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From a Bare Hull:  Interior Basics (Page 3)


V Berth and Settee Structure

My vision for the interior was pretty basic, but it took some thought before I could begin laying things out, once the cabin sole substrate was installed.  I planned a standard vee-berth, with open "V" area and filler cushion, in the space forward of the forwardmost bulkhead.  Then, aft of that, I planned a pair of short seats, or settees, and some basic countertops/lockers elsewhere.  Aspects of the overall plan will become more clear as we proceed.

The first item of importance was allowing enough room in the "V" of the vee berth area for a portable toilet.  I planned on locating the toilet on the cabin sole forward of the mast, as far forward as practicable given the limitations of the space.  From a catalog, I obtained the basic dimensions of an appropriate unit, which I used to begin the layout of the vertical pieces of plywood that define the space.  To be safe, however, I actually ordered the toilet now, so that I could ensure that the model I had chosen would fit, and that no product changes might occur in the meantime that could affect its overall dimensions.  (Question:  why do junky plastic porta-potties cost so much?  There's, like, $5 worth of plastic in it, if that.)


vberthbase1.jpg (100823 bytes)I laid out for the first set of vertical partitions, beginning at the forward end, about where the toilet would go.  I decided to run the partitions aft at an angle (off centerline) that would place them tangent to the inside edges of the forward bulkhead, and then continue aft to a point where the curvature of the hull began to interfere.  After some testing and measuring, I determined that 4' pieces of plywood would do the job, so I cut two pieces to the proper height (about 19", the same as the pre-determined height of the vee berth platform) and length, and temporarily secured them in place using wooden cleats and hot melt glue.  I ensured that the pieces were plumb and level.


salonbase1.jpg (80742 bytes)With the angled pieces set in place, I continued by cutting and fitting two final pieces of plywood that ran from the aft end of the forward sections all the way to the mid bulkhead, and bout 24" aft.  I installed these after pieces parallel to the centerline, which was more or less what the curvature of the hull in that area would allow.  After some minor trimming to get the pieces to fit properly, I secured them temporarily with hot glue and braces.  I double checked all the pieces for level and plumb.  I installed some mahogany cleats at the forward bulkhead and mid bulkhead to help support the new material; like all my mahogany cleats, I chamfered one edge and sanded the pieces smooth.


cleat1.jpg (104210 bytes)


inttabbing1.jpg (95113 bytes)I tabbed the new partitions in place on one side (the side that would be hidden inside lockers) with a single layer of 15 oz. biaxial tape and epoxy resin.  I tabbed their entire lengths along the bottom edge, the seam between the two sections of plywood, and the intersections between the vertical partitions and the two bulkheads.   Additional structure to be added later would further reinforce the pieces, but the tabbing, combined with the vertical support afforded by the cleats at the bulkheads, was plenty to ensure a secure fit.

inttabbing2.jpg (87127 bytes)Some time later, I sanded all the new tabbing to remove any sharp edges and slightly smooth the surface for future painting. 

vplyfwd1.jpg (24797 bytes)I continued work on the interior substructure by milling and installing a simple piece of plywood at the forward end of the cabin, in the "V" of the forward berth.  After marking out a pre-determined distance forward of the mid bulkhead (which location was initially determined by the size of the chosen Porta-Potti and the angle of the side structures), I plumbed lines up on each side and then installed mahogany cleats milled to fit.  Finally, I cut a small piece of plywood, with the sides beveled to match the angles as necessary, and screwed it in place.


vplyfwd2.jpg (38864 bytes)


setteecleat1.jpg (51419 bytes)After a good deal of thought on how exactly I intended to deal with the so-called "settee" area in the so-called "main" cabin, I settled upon one of the more basic ideas that had occurred to me.  For a time, I had been thinking about how to proceed in this area:  with the boat intended for daytime, pleasure-sailing use only, I never saw much of a need for luxury accommodations and full amenities, but nonetheless, I planned a comfortable cabin, what there was of it.  But to install too much complication of lockers, seating, countertops, etc. would have been counter to the simplistic nature of the boat.


setteecleat2.jpg (53806 bytes)I decided the best course of action for now was to install a cleat along the hull at the same height as the tops of the plywood settee structure I had previously installed, so that I could then place plywood across the entire area, against which any additional cabinetry, lockers, and backrests could be constructed later on.  To build the cleat, I first transferred a level line from the settee structure out to the hull in several locations on each side, using a level to strike the line across.  Then, much as I did when installing a similar cleat for the V-berth platform earlier, I cut some foam to shape, beveling the top side as needed to make it level, and the bottom side at 45 to allow for successful glassing; then, I hot-glued it to the hull temporarily before securing it in place with some 6" biaxial tape over the top.  

setteecleat3.jpg (51134 bytes)The next day, the new fiberglass was cured, and I sanded it briefly to remove rough edges and prepare if for further steps.

The next order of business was to install a plywood divider in the 48" space between the chainplate bulkhead and the midships bulkhead.  This small bulkhead would provide needed support for the settee platform, which could not span the distance without flexing (unless much thicker material was used, which I did not want to do).


Fabricating the bulkheads was simple enough.  After deciding exactly where they woudl lie longitudinally (23-1/2" aft of the chainplate bulkhead, or just aft of the point where the vertical base angles and changes direction as it runs aft), I laid a scrap pine board across between the settee base (what in the world do you call the vertical, longitudinal pieces that form the inside edge of the settees, anyway?  I guess they're bulkheads too, but somehow that doesn't seem descriptive enough.) and the new cleat against the hull.  With this board properly positioned, I measured straight down to the hull at pre-marked 3" intervals along the board, taking note of the measurement in each case.  From this, it was easy to lay out the shape of the bulkhead on some 3/8" Meranti plywood.  Think of it as a tick strip on the horizontal, if you will.

setteebh1.jpg (49187 bytes)After I cut the bulkhead, I test fit it in place, and found a few areas that needed minor adjusting--first with a saw, then with a sander to fine-tune.  I fine-tuned the piece until the top edge was horizontal and at the same height as the cleat and inner longitudinal bulkhead (there!).  With the first side cut, I tried the fit on the opposite side, noted the changes that needed to occur, and rough-cut the corresponding piece for the port side.  As before, I fine-tuned the fit as necessary until the new bulkhead/divider fir properly.


setteebh3.jpg (51279 bytes)To secure the bulkheads, I first installed a mahogany cleat on the inside face of each of the longitudinal bulkheads, ensuring that it was plumb.  Then, I screwed the new bulkhead to the cleats, and secured the hull side in place temporarily with hot-melt glue.  Finally, I tabbed the bulkheads in place with 15 oz. biaxial tape on each side, and on the vertical seam opposite the mahogany cleats.

cleats1.jpg (56965 bytes)The plywood settee and V-berth tops would require additional support in many areas where they intersected with the various bulkheads.  To this end, I milled a number of pieces from solid mahogany, which I installed as cleats along the bulkheads on each side, as well as on the inside of the longitudinal bulkheads that define the settees.  I chamfered the lower edge of each cleat with a router, then sanded the pieces relatively smooth to remove any rough or sharp edges; this is one of those details that really makes a difference, both in looks and in function.

cleats2.jpg (49598 bytes)With the basic structure of the cabin berths and settees complete, I painted out the areas beneath the level of the eventual platforms with two coats of Interlux Bilgekote gray, finishing off the areas.


setteelockerpaint1.jpg (40674 bytes)
     setteelockerpaint2.jpg (22618 bytes)


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All photos and text on this site 2002-2009 by Timothy C. Lackey and Lackey Sailing, LLC
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