Monday, April 23, 2007

Floor Panels Installed

I had some unexpected free time this past week so I was able to put in quite a few more hours than my average lately. Most of what I'm doing at this stage is time-consuming without much visible progress, such as finishing out the keel fillets, applying layers of fiberglass over those, sanding and working the bulkhead fillets smooth, and generally finishing everything up below the bunk level in preparation for installing those. The Tiki 26 plans specifiy a small floor panel between bulkheads 2 and 3, in main cabin area where the companionway is located. This area below bunk level is a "wet locker" and footwell, allowing crew to sit and do chartwork or cook a meal or whatever. Some Tiki 26s I've seen have a loose fitting, removable board here, and others are sealed and watertight. I wanted a solid surface to step down on, but with an easily removed panel so every area of the hull can be inspected and the space below the floor can be used for storing small items.

Since I raised my bunk level by 3 inches, this floor level was also raised by the same amount, making it a good bit wider and with more space under. I decided that such a partition as this floor would also be useful in the next section forward, between bulkheads 3 and 4, and this would also serve to strengthen the lower part of the hull where I might have lost some stiffness due to moving the bunks up. I find in my Tiki 21 that the large V-shaped areas are awkward for storage, and stuff moves around unless packed in tight, so a partial floor would keep larger bags and containers up out of the V bottom, but still allow lots of small items such as water containers, canned goods, etc. to go into the bottom. I was concerned about adding too much extra weight with this additional floor, so I cut away two large access holes so that it now becomes more of a stiffening web, like a longitudinal bulkhead. Filleting the edges to the hullsides will add great strength but the amount of extra ply is minimal. I made another short section like this to go just forward of bulkhead 4, as Thomas Nielsen has done in his Tiki 26. This may be used as a battery-mounting shelf, as Thomas is doing, unless I decide later to mount the batteries elsewhere.

The photos below show these floor panels. In the first one you can see the underside of the one between bulkheads 3 and 4. It's the one with the two openings and the stiffener glued across the middle. The smaller panel to the right is the one that goes forward of bulkhead 4. In the foreground is the main panel that goes between 2 and 3, with the bearers for the removable panel being glued in place.

Floor panels installed. Looking aft to bulkhead 2, you can see the main floor with the removable panel in place, and part of the added floor forward of bulkhead 3.

This is the floor panel between bulkhead 3 and 4. There is a lot of space below the panel, and still a large volume of storage above this floor and under the bunks.

Here is another view looking in at bulkhead 4. You can see the short panel forward of bulkhead 4 here.

And this is the compartment between bulkhead 4 and bulkhead 5. This would be a good place to locate a battery, to keep the weight low and forward, since so much other heavy stuff such as the engine and its fuel has to be located further aft.

As you can see from the photos, I have not finished the fillets around these panels. I still have to sand them again and make the final pass over them to smooth out imperfections, then apply another clear coat of epoxy over the fillets and everything between the floor level and bunk level. The bunk panels are all cut and fitted, but I still have to make and install the bearers for the access hatches in them. I have to leave town again for a few days this week to work, but hopefully in a few more boatbuilding sessions, I'll have the bunks installed.


tsunamichaser said...

Your work looks fantastic! The light colored fillets will finish up very nicely clear coated. Are you backing up your fillets with glass cloth?

Scott B. Williams said...

Thanks Thomas,

Yes, I like the light colored fillets. The wood flour is pine, which is lighter in color than maple. I will back up most of the fillets with glass cloth, especially these floor to hull joints. In addition, I'll glass all of the floor in the area between bulkheads 2 and 3, where it will be stood on.