight edge and a pattern cutting router bit with the guide bearing at the top. I used my small laminate trimmer. Again, it cut easily and left a smooth line. I test fit the piece in the boat and it fit well. I liked the light color as it seemed to blend in with the ash counter top. Next, needed to make a template for the sink cut-out. I laid the sink upside down on a piece of scrap ¼” ply and traced around the inside lip by reaching through the drain hole. I cut along the line with my Bosh jig saw and then spent about 20 minutes sanding the edge smooth. With little room for error I spent some time carefully measuring how the sink needed to fit into the tight space I had to work with. Then, I clamped the pattern to the countertop and traced the line. I removed the pattern, drilled a 3/8” hole as a start point for my jigsaw well inside the line and cut about 1/8” to the inside of the line making the hole for the sink. Next, I clamped the pattern back in place and then used the router to smooth the edge. Pretty simple. Then, I used a ¼” round over bit to radius the edge. The inside edge was a little bumpy. I took some 400 grit wet/dry paper and a rubber block and sanded the edge with some water. It cleaned right up. I was amazed how easy the material was to work with. I went back over the edge with some 600 wet/dry lubricating it with water as I sanded. The manufacturer told me I could polish it if I wanted with a buffer and automotive polish. But, it looked fine to me . . . very smooth in fact. I test fit the top with the sink clamped in place and it looked good.
The flange. That darn flange was going to be a problem. This particular sink was designed to be either a drop in or under-mount. But, the flange lip was in the way of the different clamps ideas I was working with. What to do? I turned the sink upside down, clamped it in place and took my 4 ½” Makita high speed grinder with a heavy grinding wheel in it and just ground the downward turning lip off. It took about 30 minutes and made a hell of a racket. But, it came out looking fine. Tim Lackey gave me some tips on a bracket. I used some scrap teak and cut them to length. I drilled a ¼” hole in each end. With the sink clamped in place I flipped it upside down and made marks on the bottom. I used a 13/64” bit with a stop collar and drilled down through the teak cleat into the underside of the countertop. Then, I tapped the holes for ¼” bolts. I test fit the set up. I taped off the edge of the sink cut out and the sink as well with 3M 233 tape. I wiped the sink flange down with some acetone as well as the area on the counter top that would get bedded. I had a half tube of Boat Life white polysulfide on hand so I used it. I wanted to avoid silicone if possible plus the polysulfide would also provide some adhesive properties as well. I applied a thick bead and using the black sharpie marker outline of the sink flange on the under side of the counter I lowered the sink into position. I attached the cleats and snugged down the fasteners getting squeeze out all the way around. I scraped up the excess caulk then pulled the tape. There was no mess and a very clean line. In fact, with the counter an off white the caulk is barely visible. I left it to cure.
27 Jan 13
Yesterday, I completed the seats for the settees. The easiest way to build the seats would have been to use 1/2" okume plywood . . . the whole process would have been much simpler. But, there were several reasons why I decided to use juniper for the seats. First, I had left over juniper from the bunk boards. In fact, I had just enough to make the seats. Second, the juniper is lighter than even okume plywood and since I have added weight to the boat from the mahogany staving I am always thinking about making up for that weight--though, to be sure, it is not much. Third, I plan to leave the juniper bare and therefore gain the benefit of the aromatic qualities associated with this fine boatbuilding wood. Last, there were a few techniques I wanted to try out to improve my woodworking skills.
With those thoughts driving my decision I began to construct the seats after gluing the planks up several days ago. First, I removed the clamps and then scraped any excess glue squeezed from the joints. Next, I sanded the juniper seats to smooth out the edges and remove any marks from the scrapping. I measured the settees and then cut the juniper planks into sections 19 7/8"" wide (fore and aft) and 19 1/4" deep ('thwartship)--the settees are 60" long. I test fit the planks to make sure they would fit. Next, I milled the left over 8/4 mahogany, resawing and cutting it to the proper lengths, to get the pieces I needed to serve as cleats for the bottom of the seats. These cleats stiffen the seats but the real purpose is to allow the seats to slide back and fourth on the other mahogany cleats I attached to the inside of the settee box several days ago. I had to leave enough room under the seat and around the cleats for the fabric that will cover the seats to be stapled. You can't tell in the photos but the front underside of the seats has about 1/4" gap between it and the top of the vertical panel that comprises the front of the settee box. That gap allows room for the fabric that will cover the cushion and be stapled to the underside of the seat.
