Boatbuilding Blog

November 1, 2009

Tire-Hanging Through-Hulls

Filed under: Building - After Flipping — tomlarkin @ 10:02 am


There will be small cleats between each fitting to cleat the lines to.

Side Cleat Reinforcements

Filed under: Building - After Flipping — tomlarkin @ 7:22 am

A lot of distractions these past few weeks have kept me from doing any big projects, so I’ve been attaching hardware and minor jobs like that.

I was concerned that a hard pull on my side cleats (like tying up with a too-short line and being hit with a large wake) might split my gunwale, so I made these bronze plates as reinforcements.  Now, any outward force on the cleat will be transferred down to the hull instead of ripping off the gunwale (I hope).   The material is 1/8 inch silicon bronze plate I bought at Alaskan Copper for this purpose.

I made a cardboard template and traced it onto the bronze plate.  I cut out the parts freehand on my metal-cutting  bandsaw, put them in my bench vise and bent the flanges over on the dotted line with a 5-pound hammer.

I pre-drilled the cleat holes through the gunwale, then clamped the bronze part in place and marked the big hole for the through-hull, then drilled the hole a little oversized.

Clamped the part in place and marked for the cleat mount holes with the drill bit I used to drill the holes in the wood. 

Then removed the part and drilled the holes in the bronze, starting with a 1/8 inch bit and working up the the finish size.

Checked the fit.

I ground down the corners with a 5-inch grinder and 60-grit disk, freehand.  Then sanded with the small dual-action sander, down to 220 grit.  I’m not trying for a really fine finish here – they will tarnish nice and dark soon enough.

My main concern is that I have three different metals here – zinc from the galvanized cleat, stainless bolts and nuts, and the bronze plate and through-hull.  I may look for bronze bolts to replace the stainless. At the least, I’ll put a nylon washer between the stainless nut and the bronze plate.  I need to epoxy-seal the bare wood where I drilled the holes before doing the final installation.

Added – I don’t know if this helps, but here is a rough cross-section of the area, and how I think the forces will be transferred away from ripping off that inside 1×2.

October 4, 2009


Filed under: Building - After Flipping — tomlarkin @ 11:06 pm

Installed the rubrails yesterday, and the through-hulls that the fenders will hang from.


Fender through-hulls from inside

June 25, 2009

Work Bench in the Boat

Filed under: Building - After Flipping, Building - Interior — tomlarkin @ 11:51 am

I added this work table last week. It’s just sitting on top of the aft cabin.It’s a good work height, and holds all the stuff I need again and again. Now I don’t have to climb out of the boat so often. I wish I’d done it a long time ago – my knees are feeling the strain of this work. I’ve been building this thing for 2 1/2 years now, almost every weekend, and a couple of nights a week.  The end is in sight though, I just got my last 2 sheets of plywood delivered today, and the interior construction is approaching completion. Now more finish work, priming and painting, electrical, and plumbing.

Work Table

Seat box – the driver and passenger seats go on top of this. The cutout on this side is for binocular storage. The larger one on the far side is to the storage under the stove and sink – for dishes and food. Fresh and grey water tanks, water pump and bilge pump below that.  Batteries and charger go below the sole at the bottom of the picture. I added 3 floors there today to support the weight of the batteries.

Seat box

July 5, 2008

Miscellaneous Progress

Filed under: Building - After Flipping, Building - Cabin — tomlarkin @ 10:38 am

I’ve been busy the past few weeks,on various projects to get the boat ready to build the cabin.  I’ve faired and coated the inside of the hull and decks. It’s a lot easier now then after the cabin is on. If I use every weekend and all my vacation days, I’ll be able go get in about 30 work days before the end of September. That should be enough to finish the exterior, including paint. I’ll spend the winter wiring and fitting out, for a launch in the spring.

Dry-fitting the rubrails. The hull is shiny from a new coat of epoxy that needs to be sanded before the primer is applied. I fitted the rubrails now so I could patch any incorrect holes without messing up the final coat.
Port side rubrail   The bow is looking nice  Stern 

I’m thinking of making the cabin tops from 1/4-inch tongue-and-groove boards inside, with 2 layers of 1/4-inch ply laminated on the outside. Here’s a double-sided jig to build the cabin tops.  First, epoxy the boards together on the female side of the mold. After they set up, remove them and flip the mold over. Lay the boards on the male side, finished side down, and laminate the plywood on. Cut the top to fit, finish it completely, and drop it on the cabin, either with epoxy or Sikaflex  and screws.
One-inch MDF forms  Finished mold with a sample glued together  Tongue-and-groove overhead sample

