Before I can glass in the bottoms to the settees I needed to determine where the Refleks heater will go and how it would tie into the furniture. Once I decided that the best place is against the aft side of the starboard side bulkhead, at the head of the settee, then I could finalize the design and glass in the bottom to the settees. First thing is I need to cut back the locker bottom on the starboard side to accommodate the low platform for the Refleks heater. Click here to see the basic layout. Because the starboard settee sticks out about four inches past the bulkhead the passageway between the settee and the mast will be tight. By angling back the corner of the platform that the heater sits on towards the bulkhead, I can open up the passage way and still ensure the heater has the required "stand-off" from the bulkhead, pilot berth, and settee. To make the angled platform though, I will have to cut back the okume ply locker bottom, since with the angled cut the plywood would otherwise be visible, and replace it with black walnut to match the rest of the cabin sole. The forward end of the locker bottom needs a support, once cut back from the floor beam, so I had to measure how wide the heater platform would be then cut the ply, in the right spot, and then glass in a support underneath it.
I made a template for the support from 1/4" ply scrap. I chose to make the support from some scrap 7/8" thick mahogany. Once I was satisfied with the fit of the support I temporarily screwed it to the bottom of the okume locker bottom to hold it in the correct position. I then spread some thickened epoxy on the bottom of the support and placed the ply locker bottom in position. When the epoxy squished out between the bottom of the support and the hull, I used a rounded plastic stir stick to make a fillet for 17.7oz biaxial tape that I'll apply tomorrow. I will remove the screws and proceed to glass in the bottom of both the port and starboard lockers.
Cleats to support the outboard edge of the bottom of the settee locker.
I spent part of the morning going over the diagrams I drew up for the settees and pilot berths. Basically I used a level and ruler and just spent time checking my math. This is not something I want to mess up! Once I was satisfied with the math I went back to work on the boat.
Next, I removed the water tanks so that I will be able to get into the bilge and be better positioned to epoxy tape in the settee locker bottoms. Then I bolted in the riser/beam at the forward end of the main cabin with two 3/8" SS bolts. Then I repositioned the temporary cabin sole. Next, I made some cleats to provide additional support to the the outboard edge of the settee locker bottoms. I used a sliding bevel gauge to determine the angle. I used some Iroko I had on hand and cut the proper angle on the table saw. Once satisfied with how they fit I positioned them with some thickened epoxy. The locker bottoms will be supported by the knees on the inboard side and by these cleats on the outboard side. They will also be epoxy taped to the hull with two layers of biaxial, so the cleats are just additional support.
The next day I taped the settee locker bottom in. I started by scrubbing off the amine blush with water and a 3M maroon scrub pad that formed on the underside of the locker after applying three coats of epoxy yesterday. Then I lightly sanding them with a RO sander with some 80 grit followed by some gentle hand sanding with 60 grit. I test fit the ply to make sure every thing fit properly. I sanded the portion of the hull that the outboard edge of the ply would lay against as well as the area the epoxy tape would contact the hull. I also sanded the area the tape would be applied to on the supports that the beams are bolted to. Then I vacuumed and did a thorough acetone wipe down. I marked off on the hull where the outer area of the tape would lie and cut two layers for each side--a six inch and a four inch wide strip of 17.7oz biaxial tape. Next, I mixed up a bunch of epoxy thickened with cabosil and a little 407 to make it smooth. I gooped it on the beveled outboard edge of the ply and positioned it against the hull. I kept applying more thickened epoxy till I completely filled the gap between the ply and the hull I smoothed the excess to a nice fillet. I checked to make sure the locker bottom was level. When I finished the starboard side I moved over and repeated the same steps with the port side. I gave it an hour to set up. Then, I wetted out the tape, the appropriate area on the locker bottom and on the hull and applied the two layers of tape.
Next, I cut 12 four inch wide strips of 17.7 oz biaxial six inches long. I cut some foam wedges and contact cemented them to the sides of the supports that the beams are bolted to and the inside edge of the locker bottom sits on. I wetted out the tape and applied some slightly thickened epoxy to the area where the tape would go. Then I applied two layers of tape to bond the bottom of the locker to the beam supports--two layers of tape on the three supports for each side. I used a heat gun to accelerate the curing since the temperature was beginning to drop.
After the tape was begining to harden I used a razor knife to cut out the tape over the small drain holes I cut in the locker bottoms yesterday.
That finished up the day.
Epoxy tape under locker bottom.
Port side settee locker glassed in.
Drains in locker bottoms.
Today I scrubbed the newly applied epoxy tape with water and a 3M pad and wiped it dry with paper towel. Then I lightly sanded it with 80 grit on the 5" Porter Cable right angle DA sander with the vacuum hooked up to debur the edges and lightly scuff it up. Then, I reinstalled the water tanks now that the installing the locker bottoms is complete. It is great to get the locker bottoms glassed in. They feel very solid, in fact the boat feels more solid and seems to vibrate a little less when I walk through it . . . but it could just be my imagination. Nonetheless, I am very pleased with how it turned out.
Today, I leveled the partial bulkhead in the forward cabin. This bulkhead used to support the V-berth. Now it will support a portside double berth and also serve as the aft end of the chain for the chain rode. Because 280' or so of 5/16" high test chain is heavy I want to move it out of the old locker which was all the way forward just behind the stem of the boat. Though some sailors store their chain there I think it is a lot of weight that far forward in the boat. I can move it back about three feet which will help some. The chain pipe will have to angle back slightly but the double bunk will still be about 78" long and almost 48" wide.
As previously discussed every horizontal surface in the boat must be re-leveled. In the first photo below you can see how far out of level the partial bulkhead was. Look closely and you can see a pencil line drawn just under the top edge. After marking it, I clamped a straight edge to it and used a router with a flush bit with an end bearing to cut a new edge.
Next, I made a template from doorskin ply wood and laid it on top of a plank of 5/4" cypress. I made it an inch wider (taller) to allow for a 1" deep rabbit cut that allowed it to sit on top of the old bulkhead but overlap the front so I could through-bolt it to the old bulkhead. That way all the weight is on top of the old bulkhead. The bolts just keep it from moving. I cut the pattern out and then cut the rabbit with a 3/4" stack dado on the table saw. I test fit it and drilled the holes then secured it with three 1/4" X 1 1/2" bolts with washers and nylon lock nuts. The new top edge effectively raises the berth about two inches which will provide a little more width to the berth and create a little more room for chain storage underneath the forward part of the berth.