The real challenge for me was how to attach the cleats to the seats and still allow the wood the ability to expand and contract with changing temperature and humidity. I knew that this would be a big issue for the juniper as most of it is plain sawn (which is more affected by changing humidity than quartersawn wood) and also because it won't be sealed. I decided I would cut elongated slots near the outboard ends for the fasteners to pass through into the mahogany cleats. The center fastener is fixed tightly in place. In fact, the center of the cleat can be glued in place as the wood will expand and contract across it's width from a fixed point. I learned that I had two choices--attached it firm on one side and "float" the other fasteners or attach it firm in the middle and float the outboard fasteners. I chose the latter. The purpose of the fender washers is to better allow the wood to slide under the fastener as it expands and contracts. Again, I could/can glue the middle and not use the center fasteners. The assembly was straight forward. Once the cleats were attached I placed the seats in the boat. I don't think you will be able to feel the fasteners under 4" thick cushions. Anyway, now that all the bunks and the settees are completed we can begin to meet with several upholsterer to get estimates for cushions and fabric. Also, we can make minor modifications to the seats as the upholster recommends to best support this particular design. .
25 Jan 13
With the dinghy chocks more or less complete I shifted my focus back to the interior and the settees. The design, based on the Pardey's Taleisin, incorporates multiple sections for each settee. The cushion, and the upholstery covering it, are secured to the seat itself. I am making the seat out of juniper left over from the bunk boards. For the Far Reach, we are planning on three sectional seats per side--basically each seat about 20" deep by 20" wide. On the underside of the seat are attached ash cleats that slide on the mahogany runners that I secured yesterday to the inside of the settee compartment. I milled the front runner 1"x1" and the back one is 1 1/2" by 1 1/2". The back one is wider to support the runner that has to be offset under the seat to allow room for the fabric to be pulled over the edge of the juniper and stapled underneath. That is probably about as clear as mud. I'll post some more pictures when I complete the seats. Anyway, the advantage of this set up is a seat section and be lifted up and placed on either the other two sections. Then, the seats can be slid fore and aft to gain complete access to the storage area without having to lift up an entire cushion and flail around with individual hatch opening, as is the case with most settee storage design I have seen.
The interior is looking a little more complete.
23 Jan 13
For the last couple of days I have been working on the dinghy chocks and navigation light pads. In my last entry I posted some pictures of the pine mock ups. Once that was complete I went ahead and milled the 8/4 (2" thick) teak down to 7/4 (1 3/4" thick) teak. The bronze brackets are made for 1 3/4" thick blocks. It seems like overkill to me but that is how then came. If I made the pattern my self, as I did for the gammon iron, I would have made it for a thinner stock, e.g. 1 1/4 or 1 1/2" max. Anyway, the first order of business was to remove the pine mockups one by one and use them as a template for the teak. I decided to make the top outboard corners a little lower and I softened the them an aggressive round-over. I also cut round-overs along all the edges. I used a combination square to transfer the lines. I used a Bosh jig saw to make the first cuts to create the ledges for the dinghy gunwale to sit on and then used a combination of chisels and cabinet maker rasps to create the curves and inside corners. It was pleasant work and I have gained a lot of confidence in the last few years using hand tools. I am by no means and expert but I can tell that I am able to achieve what I want without near the fuss and worry when I first started this project.
The bronze and teak dinghy chocks are ready to be installed along with the pads for the navigation lights.