I added the arched piece to finish the aft end of the aft cabin. It’s my first cabin part.  I used my new biscuit joiner. It worked as well as I hoped.  I’m not worried about the strength of this joint – the piece is supported on all sides. 
Biscuits!  Biscuit joiner  Aft of the cabin from the stern  Rain explores the chain locker

June 5, 2008

Tire Fender Planning

Filed under: Building - After Flipping, Building - Considerations — tomlarkin @ 11:09 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about tire fenders for the boat. I went to the local airfield this afternoon and looked at airplane tires, but they’re really small. They might look funny, and wouldn’t cover as much area as I’d like. I picked up the junked car tire below on the way home. It fits pretty well, but is maybe a little oversized. The coverage is nice – about 4 inches above waterline to just below the rub strake, and it’s deep enough to provide a lot of padding.  Maybe a trailer tire would be a better fit. I wonder where I’d find eight of those?  I had assumed I’d put three tires on a side, but now I’m thinking four, and maybe five on a side. If you’re going to have permanent fenders, you might as well go all the way!

Car tire

Pictures of small tugs with tire fenders are hard to find on the web. Here are two of the better ones.



This is a detail from a tugboat model. I really like the idea of hanging each tire from 2 lines. They’ll be a lot more stable that way, and still be individually removable. Hanging the tires through hawse pipes is really nice, as opposed to running the lines over the gunnels.  I used this picture as a starting point for the mockup below.



Mock-up of Fender Hanger 

This is a bronze through-hole, mounted just below the gunnel rub-strake. Each of the lines would go to one side of a tire.  Tarnished dark against the black hull, it should be pretty subtle, but clean.   This is the view from the outside of the boat.

outside - bronze through-hull

Inside, looking up to the gunnel. A mocked-up wooden cleat is held on by the through-hull nut. The lines come through the fitting and cleat on. The whole thing fits below the 2 1/4 deep overhang of the gunnel.

inside cleat   inside cleat with line

I do worry that the tire fenders will just be the final nail in the cuteness ratio of the boat. I don’t want people to say “Oh, how precious!” when they see me coming, but it might be unavoidable. At the same time, the tires are really practical. Never having to set or store fenders will be really nice. Beware to the white plastic boat that rafts up to us though!

May 20, 2008

Finishing the gunnels

Filed under: Building - After Flipping — tomlarkin @ 2:58 pm

I spent four hours with a longboard yesterday, sanding the gunnels and stern decks yet again.  I’m almost happy with the finish now. Just one more session of coating and sanding  – or at least I hope so. The longboard is a lot of work and makes you move in unusual ways. Four hours of it is about as much as I can do in a day. Here’s the first coat of epoxy after glassing but before sanding. It’s shiny but very wavy. I’ve finished filling and sanding the second coat now and hope to do the third and final one this weekend. Then I can install the gas tank and the locker covers port and starboard, and install the sole over the tank.

First Coat 

Here are the stern decks. I really like the way the whole stern area is turning out. Being able to walk right to the stern and around the back of the motor will be a real joy. I can see spending time back here at anchor – barbecuing or just lounging on the decks.  The round holes in the soles on either side of the motor well are for screw-out access plates to inspect the dead space below the decks. I don’t trust areas I can’t see, or areas filled with foam. Soggy foam creating rot in a hidden space sounds like a real nightmare. I have an interesting idea of filling the space with empty 1 quart water bottles. They’ll add a great deal of flotation if the area gets swamped, but can be removed easily and still allow some air movement in the space.  I don’t remember if I invented this idea, or read it somewhere.

Stern with decks

Propane tank locker, with the Starboard locker roughed in just forward of the stern deck. The locker will hold the fuel tank fill  and all the hoses and wiring connecting the stern with the rest of the boat. It’s about 7 inches lower than the side deck so it’s an easy step down. Two more 7 inch risers take you down to the cockpit sole. This will make a nice seat back here also. There will be a vent under the side deck for locker ventilation.

Starboard stern quarter

After work tonight I picked up some 2mm neoprene from Seattle Fabrics to add as padding under the gas tank. This was suggested by a thread on the WoodenBoat Forum, which I’ve become addicted to and find I must read daily now. Oh, Sam Devlin has just added a link to this blog to his newly-redone web site. I’m honored! 

