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Progress Report:  2004 Archives

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Reports from March 2004
3/7/04  3/14/04  3/21/04  3/28/04

Log for the Week Ending March 7, 2004

Again, the week got off to a slow start, as I had other things to attend to.  But I still managed to continue working on the short deck beam glue-ups.  I found that the resorcinol glue was taking too long to cure sufficiently in the 60 shop.  Granted, the molding station is located at the coldest part of the shop, so it was probably even cooler than that.  To ensure that the molded beams would hold their shape and stay glued, I had to leave the pieces in the clamps for more than a day.  Too long.   Keeping the shop temperature higher than 60 not only makes working on the boat uncomfortably warm, but also costs too much to do so on a consistent basis.  I switched back to using epoxy, since I find that it always cures sufficiently in 24 or fewer hours (usually just overnight), even at the lower shop temperatures.

carlinecardboard3.jpg (49307 bytes)On Tuesday, I began work on a template for the forward edge of the cabin trunk, which features a smooth curve according to my design.  Laying out and building this particular piece was critical to my continuation of the project because the position of the main cockpit carlins--and therefore all remaining deck beams and structure--hinged upon its ultimate shape and location. I began with a basic cardboard template of the shape (right), and proceeded from there.  Despite some equipment frustrations, by the end of the day I had a laminating template mostly built and ready for the next chore.

Click here to read more about the forward cabin trunk carlin layout. 


lamcarlin3.jpg (50330 bytes)I continued on Wednesday by securing the round mold to a sheet of plywood and covering both parts in plastic, in preparation for laminating.  Then I milled and glued up the nine thin boards required to make the assembly, a task challenging enough that for a time I wondered if I was going to fail to get the pieces clamped in time.

Read more here.


lamcarlin9.jpg (40991 bytes)In the end, I succeeded, and after a couple days curing in the clamps, I removed the new laminated assembly and was pleased with the final result.  As of this writing, the piece still needs to be cleaned up, sanded, and cut to final size, but that will happen next week.

Log for the Week Ending March 14, 2004

shortbeamlaminate.jpg (50261 bytes)Work on laminating short deck beams continues, two by two.  Virtually all of the remaining beams I need for the boat are short, under two feet, with the exception of one or two full-width beams that will be needed aft of the cockpit.  To laminate these beams, I use each end of my large beam mold.  The sections are short enough that I could probably get away with straight beams, but I would rather have the slight curve to ensure that they match the remainder of the deck camber properly.  I can do two per 24 hour period, and I need 26 beams total, plus two additional full-width beams for aft of the cockpit.


carlinsanded.jpg (47448 bytes)I began Monday morning with the laminated carlin.  The first task at hand was to remove the excess glue and smooth the piece.  My belt sander died last week, so I used a borrowed power plane (handheld) to remove the bulk of the glue and help smooth both sides of the lamination.  I started to get some tearout, so I switched to my trusty Porter Cable DA to finish cleaning up the piece.  When I had finished, I temporarily installed it up in the boat with clamps so that I could work on the next step:  determining where the cockpit/cabin carlins would naturally join into the curved piece.

Click here for more on that process.


I spent about 5 hours on Tuesday planing more rough stock down to 3/4" thickness and milling all the lumber required to complete the deck frame.  I needed to mill pieces for the carlins, each of which will be about 15' long and made up of three pieces of stock laminated together, and to mill enough pieces to make up the required number of short deck beams (26 total, or 13 pair) and the aftermost two full-width beans (2).  Planing and milling these various pieces, plus cleanup of the shop afterwards, was the bulk of the work completed on this day, but now at least I have all the pieces cut, which should streamline my operations for a time.  I used up virtually all my remaining mahogany, so I'll need to order more when it comes time for additional structure and, eventually, trim.  But I certainly have plenty to do in the meantime. 

