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.
28 Aug 13
Lots of progress and a surprise too! For the last week I have worked on several projects--propane locker, forward cabin bunk shelving, and the stiz tub. Today, I installed the teak trim around the sitz tub. Tomorrow, we will install the cleats for the seat, glue up the seat, and cut and install the ash ceiling. I cut dados for all the trim so it fits down over the inside edge of the tub. The V-grooves will act as drain holes and for air circulation. For more on the sitz click here and you can get the whole story.
The big news is my baby sister (I have three), a retired San Diego Fire Captain, showed up on my doorstep and said, I am here to help you get the Far Reach in the water! Wow! Not only is she extremely well organized--she has already made spread sheets and a calendar organizer of everything we need to do to get the boat in the water. She can handle tools and has woodworking and general boat skills as well. She is also a superb sailor. We grew up sailing together and lived on a 39' ketch when we were kids. She has also made several ocean passages and rebuilt her own Westsail 32. We work well together and enjoy each others company. She could not have come at a better time. It's great to have her here . . . she has already picked a launch date!
Those folks that have followed along with our adventure may recall that a few weeks ago I was very disappointed to learn that the Lite Cylinder Corporation, the maker of my composite propane cylinders, was put out of business by a mandatory US DOT recall of all the cylinders they had manufactured. The worst part of this surprising event was I completed the propane locker the very day I learned of the recall. The Lite Cylinder bottles were the narrowest on the market and that is one reason I chose them. After spending a couple of weeks thinking about my options I went ahead and bought three aluminum 10lb cylinders which are 3/4" wider. They arrived and with only a little modification I was able to fit two of the three cylinders into my propane locker. The locker will require a grinder, epoxy, and paint (which I don't want to do) to fit accommodate the third bottle. Nonetheless, for the time being I am declaring victory. I will probably stick with two bottles for a while and see if it serves our purpose. If not, I'll modify the locker at some point in the future for the third cylinder.
My sister and I installed shelves under two of the three compartments that form the base for the double berth in the forward cabin. To keep the weight down, I used mahogany for the cleating stock and Juniper for the shelves. I understand that juniper has some anti fungal properties and it repels bugs. If nothing else, it smells great. We will only varnish the top and leave the underside bare to take advantage of its aromatic qualities.
Below is a gallery of pictures for the installation. All pretty straight forward. I used the protractor off my Starett Combination Square to determine the angle of the hull and cut matching bevels on blocks that I epoxied to the hull to support the outboard edge of the shelves. This is the same method I used under the galley counter and in the lazarette to support the shelves there too. With the shelves installed the usability of the storage under the double berth is much improved. The juniper and mahogany construction is also very light weight. I'll eventually cut finger holes in the panels.
20 Aug 13
Work on the bulwarks continues. After the resorcinol glue dried in the scarf joint, I removed the clamps,and set up a long infeed and outfeed table for router table and milled a tongue and groove along the full length of the long mahogany planks that make up the bottom and top bulwark strakes to ensure that they would be properly aligned when bolted to the vertical support plates. I cut the tongue in the top edge of bottom strake and the grove in the bottom edge of the top strake. Then, used the router with a round over bit to radius what would be the bottom edge of the lower of the two bulwark strakes as well as a V-groove that would extend along the joint between the two strakes on the outboard side. Unfortunately, I only had enough mahogany to make the bottom strakes and just one of the four top strakes. None-the-less, I pressed ahead with what I had on hand. The 1 1/2" bronze bolts and nuts did not arrive by the time I was ready to start so I used some SS ones I had in order to keep moving forward. When I remove the strakes for painting and bedding I will replace them with the bronze bolts and nuts. It's a small think but I want to have bronze nuts on the bonze vertical plates. The SS would be fine and I don't think it would be a "galvanic" issue but simply look better and of course will last forever.
To install the strakes I started by placing 1" thick spacer blocks next to the bulwark stanchion and support bases to insure a constant gap between the gunwale and the bottom edge of the bulwark. Then, I clamped the strake in place extending well forward of where I would bolt it so I could determine the proper arc to scribe the butt block to join the two 18'+ long sections. Once I scribed the line, cut, and test fit the butt block I unclamped the strake and slide it back to the proper position, reclamped and then drilled and bolted it in place. (See entry below for making the butt block). I used 1/8" drill bit to drill through the predrilled holes in the stanchion base vertical plates back through the strake (from inboard to outboard). Next, I drilled the countersink from the outboard side. Then, I drill through that hole with a 1/4" bit, installed the bolt, and tightened the nut down. I then moved to the next bracket and so on and so forth. Once I was at the predetermined amidships location I had to install the butt block to join the two 18'+ long strakes. I chose not to scarf this joint for a couple of reasons. (1) I did not want to scarf a 38 foot long section of mahogany and (2) because I plan to install a hawse pipe at that location I would have to have a backing block anyway.