Finally, after much aggravating delay, I started work on the mahogany staving. I began by sorting the pieces I will use for the bulkhead in the forward compartment. Some of the mahogany was a little wavy when I ripped it on the table saw. Thus, tension was tension released in some of the pieces which caused them to "hook" slightly. By cutting some of these pieces to length and reducing the overall length of each piece I reduce the amount of wood that has to be removed on the jointer before I resaw, lap, and cut V-grooves. Pre-cutting the lengths makes the whole process much more cumbersome but straightening out these 10' long pieces on the jointer would just waste a lot of fine wood. I will use these pieces in the forward compartment where they won't be easily seen though I think they will still look fine . . . they're just not as straight grained as the rest. It will also give me a chance to get a feel for the technique I will use for installing the V-groove in the rest of the boat.
After a lot of thought I removed the cypress beam that I had previously installed (see the pictures and entry above) raising the frame work for the double berth by 2". As I learned more about the foam mattresses and how thick they will be (4" thick for the pilot and quarter berth and 5" thick for the forward double berth) I realized I would like to have more room above the forward bunk. This is all due to the fact that I think we will be sleeping with our heads forward. So, I need to lower the bunk and that means the 2" higher beam has to come out and in fact I trimmed another 1 1/2" off the partial bulkhead so I lowered it a total of 3 1/2 inches. This will be better in the long run.
It was time to epoxy tape the double berth vertical panel in place. It went smooth. I cut the panel out yesterday after making a doorskin template. I beveled the one end that fits against the bulkhead so it fits flush with the vertical cleat. The cleat is also beveled at 35 degrees. The curved edge of the panel is beveled 30 degrees to fit the sloping hull. I planed the edges and sealed the bottom edge with epoxy last night. So, all I had to do today was cut the foam and contact cement it to the plywood, clamp it in place, and check it for fit. I glued and screwed the bulkhead edge to the cleat I installed yesterday and then taped both sides with a single piece of 6" wide 17.8 biaxial tape and West Epoxy. It looks good and it's great to get it installed. It will need at least one, if not two, dividers. The front face will eventually be covered with mahogany staving.
I spent a little time this afternoon milling a test piece of Juniper (Atlantic White Cedar) to see if it will work for bunk boards. This is super light wood. I ran one side of the 5/4 test piece over the jointer, then planed the other side. Next I resawed it with a thin kerf blade and then ran the resawn edges back through the planer. I was hoping for 1/2" thick but the best I could do was 15/32." Close enough for bunk boards. The test piece came out nice. Too bad I need to varnish them as they smell terrific.
It feels good to look forward and see the double berth panel in place finally.
We have been thinking about adding some drawers since we don't have plans for them anywhere else in the boat at the moment. They are usually a huge waste of space. Since the head compartment is taken up with the sitz tube, the head, and perhaps a sink there is not a lot of room for cabinets or storage in there. We thought we should have a couple of drawers for convenience close to the head even if it cost us some space. So, we covered the forward berth vertical panel with brown paper and drew them on it. We liked what we saw. I took a day to think about how to build them . . . measuring, sketching, reading some cabinet-making books, and comparing with cabinets I have built in the past. I decided it required two dividers be installed the appropriate distance apart that would match the outside diameter of the drawer box itself. In this case, 15 inches. It was not an efficient way to divide up the compartment but it seemed the best way to build the drawer support system and protect the drawers from loose stuff in the storage area under the forward berth from interfering with them. It will also stiffen of the whole assembly.
I built templates from doorskin and a hot glue gun. I test clamped them in place. I sealed the edges with epoxy. When I was ready, I used contact cement to glue on the foam wedge between the divider and the hull and then clamped the divider in place. I used a single piece of 6" wide 17.8 biaxial wetted out with West Systems epoxy on each side of the divider. I installed the forward divider two days ago and the aft one today. For the aft one, I cut back to 4" wide biaxial and that seems to be enough. Tim Lackey suggested to me that a single layer on each side was sufficient for non structural things like dividers. I have to work at overcoming my desire to apply multiple layers. But, strong enough is strong enough and there is no sense making the boat heavier than it needs to be.
I spent the rest of the day sorting out how to attack the forward support for the bunk and how it will tie into the anchor locker that will be install "aft" of the forward most bulkhead. I'd like to get 240' of 5/16" chain out of the nose of the boat if possible.
Update 6July 11: While I was installing the countersinks it occurred to me that it was time to fish-or-cut-bait regarding the forward berth design. I spend a lot of time in the early spring deciding how it should be built and after a lot of thought I decided to install two partitions so I could have pull out drawers in the face of the berth vertical panel. But after looking at it for months I slowly came to the realization that I did not like those two panels. First, they added a lot of unnecessary weight to the front end of the boat. Second, they made the storage compartment too small. Third, they would not do a good job of providing even support for the bunk boards . . . I would have to add more supports. And last, the cushions (which will be divided) would not be evenly split up.
I did not like the two dividers.
So, I cut them out and will replace the two with one divider that is perpindcular to the centerline of the boat.
So, tonight I took the saws-all and cut them out then ground out all the excess with a high speed grinder and a flapper wheel. On the bad side it made a hell of a mess. On the good side it validated my reasons for not gluing everything together. The cleats were glued to the vertical panel and screwed to the dividers (if I had been thinking I would have done it the other way). I simply unscrewed them and cut the bulkhead away. I'll leave the cleats in place as stiffeners for the vertical panel. In place of the two panels I will install a single divider that will be perpendicular to the axis of the boat. Instead of pull out drawers, I'll install shelves with cabinet doors that drop open.
After removing the two dividers with a saws-all and then grinding out the tabbing I built a template for the new single divider. I picked up a piece of 1/2" Okume from Atlantic Veneer in Beaufort, NC . . . which is just up the road from me.
Before: Two dividers.
After: One divider.
When I got back, I traced the template out on the ply and then cut it out with a jigsaw. I cut one side with a 36 degree bevel to match the face of the forward berth and the other side with a 15 degree bevel to match the angle of the hull. I test fit it. Then I scribed a 3/8" deep line with a compass and cut it off to allow for the thickness of the closed cell foam wedge spacer. I power-planed a 2" wide strip on both sides of the divider so the biaxial tape would lie flush with the surface of the plywood divider. I clamped a temporary brace to the top horizontal edge of the divider and then clamped the brace to two strong backs that would ensure it was level with the top of the other berth supports. Next, I glued and screwed a cleat to one side and applied two coats of West Epoxy to the edge grain of the divider that would be closest to the hull and let it sit overnight.