electcords.jpg (35724 bytes)All my recent work on both sides of the boat highlighted another issue that I had to take care of:  getting the electrical cords out of the way.  For weeks, I had had a couple electrical cords running into the boat from the wall outlets on the boat's starboard side.  I ran them up the wall and then over to the boat, across the staging.  The cords ended up at about waist height as they ran across the staging, but this kept the cords high enough off the floor for plenty of headroom when passing around the boat at floor level.  Since much of my work on the boat had been concentrated at the bow, which I accessed from the port staging, occasionally ducking under the cords on the starboard side wasn't too big a deal for a while.  But now, they were just in the way, and enough was enough.    There are any number of ways I could have strung the cords up out of the way, but most would involve getting a ladder to one or another awkward location in the shop (not easy, since the ladders required to access the walls and ceiling must be large to start with, and the shop is full, so I looked for an easier way.  What worked was to take a pair of scrap pine boards, each about 4-5 feet long, and cut a rough slot in one end, at the center.  Then I clamped these boards to the hull in way of the cords, and strung the cord over the slot at the top.  Voila...out of the way.  Aren't you glad I detailed this for you?  Please don't write and tell me I need to plug the cords into the ceiling, or need those fancy retractable cord thingies.  I know.  Please note that I cannot access the ceiling easily now, but that future shop improvements include more ceiling-mounted accessories as needed.


With the milling out of the way, I continued by preparing to work on the cockpit carlins.  My first step was to cut out slots large enough for the carlins in the midships and after bulkheads, which took a few minutes with a jigsaw.  Then I trial fit the sections on one side, just to see how things might go.  It became immediately clear that the curved forward piece would have to be securely installed to ensure the proper fit with the sides, so I put aside the carlin pieces and prepared to permanently install the last full-width deck beam, which is located just forward of (and tangent to) the curved carlin.  I'd have to permanently install this beam before the carlin, since the carlin relies on the beam for support, in part.


deckbeamfinalinstall2.jpg (32961 bytes)I removed the single beam and the curved carlin, and milled some edge details on both pieces, then sanded both pieces smooth with 120 and then 220 grit papers.  I'll post more information on the edge detailing later, when I start installing the beams wholesale.

With the beam sanded, I permanently installed it in the boat.  I secured it to the sheer clamp with some thickened epoxy in the joint between the beam end and the hull, plus a bronze #14 x 3" screw at each end.


deckbeamfinalinstall1.jpg (48834 bytes)To protect the beam, I applied a quick sealer coat of varnish thinned about 50% with thinner, which will prevent fingerprints and dirt from sullying the clean, sanded beam.  Eventually, I'll apply several more coats of varnish to this and all the beams (once installed), so that the varnishing is complete before the deck is laid.

Look for more details on the deck beam installation later on, once I start installing all the beams.  For now, I stopped at just the one beam that was required in order to complete other framing steps.  In a couple days, I'll install the first fill-width beam aft of the cockpit (to which the after end of the carlin will attach), but first I had to laminate up that beam section.  With two short beams in the mold, I had to wait till Wednesday.


installcurved7.jpg (40059 bytes)Wednesday, I glued up the beam first thing, then moved on to other tasks.  There was plenty to do.  My first step for the day was to prepare to install the curved carlin permanently.  I installed for good with bronze bolts, screws, and thickened epoxy, then continued working by beginning the construction of the cockpit carlins.

Read more about installing the curved carlin here.


carlininstall1.jpg (54364 bytes)During the rest of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, I built the cockpit carlins on each side.  These carlins, which define the shape and edges of the cockpit, cabin trunk, and sidedecks, are built of three thicknesses of mahogany, glued together with resorcinol glue.  By noon on Friday, both carlins were permanently installed, and the boat had started to really take shape and show off a hint of her final appearance. 

Click here to read about building and installing the cockpit carlins.


With that, I took Friday afternoon and Saturday off, feeling like I had accomplished a significant amount of work during the week.

What's coming up next?  Dressing the carlins, some busy work and undesirable chores like cutting off sheer clamp boltheads, epoxy filleting and glasswork and the like, and beginning to fit and permanently install all the short deck beams.  Of course I'll continue gluing up two short beams per day until they're all done.  As of this writing, I have 6 or 7 days' worth of glueups remaining.