Normally, butt blocks are not very long, but to work properly then need to span just short of the full distance between adjacent frames . . . or in this case the vertical support plates. The span between the vertical plates that support the bulwarks is about 40 inches. If I made a short butt block the wood could twist or deflect from the desired arc. So, the butt block would need to span about 38 inches. I used some 5/4 white oak I had on hand. I ripped it to 4 1/2" wide and 39" long and then placed it along the area where it would be bolted. I marked the arc on the edge of the oak and then took it to a work bench. I used a flexible batten to create the proper arc and marked it with a pencil. Then, I used a power planer and belt sander to trim the oak to the prescribed arc. It did not take very long to get a good tight fit. With that complete I proceeded with bolting the bulwark strake in place.
I installed the lower strake sections on both sides of the boat. I made the port side butt block in the same manner used for the starboard side. With the lower strake installed I test fit the one upper strake I had see how it fit and to check for height, etc. I though it looked great. As mentioned previously, it will be topped with a 2/8" tall cap rail. The total bulwark height will be about 6 1/2" including the 1" gap at the bottom. It will dramatically increase safety when sailing, especially offshore.
14 Aug 13 More Scarffing
Yesterday and today I have been working on the bulwark scarfs. I am getting much better with the scarfing jig. At some point I would like to be able to do this with hand planes . . . but not now. Now is time to finish the rebuild and get the boat into the water. From start to finish it takes about 15 minutes to cut a 24" long scarf. First, I look the planks over and determine how they will be fit together. I'd like for them to be perfectly straight but sometimes, even after milling there is a slight bow. That's OK since I will have to bow them when they are installed to follow the sheer. But, I want the planks to be straight or have one very slight but continuous bow--no "S" curves. After I determine the layout, I place one plank in the jig and draw a line using the tapered part of the jig as a guide along the plank. Then, I remove the plank and use my jig saw to cut off the excess about 1/16" away from the line. I trim both planks the same way. Next, I lay both planks in the jig and clamp them in place making sure they are flat to the bottom of the jig. I set the router bit depth to remove about 1/16" - 3/32" of wood. Then I work the router back and forth across the planks letting the tapered edges of the jig do the work. I start at the top and work to the bottom. I incorporate a squeeze clamp to secure the planks in place and along with the other two clamps every thing remains secure and steady. When the router has move down to the squeeze clamp I remove the clamp and then clamp it behind the router and continue on. When I have routered the planks to the bottom and I am satisfied with the results, I removed the clamps and sand the beveled faces with some 120 grit paper on a block and take the planks to the saw horses for gluing.
I spread some plastic sheeting where the joint will straddle the saw horse. I check the fit of the scarf and align the two parts. I use a pencil to make three alignment marks to ensure they are clamped together with a proper fit. Next, I mix up some Aerodux 185 resorcinol glue: five parts resin to one part powered hardener . . . by weight. I have a little digital scale I bought at Walmart. Next, I use an acid brush and apply the glue to both surfaces. Stir it well. Then I clamp the joint tight with numerous clamps. Let it sit over night. I had enough mahogany for the bottom bulwark planks for both the port and starboard sides and for one of the four planks for the top bulwark. Tomorrow, I will router the tenon for the tongue and groove edge to ensure the planks are aligned when installed. The top planks will have the mortise. I'll need a little more mahogany to finish of the bulwarks. But, I have enough to keep me busy for the next few days.
11 Aug 13
It has been extremely hot and humid here. Not much fun working on the boat but I try to do something everyday. I finally started on the bulwarks. The basic design is three layers of wood stacked one on top of the other, bolted to the vertical bronze stanchion and bulwark bases, with V grooves between to serve as a divider and avoid a slab sided appearance. The picture to the right (scrap pine mock up) shows the bottom two horizontal pieces, without the V groove. They will be topped by a third smaller piece. The lower, wider pieces will be painted blue and the top piece white. I have to scarf two pieces together to get the length I need (about 18 feet long). The forward section and the aft section will be joined amidships by a hawse pipe with a backing block. I ripped the mahogany about 2 3/4" wide which is wider than I need. I want to allow for any "bowing" and then I will have enough width that I can run them over the jointer and straighten them back out. I will probably start scarfing tomorrow.
