Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Captain Overkill strikes again!

Mid-week update. I have had some paying work that intruded on my time this week. Shame with warm and sunny being the daily forecast for the past two weeks.

I am sure some people wonder why it is taking me so long to get this project done so let me present exhibit 'A'.

The original Triton sole (on mine at least) was a 1/2 inch plywood base with a teak veneer on top. By the time the boat came into my possesion (at 39 years old) the sole was a bit 'squishy' underfoot. Mostly it was the lips that held the hatches that accessed the bilge in place. I was getting nervous about stepping on the hatches and falling through.

I also wanted to add the bilge water tank so the two issues conspired and I grabbed my trusty skilsaw and cut out the sole in about five minutes. I must say the added headroom up forward was nice and I will miss it when the new sole goes in.

Anyway, I decided to increase the thickness of the sole to 3/4". This was the first step to "Overkill" status. At the time I thought I was going to install another teak veneer on top just like the original. Then I saw Nathan Sanborn's floor on his Triton "Dasein" ( A very nice application of real red birch planks. That got me thinking about real wood. After some searching I came up with something totally unexpected, Bamboo plywood. A very different look from what I was thinking originally but I like it.

I have a sample of cherry plywood for contrast. I think I will use the cherry for my settees and bulkheads.

The plywood is 3/4 inch so I went from a 3/4 inch of sole in the original installation to 1.5 inch thick sole in my current plan.

Getting back to that first picture. I had some fiberglass cloth that was never going to be used on this boat so I thought "why not" and sheathed the underside of the fir plywood sub-sole in fiberglass. Water intrustion should not be an issue with this sole. That makes Overkill step #2.

Finally, as I have mentioned in the past, I am adding insulation to the boat. I thought, "why not" and added it to the underside of the sub-sole as well. Probably unnecessary and perhaps totally useless but while I had it apart I thought I would try. The insulation was just scraps from other areas of the boat anyway and would probably have gone unused.

I have heard some sailors with experience in the polar regions argue against insulating the hull that is in contact with the water. Their reasoning is that the water is going to be the warmest thing around and you should use it to add heat to the boat. In my case, I would very much like to travel into the Actic circle area but in summer months only! I envision the insulation helping to keep my bare feet warm in the spring and fall when Maine/Canadian water temperatures can be a bit nippy. No winter polar experiences are in my future. It might help. It might not. While I had the opportunity I took it.

I ran out of time today and I have more paying work to do today. Tomorrow I am going to see about putting in the sub-sole permanently.


brushfiremedia said...

That'll look niiiice with the cherry. A touch of additional bamboo here and there to reinforce the contrast with the sole and SHAZAM!

brushfiremedia said...

Oh, and you won't regret having 1.5 inches of sole. I love how solid my sole is. It'd support a herd of elephants.

britton said...

I am pretty happy with the look too. Not what I set out after but I quickly grew to like it. And it is unique which is nice. I am looking forward to my new stiff sole too. Seems silly to be so thick but there you have it. I checked yesterday and I still have almost two inches of headroom. Good enough for me and I am the only one that matters :-)

Tim said...

Is that insulation a soft-ish foam? I forget what it is you are using.
Do you worry at all about it getting wet on the underside of the sole? Or is the product immune to moisture?

I sure hope you're more than "pretty happy" with the look of that Plyboo given the cost and effort required to acquire it. I like it because it's nice and light, but has some visual interest to the grain, unlike some light woods (maple, for instance) which lacks much grain character at all. With the richness of amber varnish over the top, you'll really have something.

Be careful with that jigsaw when you cut it! :<)

britton said...

Yeah, soft, closed cell foam. Used by US Navy and other commercial ships. The bilge needs to flood about 3 feet before I need to worry about it getting wet. In my experience, it handles the water just fine. Just takes a bit to dry out. That glue better stick at $70 a gallon too! A wet sole was a consideration when I decided to encapsulate the subsole with fiberglass cloth as well.

"Pretty happy" is probably a bit of an undestatement. Given the effort and money needed to obtain the stuff I am definitely not going back. I particularly like how the slight yellow coloring goes with the cherry.

I already cut the final sole out with the skilsaw,- my artistic tool of choice- factoring in the wider sole area. Rough cut oversized of course until I can fit it to the assymetrical wavy hull edges. Yeah, I could have spiled it in but I didn't trust myself to cut that closely to the final line. Just too many irregularities in the hull. I would have had to spile like every two inches.

brushfiremedia said...

You can always fill the gap like I did with epoxy fairing compound if you don't get a perfectly tight fit. It actually works really well. No crud gets stuck.

Flood to 3 feet? I wouldn't know anything about that...