The challenge was to fit all the components--bronze bases, vertical chocks, and kerosene navigation lights together in the limited amount of room available. I would have liked to have made the vertical teak part of the chocks tilt inward about 3 degrees to match the slope of the cabin sides. But, if I wanted to put the navigation lights outboard of the aft chocks, where they are easy to access, there was not enough room. The 9’ fatty knees is 54” wide. That’s right. It’s exactly half as wide as it is long! It’s a fat boy. By the way, it sails great and carries a ton of stuff . . . it’s no wonder. Anyway, the geometry problem limited what I could do. Visually, if the cabin side slopes in, and the posts are vertical, then the post will appear to slope outward. I decided that I could afford to tilt the vertical chocks inward about 1 degree. I could then cut the navigation light pads so they tilted outboard about 1-2 degrees which I hoped would create the illusion of the vertical teak chocks appearing to slope more inward. With that decision made, I slightly recut the lower bevel on the bottom of the teak chocks and mounted them with one screw for now.
A couple of days ago I laminated two layers of 1” thick Burmese teak together with Aerodux 185, which is a cold weather resorcinol adhesive. After it cured, I traced the foot print of the kerosene navigation lights onto the pads and took the two teak blocks over to my friend’s house where he has a band saw. I cut the pattern out with a 5 degree bevel. I think 8-10 degrees would have looked better but, again, the amount of room I had limited my options. As it is, a five degree bevel softened the edges quite a bit. Next, took the flat bottomed pads up to the boat and blocked them so they were level on top. I used a compass to scribe a line following the camber of the cabin top onto the sides of the teak pads. Then, I used double-sided tape to clamp the pads upside down to a table top and with a power hand planer carefully cut away the excess teak till I was about ¼” from the scribed line. Then, I used my smoothing plane to hand plane them right to the line. I test fit them a couple of times to make sure all was well. Satisfied, I hit the bottom with a belt sander to smooth everything out—not really necessary as the hand planed bottom was very smooth. While planing the bottom I used the resorcinol glue line as a reference point to making sure the bottom was flat. If the line curves, then the slope is not even across the bottom. I also checked for flatness with a straight edge. With the slope cut in the pads I used a ¼” round-over bit and a router to turn the edges. I cut the pads a little short intentionally so there is a gap between the bronze bracket and the pad to prevent water from collecting there. I have not mounted the pads yet. In the photo they are held in place with double sided tape.
The teak pads for the navigation lights will be bedded with polysulfide. When the temps warm up in the next week or so, I will drill down through the pad into the deck. I’ll then over-drill the hole in the deck, same as I did for the bronze chock brackets, fill with epoxy, tap, and then insert a 1/” threaded bolt. Once they are mounted I will attach a vertical piece of bronze or copper strip several inches long and about an inch wide, screwed to the lower edge of the teak chock that the slot in the lantern will slide over and hold it in place. I’ll also attach a bronze cleat to each chock so the dinghy can be properly secured.
20 Jan 13
After the epoxy cured it was time to tap the holes for 1/4"-20 bolts that will secure the bronze dinghy chock brackets to the deck. I drilled the holes with a 13/64 bit using a small wood block as a drill guide that kept the drill bit perpendicular and plumb. It also served as a depth stop. Next, I chamfered the top of the hole which will force bedding compound down in around the bolt when the brackets are tightened down with bedding compound. Next, I ran a plunge tapp down 1 1/4" then followed it with a bottom tap for a blind hole 1 7/16" deep. After tapping all the holes, I temporarily installed the brackets with some 1 1/2" 304 ss flat head bolts I had on hand.
After installing the bronze brackets I measured for the vertical posts. I used some scrap 2x6 white pine to serve as mock up/templates and cut them to length. I cut the bottom bevel to match the slope of the bracket after determining it with the protractor head off my combination square. After checking for fit, I cut the upper edges with a notch in the outside corners, to capture the dinghy gunwale, which you can see in the photo gallery below. Then, I used a spirit level across the keelson of the dinghy to make sure it was level and plumb. Satisfied, I drove some screws in the pine temporarily securing them to the brackets. Right now, the transom of the dinghy sits about two inches above the sliding section of the companionway which seems like a good height.