Ripping the mahogany to oversize width.
Pine mock up of the bulwarks to determine milling requirements.
I mostly completed the installation of the recently varnished trim. I decided it will look a little cleaner if I use #10 1 1/4" bronze round head screws for the vertical trim that covers the outboard edge of the bulkheads. I have oval heads but I did not pre drill the holes before we varnished these specific pieces and the margin of error when drilling the chamfer for the oval head screw is too small . . . in other words I'd probably tear up the varnish around the screw head. A round head screw makes it much easier. Other than that, the trim is in. The pictures to the right do not do justice. There is too much glare and reflection from the flash. I'll shoot some more pictures when we have better natural light.
Overhead trim in the forward compartment.
Overhead trim in the saloon.
6 Aug 13
We are sitting tight on the propane bottle for now. There is no need to react and get drastic with the grinder as we have time and there is plenty of other work to do. In the meantime, perhaps Lite Cylinder will come back on line and start making propane bottles . . . in which case we will buy some the same size as those that fit our locker and that will solve the problem. If not, I'll modify the locker to fit the 10 lb aluminum bottles.
For the past two weeks we have been all about varnish work . . . as in work. We removed all the trim we installed early in July (80 pieces) and applied seven coats of varnish. We used our garage. I strung a larger overhead plastic barrier cloth over the work area to catch falling dust in the garage. Gayle and I sanded together then I went to the boat and she varnished. She is getting pretty good at it. I worked on the propane locker and other small chores. I installed wood plugs in the interior trim along the top and bottom of the cabin-sides. I also installed wood plugs in the trim for the deck hatches. When the trim we removed was varnished, it was time to tape off the interior trim and start the laborious process of sanding and applying six to seven coats of varnish. It's hot, tedious, and boring work inside the boat. We started with 120 to sand down the wood plugs after I trimmed them short with a chisel. Then we sanded with 180 and applied the first coat of Epifanes High Gloss varnish, thinned 50 percent with mineral spirits. Next we sanded with 220 and thinned the second coat 25 percent. We moved up to 320 sand paper and applied straight varnish. For exterior teak (the companionway trim) we sand with 150 through the whole process. Exterior varnish has a tough life and the more aggressive grit provides more "tooth" for the varnish to grab onto and make it a little more durable. Some people claim you can see the scratches but I can't see them. It's looks perfect to my eye.
I thought we would apply the last coat today, but Gayle had business to attend to so I sanded by myself and it took over four hours. The, I had to vacuum and perform a mineral spirits wipe down. By then, I was soaked in sweat and was just too wore out to varnish. With this being perhaps the last coat, I wanted to be alert and rested so I would do a good job. I took my son to the local swimming pool and marveled his swimming skills and how much he has grown. Life is good even if the boat remains in the backyard.
With luck, tomorrow will be the last coat.
I while back I resawed two planks of 8/4 juniper into 9/16" thick planks for the purpose of shelving. It's very light weight and if you only varnish one side the other side remains very aromatic. It is also bug repellent. I used strips of door skin ply and a hot glue gun to make the patterns. A very simple project. Eventually, we will varnish the top side and leave the underside bare. I have plenty left over to use for shelving under the forward double berth.
25 July 13: I don't even know what to call this post.
I just received the Aug 2013 Practical Sailor today and opened it up tonight to find on pg 5 a notice that Lite Cylinder propane tanks have been recalled. Searching on the internet indicates the company has shut down due to massive recall that appears to invlove all of thier tanks. What's the "so what." Today, I just finished applying the final coat of paint on the propane locker after a week of modifying it to fit the Lite Cylinder 10 lb propane bottles I bought three years ago (see photo gallery below I uploaded earlier today). The whole design was based on these narrow 10" wide cylinders. I don't think there are any cylinder, other than steel, that will fit the space, and I won't even consider steel. Unless, I locate another cylinder manufacturer with cyclinders 9 1/2" wide x 17" tall or smaller I will need to cut all that work out of the locker. I think I can fit 10 lb aluminum cylinders in the locker with some mods. Incredible. Tomorrow, I look at the recall notice more closely but the initial read looks like it includes all the cyclinders.
15 July 13
Work continues on the trim. I have completed about 90 percent of the trim under the side deck--the cabin top trim is complete. Currently, I am working on the trim under the foredeck. It's slow going just because there are a lot of angles and it's back and forth to the chop saw and up and down the ladder. I probably should move the saw up onto the boat.