Today, I attached the foam wedge to the divider with contact cement (this just holds it in place so it can't slide around) and reclamped it into position, screwed the cleat to the vertical panel of the double berth (through the staving and ply backing with #10 1 1/2" ss screws) then performed a thorough acetone wipe-down. I wet out the two inch wide strip on the inside of the hull on both sides of the divider as well as the divider where the tape would lay. I wet out the biaxial tape and applied it the hull and the divider. I left it clamped for 8 hours.
The next task was to fasten cleats to both sides of the divider that I installed a couple of days ago. This particular divider provides support the double berth and serves as the aft end of what will be the "cabinet" box for the drawers that will be installed in the vertical face panel of the double berth. The drawers can only extend about 16" before they hit the starboard side main saloon bulkhead. Because they are not full extension slides--they will ride on ash cleats--they will end up being about 20'-22" long and only extend about 3/4 of their length. I'll install a rear panel to this drawer cabinet to prevent other items stored in the compartment from interfering with the drawers. Essentially, it will be it's own little drawer compartment. It is a waste of space and not very efficient but sometimes you just need to have a couple of drawers and this seemed the best place to put them.
The bigger project was getting the aft divider for the anchor locker installed. This was not particularly difficult but it took longer than I would have liked due to family obligations so I spaced it out over two days. After making the template I laid it on a piece of 1/2" okume plywood. After I cut out the divider I went back and forth from the boat to the shop a few times trimming it and getting a good fit. It required a 28 degree angle cut on the sides. When I was satisfied with the fit I used my pencil compass to scribe a line 3/8" from the outer edge then took the divider back to the shop. I used the jig saw to cut this part off the divider and provide room for the 3/8" thick closed cell foam spacer. I cut the foam spacer with 45 degree angles on both sides on my table saw. For a long time I used a serrated knife to cut closed cell foam but the table saw works much better and leaves a very smooth surface.
Next, I used my power planer to remove 1/16" of ply about 2" wide on the aft side of the diver so the tape would lay flush with the surface of the ply. This makes it easier to apply the mahogany staving. Since the forward face will not have staving on it--you can't see it and it would only make the locker smaller--I did not plane that side. I sealed the edge grain with two coats of unthickend epoxy and left it to cure over night. I then cleaned up the table I use for wetting out biaxial and cut some more sheet plastic. I precut 4" wide biaxial tape so I would be ready to go the first thing the next day. I also sanded the fiberglass surface in the boat where the tape would lay as part of the preparation. I vacuumed the dust up and performed a thorough acetone wash down.
Next morning, with everything set up it was a simple task to contact cement the foam wedge spacer onto the edge of the plywood that had been sealed the day before. With the clamping system in position I test fit it one more time. I did a final acetone wipe down, wet out the hull where the 4" wide tape would lay as well as the plywood, and then wet out the biaxial tape. It only took about 10 minutes to lay the tape down--a single strip on each side port and starboard and on the front and aft sides of the divider. About two hours later I used a box cutter to trim the edges of the tape that extended past the top and bottom edge of the divider. It is a hundred times easier to trim the biaxial when it is green than went it is cured.
After several days of putting off cutting out the drawer openings in the forward berth vertical panel, it is finally done. I picked up a pattern cutting router bit (bearing on router side of cutting edge) today at a local hardware store. I used a plywood guide bar attached to the front plywood panel with dry wall screws. I triple checked the cutting lines and made the cuts by moving the guide bar around accordingly. The rounded corners still need to be chiseled out. I think the advantage of this technique is that when the staving is epoxied on to the ply, I can use the cutout to serve as a template for a pattern cutting router bit with the bearing on the cutting edge end. Done this way, the staving edge will exactly match the cut out.
The center span between the drawers is 1 1/2". After the staving is attached and it is trimmed to match the drawer cut outs, I'll add 1/4" thick pencil bead trim which will make the center span 2" wide. My plan is to use mahogany for the rails and styles and a lighter colored wood, such as ash, for the raised panel.
Installing the Settees and Pilot Berths
I tried to get right back to work on the inside of the boat after shipping the gammon iron pattern off to PTF. I spent some more time measuring, which is what I always do when I worry. Measure it again. Look at the drawings. Measure it again. Ha. Anyway, I decided to use mahogany cleats if they will be seen. I have some scrap 1"x1" so it they work just fine. The cleats at the forward end of the pilot berths (the foot) extend to the deck overhead because there will be about a 16" wide panel there that comes down and will be scarfed into the top edge of the settee back. Staving will cover it so it should look seamless. Click here to see drawings of the basic layout. On the other end, the cleat only has to only be long enough to support the settee back. I cut the cleats, measured and drilled the holes, countersunk them, and routered the visible edge with a 1/4" round-over bit. Then I installed them. When I am sure I won't have to remove them for some reason, I will plug all the holes in the cleats. Everything will get varnished.
In order to build dividers that would support the back of the settees I needed to build a proper pattern. There are lots of different ways to make them. Some folks like to use a "joggle" stick. I have not used one but will at some point. Because I had to keep everything on a single line I thought the doorskin pattern would work well. I clamped two of my modified "square and level" 2x4s cut to the correct length to fit between the bulkheads and clamped them to the cleats that I installed a few days ago and which support the settee backs. I checked to make sure they were level and plumb. Then it was just a matter of using the hot glue gun and strips of doorskin that I cut with tin snips to make the pattern. I made sure it would be a little taller than necessary so I could cut it level after it is installed.
Next I took a couple of 2x4s that I have run over the jointer and through the planner several times over the last year to keep them nice and straight. I clamped them to the cleats to make sure everything was lined up plum, level, and square to the centerline.
After that I used a pice of 1/8" doorskin plywood to make a pattern for the settee back. I cut it to basically fit between the cleants but not reach the hull. This would be the foundation for the pattern. I used 1/2" stips of plywood between the cleats and the doorskin to offset the face of the doorskin to the same place the real 1/2" ply will be position. Otherwise the doorskin pattern would not be in the same spot as the inboard edge of the 1/2 ply sette back would be. Make sense? Then I used a hot glue gun to attach little strips of doorskin ply to the doorskin foundation to just touch the hull (I don't have a picture of this but will post one later). When I was satisfied I removed the pattern and laid it out on 4x8 sheet of 1/2" BS 1088 Okume ply. I made tick marks with a pencil where the pointers were and connected the dots. I checked the angle of the hull from vertical with a bevel guage and dialed that in on my jigsaw. Then carefully reviewing which way the pattern was laid and which way the angle needed to be beveled on the 1/2" plywood I cut the pattern out. I smothed the edges with a block plane and clamped it in place, made sure it was level and plumb, and checked for fit.
