Things take a lot longer on the build than they do in my head beforehand. Today it took me all day to strip plank the curve on the port side and I am yet to start on the starboard side. I really thought I would be able to get the whole roof done today. I guess it is taking me a lot longer than it should because of 2 things. First I am working under the bridgedeck which is definitely slowing me down. Heat is a factor but today was not so hot so I cant blame that. What is slowing me down on this is my lack of material. I am having to carefully select pieces of duracore or duflex strips so as to minimise the offcuts that wont be able to be used. I am still gluing smaller pieces together as I struggle to make what I have stretch to finish the roof. I am confident I will have enough to finish but only just and with an absolute minimum of waste. If I had an oversupply and full length strips then the roof would already be finished.
Strip planking thin strips results in a much fairer curve with no hard points. It also curves in a slightly different curve to kerfed panels so there are places along the length that don’t exactly meet with the wider kerfed panel alongside. That said, the thinner strips result in more hard points fore and aft along the edge where each panel meets the next one, they are more subtle but it is impossible for them not to be there. Some scientist argue that there is no such thing as a curve and that any curve is a series of infinite flat lines joining to form the curve. Anyway besides being more work, a fully stripped roof would also be heavier and use a lot more glue.The middle of the roof is really only curving fore and aft because along the middle of the top the side to side curve is so slight as to be an almost flat roof, so strip planking it would be overkill. With the difference in the curves making the edges meet is more work but not impossible so along most of the first curve I have made the edges meet, except for 1 point where I have a lip I will need to sand smooth before glassing.
Once I had the first strip down the rest met along the edge very nicely and the curve down to the edge progressed nicely. I might be a bit of a nut for this kind of stuff but I cant help but sit and admire things like nicely curving planks and then once all the planks were down, the curve the roof takes. There are many parts of the build that have had me sitting and staring at some part or another. Anyway, once I had the planks all down I decided on the method I used on the hull deck turn panels, that is to squeeze glue into gaps I left in the planking without removing them and buttering each plank. This is a little easier because once the planks are fair to each other then you don’t have to worry about getting them fair again with the time pressure of glue going off.
After I had all of the planks glued, with a little extra layer of glue to act as a smoothing agent to smooth out any places where the planks did not meet at exactly the same height I started planking the other side. I got a few planks on but will need to finish it tomorrow as I had to glue more planks together to be long enough to run full length. In some places the planks don’t run the full length of the roof. Past the saloon the roof is cut in by about 300mm (a full plank width) to enable standing at the helm and seeing over the roof and the other side is cut to match. I have also left a void 500mm wide (due to a lack of planks) along the side of the roof that will be over the cockpit. There will be a corresponding space on the other side also. This I will fill with Nidacore. It is a polypropylene honeycomb core material. Some boat builders are building hulls out of this material so I don’t doubt its integrity as a core or its suitability for the job. I just don’t like deviating from the original design or materials. I am using it for the furniture on my boat but because of a lack of duflex and duracore and money to buy more I am using a little over the cockpit. It is a non structural part of the roof and along the curved edge of the cockpit roof so I don’t have any concern about using it there. Being over the curved edge it wont get walked on and being over the cockpit it is not part of the actual design of the boat. Cockpit roofs are an owner option and come in as many designs as there are owners. Some boats opt not to have them and have aftermarket stainless steel and canvas roofs or none at all. In all I will have just over a square meter of the material left in the roof core once the overhang that I am building into the roof length and width is trimmed off again. (The entire roof is about 22 square meters so less than 5% and on the edge of the cockpit roof sides). The cockpit roof will be finished with a double thickness, another layer of nidacore glassed both sides and glued on and then a pvc tube sliced open and glassed around the edge so it should be very stiff.
So hopefully tomorrow I will have a fully formed roof to show. For now I have half a roof so show.