Anyway, the next project is to paint the underside of the cockpit locker hatch lids and the underside of the seahood and the sliding companionway hatch. I removed them today and wiped them down with some Interlux 202. Tomorrow I will sand and with some luck I'll get a coat of paint applied.
When the last major piece of trim is installed we will remove it and spend a week or so varnishing and reinstalling it. The Far Reach looks great. Soon, I will start on the bulwarks.
6 July 13
Today I completed the installation of the interior cabin top trim. I think the battens look great. The trim for both hatches is complete as well. I have s few wood plugs to install and all of the trim will eventually be removed for varnishing. I put a light radius on the battens--about 1/8". I will router the outboard edge of the deck hatch trim but it will be a little more agressive.
I have already begun installing the trim under the side decks and hope to have it complete in a few days. I need to add some trim to the ash ceiling and on the exposed bottom edge of the plywood cabin sides as well.
There is still a lot to do but the interior appears to be transforming right in front of my eyes . . . of course that is the way it always is with trim, in a house or a boat.
3 July 13
For the last week or so I have been working exclusively on interior trim. It's really coming together. There are a series of entries below since my last post. The weather has been hot with a lot of rain for the past week so the humidity is very high.
Today's work was focused on installing the interior trim around the deck hatches. I cut the vertical pieces from some 8/4 mahogany. I cut a piece off about 24" long X 12" wide and ripped that into 3" wide pieces. Then I resawed them on the table saw about 1/2" thick and cleaned them up on the planer. I decided to cut miters vice a simple butt joint to fit them into the opening under the hatch. They seem to me more secure that way and I think it looks a little better since the bottom edge will be visible. Next, I needed to consider how to trim in the vertical pieces. I am exploring two options. The first is to cut curves into thick pieces and match them to the camber of the overhead. The second is to install simple battens like the rest of the overhead trim. The latter is simpler I think but I thought I would try the former first. The main reason is I need to install 'thwartship overhead battens that will connect to the fore and aft hatch trim. If they are the same thickness I am concerned the edges won't match perfectly and that make it look sloppy. If I make the hatch trim a little thicker then it will create a "reveal" which makes the joinery look cleaner. If I don't like the result it will be fairly easy to switch to "batten" trim around the vertical pieces.
I originally planned to install laminated beams. I built a jig and laminated a test beam, about 1 1/2" wide and an inch thick. I used four strips of 1/4" pine. It turned out nice but there was a little spring back. I think I could correct it with some minor tweaking. However, the more I thought about it the more it seemed like I was making this harder than it needed to be . . . installing laminated beams against an already installed and fixed in place overhead was going to be very difficult.
I decided to experiment with using 3/8" thick mahogany "battens" that are "sprung" into place. It was a little tricky because as you tighten down on the screws the batten is compressed a little more than when you determine the length by measuring and thus the ends withdraw leaving gaps at the outboard ends. But, I pretty quickly figured out the technique. Once I selected where the batten was to be installed, I used a tailor's cloth measuring tape along the overhead to determine the length of the batten. Then, I cut the batten long to allow for the bevels on each end (the side of the batten against the overhead panels is shorter than the side that faces the cabin sole) and some extra "just-in-case" length. Next, I used a small sliding bevel gauge to determine the two angles necessary to make the proper bevel cuts on the chop saw. The first is to match the inward horizontal slant of the cabin top from outboard towards the centerline. The second angle is the vertical slant of the cabin top from the inboard edge of the side deck up to the outboard edge of the cabin top. I transferred the lines to the battens as well as the angles in degrees. I took the batten to the chop saw, cut the compound bevels, made a few trips back and forth to sneak up on the cut and then left it a little long to allow for contraction as I tightened the screws down snug. I used number 8, bronze oval head screws. They look very good . . . better than I thought they would. The outboard joints are tight. Not installing wood plugs means I can remove the battens without drilling out the plugs. Also, I can apply all the varnish (6-7 coats) in the shop vice in the boat.
The trim is going in nicely. I used 3/8" thick mahogany battens instead of laminated deck beams.
I am not 100 percent happy with the outboard bulkhead trim. The issue is I installed the ash ceiling strips so tight that the ends can't be moved. The end is not a perfect arc. That meant that I either had to disassemble and reinstall all the ash trim (not likely at this point) or scribe to fit and change it later if I am unhappy with it. I decided to scribe to fit. Not a difficult project. I cut a piece of 1/8" ply about 3" wide and as long as the vertical height between the bunks and the overhead side deck panels. Then, I scribed the arc, cut it out with a jig saw, sanded it smooth, test fit it, interfered the line to 1/2" mahogany, trimmed with the jig saw, used spoke shave, block plane, and long board to clean it up and checked it for fit. I used a router to round over the inboard edge. I'll install them with bronze oval head screws so they can be easily removed if necessary. Final fit will occur after I install the battens covering the panels joints under the side decks.