April 21, 2008

Stern Infrastructure Progress

Filed under: Building - After Flipping, Building - Electric & Plumbing, Hardware — tomlarkin @ 5:39 am

I’m installing all the stuff in the Lazarettes now because I know it will be impossible to do well after the tops go on. The Starboard side has all the hoses, gas lines and fuel filter, and the Propane tank.  I need everything to be accessible yet out of the weather. The Propane assembly has a pressure gauge, a regulator, and an electric shutoff solenoid. This whole thing was assembled for me by a cool guy at Fisheries Supply for a minimal cost.  The fuel-water separator has a clear container with a petcock to drain the water without having to remove the filter.  I think I’ll mount a little light next to it.
Starboard Lazarette 

The Port side has the starter battery and the 6-gallon spare gas tank.  A plastic battery box drops in the frame to protect the battery from the elements.
Port Lazarette

I’ve cut the stem piece and have started fairing the chain locker top. Once I have the lazarettes done I can add their tops, and then glass and fair the gunnels. At that point I can start finishing the inside of the hull in preparation for assembling the cabin. I’m planning on priming everything except where the cabin parts attach to the boat before building the cabin. It’ll be a lot easier to spray primer while I can still walk around inside.
Stem and Chain Locker

March 17, 2008

Chain Locker

Filed under: Building - After Flipping — tomlarkin @ 1:24 pm

I’ve got the parts fitted for the chain locker in the bow. Next weekend should see it installed and glassed. I like the kick space below, like a kitchen counter. It lets you stand right up to the locker. There are two large scuppers so I can throw a bucket of water in the locker to wash it out.  The wide panel on the side of the cutout will hold the shore power socket. I assume I’ll moor bow-in most of the time so this will be the least annoying place to run shore power from. I’ve seen too many boats where the power cord is in the way all the time.

Chain Locker

I tried various layouts of cleats and bollard locations. I like this layout best so far.  Note the plywood cap on the gunnels – it really makes the boat look more finished.  I need to do some more longboarding before glassing the caps.  I’ve got a bit of a dilemma with the bollard – I found a very pretty bronze one that would look great there. I have to decide if I want to return this one. Hamilton Marine sells bronze cleats too.

I’m trying to decide where to cut the stem. It’s going to be time to finish the whole bow area soon.

Stem cutoff line

Non-boating note: I spend a lot of time on the West Marine site. It’s a good store, but the web site itself is a mess. It’s one of the least-optimized web sites I’ve run across. They break at least ten of the of the 14 rules.  For all of last week they had a missing CSS file too. It’s annoyingly slow to browse around on.  I bet they could speed up their pages by 50% with just a few weeks of work.

February 26, 2008

Sheer Progress

Filed under: Building - After Flipping, Hardware — tomlarkin @ 12:20 pm

I’m working on the rubrail/gunnels of the boat. This involves designing the stern deck and the breasthook, and their attached parts.

Here’s a mockup of the structures in the bow, with the breasthook (which will be 1/2 inch ply with filler below) over the bollard mount, which in turn is the lid of the chain locker:

Stainless Bollard and Breasthook Mockup   Anchor locker

I really like this design because it allows you to stand in the very bow of the boat, to drop the anchor over or to grab the dock with the boat hook, or just to watch the water go by.

The whole gunnel will be capped by 1/2 inch plywood, radiused and glassed. Here’s the stern rubrail, laminated of thin strips to be the same cross-section as the side rubrail. The stern decks will go on top, creating an open-sided lazarette on either side of the motor well. The lazarettes will hold the starting battery and the propane tank, along with the sundry stuff that needs to be stored.

Stern Rubrail

Along with the thickened epoxy, there are a couple dozen stainless screws and hundreds of Monel staples embedded. These strips really didn’t want to be tortured into this shape!

Here’s the motor well so far. The motor mount is three layers of 3/4 inch ply above the sole, and four layers below. The sides are doubled 3/4 inch ply.

Motor down  Motor kicked up

Well detail The 25-gallon gas tank goes under the sole just forward of the motor, with the fill and vents below the starboard deck, which will be made as a hatch.  All the steering cables, electrical wires, and the propane tube will be through there also.  The space will be vented below the lazarette covers, well above waterline in case the stern gets flooded.

The plan is to finish the hull and decks and everything else I can do before starting the cabin. As soon as the walls start going in I’ll lose my work space inside the boat. By then it will be summer and I can cut parts outside. By the time the rains come in the Fall I’ll be doing finish work in the cabin.

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