It dawned on me pretty quick that I needed to install the support piece for the back of the settee before I could go any further.
When I was satisfied with the pattern, I laid it on 1/2" BS 1088, and made tick marks at the end of each pointed "stick." Then I connected the dots with a pencil. I cut the pattern out with a jig saw and test fit it in place. I had earlier decided to install it on one of the glassed over foam "ribs" used to support ceiling strips along the hull that was exactly halfway between the bulkheads. I test fit the pattern and used the hot glue gun to make little brackets on the 2x4s to hold the dividers in place. I used my power planer to run a 1/16" deep rabbit cut along both sides of the divider so the tape would lay flush. I then vacuumed the area, did a thorough acetone wash down, and brushed on slightly thickened epoxy on the hull and laid a 6"wide strip of wetted out 17.7 biaxial over the rib to reinforce it. I used a squeegee to remove any air bubbles. Next, I sealed the edge of the plywood divider with epoxy and positioned it in place. I mixed up well thickened epoxy and made fillets on both sides of both dividers. Then I gave it about 45 minutes to start to firm up. Next, I took the pre-measured and cut 6" wide biaxial strips, wetted them out, and laid a single piece on each side of the divider.
Next I made the pattern for the port side settee back. I made it the same way as I made the one for the starboard side (see 23 Feb 11 entry). This time I took a picture. After cutting the settee back out of 1/2" BS 1088 I test fit it. I cut some foam for wedges to place under the bottom edge of the settee back when I epoxy tape it in place. Then, after more measuring I removed both settee backs, held in place with clamps, and trimmed the dividers level. To do this I used a plywood straight edge clamped in place and checked for level. Then I used a small roto-zip with a flush cut router pattern cutting bit (with a guide bearing on the end). I usually use a more powerful router but the space was small and the roto-zip worked well. After that I spent some time in the wood shop gathering the wood I will used for cleats . . . mahogany if it will be seen and Douglass Fir if it won't be seen.
I am ready for the boat to start shrinking inside. I have been waiting a long time for the boat to start shrinking inside. I welcome it! Today we made a little progress towards that end.
I began by installing cleats on both sides of the settee back dividers. I test fit the settee backs again. I temporarily screwed in the starboard side settee back. I measured and built templates for the bulkheads that separates the heater compartment from the settee on the starboard side and the sideboard from the settee on the portside. I cut out the patterns and test fit them in place. I let both of them run wild. The one on the starboard side will be cut down quite a bit (see the drawing below) but I don't want to do that till I have decided how they will be attached.
I was unable to decide how to attach these two small bulkheads. Do I dado the settee backs for them to fit into or use cleats or both? If I use cleats how will I hide them or blend them in to the mahogany staving, yet to be installed, so as not to draw attention to them. I'll muse on that this evening. Maybe the answer will come to me.
Last night I finished installing the settee backs, pilot berth foot divider panels, and the dividers between the forward end of the settee and the sideboard on the port side and settee and the heater compartment on the starboard side. This was a lot more work than I anticipated but it turned out well I think. I worked hard to have everything fit properly--square and plumb, dados for the dividers, flush rabbet cuts for epoxy tape, drain holes for condensation, and epoxy sealing where necessary.
Below are photos that tell some of the story. The first problem began when I bought the boat . . . just kidding . . . when we decided the compartment for the heater box needed to be a little smaller. So, in order to move the divider forward I had to scarf on a 2" wide extension on to the front end of the starboard settee locker bottom. That made both settees 60" long. Even though the two settees are slightly staggered, due to the bulkheads being staggered, it looks much better. Scarfing the piece on was a fair amount of work but worth it I think. Next, I removed the settee backs, that had been temporarily held in place, and cut dados for the back edge of the dividers and also cut 1/16" deep and 3" wide rabbets with the planer along the bottom edge on both sides . . . 3" on the inside face and 2" wide on the outside. Having the tape lie flush will make it is easier to apply the vertical staving when the ply has a smooth face and also when I install sub dividers inside the settee lockers and under the pilot berths. I also cut slots, with a slot cutter on my router table to ensure proper alignment between the pilot berth divider panels, to be attached on the top edge of the settee back. At the time I also cut and fit the two upper panels to be attached to the settee back top edge. I made splines to fit in the slots and marry up the two pieces of plywood. I thought about using a biscuit cutter but I don't always get the alignment I am looking for with a slot cutter. The splines lined them up perfectly. Then I cut rabbets with the planer along the edges where they joined to provide a recessed surface for the biaxial tape.
I used foam wedges under the edge of the settee backs, not so much to prevent "hard spots, but because it would elevate the edge-grain of the ply and create a more uniform bend to the biaxial tape. To allowed for a few drain holes along the bottom edge of the settee backs, I cut the foam out in a few places so water (condensation when running the heater in cold climates) would have a place to go. Before the epoxy tape was fully cured I cut the tape were the gaps in the foam were and filled the space under the edge and between the tape on the two sides with thickened epoxy leaving little rectangular holes and smoothed them out so water could drain from behind the lockers into the holes I cut last summer in the outer edges of locker bottoms. The holes will allow any condensation that forms along the hull to make its way into the bilge. After I epoxied the settee backs in place I checked the fit of the dividers. Satisfied with the lower ones I scribed the top panels to fit against the not very plumb forward bulkheads--I don't think anything Cape Dory installed was level, square, or plumb . . . though maybe it does not matter on a boat. The upper panels serve as a divider between the pilot berth and a book shelf to be built over the sideboard on the portside and between the pilot berth foot and the heater compartment on the starboard side (see the drawings in the photo section of the 28 Feb 11 entry below). The starboard divider is a safety issue to prevent bedding from being kicked off onto a hot heater and catching fire.
The tabbing was pretty straight forward. I screwed a temporary strong-back in place to make sure the upper panels stayed plumb after I taped them in place. All tabbing was done with a single layer of 17.7oz layer of biaxial: 6" wide on the inside of the settee back; 4" wide on the outside; 4" wide inside and outside where the panels join the settee back; and 3" wide biaxial where the top of the panels are tabbed to the underside of the deck.
I can't install the settee fronts until I add more staving on the aft end of the two dividers as the cleats will be fastened to the staving. All in all, a good week.
Settee backs, pilot berth, and heater and sideboard dividers are installed
The design of the settees is 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.
It was time to build the seats. The easiest way to build them 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. .