I needed to install a wood pad around the opening for the Refleks heater flue pipe. I wanted to keep direct heat away from the closed cell insulation even though it is fire retardant. There will be a metal heat reflector sleeve installed as well. This was a necessary step before I could install the trim around the overhead panels.
As I mentioned earlier, we have had a lot of rain the past two weeks. The temperatures have also been high so the humidity has been 85 to 90 percent every day. Needless to say, there has been wood movement in a few places. So far, the raised panel doors are in great shape since the panels float in slots. I can't say as much for the icebox/chart table top. However, I was glad I only used two screws, one on each end to secure the top panel in place. The wood expanded away from where it was secured and jammed the lid shut. There was at least 1/8" gap after I installed it during the winter. I will remove the two screws, fill the holes with plugs, and slide the top back about another 1/8". I can't imagine I'll have higher humidity than what we have had so far this summer. This is a non-issue but thought it would be of use for other to see how much wood can move across the grain. I expected some but not this much.
21 Jun 13
With the exception of the overhead beams, I completed the cabin top trim today. This specific project got more complicated as it went forward due to the required scarfs, curves, and arches. The two long "rails," above and below the portlights, on the starboard side required 12:1 scarfs which were a new skill to me. I keep wondering how long one can have vertical learning curve, but there seems to be no end in sight. We will remove all the trim and then apply a couple of coats of varnish to it then reinstall. Plugging the countersinks will be next, followed by more wood plugs. I am pleased with how the trim has turned out so far. I think it is elegant and simple at the same time. The Far Reach is starting to come together.
There are a lot of angles going on here! After scribing the curves I cut them out with a jig saw then finished them up with a spoke-shave, low angle block plane, and a long board.
Both the starboard side rails had to be scarfed. I am pleased with how they turned out.
As the cabin top runs forward there is less and less room for trim between the outer edge of the overhead panels and the top of the portlight flanges. There is little room I did not know how to trim it out. I thought about it for a day or so while working on the rest of the trim. It occurred to me that I might be able to keep the same trim plan but recess it around the portlights. I had a leftover template from way back when I installed the cabin sides--probably two years ago. Gayle does not always buy into my argument for holding on to all this stuff as "I might need it one day." Hahahaha. Well, this time I was a genius for holding on to that template! I used it as a guide for scribing the the lines recessing the trim. Surprisingly, it was not very difficult. I think it looks pretty good as it allowed me to keep the same basic trim design all the way through the boat which I think looks better than switching it around inconsistently.
18 Jun 13
Today I installed the upper cabin side trim on the port side of the saloon. It was not terribly difficult. What I was most pleased about is the outboard edge of the overhead panels was straight--I spent a lot of time shimming and otherwise making the overhead cleats fair when I installed them last year. I have not done the starboard side yet as I have to decide if I want a single piece that is 13'6" long. There may be a way to align them and hide the joint with one of the overhead beams--and that may be a more practical solution. The starboard side only has a partial bulkhead forward of the saloon until the forward cabin. So, the upper trim is about 2 1/2' longer than the port side. Also, there is a decreasing amount of room between the outboard edge of the overhead panels and the top of the portlight as you move forward in the boat. In my mind, that complicates the solution. I'll decide which option tomorrow.
The real work today was installing the lower trim in the forward cabin. I found this to be a pretty difficult project since there were so many angles going so many different directions. Installing the corner pieces was a real stretch for my woodworking skills but I am pleased with the results and I am glad I went this direction.
16 Jun 13
Yesterday I made my first scarf that I will use on the boat. It went well. I was pleased with the results. I needed a piece of trim about 11 1/2' long and the longest piece I had on hand was 11'. I am still experimenting but I think I am getting the hang of it. The photo album below depicts the steps minus the gluing and clamping which I forgot to capture with a photo. I used Tightbond III for the adhesive. After unclamping I milled the wood to the final width and thickness and when I did the scarf lines pretty much disappeared unless you really looked hard. This is a nice skill to have.
