Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Deck the Boat with Bows of Okoume

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

Oh, I was so proud of the title.  I was installing the decks on my boat, it's Christmas time, how perfect does it get?  But something about the title kept bugging me, like I'd seen it somewhere before.  Then it hit me.  I looked back at Dave Curtis' PocketShip blog and found an entry titled "Deck the Halls with Hardwood Teak, Fa-la-la-la..."  Shoot.  Well, I'm going to semi-paraphrase/plagiarize it....

So, since last time, I spent a couple of nights painting.  First came two coats of primer.  Then...more sanding.  Once I got the primer sanded down, it was time for the topcoat.  I've chosen a cream colored semi-gloss paint for the interior.  I figured the color and sheen would contrast nicely with the satiny reds of the lyptus sole and create a nice, warm, cozy cabin...a perfect place for spending a drizzly Western Washington morning.

Primed and ready to go

Topcoat drying.  It looks shiny here since it is still wet.  The final sheen is semi-gloss.

With the painting wrapped up, the next step was to reinstall the now-finished cabin sole.  This was one of those high-reward moments.  Seeing the finished sole against to newly-painted cabin interior...ahhh, well, let's just says that it felt good.

Reinstalling the cabin sole

More planks go in.  It was much easier to reinstall the sole than it was to put it in in the first place.  Still, it took an hour or two.

Glamour shot of the shiny interior, looking aft.

Another shot of the interior.  Note that bulkhead #2 is only partially painted so far.  That'll get more paint later.

While I was working on the cabin, I thought I'd take care of a couple of other tasks.  The first was to make up a nice place to mount some speakers.  I shamelessly stole the idea  of building speaker boxes into the forward storage locker from Sean, another PocketShip builder.

The speakers will mount onto this piece of plywood, which in turn will be the forward storage locker.

The speaker boxes mount up against Bulkhead #1.

Here are the speaker boxes being installed.  Like so many other things on this boat, the preferred method of construction for the boxes is Stitch 'n Glue.  The design was pilfered in its entirety from another PocketShip builder, Sean.

Earlier, I had made up a panel on which I planned to mount my electrical distribution panel and battery switch.  This panel was to have been mounted to bulkhead #2 at the forward end of the cabin, and covered up with a decorative little hatch, thus neatly hiding the more unsightly electronics.  In that version of "the dream,"  the head unit for the stereo, along with various light switches  would have been mounted directly to bulkhead #2 and always visible in the cabin.  After many sleepless nights spend pondering the aesthetics of this layout, I changed my mind and decided to mount all of the electronics on a recessed panel.  So, I had to build a new panel.

Electronics Panel, Mark II
With the new panel in hand, I decided to take the plunge and cut a hole for it on Bulkhead #2!  There's something intrinsically scary about cutting into a piece of permanent structure on a boat that you've spent over a year building.  Fortunately, all went well, and I test mounted the panel.  I also laminated up some bloodwood/maple into what will become the hatch for this panel.

Way past the point of no return here! 

Whew...looks like I cut it right.

Here's the hatch that I'll use to cover up all the electrical doodads.

With that bit of frivolity out of the way, it was time to resume the serious work.  I decided to focus first on getting the foredeck installed. 

 PocketShip is designed to have positive flotation, and the watertight compartment forward of bulkhead #1 is spots designated to be stuffed with foam.  So, stuff it I did.  I picked up several sheets of blue foam insulation from the hardware store and set about cutting hunks of it to fit in this compartment.  This actually ended up being one of those rare times when things went faster than expected! 
If my PocketShip were ever to capsize, I'll be very, very happy that this foam is there.
With that done, it was time to button up the bow forever.  I mixed up a batch of thickened epoxy, slathered it on every horizontal surface I could find, dropped the foredeck into place, and drove in some temporary screws to hold it while the glue dried.
Glue everywhere!

No moving it's the foredeck in place.  Actually it is too bad... I sorta wish I had installed it about 1/32th inch further to port
I really felt the momentum building at this point, as I was quickly approaching the point where I'd be attaching the cockpit deck.  To protect the shiny, new interior, I had to cover up everything with cardboard and newspaper.  This was harder than it sounds.  Not physically harder, but emotionally.  The fresh paint, the soft color of the cabin sole....aaah.  After painting and reinstalling the sole, I'd occasionally nip out to the shop and just look at it.  Maybe even lay down.  So hard to cover it up...I'm going to miss it. 

I finally mustered the emotional fortitude to cover up the interior and move on.   A quick batch of epoxy later and the footwell sides and cockpit sole were installed.  I also installed the sheave for the centerboard pendant and the inspection ports for the centerboard.
footwell sides in place. 

More foam flotation goes under the cockpit sole.

Centerboard inspection ports in place.
All right, deep breath.  A quick trial fit of the decks to make sure that everything would go smoothly, and it was time to go.  I mixed up a batch of thickened epoxy, spread it over the deck framing, dropped the decked in place, drove in some temporary screws, and it was done.  Just like that.  Sounds anti-climatic, but it sure felt good.
Centerboard sheave in place.

Spreading the glue on all the deck framing.

Portside deck in place!

And the decks are on!

Looking forward.  Without the topside panels, aft cabin bulkhead or the seatback frames in place, the deck looks staggeringly vast.

 Installing the decks represents a major milestone. The boat has more or less looked the same last May, when I first stitched the hull together. Sure, tons of glue, fiberglass, paint, and timber, and hundreds of hours of labour have gone into the boat since then. But, if you were to stand back 10' from the boat it would more or less look the same. But, with the installation of the decks, the boat has  moved forward, stutcturally and visually.   One chapter in the construction of the boat, the construction of the lower hull, has closed.   Now, time to move on to the topsides!

1 comment:

  1. Teak decks are the most comfortable and reliable. They give a finished look and look very attractive. Thanks for sharing this amazing piece of work on your blog. Keep on posting.

    Posted by | Boat Decking