I decided to clean up the portside end table ash top and add a 2" tall ash fiddle. I also planed down the top with a smoothing plane. I attached the fiddle with three 1 1/4" long SS screws. I'll get seven coats of varnish on the top in the near future.
The forward endtable in the saloon is ready for varnish.
Installing the Quarter Berth
I spent yesterday developing the plan for the quarter berth. I thought a long time ago I would just raise it. Later, I thought I would create two staggered sea berths--one higher and further outboard than the other. When the kid's are old enough to stand their own watch Gayle and I would each have a comfortable sea-berth. I looked through various books for ideas and reviewed some old sketches I made. But after measuring and drawing various options yesterday I realized it would not work well as there just is not enough space for two comfortable berths. The lower one would be cramped and the upper one would be too difficult to get in and out of without some kind of advanced gymnastics move.
After much thought, I decided it would be best to build one good sea berth. About, 23" wide at the shoulder and around 16-18" at the foot. The top will be about 12-15" higher than the original berth and positioned outboard against the hull. Inboard of the berth, between the nav station and the ladder, will be a 'thwart-ship watch seat. There will be storage under the berth and some between the berth and the longitudinal bulkhead that separates the quarter berth area from the ex-engine compartment. I might be able to fit a place to hang wet foul weather gear so we don't have to drag it through the boat.
I started off by attaching some temporary horizontal cleats. Then I erected strong-backs and small vertical cleats to help keep the lower dividers plumb and level when I glassed them in place. Next, I made templates with door skin plywood and a hot glue gun. I removed the templates and traced them on some 1/2" 1088 okume plywood. I checked the fit then removed an additional 3/8" off the bottom to accommodate the closed cell foam wedge. When I was satisfied everything fit properly, I sanded the hull with 40 grit abrasive as well as a 2" wide strip on both sides of the dividers. I vacuumed and performed a thorough acetone wash down. Next, I applied a couple of coats of epoxy to the end grain of the plywood and let it get very tacky. Then I clamped the dividers into place and wet out the hull and the dividers with unthickend epoxy. I wet out the tape and applied a 4" wide strip of 17.08 biaxial to each side. After that I cleaned up the boat and the shop. Later when the epoxy tape was green I trimmed the excess with a razor knife.
In between the work on the sitz tub I began work on the quarter berth. This is an interesting project. The original quarter berth was very low and not an efficient use of space. Like a lot of boats there was a chart table just forward of the quarter berth. One sat on the head of the berth with one's legs under the chart table to use it. It seems to be pretty much the standard way of getting a chart table on boats between 30 and 40 feet. If someone is sleeping in the quarter berth you can't use the table. Some folks build a back support for the chart table but then you can't use the quarter berth. We didn't like the arrangement. We don't want to waste the space for a sitting chart table. So, we tore the chart table out and will build the icebox there and use the top of it as a stand up chart table.
Because the quarter berth was so low there was a lot of wasted space. You couldn't put much under it because it was so low. I guess you could build cabinets over it. But the other problem with it, and with all the quarter berths I have ever slept in is that it is too big to hold you in place when sailing off-shore and too small for two people--unless you are really close and it's not too hot. To be honest, we would not even have a quarter berth if we did not have four people on the boat. We would turn it into a work bench or additional storage. But we need at least one more sea berth.
I have been thinking off and on for months about how to build a sea berth in this space. It's tricky. Some of the designs we came up with proved impractical. Mock ups made it clear that even an Olympic gymnast would have difficulty getting in and out of the berth. It is just an awkward space. But, we finally came up with a design we think might work OK. To do this, we will decided to raise it up 16" and gain more storage space under it. We will push it outboard. Instead of being 38" wide at the head it will be about 24" wide 18" wide at the foot. That will leave room for a watch seat at the foot of the companionway ladder and a spot for the big bronze Edson bilge pump just aft of the seat. There will be additional storage under the watch seat. By raising the berth up and pushing it outboard a little the watch seat essentially serves as a step. And we think there will be enough room to sort of crawl up into the berth instead of crawling into it head first and having to turn around which was the usual technique before. No disrespect to Mr. Alberg but something tells me he never had to sleep in one of his quarter berth designs. Maybe he meant it for kids . . . or just to pile cockpit cushion onto. Anyway, if the berth design works out, it will allow us to have the forward double berth in port and an additional quarter sea-berth when sailing off shore. The kid's will have full adult size pilot berths to call their own and the settees will be open for sitting and lounging 24/7.
I started off work on the quarter berth by building supports between the two bulkheads. I did that several months ago. Today I installed cleats on the supports and one along the forward bulkhead. Because the hull rises up through the quarter berth the lower plywood panel, which will be the bottom of the storage compartment under the quarter berth, will not be full length--the rise in the hull does not allow it. The original berth had ash strips that support the aft end of the bunk cushion. Instead, I will install the plywood bottom but it will run only 47" down the length of the compartment. That will be the main storage area. Aft of that, I'll probably just reinstall the original ash cleats on the ribs you can see in the photos below. I used my normal technique of cutting door skin and gluing it with a hot glue gun to make a pattern. Tomorrow I will cut the plywood to form the bottom of the locker and then continue the work to build vertical supports that will be epoxy taped to the hull and to which the inboard vertical face of the berth will be attached.
Yesterday, I worked on the quarter sea-berth. I used the template that I made the day before and traced it out on a piece of 1/2" BS 1088 Okume plywood. It took a while to plane the edges down and get it to fit just right. Eventually It will be glassed to the hull with a single layer of biaxial. Vertical support will be attched to it and that will support the bunk boards.
Today was spent installing the Edson Model 117 bronze bilge pump. It's a huge heavy pump. It must weigh about 40 pounds. I found it several years ago at a consignment shop for about $200. It had never been used. I temporarily mounted it near the companion way ladder where the front of the engine used to be. But I never liked it there. It used up too much space. Once we decided to convert the quarter berth to a smaller sea berth we found a spot where it won't be in the way yet will always be accessible. We need for it to be convienent because in addition to pumping the bilge it will also serve to pump our grey water tank where the sink and shower drain into. Despite having found a space it was challenging to get the pump mounted. The space is small and constricted, the bottom of the hull is rising quickly, and a way to bolt it in was not obvious. Also, I want to be able to take it out if necessary thus I fiddled with it for several hours making sure I could remove it. The one problem is the cockpit scupper seacock is right in the path of the bilge pump exhaust line. Is there no justice? That seacock, which I moved from the other side of the bulkhead, where the engine used to be, has caused several problems . . . this despite a lot of thought about what would go where. At the time, the pump was mounted on the other side of the companionway so when I moved it I thought I was very clever. It reminds of that old saying, "No good deed goes unpunished."