As soon I milled the trim to the final width and thickness, I proceeded to install it in the boat. Because the trim will be "captured" on both ends by the fixed "knees," fitting the trim requires patience and very detailed measuring. I installed one of the faux knees then measure to the opposite bulkhead to know how long the trim needed to be. I used a small cut- off with similar dimensions as the trim as my template. I measured the two angle, vertical and horizontal, with a small sliding bevel gauge then determine the angle on my protractor. I transferred the lines from the bevel gauge to the template and wrote the angles on the template itself so I had less of a change of screwing it up. Then, I cut the compound bevel on my Dewalt chop saw. I checked the template against the knee and adjust the angles and recut if necessary, otherwise I then cut the actual trim with the same angles I used on the template. I clamp the trim in place then lay the opposite knee on the trim and draw the lines to cut. I confirm the angles with the bevel gauge, I install the second knee, and and then deliberately sneak up on the final cut making 3 or four cuts before I have the final fit. There maybe other ways to do it but this has worked well for me.
With the trim clamped in place I used a pencile to mark where the fasteners are to be installed. I use a calculator to get the exact spacing I want and I try to be precise. No swagging otherwise the wood plugs will look haphazard. I use two bits to drill the holes. A countersink to drill the first hole then chase it with a fatter bit in the outside wood (in this case the trim piece itself) so the screw will "pull" the trim tight to the cabin side. I finish up the cabin trim, then remove it and apply two to three coats to the back sides, then reinstall, plug, and apply more varnish.
14 Jun 13
I spent part of the day working on shop equipment--I had to replace the casters on my jointer base, etc so I did not get much accomplished. However, I did find some time to make a practice scarf with some scrap African Mahogany on the new jig. I used Tightbond glue and left it clamped about 5 hours. The scarf line is tight and hard to see. There are some peculiarities and there is a learning curve but I am pleased with the initial result. The stock has to be dead straight in the jig. Also, the stock needs to be at least 30" long for a 1" tall piece as you have to have room for the sliding base to move back and not hit the clamps. I think scarfing before final milling will produce the best results. I'll post more info on it as my skill improves.
The vertical line of the scarf is hard to see.
This is the angled scarf line. It's pretty tight and is hard to see as well.
13 Jun 13
I started off the day by working on the trim for the forward end of the cabin trunk. Visually, faux knees will not work there. I thought about just going with some rectangular trim but thought I would have a crack at the cove trim. It will be tricky to install as there is only 1/2" ply covering the cabin sides. Regardless, it was not a complicated project. I used a nadjustable bevel to find the angle where the forward and side of the cabin sides meet--80 degrees. Next, I milled some glued up 8/4 mahogany to 1 3/4 x 1 3/4". I then cut a 7 1/2" bevel on each side to match the inside corner of the cabin top. Then, I ripped one corner off leaving about 3/4" of a square face on each side plus the wide flat face for the cove. I rigged up a temporary fence at an angle to the table saw blade. I ran the mahogany over the blade raising it about 1/8" for each pass. Satisfied, I cut the compound bevel necessary to get a good tight fit against the cabin overhead. Next, I used contact cement to stick some 80 grit paper to the cove. Then I worked a piece of blue board over the sand paper essentially milling the blue board to mirror image the concave cove. I removed the sandpaper and cleaned up the contact cement residue on the mahogany with some acetone. Then, I wrapped the sandpaper around the blue board sanding block and sanded the cove till it was perfectly smooth. I then set the cove aside till it is time to install the trim in the forward cabin.
I have never done any real scarfing. I have read about experienced wood workers and shipwrights making them with hand planes and a straight edge. I think I could do it that way if I was going to use gap filling epoxy as an adhesive. But, I'd like a more durable joint and if I am to use a plastic resin glue or resorcinol then I will need very tight joints. At my present skill level that will require a machine cut joint. So, today I made a jig I read about in Fred Bingham's book, Boat Joinery and Cabinetmaking Simplified." I have seen this jig on other sites and to be honest I don't know how well it works. I think the feather edges are questionable. I would rather learn how to make a nibbed scarf but I'll try this first. I'll make some practice joints and then mill them to try to override the feather edges. It took several hours to make the jig accurately using the best materials I had on hand. It will be interesting to see how it works. I need to master scarf making as I need to build the long planks for the bulwarks.
I built a 12:1 scarfing jig. It remains to be seen how well it works.
I made the matching base for the router. It scews in the the base via existing holes.
12 Jun 13
Yesterday, we installed the teak companionway trim. I used Boat Life Polysulfied in white and brown "teak" color. I spent about an hour carefully taping off the boat and the teak itself. I spread polysulfied thick to ensure good squeeze out. I used the brow color where squeeze out would occur between two piece of teak, otherwise I used white to better blend with the white trim of the boat itself. It took a lot of careful work to clean up the squeeze out. A black plastic West System stir stick proved very useful scooping up the squeeze out. We removed the tape then used a lacquer thinner soaked rag to clean up any remaining polysulfied. This morning I reinstalled the mahogany component to the interior part of the companionway trim. I think it looks great and makes the interior start to feel more "finished" though there is still a long way to go.
