Thursday, 7 April 2016

Cockpit seats glassed, hatch and deck pre prep

Work has slowly continued on, but I am getting close to being unable to avoid sanding and fairing the deck and cabin prior to paint.

The cockpit work continued with glassing the seat tops.  First pre fitting the glass mat which was cut carefully in position and left.  Below shows it all in place prior to epoxy being added, you can see the first lot of epoxy in the blue ice cream container on the cockpit floor.  Aft is to the left of shot.

Again I didn't try to move the mat and pre epoxy the seats, too hard to re position.  Many trips in and out of the cockpit for extra epoxy but three nice thick coats wet on wet for a very good coverage.  I was intending to glass the seat backs as well, but think I will just epoxy them when I glass the tops of the coamings.

After that had dried I moved into the main cabin to finish off the doors to the hanging lockers each side of the engine space.  These must almost be the final pieces in the cabin until I get the engine/drive train fitted.  Below shows the stb door cut to size in 9mm ply.  I put a piano hinge on the wooden upright on the right (as you look at it).  To the right is the engine bay and storage above it, to the left the foot end of the cabin seat / berth.

I decided to put some dressing timber strips on the front to make them look similar to the other doors in the cabin, looked a bit stark to my eye.  Below shows the first one finished and the second one waiting.

They will have clothing in them, so I drilled a couple of ventilation holes at the top each side.  Then usual oil based undercoat sealer and two coats of exterior paint, you know the drill.  Finished off with some brass handles to match the rest and latches inside to hold them shut.

Below is a shot showing the inside, sorry it is so blurry but it goes the full depth the same as the engine bay above.

I have also completed most of the construction of the "turtle", the hard garage that the main hatch slides back into when open.  First was to sort out the inside drain for the hatch.  Each side I cut a 12mm ply spacer to form the drain.  It has a nice slope towards the cockpit, below is only dry fit but when I epoxied and screwed it on I gave the hardwood with the screws and the top of the ply that forms the base of the drain a thick coat of epoxy.

On the inside of this will go another piece of kwila hardwood, below is only dry fit at this stage but is low enough that the hatch slides over the top.

Below shows the depth of the drain out the outflow end, it will run down where the washboards go onto the bridge deck.  The gap just below the rule was filled with epoxy glue powder, I have yet to put the inside kwila pieces on each side, I'm thinking of painting the drain and inside edges first, after epoxying the inside face of the final piece as well.

And an overhead shot giving you an idea.  I picked 12mm  because I could get a cloth and finger down to clean it if I need to.

The turtle will be curved on top to match the cabin top, I used the piece I cut out of the curved beam at the rear of the cabin to set the curve and form the front edge.  The whole thing will be removable, screwed onto permanently mounted pieces of wood on the outside of the hardwood hatch rails. Below shows the forward end of the turtle, note the curved beam I mentioned earlier, and solid wood blocking to transfer the weight to a cross piece.  I anticipate people sitting on it, and it will be glassed on the outside (and maybe the inside).  Above the curved piece you can see the pine side screwed in place for dry fitting.

Below shows the sides and forward end dry fit in place.  Note the spacers on the left, required to ensure the outside hardwood cover of the hatch can fit inside.

I have decided not to construct it until after I have faired the cabin top to ensure that there is clearance underneath it.  Below shows the spacers and inside surfaces all getting epoxy coated.  I will pre paint them as well, leaving the glueing surface of the spacers clean for later attachment.

I'd almost run out of excuses not to start fairing, so put my mind to that.  I had been thinking about stanchions and lifelines, and looking at Mr Whipple's photos.  While looking at the possible bases I began to realise that due to the slope of the front deck, and the side decks, the uprights would be all at different angles.  A check of Mr Whipple's old blog showed hardwood (I believe) spacers attached to the deck for mounting surfaces.

I wasn't keen on trying to plane a flat surface on the bottom of a hardwood piece which had to slope in two directions.  I decided to cut the hardwood pieces, then cut spacers to hold the pieces level while the epoxy glue set.  But how do you measure them?   Below shows one of the kwila pads resting in position on the deck.  100mm long, 70mm wide and 19mm thick.  Should make a nice solid base to screw into.

I cut a piece of ply the same size in 12mm so it wouldn't bend, then drilled a hole in each corner large enough that I could hand screw a 14g 1 1/4 inch screw down.

Put it in position where the hardwood piece will go.

Put a small level on top and figure out which end needs to come up (you will also have a corner touching the deck) and screw one of the screws down on the outside until it is level front to rear.

Then adjust until it is level towards the cabin, you will have to adjust both the outside screws to keep the front to rear level.

Then measure down to the deck on the outside for your spacer.  I used both 12mm ply and then solid wood when it went beyond 12mm.   Below shows the final piece after attachment.  Once you cut the spacer you adjust the angle with the electric plane (carefully! Only had to remake two out of ten) positioning it in place and resting the hardwood on top to check balance with the level.  Make sure you mark which corner (or forward side in some cases) that touches the deck for later assistance.  Below shows the front to rear profile.

And the angle to match the deck.  The spacer was attached with glue and a couple of small tacks punched well into the hardwood.

And in position with other ones behind.

To attach I mixed epoxy glue powder thickly and stuck them down.  Below is before starting, this is the second one from forward on the port side, so quite a bit of slope to the deck here.

With the bottom of the hardwood overfilled, I also put some down where it met the deck.

And in place.  I only did minor clean up because I didn't want to bump any of them.  Only one required a lead weight, the rest sat without it.  Most challenging were the ones up on the front deck near the anchor well due to the slope of the deck.  These have lots of epoxy to clean up after they are dry, but six of the ten are quite neat.  Time will tell, I only stuck them down today!

Next will be final clean up of the deck, glassing the coaming tops and epoxy seat backs prior to a sanding/fairing nightmare.


  1. I'll be interested to see your engine installation and how you design the removable steps down into the cabin.

    1. I was thinking of stealing your ladder design, but I need to figure out exactly were the engine will sit. I have a few ideas floating around, I think my engine box will be further out than yours was due to the angle I put the shaft tube on so I may incorporate a flat top to use as a table. This could mean stepping from the berth on top of the engine box and onto a small ladder or steps up into the cockpit. I may start putting it together while deck fairing coats are drying.

    2. The ladder worked well, and was removable, of course. What engine are you planning to use. The little Bukh I had was a jewel. In pictures of the wreck, it sat there as if unharmed. I'd bet it was salvagable.

    3. Engine is looking like a Beta 14HP, next year hopefully!