Monday, June 04, 2007

Topside Panels Installed

In between all the sailing trips on the Tiki 21 and getting it hauled out onto the trailer, I've managed to complete both topside panels and got them installed Saturday. The following photos show the sequence of making them up and the finished result.

The plans call for a 3/4 by 1 and 3/4 stringer on the top outside edge of the topside panels. This stringer becomes the sheer clamp that the decks are nailed and glued down to later. One potential problem that has plagued many Tiki 21 and 26 owners is rot in this stringer. This is because if it is installed with right angle to the hull side on the bottom edge, rain water and dew will hang on the edge, which is also impossible to glass over adequately because of this angle. In an attempt to prevent this, I decided to cut the bottom edge of the stringer to an angle of 30 degrees. This is enough to allow the fiberglass cloth to make the transition from the hullside on the bottom edge, and the glass cloth on the deck will overlap the outside surface, joining the hull cloth and leaving no part of this stringer without an adequate sheathing. To cut this angle I first cut square edged pieces 2 1/4 by 3/4, then joined them with scarf joints, and set the table saw to cut the 30 degree angle, leaving 1 5/8 on the flat outer surface, so the outward appearance of the sheer will remain basically unchanged. Then angle will hardly be noticed on the finished boat because of the flare of the hullsides.

One complete topside panel with stringer installed and the other stringer joined and cut to the 30 degree angle.

Working on a Tiki 26 is so much easier when you can freely manipulate the hulls around and turn them to convenient angles. I borrowed Thomas Nielsen's idea of suspending the hull in slings, which makes it easy enough for one man to turn the hull. Installing the long, flexible topside panel is a whole lot easier if the hull is laying on its side so that gravity is working with you. At this point with bunks, floors, and bulkheads filleted in place, the hull is a rigid structure and there is no danger of distortion in turning it like this.

The port side topside panel installed. Temporary screws are used to hold it in place along the bottom edge until the epoxy sets.

The hull with both topside panels installed. These panels make a huge difference in the appearance of the boat, and the hull feels much bigger now. At this point, after finishing the fillets between the topside panels and the upper sides of the bulkheads, I can flip the hull all the way over and begin working on the bottom, shaping the keel and skeg and filling and fairing in preparation for fiberglass sheathing.

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