The support that holds up the aft end of the pump is white oak. After positioning it with a thick fillet of epoxy I added a piece of 4" wide biaxial to each side. I mounted the pump on a piece of 3/4" BS 1088. I spent a too much time trying to use white oak for the pad but I could not make it work. Exasperated, I finally gave in and went with the ply. I will coat it with epoxy and may paint it with bilge Kote. If it goes bad I'll replace it later . . . at least I can get to it.
(Photo gallery below.)
We needed to apply the grey Bilge-Kote paint before we tabbed in the lower panel. Interlux wants you to epoxy their two part Epoxy Prime Kote primer before you apply the Bilge-Kote over epoxy. This is to ensure proper adhesion over any amine blush that develops. But, if you remove the amine blush (like you should anyway) there shouldn’t be any problem anyway. I always scrub the epoxy with water and a 3M maroon scrub pad and then wipe that up with paper towel. But, I had only put the epoxy on a couple of days before and it sometimes take a week or two to fully cure . . . and since I had some Epoxy Prime Kote on hand I mixed up a small batch applied it over the areas that had fresh epoxy. It’s terrible stuff to use by the way. Then, the next day I scuff sanded it and applied the Bilge Kote. Next, I tabbed in the lower panel incorporating a few drain holes should water ever end up in the bottom of the locker.
Next, I worked on the platform for the bilge pump epoxying in the bolts from the bottom side of the panel so the pump drops down over the four studs. That way I have access to just the nuts and shouldn’t need to get a wrench underneath to the bolt side to remove them. I also had some 1/16” hard rubber strips that I placed between the bottom of the bronze body of the pump and the platform it sits on. This should reduce the chance of the bronze body causing abrasion to the epoxy coated platform it sits on when the pump is used. I had to keep checking the fit and clearances around the pump as it is a tight fit. I wanted the berth to be as large as possible (but not too big for a sea berth) and yet still be able to remove and service the pump as required.
With that done, I installed the A. Mahogany cleats on each end of the berth (on the bulkheads) to support the vertical panel. They are cut with a 7 degree bevel since the sea berth is not parallel to the centerline of the boat. I used door-skin ply and a hot glue gun to make templates for the dividers. I clamped a 2x4 (I milled it on the jointer to make sure the edge was straight) to line up all the inboard sides (bulkhead cleats and inboard edges of the dividers). Once satisfied I cut the dividers from ½” okume. I had to cut a 7 degree bevel on the inboard edge to match the bulkhead cleats. I test fit them and then removed 3/8” to accommodate the foam pad wedge. I also cut a series of 2” holes to aid in ventilation for the lockers. I applied three coats of epoxy to the end grain of the dividers then tabbed them in position, held along the bottom edge by the 1”x1” ash cleats.
Next, I installed ash cleats along the inboard edge of the bottom panel. I attached them with ¼” bolts so I can more easily remove the vertical inboard panel (that will be screwed to the cleats) if ever necessary. Also, I want the vertical panel to be really stout as I may use the under berth storage for batteries if it lends itself to trimming the boat. I installed ash cleats along the vertical edge of the dividers as well—also cut with a 7 degree bevel. I used doug fir for the cleats that support the bunk board because that is what I had and because I don’t need the same strength there as I do for screwing the vertical panel in place.
With that completed it was time to make the template for the vertical panel which I did with doorskin and the hot glue gun. I used ½” okume for the panel. It ended up being 17 ¼” tall and about 74 ¼” long. I test fit it several times. I bought 20 board feet of A. Mahogany and used about 8 BF to mill the staving (36 pieces 17 ½” long by about 2” wide) for the quarter berth. In addition to using newly milled staving for the quarter berth I incorporated some of the last of the original staving I made last year. The old staving never made the grade for the other parts of the boat. These pieces were about 8’ long and had too much uneven grain, back striping, and other defects to be of satisfactory quality. But since these pieces only need to be 17 1/2” long I was able to chop it up and get about 10 pieces. I positioned these pieces way down at the end where they will likely never be seen by anyone but me. In reality, once cut down, they looked pretty darn good though a little darker than the freshly milled staving.
Because the vertical panel was not secured in position, if I glued staving to only one side the of the vertical panel (which was the plan all along) it would warp. I could not install the staving with the panel in the boat because I couldn’t get the drill into the tight space I had to work with. So, I built a simple platform – a strong-back if you will—out of 2x4s in my shop. I clamped it vertically across my table saw and outfeed table. Then I clamped the panel to that. I installed the staving with the panel in the vertical position in about three hours. If you drill the holes for the 100 or so screw clamps with the panel laying horizontally the dust and debris from drilling gets in the epoxy squeeze-out and caused difficulties. It is so much easier to use gravity to your advantage. Once the staving was installed, I laid the whole thing down horizontally and clamped the panel, with the newly installed staving, to the strong back. My hope is that the epoxy will cure with the panel clamped flat so that when I remove the clamps it will be perfectly flat and I can install it without any issues. No issues and no drama would be nice.
I let the quarter berth vertical panel remain clamped up for a couple of days. Today, I removed the screw block clamps. I cut a couple of hundred 3/8" plugs from some scrap mahogany. I counter sunk the 111 holes used to fasten the screw block clamps and plugged them. I used Titebond III glue and let the plugs sit for a couple of hours. Then, I trimmed them with a chisel and sanded the staving with 120 grit paper. I applied the first coat of Epifanes high gloss varnish cut 1;1 with mineral spirits and left it to sit over night.
The next day I flipped the quarter berth panel over and applied one coat of varnish thinned 50 percent to the back side. I then sanded the vertical panels in the quarter-berth locker and applied a coat of varnish to them and to the cleats as well. The next morning sanded the newly varnished panel with 180 grit, vacuumed the dust and wiped it down with denatured alcohol. I installed the panel by drilling holes for #10 FH SS 1 ½” screws. The fasteners near the head of the berth were easy but the others were difficult as the space between the fore and aft bulkhead inboard of the quarter-berth panel gets smaller and smaller as you move aft. I had to use a 90 degree adapter for my drill and assume all kind of contorted positions to get the job done. My knees are not in very good shape after all those years as as an infantry and reconnaissance Marine. This kind of physical effort is easy to overlook if you still think of yourself as perpetually 19 years old. Today was a reminder that . . . well . . . I am not as young as I think . . . sometimes. Next, I installed the wood plugs and gave the glue about an hour to cure. I trimmed the plugs, lightly sanded around them and applied the second coat of varnish thinned about 25 percent to the panel and the insides of the locker.
