Building Logs

Not another window post.

Posted by Paul

Apparently when wordpress was created they didnt realise there would be bloggers out there that could bang on about boats for hours and hours. So much so that my catch up post was causing problems because it was so big!! So I have deleted all non window related work and put it in its own post, thereby shortening the catch up post so that I can put back in the 6 window related pics that needed to be dropped off the end off it to make it fit into wordpresses teeny weeny bikini size post limits. So if you think you may have read this stuff before you may have.

So while all the window work was going on I also finished the cockpit and started a few other tasks. Although I had set out the cockpit seating more than 2 years ago, the seat tops were still to be done. The original plan was for the seat tops to overhang the seat fronts by about 10mm and have a 30mm trim made of foam go all the way around and in the 10mm void behind the front trim I would fit LED rope light which I have. I did this for the front of the steps and also for the underside of the cockpit roof overhang. These plans have now all changed. Actually a lot of plans have changed over the years, you get what seems a good idea then not so much when you try to implement it. A lot of my plans are changing because my life circumstances have changed. I have lost my job so the money is drying up, so as a consequence we are trimming down some of the time consuming ideas in favour of speed, as we are now in a rush to get the boat launched. We will likely launch before the boat is complete inside, but of course it has to be complete outside to launch. So the focus has shifted to getting the essentials done in order to finish the job as fast as can be, as cheaply as can be. I will spend more and more time finishing the boat and then once launched I might look for some work again to fund the final internal finish.

So as part of the cockpit simplification I trimmed all of the seat top overhang back to flush with the seat fronts. Two of the hatches were converted from top fill to front fill so that the lids could be glassed on. This was because the seat backs over these 2 seats was curved and hinging a lid to a curved line is near impossible. So I just cut a door into the front, then the cut out became the door, so both the internal edge on the seat front and the edge around the door was decored and back filled and a ply pad glassed around the door opening to provide the internal trim. This was done through the top before the top was glassed down.

The seat tops and the curved aft seat backs have sat in place for nearly 2 years awaiting this. Also the half step had its lid just screwed on (with just one screw that often let go underfoot when people did not step into the middle of the step) as I had intended that a hinge on that lid would be a handy place for a gaff. But in the end that too became easier just to glass on. Also in areas of high load it is advisable to decore edges and round the hardened filler rather than rounding the balsa and glassing directly onto it. The filler being so much harder than balsa provides a sturdier edge on high traffic or wear areas for the glass to bed onto but more importantly is much easier to get a uniform curved finish. It is surprisingly hard to get a uniform curve from a balsa edge. So although their is extra work in decoring and back filling the edge, the finish is so much better and easier to achieve.


Once the doors were cut and fit and the inside of all the wells were white coated and had drains in them I could glass the tops on. Each of these wells will be used to store petrol jerry cans so in case of vapour leaks or actual spills they have drains in each of them, and are not going to be airtight or waterproofed. The jerry cans will be plastic so water wont be an issue. And of course for the most part the jerry cans will be empty, they will only be required if or when going on a long passage or to remote locations. I will have the ability to and plan on carrying 10 24 litre jerry cans as well as 4 (2 for each engine) 24 litre outboard tanks. The original plan was to actually have all outboard tanks so there would be no decanting on board and I would still like to do that, but for some strange reason the plastic in a jerry can is 5 times cheaper than the plastic in an outboard tank. Go figure? Anyway we dont have inbuilt petrol tanks so this way we can still carry 300 litres of fuel if required.

One of the things you must be super diligent about with a balsa core boat is that each penetration of the glass through to the balsa core must be decored and back filled. In order to make the drains I got 20mm pvc pipe, drilled a 20mm hole through, then decored using a sharpened allen key in a drill, you sharpen the short part of the angled key, put the long shaft into a drill, put the sharpened key in the hole against the balsa and squeeze the trigger, slowly at first but once most of the balsa is removed you can speed up and use the key to clean the inside of the glass of any balsa. Then back fill it with glue and put the piece of pvc pipe in to set with the glue, slightly over long, and then grind off the excess flush with the glass each side when done. Easy. A coat of white epoxy to finish and the lids can be glassed on.



The lids of the seats across the middle of the cockpit will be hinged because of the step in front making front access no longer a possibility. As well as these 4 hatch sections (which only have 2 lids, I decided double lids here was an easier option) there is a lid over the seat against the bulkhead directly behind the kitchen and a round lid over an ice well I put in which is like an island under the helm seat. The rest of the under seat areas are part of the internal volume of the boat below, the aft bedroom on the starboard side and the bathroom/laundry on the port side.