After reinstalling the companionway trim I went to work on the interior trim. I used African Mahogany for the faux "knees" that will function as trim between the bulkheads and the sides of the cabin trunk. I made a template from 1/2" plywood so they would have the same geometry regardless the length as it changes from the aft end to the forward end of the boat. They won't seem so prominent once they are varnished as they will blend in with the rest of the interior. This was peasant work even though it was quite hot today. I also installed a single piece of horizontal trim, in the head, that runs between the two "knees". I rounded over the top and bottom edges but "fluted" the ends to provide a more elegant transition between the two trim pieces.
10 Jun 13
I spent the last couple of days working through options for cabin trim. I looked at some wood boats on line, which I sometimes do when I need ideas, as well as through a collection of books I have. Many of the boats have the same kind of thin 2" wide trim with miter joints that basically follow the outside edge of the bulkheads. I did not like the way it looked but could not find what I wanted. So, I cut some pieces to see what it would looked like in the Far Reach and I swear she fairly groaned. I thought they looked terrible. It looked like what it was . . . trim to hide the joint between the bulkhead and the cabin side. Finally, I found some pictures of a Cherubini 44. Their approach seem to me to make the trim look structural. I liked it best of what I had seen over the last two days. So, I cut a mock up from some 2x4 scrap and milled it down to 5/8" thick. I think it looks pretty good--substantial but not over powering. Symbolic of a hanging knee. It'll look great in mahogany.
I also applied a third coat of varnish to the mahogany companionway trim which is disassembled for varnishing. The teak trim looks fine with two coats it needs before installation.
The pine mock up looks pretty good to my eye. Ther will be a beam across the top that I will add later.
7 Jun 3 Ha! No More Spot in the Corner of the Pictures.
I finally got around to replacing my trusted but busted Sony camera. That poor thing had a tough life. Covered in fiberglass and wood dust, dropped off the boat, dropped into the bilge, held togehter with tape, and generally just abused.
I installed the first piece of what I consider real interior trim. It's a 77" long 7/8" x 2 1/4" piece of African Mahogany that I screwed to the lower edge of the aft side of the cabin just under the companionway trim. I cut a rabet on the inside face so it fits snug up under the lip of the plywood cabin sides. I attached it with #8 x 1" SS FH self taping screws. We have officially started the interior trim. Hooray! Then, I removed part of the companionway trim and finished radiusing the bottom edge. Next, I reinstalled the parts to make sure the fit was right. Then, I removed all the companionway trim, sanded it with 100 grit (teak) and 150 grit (mahogany). Finally, I applied the first coat of Epifanes Clear Gloss Varnish cut 1:1 with mineral spirits.
5 June 13
I completed the companionway trim. Last night, I glued on the vertical outside pieces of mahogany, that attach to the trim that is screwed to the vertical teak, which abut the aft end of the cabin. Today, I installed them and then installed the final piece of trim you can't see--it fits under the threshold. That completes all the trim for the companionway. Tomorrow, I will sand and remove it, and hopefully apply the first of two coats of varnish. Then, I'll reinstall and bed it in place. Also, today I milled a 6 1/2' long 7/8" x 2 1/4" piece of mahogany that covers the lower edge of the aft end of the cabin under the threshold and across the cabin top from port to starboard. I did not have time to install it. I am pleased with the way the companionway trim has turned out . . . it was difficult and really challenged my knowledge, skills, and patience.
