Yesterday I finished glassing in the starboard steps and making the shelves and front of the curved cupboard that finishes that section of the boat, well almost, the only other furniture to make will be a wine bottle holder that will fit behind the starboard dagger board case, everything else to do in there is finishing work, wall linings, floor linings and cupboard doors. All cupboard doors (and room doors for that matter) throughout the boat are hung last, once all other construction work is complete and are part of the final finishing work. The reason is pretty obvious, being gloss doors you dont want to be passing them hundreds of times carrying material or sharp tools that can scratch them.

curved steps and curved shelves 1curved steps and curved shelves

Along the front of the dagger case will also be a wall lining so the cupboard that adjoins it will protrude past the end of the case by the small width of the wall lining to go on, about 20mm. The shelves are just sitting in place at this stage, they will be glassed in once the front is made, but from the shape of the shelves the front will be molded. All of the shelves are curved to the exactly the same shape on the front and are only different sizes because the back moves out as the hull changes shape the higher you go (it gets wider so the shelves get deeper). I made mdf molds from the front shape of the bottom shelf. The front will be made from polycore but glassed and put in the mold wet to set to the mold. I cut the molds all one at a time, and the danger with this is that no 2 cuts are ever exactly the same even if are a master with a jigsaw, which I am not, so my method is to cut them a tiny bit (the width of your pencil line) oversize then screw them all to each other and grind them down all at one time so they all end up exactly the same shape and exactly matching the shelf they were originally traced from. Then whilst still screwed to each other saw the bottom edge off together, this again makes sure each mold when attached to a table will be (provided the table is flat) the same height, if one is prouder than the others or lower than the others you have fairing to do. You will need to do fairing anyway but the fairer it starts off the less bog and the less sanding later. Then once all of the molds are the same, screw them to the bench an equal distance apart, the more molds by the way the less chance of unfairness in the final set panel but I figure 200mm spacing’s ought to be fine.

shelf moldsshelf molds 1

While the molds were all screwed to each other, mark 3 lines on them square to the face so you can use these to line the molds up. You want the molds all lined exactly, all the same height, all square to the table front edge so that you are sure that the finished panel will be the exact shape of the molds.

shelf molds 2shelf molds 3

Then once set up on the table, I wet out the glass for each side and the polycore panel and laid the glass and put it into the mold wet, and still very flexible. It will set to shape in the mold. I put peel ply on the glass that will be the inside of the panel but tightly wiped bog on the outside glass to set wet on wet. The panel is held to the mold by about 8 screws and these will pull through the back glass (hopefully) when the panel is set and then a small fill to those holes should do it. The mold edges have clear tape to prevent the front from sticking to it. Once set the panel should hold its shape. I may fair it whilst it is still in the mold as it will be held in place to help me.

curved front moldingcurved front glassed bogged

The keen eyed may have noticed that in the pic above where I am holding the panel down with cross beams of timber I have the panel in the mold the wrong way. I ran out of time to glass it so left it overnight in place, to retain some memory of the mold so that after glassing it would sit back in easily. I only noticed from the photo that night that something did not look right. Lucky I ran out of time! That would have been an annoying and embarrassing mistake when I went to fit the curved (and faired!) panel to the boat. Anyway by next morning I decided I would like to bog it at the same time so the cross member idea was jettisoned and I positioned the panel in the mold the correct way.

Other than finding a solution to the bed problem, the boat show did not have much interest for me this year. I also found some tramp webbing I really like. Jo really likes the Ferrari webbing because she gets nervous standing on things she can see through and you can hardly see through the Ferrari tramp webbing so that suits her fine. The problem for me is that the fine mesh blocks vision so it also impedes the fast draining of water, so I like open mesh, and I found a more fine open mesh that both Jo and I like. Compromise found.

fine net mesh

The work on the port forward bed shape did my head in for a while. I could not get my head around the shape I needed and I had 3 competing interests, keeping the bed as close to full size as I could, having as wide and as safe steps up into the bed as I could, and having as much cupboard space as I could or more accurately not wasting the small amount of space is there in voids that could not be used for anything. The visit to the Sydney boat show re-focused my thinking and I believe I have it now. The issue that was troubling me was getting steps up onto the bunk on both sides but remembering that I will have the mast in the front corner that one of the sets of steps will need to get around. I toyed with the idea of moving the bunk off center so that it was up against the saloon bulkhead, this freed up the space for the steps to the front that will be compromised by the stub mast but presented new problems. First would be it would look odd, second Jo thought being directly up against the wall was claustrophobic and possible dangerous and finally the step on this end would be much smaller due to there being much less space so whatever I seemed to think off presented new and usually worse problems than I already had.