After all the seat tops were finished it was on to the seat backs. The cockpit sides where it meets the hull is higher than the side decks as they curve down to the rear steps. There is good reason for this. If a wave (or rain) were to flow along the side decks you want it to carry on past the cockpit and not flow into the cockpit. So the seat backs start about 10mm higher than the side decks at the cabin bulkhead and as the side decks slope away but the seat top doesnt the difference in height becomes about 100mm. So that area has to be faired to look good. My method was to gently slope the side seats down from their height at the cabin bulkhead down to the height of the last bulkhead (the deck slopes even further by 90mm) and then to match that slope about 100mm into the deck area with another upright panel and then put a lid on it. I glued it on then once dry I sanded the edges round and glassed it. This gives the seats a rim that can be sat upon. Once that was done I placed a piece of 5mm ply on the deck with a nice curve on it to bring the look of a molded boat with a raised area from the end of the cabin side overhang to the edge of the deck against the seat back. Whilst the glass was still tacky I added a thin coat of bog. That will probably all make better sense once you see the pics below.



That just left the curved seat backs that lead around from the hulls to the middle each side and how I end the seats in the middle where the bath will go on the duckboard. We long ago (before we had the hulls finished) decided we did not want the walk through transom/inboard motor option but we also decided to try to mimic the feel of the walk through transom by having a walk around transom. This will take some explaining. With a walk through transom (not an option with outboards because you need the height of the hull above the bridgedeck for the outboard to rise into) the top step on each hull is at bridgedeck height and you walk through a cutaway in the bulkhead to access the cockpit without stepping over but through and opening in the wrap around cockpit seating. Really nice and easy on old people which we will soon be in that there is no climbing up and down seats. But because this is ruled out, the other standard Schionning cockpit is fully enclosed, as ours is, but the wrap around seats. There is quite a big first or last step either from or into the cockpit from seat height (500mm) to bridgedeck. To alleviate this I built the curved half step across the middle of the rear curved seat front. From the seat height, you would normally step up or down another 500mm from seat height to side deck height to the steps in each hull transom. Again to rid ourselves of that high step we make our walk to the transom steps on the now raised duckboard, which is raised from bridgedeck height to seat top height, and walk around the back of the wrap around seats behind the final bulkhead down half steps to the transom steps which sweep from duckboard around to the transom. Under the lids of the raised duckboard top is a wide void that will house a bath (so the lid will need to be very well reinforced underneath to stop the flexing) and either side of it is a well for a 9kg gas bottle, one connected to the house gas system the other a spare but connected to the outdoor barbeque. Walk around transoms. It means we have a wide section of the cockpit seat that does not have a back. We may fix this with a stainless steel back with pads on leaving just a narrow middle section as the walk through (although even this can be filled with a “gate”, but that is part of the improvements now, as we dont have time or money to do it right away and may not want it, as there is also a plan for a hammock couch between the davits that may elevate the need for this area to have seat backs, but more on that later. In the mean time, the curved seat backs have been sitting leaning against the back bulkhead also for nearly 2 years, often getting in the way, already kerfed so fragile, awaiting this day. When I kerfed them I thought I would have got back to them much sooner. Whatever.  I experimented with various seat back angles, the more angle the more comfortable but the more of the very narrow seat they ate into so in the end a compromise of fairly straight (good posture) seat back angle was chosen so that the seat was not too narrow.

The easiest way to set this curved kerfed panel to glass was to make the top of this seat from plywood, glue that on then glue and glass it all in with the curve of the top acting as the mold for the curve of the seat back. This hollow section is also a good place to put a mandatory must on any serious boat, rod holders and stubby holders. I made the stubby holder by glassing a short piece of storm pipe with an end cap glued into a tight fitting hole drilled into the ply top. The rod holder is a commercial plastic angled one, I bought 4 of them, one for each seat back top and one for each rear step side panel. The rod holders have a drain hole in the bottom that I am going to have to block, the rod holder would fill with water if any got in but I cant have it draining into the inside of the seat backs, there is nowhere for it to go in there. The rod holders have a rubber lid on them to keep water out when not in use.



The last step in finishing this area of the build was to shape out the sharp corner and make it round. You dont want sharp corners anywhere on a boat really, you never know when you might slip and if you have to hit something hard, you dont want it to be a hard point, a rounded edge is going to do far less damage. And with that rounded, a coat of bog all over it (it is going to be faired and painted so it will need bog, but I also used light plain weave cloth so that it went around the corners and rounded edges well but being lighter, its easier to sand through it, so if there is a layer of bog already covering it, when you see glass you stop sanding, its a very good guide coat. If needed add more bog but you can not sand lower than the glass layer.