Last, I laminated two layers of teak planks with Aerodux 185 (cold weather resorcinol adhesive) in preparation for making the "shelves" for the navigation lights.
18 Jan 12
I finished drilling out the holes for the dinghy chock brackets. After drilling them out with the 3/4" fostner bit, I very slightly undercut the balsa core so the plug could not simply pull out. Normally, I would dig out the balsa core a 1/2" or so but this time I only removed about 1/8" under the top skin of the deck. I wetted out the balsa core with unthickend epoxy and then used a large syringe to fill the cavity with slightly thickened "soupy" epoxy. I used 404 thickener instead of my normal 406 because the West System tech rep stated 404 was much better at dissipating the heat that can build to a "cook off" if you are filling a large void. Because the deck has a lot of camber I could not fill the hole flush as it would run out. If I made the epoxy too think it would be hard to ensure the hole was completely filled and without air bubbles. So, I filled it to just level with the lower edge. I left it till it was firm but still tacky then topped it off epoxy thickened to a non-sag consistency and used a squeegee to smooth it flush with the deck. Then, I left it over night to cure. The temperatures are dropping here tonight so I may let it continue to cure tomorrow before tap it for the bolts
I filled the holes in two stages with thickened epoxy. The first fill was with very thin epoxy to fill the voids. Then, after it began to cure I added some thicker epoxy to fair it flush with the deck.
17 Jan 13
Soon, I will start installing the mahogany trim. Once I do that it will be more difficult to remove the overhead panels. So, now is the time to install the bronze brackets for the dinghy chocks. If you have been a long time reader of this website then you know I have attempted to eliminate as many holes as possible that that pass all the way through the deck. As such, I did not want to through bolt the dinghy chock brackets either . . . for three reasons: first, I did not want any holes to pass through the deck that could potentially leak; second, If I through bolted the brackets and the Far Reach were swept by green water the dinghy might well be ripped off the boat and large chucks of the cabin top with it, and third, I can remove and rebed the brackets without removing the headliner. So, I decided to drill oversize holes, fill with epoxy, and tap them as "blind" holes. A "blind" hole is one that bottoms out without passing all the way through the other side. If water gets past the bedding compound and into the threaded hole it has no path to gain access into the interior of the boat. Anyway, the idea is if the dinghy is stressed to the point of being ripped off the cabin top I would prefer to have as little of the deck go with it as possible and tapped holes should do that. However, the deck is only about 1" thick and I wanted more material to tap into. The solution was to position the brackets in line with the dougfir plywood cleats I installed as part of the overhead panel and insulation system. To make sure I was drilling in the right place I removed the panels so I could measure precisely. Though a little tricky Gayle and were able to get the 9' Fatty Knees dinghy from its dolly onto the cabin top with only a little difficulty but, more importantly, no drama. Next, I moved the dinghy around till I got it aligned and then blocked it level. I had the dinghy chock brackets cast at Port Townsend Foundry last year. I played around with them for a while with some wood scrap to see where they needed to be positioned. The challenge was the offset companionway hatch left little room on the starboard side for the chocks. The best solution I could come up with required the bracket to overlap the teak companionway rail. To do this the bracket would need to be raised two inches to be even with the top of the rail. I did not want to mess with the rail but it was the best solution.
I started by scribing the complex curve of the rail onto a piece of door skin plywood. Then, I trimmed it till it fit. Next, I traced the pattern on to a scrap piece of 2x4 and shaped it to see that I would be able to make it fit properly. Good to go. Next, I took 60" long, 6" wide, 8/4 piece of teak I have been saving for two years just for this project. I ran it across the joiner and then through the planer to make it square. I came up with my best estimate for the dimension of the wood supports (the actual chocks) that would be bolted into the brackets and the dinghy's gunwale would eventually rest on. I had just enough extra for the 2" tall, 2 1/4" wide base. I cut the sections and then used my previous template to trace the pattern onto this block of wood. It took about 45 min to trim the block to shape mostly with my cabinet maker's rasp. I was pleased with the fit.
