Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cockpit Under-seat Storage Compartments

I made a trip to New Orleans last week to pick up what should finally be the last two sheets of Joubert marine plywood to finish my boat: one sheet of 6mm to get out the bottom and side panels for the under-seat storage compartments and one sheet of 12mm to make the lids for these.  This lids will also be the seats and must be stiff enough to walk on and not warp or break - hence the 12mm for this purpose.  I went with the 6mm for the sides and bottoms of the boxes rather than foam core like the main cockpit floor or 9mm like the cockpit sides, since these will not be stepped in or carry excessive weight.

I debated long and hard about whether or not to add these fixed seat boxes to the central cockpit structure or build them as separate components to make transporting them easier.  In the end, I decided to make it all one unit as it will be stronger and easier to maintain overall, as separate boxes on either side of the cockpit would would require an extra wall of plywood and would create contact spots that would probably lead to maintenance problems in the future.

I began by glueing the bottom panels of the compartments to either side of the existing cockpit floor, then turning the whole assembly over and making the panels for the bow and stern ends, as well as a middle bulkhead that is cut-away to allow storage of long items like boat hooks and oars.  This assembly went together really fast since I used the super glue and accelerator I've mentioned here before to tab these parts in place rather than the more time-consuming stitch-and-glue technique.

Once the bulkheads and end panels were in place, I then attached the outside panels.  The completed boxes are 12 inches wide.  At this stage, I was able to begin making the structural fillets that would hold all this together and allow a smooth transition from bottom panels to sides for laying down fiberglass.  The glassing will be done after the fillets are completed.  The outside corners will also get a radius to allow glass sheathing over them.  In this photo you can see that I have temporary blocks of wood screwed to the central portion of the cockpit to allow it to hang between the mast and aft beams.  This was to check alignment as pictured in my last post so I could make and install stringers for the inboard cabin sides where the seats will bridge from the cockpit to the hulls.

In this photo, the temporary end stringers have been removed and the permanent ones glued in place with epoxy.  These will also be glassed into the rest of the structure for strength.  After this has cured,  I will hang the cockpit on the boat again for another alignment check and to measure for the seats/covers that will enclose these compartments.

The seats will be split into four separate covers - two on each side.  To keep these compartments dry in rain or spray, the seats will have one-inch side lips all around that will fit over raised coamings I'm going to build into the openings of the compartments.  They will hinge from the inside of the cockpit and overlap a flange permanently attached to each cabin side where it meets the cockpit.  More photos to come in the days ahead will make this clearer.  It's more work to make these cockpit seat boxes watertight, but it will be worth it to have the option of sealing them.  They will also be fitted with drain holes and removable plugs.


mgtdOcean said...

Hi Scott,
Great to see you back at work on the Tiki!!!
I for one would be very interested in the final weight of this modified cockpit your building. And what method you plan to use to install it at the beach or boat ramp.
Keep up the great work and blog entries.
Tiki 30 someday:)

Scott B. Williams said...

Hi Ed,

It's surprisingly light due to the foam-core floor and all okoume plywood. I'll try to get a final weight when all the glassing is done.

The bulk more than the weight will make it a two-person job to install, but since I plan to keep the boat in the water all the time except for required maintenance haul-outs, this won't be a big deal.