The second coat of varnish applied to the quarter berth.
After installing the sitz tub I applied the third coat of varnish to the quarter sea-berth vertical panel and the inside of the locker. It really warmed up here today so it was hot work. Sanding all the little areas in the locker took most of the time. However, the inside of the locker only requires three coats so I am done with the locker. The vertical panel will get five coats of varnish. I may stop at three for now--same as the rest of the boat--or I may press ahead so I can have finish off the quarter berth and add the walnut trim to the top edge of the vertical panel. Time will tell.
I had a little trouble with my varnish brushes today. I have them hanging in one of those plastic box designed for just that purpose. They hang in kerosene. I noticed some of the brushes had collected a yellow grunge on them even though they were hanging in the kerosene. Turns out it was varnish. If you don't varnish often, that can happen unless you thoroughly clean them before you hang them in the kerosene. I usually, clean them by dipping them in a separate jar of kerosene, spinning them down with a spinner a couple of times, working through the bristles with a brush comb several times, then hanging them in the solution. Apparently, I was still not cleaning them well enough. So, I spent some time this evening cleaning them up. I also use foam brushes and though they are a lot simpler to use in many ways when it comes to the staving the badger hair brushes give me the best results. If I did not have staving to varnish I might only use foam brushes.
Third coat of varnish.
Installing Bunk Boards
The easiest way to make bunk boards would have been to use a one piece 1/2" thick plywood lid screwed in place with cut out hatches to gain access underneath. However, I have had that system on previous boats and I never liked it. I was always struggling with a full length cushion and little hatches that make it hard to find what I was looking for. These individual bunk boards allow full access to the entire compartment. They will be topped with a pilot berth cushion that will be split in the middle. Place one cushion on the other and you can lift and stack the individual planks to gain full access to the storage locker below.
A few weeks ago I came across some Juniper at my wood merchant. So, I bought some rough cut 5/4 planks about 6" wide. I thought this would be a good wood since it is moderately rot resistant and very light. It also smells wonderful. Once I was ready I cut them to down to about 44" long which was just longer than the required length for the bunk boards. I ran them over my 6" jointer to make sure one edge and one side were flat and square. Then, I ran them through the thickness planer to get two flat sides. Then, I ran them over the table saw to clean up the last edge. Next, I stood each plank on one edge and resawed them on my table saw (it would be better to use a good band saw but I don't have one . . . yet) using a thin kerf blade so I had two boards that were each just over 1/2" thick. Then, I took the boards back to the planer and took them down to a nice smooth 1/2" thick by about 6" wide and 44" long. Next, I cut them to fit across the beams of the pilot berths to meet over the center beam. The starboard berth is about 1 1/2" longer than the port berth so they are custom fit for each berth. I had to scarf two boards together for the outside boards (the ones against the hull as the curve of the hull nearly exceeded the width of the boards. I used a 1/8" slot cutter on my router table to cut the slots and used 3/4" marine grade ply for the splines, which I cut on the table saw. I glued them up so I had four boards that were 10"-12" wide. Next, I used a 1/2" round-over bit on the router to create a radius on all the edges for all the boards. Then, I "scribed" the wide boards, that I glued together, to fit against the curve of the hull. Once I was satisfied with the fit I used a 3/4" paddle bit to cut the finger holes. I routered the inside of the holes with the same round-over bit I used on the edges and then sanded them smooth. Finally, I cleaned up any machine marks with a cabinet scraper.
I am pleased with the way they came out. In the next couple of days I apply a couple of coats of varnish. Too bad since they make the inside of the boat smell like a cedar forest.
Some folks will wonder how we plan to keep the contents of the lockers in the locker in case of a severe knock-down. When we are sailing off shore we will have a strap and buckle system that will lock the boards down but not interfere with the use of the berth. We will still be able to easily gain access to the locker. I'll save the specifics of how we will do that for another time.
In between work on the icebox I started working on the bunk boards for the forward double berth and the aft quarter berth. I built the templates the same I built them for the pilot berths--I used doorskin strips and a hot glue gun. The next step is to resaw the 5//4 juniper and plane the planks to 1/2" thickness. Once the juniper is ready to be cut to length and shape, I'll use the templates as a pattern. I like the juniper for several reasons. First, its very light. Second, it looks so much better than plywood. Last, it is really aromatic. Of course, I will varnish them but the cedar smell still comes through. I'll also use the juniper for the settee seat boards. In that application, I will not varnish them but leave them bare.
While mulling over the radiant barrier options for the icebox I decided to work on the bunk boards for the quarter berth and the forward double berth. It would be a lot easier to just cut them from okume plywood . . . and I have considered doing that off and on for the last few months. But, I decided to proceed with using juniper in the same manner as I did for the pilot berths. The primary reason is weight. Though I have removed a lot of weight from the boat I have also added some back with all the staving and furniture reconfiguration. The juniper is feather light. Much lighter than plywood. Also, it smells great. It has a kind of cedar small. Wonderful stuff. So, as I mentioned in a previous post I bought some about two weeks ago. These are wider planks than I used last time, so I couldn't resaw them on my table saw. My friend Tom Cariker has a band saw and I took my planks over to his house yesterday where we resawed them. Today, I planed them down to 1/2". Tonight, I glued up the planks for the quarter berth with biscuit joints and Titebond III glue. Tomorrow, I will use the doorskin templates I made to trim them to shape and then fit them in place. Eventually, I will varnish them. As I continue to work on the icebox over the next week I will continue to work on the bunk boards at the same time.
I milled the juniper down to 1/2" thick and glued them together to make bunkboards.
The bunk boards are almost completed. I spent the last couple of days gluing them up and then cutting them to fit based on the templates I made last week. Today, I used a portable belt sander to smooth them down and then gentle round the edges. I still need to cut finger holes so we can easily remove them to get into the compartments. The whole boat smells like cedar which is very pleasant. I need to get a sealer coat on them very soon to protect the wood since the boards are fairly large dimension and thus susceptible to warping unless they are protected.
Gayle and I crawled up in the double berth this afternoon to check out the size and see how much room there is since we have not been able to confirm the dimension. It was quite roomy. It's going to work out great.
The forward double berth.
The quarter berth.