I also had it my head that I could just cut the last 250mm off the mattress corners for 250mm in (so a right angle triangle) but the problem that this posed was I could not get a wide enough top step on each side and a shallower angle from further back seemed to be the solution. I experimented with a few mark outs and that I starting the angle from about a 2 thirds of the way along the bed (a queen bed is 203cm long) so about 130cm along and then an angle of about 25 degrees will give me a wide enough step at the end of the bed and the top step at the top of the chamfer panel on the bridgedeck. You are cutting mattress size away further up the bed but at a lesser angle so you dont miss it, and it is past the hips so it is leg room. It works and from the boats I saw at the show it is the accepted way to go as I saw 3 different boats that had roughly the same shape beds.

I am also extending my island out a bit further than the end of the bed, which is not the way most other islands seem to be, the others seem to value wider walkways than storage space, but I have maintained a 500mm walkway through the rest of the boat so I see no reason to not continue with that in the bedroom and the extra length in the island will provide a very good storage area under the bed. The extra cupboard extend another 300mm and then leaves the 500mm walkway space to the other cupboard on the outside of the hull.

So having returned from the boat show with a clearer idea I set it all out and started making templates and cutting panels. I have a 3mm mdf template that I have used 3 times now and each time it has worked well. It is slightly out each time I position it somewhere else because of the changes in the shape of the boat at different points, but by just marking the size of the gaps on the template then adjusting for them when I cut out my panel I have managed to use the same template with success each time now.

After marking out my new bed size and shape, the first template and panel I cut was the extension to the bed that overhangs the chamfer panel. This boat was originally designed to have fore and aft bunks on the brigdedeck in each hull. I have 2 issues with this. First a fore and aft bunk on the bridgedeck means that the person on the inside must climb over the person on the outside to get in and out of bed so if they want to go to the toilet or get up for whatever reason they have to climb over a person asleep in bed, I dont think you can do that without waking the other person, so a bed across the boat means you can have steps and access either side, the second issue is that if I followed the original plans, then all the bunks on board would be running fore and aft (the rear bunk is also for and aft but it has the ability to get in and out without climbing over the other person because the opening is at the foot of the bed) and if you are in a particular anchorage which means the swell is causing a particular motion that sleeping is uncomfortable fore and aft then there ought to be at least one permanent bunk not fore and aft (the saloon lounge will also convert to a double bed and is across the boat). So a panel is needed to extend the bed over the chamfer panel. Easy enough.

After making the bed extension I cut some mdf temporary webs to hold the overhang up in place while I set out and made the rest of the bed parts, when all glued and glassed in the mdf webs can come out. The chamfer to bridgedeck join is curved here so some shaping of the panel was needed, again easy enough, I made it slightly oversize, put it in place over the join so that all other faces (front and sides and a centerline) all lined up then traced the curved join shape from underneath onto the panel and cut it out. A bit of minor grinding and shaping later and it fit beautifully and by grinding the edge to the angle of the chamfer I minimize the fill of glue needed to glass this panel on. With the extension temporarily screwed to the temporary stays it was time to make the sides.

island bed sides 2island bed sides 3

Then an end to the bed was cut and then a top of the bed end cupboard which gave final overall dimensions to both the bed and the cupboard. A bottom kickboard shelf and a middle shelf will be cut next, in the bottom half, because it is against the chamfer I will again make a bottom hinged drawer below the middle shelf. I may also put a half depth shelf above the middle shelf to try to make some use of the angled back of the cupboard but as this will be shallow (because of the chamfer I may not, I am not sure yet. I also still have to cut the bed sides that run at the proper width for a queen mattress (203cm). I have made the mattress depth 150mm of which 50mm will be taken in the bamboo slat supports. I have chosen this method because it provides ventilation under the mattress which is to prevent the build up of mold which can be a problem in the tropics if the mattress cannot breathe properly, and to provide some springing. We will probably have an inner spring mattress made to shape that are usually 200mm high, so 100mm will protrude from the sides. Although having said that, I am not sure I will be able to get an innerspring mattress down the stairs and around the corner once the port stairwell cupboards are installed. I know mattresses bend but I am not sure they can bend and compress the amount needed to get through what will become a very small opening once all the furniture is in. I have considered latex which is much more flexible but it is very heavy and very very expensive. A queen mattress would run at about $1500! (On the starboard side we will have 2 full size queen mattresses also one in each berth but I think I have more room to get them down that sides stairwell).

island bed end 1island bed end

Next step before gluing and glassing this all in will be to set the step heights and cut the shapes now that I have the bed end in place. I also have to make some storage bins that run along side the bed at the full width end of the bed. These will be curved and eventually also be padded as they can be rolled into if asleep and the boat suddenly moves violently which can happen on a boat. Then once all that is done glue and glass it in. and apart from the linings to come later and some wiring also to come later, and the mini masts due around October this room is done. The steps up the bed on the forward side also cant go in until the mini mast is in.

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Paul