Log for the Week Ending March 21, 2004

laserlevel.jpg (35244 bytes)Sunday, I took care of a few smallish jobs on board.  With the cockpit carlins in place, I felt it was due time to cut out the excess portions of the bulkheads at the aftermost location.  I had installed these pieces somewhat oversize originally, since I didn't want to commit to a certain size or shape.  With the carlins in, the cockpit shape was therefore well-defined, so I went ahead and removed the excess plywood from each side, plumbing a line down from  the inside edge of the carlins and then a horizontal (level) line across the bottoms of each side at a previously-determined point, which equated to the eventual cockpit sole height.  I played around a bit with a new inexpensive laser level I bought on Ebay to confirm the earlier marks I had made for the cockpit sole.

aftbhinitialcut.jpg (40141 bytes)


companionwayaftbh.jpg (41657 bytes)I also made the plunge and cut out the midships bulkhead in way of the companionway hatch.  I made the opening narrower and shorter than the final cut will require, but with the cutout I hoped it would make it easier to get around inside the boat, since before cutting I had to climb in and out of the boat on each side of the bulkhead, as there was no access through the full-width piece.  Besides, with the pending installation of deck beams and other related work, the ladder I had rigged on the forward side of the boat would start to get in the way, so it was time for me to create other access into the boat.

beamsdone6.jpg (50702 bytes)I spent most of the week working on installing deck beams, in particular the short beams running between the hull and carlins on each side.  There are 22 of these beams in total (I overestimated earlier when I said 26).  Installing the beams required first dressing off the carlins to reflect the approximate camber of the deck, and then cutting angled mortises at each beam location along the carlins.  Then, I could fit each beam in turn, using the same marking methods as I used when fitting the full-width foredeck beams.  At the same time, I took care of the chore of cutting off the excess bolts protruding through the sheer clamp.  I used my angle grinder fitted with a cutoff wheel to remove the excess.  By Friday morning, all the deck beams were in and secured, completing the deck framing.

Click here to read about installing the deck beams in detail.


Log for the Week Ending March 28, 2004

I had so much going on during the week that I found it tough to get out and put in solid days of work on the boat.  Besides, with the deck frame essentially done, this week marked a transitional zone in the scope of the project, and I often find it a little tough to shift gears when one major project is completed.  However, by the end of the week I had gotten past those difficulties, and, other than increasingly less time to spend working (as a result of other demands on my time now that spring is arriving), I managed to get started on a few more important steps in the overall process.

Before I think about putting on the deck sheathing, I wanted to ensure that I didn't close myself in too early, and regret it later.  Even with the deck framing in place, I can still stand up between the frames as necessary, so it makes working on the hull and interior easier than it would be with the sheathing applied.  Therefore, I decided to concentrate on some smallish, but important nonetheless, tasks that, when completed, would allow me to continue with deck sheathing in a timely manner.


vfoam1.jpg (56220 bytes)I began in the forward part of the boat, which will become the interior accommodations space, such as it is.  The first item on my agenda was to install some basic structural support for the eventual vee berth, forward of the bulkhead.  Earlier, during the installation of the bulkhead, I had determined the height of the vee verth platform, and, using that as a guide, I used my laser level to mark out level points on the hull on each side, forward of the bulkhead.  

Click here for more on the process.


floors0.jpg (61271 bytes)I also marked out the basic height of the cabin sole on the hull, and made preparations to fabricate and install some floors (cabin sole supports) beneath that level, on which the plywood cabin sole substrate would be installed.

Read more about the cabin sole here.


While all the rest of this was ongoing, I began the construction of the new mast step.  Since the boat currently has no rig, I decided to build a keel-stepped mast support, rather than deck-stepped as the Triton had originally.  When the time comes to order a new mast, I'll simply add whatever length to the section as is necessary to keep the masthead at the same height above the water.

Follow this link to see how I started building the mast step.


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