Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Installing The Inner Cabin Sides

Most of the detail tasks I've been completing on the boat have had little visual impact and things have looked much the same for many weeks. Yesterday, I changed this when I installed the inner cabin sides. I've been holding off on this until most of the interior work was completed, as these will make it harder to get in and out of the hulls with my low shed roof overhead. But at this point it was time to get them on so as there is a lot of finishing work to be done on the inboard sides that can only be done after the sides are on. Having the sides on will also discourage my cat from hanging out in the hulls, (I hope) and cut down on the amount of dust and other trash getting in there.

Here's a view from the inside of the port hull, looking through the drop board opening towards the starboard hull. You can see the top shelf/step under the opening, and just forward of that, the lower shelf where the two-burner stove will live.

Here's another angle looking forward inside the port hull, the corner of the sink barely visible in the foreground, stove shelf on the inboard side, and the unobstructed inner cabin side in the bunk area. I'm thinking that instead of a fixed shelf on that side, I will make custom canvas storage pockets.

Here's a view from forward in the port hull, looking aft into the galley and main companionway area.

A similar view from forward in the starboard hull shows the companionway steps and the hinged attachment point for the drop-down chart table on the inboard side.

I'm a step closer to having enclosed cabins, but there is still much work to be done before the cabin roofs go on. I will be ordering hatches for the forward ends of the cabin tops and portlights for the aft bulkheads in the next few days.

When the closing in of the cabins is complete and hatches and ports installed so that the hulls can be closed tight against the rain, Element II will at last emerge from the tiny shed I'm building here in so I can spread her hulls to their assembled width and put the beams in place.

Fiberglassing Outer Cabin Sides and Hatches

With the Lexan portlights cut out and ready to be installed, I realized I've got some catching up to to in preparing the cabin sides for the installation. Before the ports go in, I want the outer trim rings completely finished with glass sheathing, primer and paint - that way I won't have to risk damaging the ports working near them with sanders and other tools. So at this stage, I went ahead and applied the fiberglass sheathing to the outer cabin sides. I want to install the ports before the cabin tops go on, as it will be easier if I can reach inside from the top, and will eliminate needing a helper to do this.

Using my usual method of applying masking tape to define the perimeters first, the glass was epoxy saturated and then cut away on the inner sides of the tape.

Before doing this, I built up smooth fillets around the edges of the raised portlight trim rings, and sanded them to a nice transition into the surrounding cabin sides. There were no issues with getting the 6-ounce cloth to conform to the different levels with these fillets in place.

While in the fiberglassing mode, I also removed the front hatches and laminated a layer of 6-ounce on them.

While sanding the fillets on the outer cabin sides, my 5-inch random orbital sander gave up, so I had to make a quick trip to the local building supply and get a replacement. None of these sanders of this design hold up very long to the continued abuse of building a boat. But they are relatively inexpensive. I bought the same model that I purchased about this time last year. This one might see me through to the end of this project if I'm lucky, but keep in mind, I also use my tools for paying work on other people's projects as well.

I have larger sanders for the big jobs, but I find this 5-inch size indispensable for many of the tight spots on the boat. The semi-soft pad allows it to conform around fillets and smaller overall size gets it into many places that otherwise would have to be sanded by hand or my Fein Multimaster.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Teak Toe Rails

While I was in Florida working with David, I had two opportunities to go sailing on his Tiki 30, Abaco. The boat sailed great and many of the extra additions he made from the basic design worked out really well. One small detail that is missing from the Tiki 26 and 30 designs are simple toe rails on the decks that make going forward (and aft on the stern decks) much safer. This is a detail I had planned to add anyway, and after experiencing firsthand how useful they are on the Tiki 30 when going forward to handle the spinnaker, anchors, etc.; I would not be without them.

The plans do show rails on the inboard sides for the trampoline lashings. I used the same dimensions given for these to make toe rails for both the inboard and outboard sides of the foredecks, forward and aft of the front beam, and for the inboard and outboard sides of the stern decks. The inboard rails will be drilled for lashings later, when it is time to fit trampolines.

I used teak to make the toerails for two reasons: one, I spent an excessive amount of time chiseling away and replacing rotten Doug fir trampoline rails when refitting my Tiki 21, Element, and two, I have plenty of it on hand, also given to me by David as bonuses for various jobs I've helped him on. The teak will be there from now on, and drilling through it for trampoline lashings will present no problems. It will also be epoxy coated and painted, even though this is not necessary, simply because I don't plan to spend any time maintaining exterior varnish or keeping raw teak sanded.

Below are the sawn rails, cut to 3/4" by 1" just as the plans show for trampoline rails.

After cutting to length, the rails were radiused on the tops with a router and drilled for screws with 1/2" countersunk bung holes.

Here is a shot of the foredeck rails on the port hull, dry-fitted with screws before removal for final installation with epoxy.

Here, all the foredeck rails have been installed with screws and epoxy; the holes plugged with 1/2" teak bungs.

After the plugs were cut and sanded flush, the rails got their first coat of sealing epoxy. Although they are only 1-inch high, these toerails afford a great degree of safety as you can brace a foot against them when the boat is pitching, making it much harder to slip overboard. There will, of course, be non-skid paint on the walking areas of the decks as well when the paint work is finished.

A closer view of the rails showing the clearance opening for the front beam. There is a good two inches on either side of the beam location to allow for quick drainage of any seas that come on board. Before painting, the inboard sides of the rails will get a nice transitional fillet to the decks so that no water can collect in the corners.

The rails for the stern are also ready for installation, but first I had to finish the fiberglass sheathing over the edges of the decks to the sheer stringers. This is now done and the rails will go on during the next work session.

Cutting out the Lexan Portlights

I was away for the last two and a half weeks of January, working in Florida with the Boatsmith crew on a big interior refit of a 1929 Alden schooner, the Summerwind. The job went well - as always, I learned a few new tricks from David and his guys, and earned another influx of cash that I can sink into Element II. David gets deep discounts marine supplies due to the volume he buys. I needed Lexan for my portlights and companionway drop boards so he picked it up for me at his supplier and then gave it to me for my bonus.

I cut out the portlights right away after I got back to work on my project. I had plywood templates already made from cutting the trim rings some months ago, so it was a simple matter to transfer the shapes and cut them with a jigsaw. The portlights are small and well-reinforced by the trim rings, so they are made from 1/8" Lexan, the same as David used on his Tiki 30. This thickness allows expansion room and a space for sealant on both sides, as the cabin side thickness is 1/4". Since the drop boards will be larger and are less supported, they are made from 1/4" Lexan.

Below are the finished portlights for both hulls, two of them taped for protection and the other two yet to be taped so you can see them. The protective plastic covering that comes on the Lexan was not staying in place well enough, so I removed it and used blue masking tape. This will be left in place until after installation, except for the perimeters where the Lexan comes in contact with the sealant.

The next step before installation is to get the outsides of the cabins faired and filled and sheathed in fiberglass, so they can be primed and the portlight trim rings painted. This way once the portlights are in I won't have to worry about getting epoxy on them or accidently hitting the surfaces with a sander.