The next step was to cut finger holes in the bunk boards. I used a 3/4" paddle bit and drilled from both sides so as not to cause any tear-out. Then I routered the holes on both sides with a 1/4" round over bit. The placement of the holes was driven by ergonomics and balance point for the panels--single holes for the boards that had three panels and double holes for the the boards with two. This was necessary to keep from drilling a hole on the glue line. I also angled the double finger holes for those boards that required a certain hand position to get to them comfortably. After checking the fit of the boards I took them to the saw horses and began to apply a couple of coats of varnish, the first coat thinned 1:1 with mineral spirits.
Finger holes for the bunk boards.
Quarter berth bunk boards with finger holes.
I finished up the bunk boards after I applied two coats of varnish to the undersides and three coats to the tops. They look great. But, as occasionally happens a good idea reveals itself after point of no return . . . I think a better course of action would been to only varnish the tops of the bunk boards and left the underside bare. That way, the boards would be protected from moisture on the top side and left bare they would have been much more aromatic. Live and learn. With the bunk boards back in the boat I turned my full attention to the icebox.
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.
I have been thinking about cutting a hole in the bulkhead at the foot of the quarterberth. This is typically a stuffy berth and I wanted to improve the ventilation. There are two 4" cowl vents on the fantail of the Far Reach. There are 4" diameter holes cut in the bulkhead that separates the lazerette from the starboard cockpit locker. The hole and vent were part of the engine ventilation system. By cutting a hole in the foot of the quarterberth the air should move straight back through the locker, into the lazerette and out the cowl . . . or the opposite direction with a breeze from astern. I really wanted to cut a rectangular hole but the location of the kerosene tank on the other side of the bulkhead limited how big and where the ventilation hole could be. I was concerned that a square would introduce "stress risers" to close to the edge of the bulkhead. So, I cut a 4 3/4" hole with the hole saw I bought for the Refleks heater flue. Within seconds of cutting the hole air started to flow. Amazing.
The 4 3/4" vent hole I cut at the foot of the quarter berth. Air started flowing immediately.
I spent a few hours today finishing up the trim to hide the scupper hose that drains the starboard side cockpit seat to the cockpit footwell. It's an awkward hose to deal with as it is difficult to hide without interfering with the limited room associated with the quarter berth while also leaving enough room for the bilge pump handle. The angular shape draws some attention but by incorporating mahogany staving, consistent with the rest of the interior trim, it mostly blends in with its surrounding.
Pilot Berth Book Shelves
Book shelves over the foot of the pilot berths. There is 12" above the cushions for your feet to the bottom of the shelf. There is about 11" above the shelf to the underside of the deck. I made some simple cleats that I screwed to the ceiling strips and to the inside of the inboard divider . . . I used a laser level to make sure they were level. I had some scrap Juniper that was 1/2" thick. It is very stiff wood. I made a template for the shelf from some door skin strips and a hot glue gun. I left 1" at the back of the shelf to allow air to flow up around the books and help to reduce mildew. The shelves fit perfectly. Next, I rummaged around and found some scrap mahogany that I'll dado tomorrow and then glue to the edge of the juniper as a face frame. That will keep the shelf stiff and provide a fiddle to keep the books from falling out.
I installed the cleats and the shelf today. Tomorrow, I'll cut the face frame/fiddle to stiff up the shelf and keep the books from falling out.
I cleaned up the juniper shelf bottom and milled it to a uniform 15/32" thick to remove the resaw marks (it is scrap from an earlier project). Next, I cut a dado in the 3/4" african mahogany that I used for the fiddle/face frame. I test fit it. Then, I decided to round the outboard edge as there was no sense in trying to match it to the inward curve of the vertical face of the ash ceiling strips, and if fit tight it would just be hard to remove the shelf and would probably squeak when sailing. The rounded edge looks nice and was simple to make. I made the fiddle as tall as I could and still able to remove all but the tallest books off the shelf without removing other books. Because the shelf is oriented 'thwartship a tall fiddle should not be necessary . . . one hopes. I left a one inch gap at the back end to allow air to circulate behind the books and reduce mildew. I'll varnish the shelves and fiddles during the next phase of varnish work. I had to make the outboard ash cleat taller as the shorter cleat I wanted to use would have had the fasteners land right between two ceiling strips. The cleat will be much less noticable when varnished as it will match the color of the ash ceiling strips.
Test fitting the book shelf. Simple and easy to make.
Upholstry and Cushions
We have spent a lot of time the last two weeks running down fabric for the interior. We looked at a lot of fabric . . . . We narrowed it down to a few samples that would fit with the character of our interior. Not too loud, yet durable, harmonious, elegant, and simple. I made drawings and took photos of the work to be done. We researched upholsters in the area, and prepared all the specifications we wanted to incorporate. I emailed the project to five different upholsters asking for bids. We contacted upholstery shops, canvas shops, and an auto upholstery shop--we wanted to see the range of options. We visited a few of the upholsters. All the bids are back. The price differences broke down into ridiculously high, middle, and what I call the more reasonable. Because the cushions have to be made from scratch and because we want separate knee roll settee cushion the project is more expensive than it would be if we were going for the simple style most stock boats come with. This is one area I am not going to do myself. So, there is no way to really save much money except to find a competent upholstery shop that will work with us and can do a professional job without viewing anyone with a boat as related to the Vanderbilts. We will visit with one of the bidders tomorrow and if all goes well we will be on our way.
We have some of the interior cushions back from the Upholsterer. So far, he is doing a wonderful job. We were a little hesitant on the color but it has really grown on us. It's sage green 100 percent acrylic velvet by Sunbrella It was not very expensive. I think we paid about $17 per yard. We should have the settees and berths back soon. We will also have some bolsters for the front and forward sides of the double berth. The forward double berth is 5" thick. All the other berths are four inches. The cushions are two inches of firm with 2" of soft on top. Very comfy.
The foward berth cushions are installed. They are sage green. The photo does not really show the color very well.
I decided to post some pictures of the new upholstery (photo gallery below). The boat is not clean or wiped down, there is dust everywhere. The flash washed out some of the color. Nonetheless, we are very pleased with how it has come together. I have a few sticky cabinet doors to work on, smoke bells for the lamps to build, and work that needs to be done on the new mast. I'll get sorted out in the next couple of days and get back on track. There are a lot of small projects to address--lee cloths for berth, some more work on the floor board hold down system, some canvas work, etc. We need to get the staysail sheet leads installed but will probably install them after the boat is in the water. But we are mostly there. We do have some more things to pick up--sheets and halyards, anchor chain, fenders, dock lines to splice, etc. And of course I still need to splice the standing rigging but I won't tackle that till the boat is in the boat yard. Soon, very soon.