Next, I used double sided tape to hold the base in place and made a little jig to sit on top of the base to make the router flush with the top of the companionway rail. I traced the end of the bracket onto the companionway rail then oh so carefully used the laminate trimmer with a small straight cut router bit to route out the wood. I was sweating bullets but it went fine. I was very careful and made about a half dozen passes each time lowering the bit until I got to the depth I wanted. I checked for fit. Very good.
Next, I laid the bracket on top of the base and marked the holes. I drilled 1/4" holes through the block with my drill press then used a hand drill to score the deck using the holes in the block as a guide. I used a 3/4" fostner bit to drill down through the deck and into but not all the way through the dougfir ply. cleats below I was able to drill 1 3/4" down which is plenty of depth for a strong tapped hole. The oversize hole will be filled with epoxy then a smaller hole drilled into it and tapped. The technique prevents water from gaining access into the vulnerable balsa core in the cabin top. It was to late to do much more other than mark the location for the other brackets. With a cold front coming through I will not be able to pour the epoxy for a few days. All in all, a good day.
15 Jan 13
In order to complete the walnut trim I needed to cut and install the wood plugs which I did, except for several of the vertical pieces that run up to the white panels under the side deck. I want to make sure I can remove those panels with the trim in place. Then, I will plug them too. At some point I will apply tung oil to the walnut trim which will give it a rich, smooth, dark chocolate color. I am pleased with the look and the ease of installation of the walnut and believe it will prove to be very durable and easy to maintain. Milling and installing the walnut proved to be a straight forward and relatively simple project.
I installed the walnut trim above the toe kick and trimmed the woodplugs.
The quarter berth area.
In order to install short panel with mahogany staving under the head sink I needed to install the mahogany plywood that will cover the last of the exposed fiberglass hull. I cut and epoxy coated those two sections months ago. To install the plywood I needed to make some brackets to hold them in place (I briefly considered gluing them down with some 4200 but decided that I wanted to be able to remove them if necessary) and also I needed to paint the hull below the cabin sole in the forward compartment. After fiddling around with the right set up I epoxied in the cleat system. I test fit the panels. Satisfied, it was time for painting prep work. I sanded the exposed fiberglass with 80 grit paper, vacuumed, wiped it down with acetone. I taped off the mahogany trim and then brushed on grey Interlux Bilge-Kote. What a difference it made. With that out of the way I can install the panel with the staving under the sink.
9 Jan 12
Since the first of the year I have been working on two projects: installing counter tops for the settee end table and under the sink in the head; and installing the walnut trim over the edges of the bulkheads and furniture components. Below are some photos of the walnut trim.
I milled about 15 BF of the 150 BF of black walnut I have on hand. After jointing one side and one edge, I ran it through the planer and took it down to 3/4" thick. I used a card scrapper to remove machine marks and any burn marks, which sometimes occur when pushing wood as hard as walnut through the table saw. The card scrapers have proven to be a very useful tool once I learned how to easily and quickly create a proper burr on the edges. Then, I ripped the planks to width as required. Some of the bulkheads, e.g. around the icebox are about 1.5" thick--the original 3/4" thick plywood bulkhead with 3/8" staving on each side of the ply. Some of the furniture, the edges of the pilot berths, for example, are only 7/8" thick--1/2" ply with 3/8" staving on only one side. I ripped the trim 1/8" wider than the edge I was fitting it to then I routered the top edges with a 1/4" round-over bit leaving the last inch or so of the ends of the trim square for a more elegant look. After trimming to length, I used a 1/2" round-over bit on the 90 degree outside angles. I used a block plane to cut a very small round over on the bottom edge that stands proud of the staving about 1/16" and sanded it smooth. The slight reveal will make it easier to varnish the staving when required. I counter-sunk each hole using two different size drill bits to ensure the fastener is pulling the trim down tight. I should complete installing the walnut trim tomorrow and then another day for wood plugs.
Adding the trim transformed the Far Reach from "construction phase" to a more finished appearance. I'll add more photos to the gallery over the next couple of days.