Another job I have started is to make the switch panel. It sits in a cupboard in the port hull under the fridge and behind the rubbish bin. There will be enough room in there for an inverter, a solar regulator and all the myriad of wiring that comes from all 4 corners of the boat to this panel and from the panel to the battery bank on the other side of the fridge (via 3 conduits that run under the fridge). I intend to have a master battery isolator (a main off switch), 3 breakers (that also act as off switches) one for the windless, one for the inverter and one for the switch panels. I have 3 panels banks consisting of a 6 and a 4 switch panel 10 in all, one for the starboard hull, one for the bridgedeck and one for the port hull, so 30 switches in all. Each switch is also a breaker. I will also have a 240v switch panel with about 4 switches or breakers on it (as well as a main breaker but it will be at the point where shore power enters the boat in the laundry). Below the main 12v switches will be the water depth read out and the battery meters. The actual panel board will be hinged and form a door behind which will be the inverter and solar regulator and I may have a thermatic bilge blower in there to keep it cool. And then in front of that hinged panel will be a sliding louvre door that will slide through a slot (not yet cut) in the side wall into the stair well to act as a door to the stair well when guests are aboard to make the owners hull more private, but more on that later (as it may end up being one of those things I may not get to do and will end up with just a boring old hinged door on the front of the cabinet. In the space in front of the switch panel and on the shelf below, there is room for a lap top and a printer. I dont intend to have a HF radio but if I did, it would go in this section. Sat phone technology is rapidly making HF radio obsolete, and I am not in the slightest bit interested in being part of cruiser radio nets.


Another small job I have been working on is the davits. I have mounted a sheave on an aluminium axle through a slot in the front of each one. When I laid the uni inside each one I decided on the height of this sheave and split the uni threads around the slot in order to retain the strength of it all, as uni that is cut loses all of its strength. I have round davits, but rope under tension, as it would be when lifting the dingy, travels in a straight line, so in order to have the rope travel around the curve but in straight lines through the davit, I had to put a turn point into the davit. But instead of a block (sheave) which I probably should have used, I decided that another aluminium shaft would be smooth enough and the rope not move fast enough to cause much friction and it will do the job of a sheave. I may also do this at the end of the davit as I may put a shaft through each davit and spanning between the 2 to provide the top of a slung seat. If we dont do the slung seat then a double block will be at the top of the davit. I still haven’t decided. In order to shape the davit backs, I kerfed the panels then screwed them onto the davits, and glassed the outside surface. I removed them from the davits and laid about 5 layers of uni and a layer of double bi onto the inside of the davit backs and put some sticky tape along the davit walls so that the back did not adhere to the davits yet. They will eventually be glassed on, but not until the uni is set. You cover uni with a layer of double bi because the uni transmits load along its threads but they can pop out under load if not tied down with a layer of woven glass. Eventually there will also be a uni rope in the side walls of the davits at the edge that is glued to the backs (the backs will be glued on when the uni rope is wet. And once dry, the back edges will be sanded smooth and a uni stack will also go along the outside of the back wall. In all there will be about 20 strips of uni in 4 stacks (outside front, inside front, inside back and outside back) so I have no fear that the davit could ever break. They have to be super strong because they dont just lift the 60 or 70kg dingy, the dingy may get swamped by a following wave and fill with water and then you are carrying a few hundred kilos in an instant. If this were to ever happen I would think the ropes would be the weak point.



Another job I have done that is visually exciting is to start to fit the kitchen fittings, stove top and sink, and plumbed the sink and faucet in. Not a difficult job considering that everything was in place (the pipe work) ready for this day. So in all it only took a few hours to measure out the positions, cut the holes and plumb in the water in and waste out. Water into the mixer could not be easier, with the whale one click system I just clicked a threaded end fitting to the hot and cold water pipes and screwed the flexi hoses from the mixer into it. The waste water out has a trap but was also fairly easy to plumb in. The gas hob is just sitting in its place but will still need gas plumbed to it which I need a professional plumber to do (I also need the gas hot water to plumbed in. The mixer has one of those ends that has a hose so that it can be pulled out for spraying veges or cleaning fish and is held in place by a magnet, and swivels and from its position can swivel out the window for filling buckets.



The only plumbing left to do (and internal construction) is the toilets. All other plumbing pipework is in place, but the actual hardware (faucet, shower heads, etc) are still to be roughed in, but the toilets, both of them, still have a little more work I need to do before they are finished. And of course I have to buy 2 more of them, having smashed the one I had. Nevermind.

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