I am on the cusp of installing the interior trim and in order to plan ahead I spent a little time today learning how to cut a wide cove for the corner pieces. I have read about this technique in a couple of books but today was the first time I tried it. I was a little intimidated but it turned out to be very simple. I used scrap white pine to practice. I ripped the pine from an old off cut from a Lowe's 2x4 (they must have the crappiest stud pine in the country). I cut it down to about 2' long and 1 1/2" x 1 1/2". Then, I marked the edges so there would be enough remaining of the outside corners to smoothly abut the horizontal trim that fits the bottom and top edge of the cabin sides and ties into the corner trim. I then made a 45 degree cut removing one edge from side to side to eliminate one old corner edge which provided a flat surface. Then, I clamped a straight edge to the surface of the table saw (I used my home made tapering jig as the straight edge). I set it at a random angle (this is the tricky part). I set the fence so that the center of the wood was lined up over the center (tallest) part of the saw blade. The less of an angle the narrower and the deeper the cove. The wider the angle, the wider and shallower the cove. Then, I fired up the saw and gently pushed the pine along the fence and over the blade--the wood is being push over the blade at an angle. I set the blade very shallow (maybe 1/8"). I checked to make sure the cove was centered and made a small adjustment to the fence to precisely line it up on the center of the wood. Then, I made a series of passes until the cove was the width and depth I wanted to achieve. Last, I trimmed the end and took it up to the boat to see how it looked. Pretty neat . . . and not difficult. I think I will add some feather boards to better hold the mahogany in place when I shape it for the real McCoy. The machining marks left in the cove by the table saw were not bad, but the cove would need to be cleaned up with abrasive paper and preferably a foam sanding block cut to the shape of the cove itself.
The trick will be figuring out how all the trim will come together, i.e. will physically connect. This is the most important part of trim work--be it in a boat or in your home. All things considered equal, in my opinion, the trim is what really makes final product look professional . . . or amateurish. This will be a little tricky and I have some thinking to do about what will work best. I could very easily make this too complicated. There is an art to making something look elegant and simple at the same time . . . I am still very much learning how to develop that skill.
2 Jun 13: The Harder I Work, The Behinder I Get.
Click here for the begining of the companionway project. The last week has been difficult--physically and mentally. There are several reasons I think. First, the joinery around the companionway is more difficult than I expected. Sure, I could have hammered it together and pushed on but I would not have been pleased with the results--goes without saying. The are numerous complex compound angles and without a blueprint I had to think every step through. I had to determine what piece went on first, then second, then third and so on. I had to figure out how to use the tools I have to make the cuts. I made mockups to check the angles for a proper tight fit. I did not want to waste very expensive Burmese teak making foolish errors. Second, the temperature is on the rise. It's hot and I am not acclimatized yet. Climbing up and down the ladder 40 times a day is fatiguing and aggravating. Last, I am feeling mentally burned out. It's an issue that has to be confronted for any long term project that requires this much work. I'll spend 6-8 hours working on the boat and only produce two hours of real progress. I am working through it. I am not sure where the point of diminishing return is--take some time off and get rejuvenated and then return to work more efficiently or push ahead and not be as efficient. Notice, I did not say effective. I'll get the same result because I won't let the final product slip just to get to the finish line. But, which approach will get me to the finish line soonest? I don't know. For now, I am pressing ahead because I know everyday I don't work is a day I have to add to the other end . . . and, I think the majority of the rest of the trim is not near as complicated as the companionway. Anyway, the work is still rewarding. I am still learning a ton. I am still pleased with the results. But, it's not necessarily fun right now--just necessary. For me, it's always been about the sailing. Like my brother taught me when I joined the Marines regarding physical and mental suffering as an infantryman: "You have to remind yourself you can do anything for five minutes . . . then five more . . . then five more . . . then, pretty soon, it's past. Throughout my life, I have found that to be pretty good advice when times are tough.
I am pleased with the results, so far, of the companionway framing and trim work. I'll start varnishing today or tomorrow. I'll disassemble it and apply a few coats of varnish, especially for the back side, and then bed it in place. Additional coats on the exposed surfaces will follow.
The first four photos below reflect the initial trim work. You can see all the trim is not installed. The edges have not be radiused. The last six photos show all the trim installed with 3/8" radiused edges. I decided to only use teak for the portions that are exposed to the outside elements. Though similar to the original design I think it is not more robust and a little more effective. All the teak framing is 15/16" thick vice the original 3/4". The top edges of the horizontal trim are a little taller to keep the rainwater and spray out. The trim on the inside of the boat, butted up to the teak trim, is African Mahogany. All will be varnished. The drop boards will be bare teak which will be more durable and I think provide a nice contrast to the varnish framing and trim. After bedding I'll install wood plugs.
The "arch" portion of the trim/frame in the interior side of the boat was very difficult given my modest skills. It took a lot of thinking. I scribed on to 1/4" ply and used that to trace out the shape on the mahogany. I had to laminate to get the necessary thickness. I hand planed for a precise fit with a block and smoothing plane. To get the multiple parts of the arch to fit together seamlessly I used a band saw and an horizontal oscillating belt sander at the Camp Lejeune Wood Hobby shop. I also used a straight router bit with a guide roller. All this took time. There may have been simpler ways but this seemed the most reliable way to give me the results I was looking for.