Sunday, October 4, 2009

Getting Sole.

Raining cats and dogs Saturday so no outside work for me. I find it a bit ironic that I can't protect my boat from rain because it is raining. Maybe it is just me. When it started to lighten up a bit I was able to run power out to the garage and work on the cabin sole a bit.

I had transferred the hatch locations from the under-sole to the plyboo (bamboo plywood) sole before I installed the 3/4 inch fir plywood undersole. That was over a year ago but the markings were still there so I started the cuts by drilling holes.

The holes are a good place to start the cut and they provide the finger holes needed to pick up and grab the hatch panels. I am sure a fancy latch system would work too but this is how the original sole was set up and it worked just fine so I didn't see the need to complicate it. Plus I have drainage to the bilge should I have a water instrusion issue.

Then I taped off around the cut to protect the plyboo from the saber saw and started cutting. I should add that I considered cutting without the tape but that didn't work as you can see in a following photo that the first (aft most) hatch has some saw marks around it. It sands up quite easily but I think it best not to mark up the material if at all possible.

There are three panels in the sole. The aft one is just an access to the water tank access panel. It seems a shame to have a big hatch for something I will rarely need but going hatchless wouldn't work either and designing a seamless removable panel wasn't worth the effort. The middle and forward panels access storage areas in the bilge.

The blade I used seemed to have trouble with the curves I laid out. The curves came from a top of a spray paint can. It just looked about right. The blades had issues with the corner and I would have been better off with a thinner blade. I had to force/burn/struggle to get the blade around the curve. Next time I guess.

Today, the rain stopped (though the threat of rain didn't) so I decided to take the panel out to the boat for a test fit. In the year and a half since I cut the panel I had forgotten how much I had left to trim up later and what marks were to demarcate the beveling against the curving hull. I spent some time with my block plane and got the panel close. There is more fitting to do but I ran out of time today.

I am very excited about my first impressions. I can already imagine the cherry veneered plywood on the vertical surfaces in the cabin. I am really REALLY sick of bare plywood interiors.

Here is the same thing with the hatches removed.

The hatches in the plyboo were built larger than the holes in the sub-panel so that there would be sufficient support for them. In the original construction, the hatches were supported by one inch strips of mahogony screwed into position. These were falling out and a bit hazardous when I got the boat. I think the new system of a narrower hole in the sub-sole will be vastly stronger and longer lasting. I was a bit too generous with the size of the supporting structure though. I could probably open up the holes a bit.

On the other hand, it is plenty strong the way it is now which is a good thing. I started building the sub-sole before I decided on the 3/4 inch plyboo material. If I had known I would have gone with something thinner for the subsole and perhaps used small strips to support the hatches. As it is, I will now have a combined total cabin sole thickness of 1.5 inches. This is going to be a very stout sole. Luckily I thought to lower the sub-sole below the height of the original sole. I still have an inch of clearance between my head and the cabin top. If you are any taller than me you are out of luck. But its my boat and I built it just for my dimensions and it works for me. And that's that.

And that sums up the weekend on the boat. I still hope to build a cover for the boat as soon as the weather cooperates. If not, well then I will work on interior projects which is what I would rather be doing anyway. ;-)

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