Sunday, April 22, 2012

Portuguese bridge door and cap

I've completed some more finish work, mainly the Portuguese  bridge passage door and the wooden cap for the Portuguese bridge.

The Portuguese bridge door provides easy access to the fore deck while securing the bridge from any rough weather and  helping keep our feet dry. Because this door could see some green water, I thought it important to have a jamb the door will be in full contact with once it's closed. Making the jamb out of wood seemed to be the easiest way to go for me.  I wanted the door to be able to handle any green water it might see without getting twisted, torn off, or damaged. I tend to make things up as I go along, and with no real plan, I'm happy with how the door  turned out. I turned the door handle out of some 3/4" stainless round stock, and used a round over bit in the lathe to finish the ends. I also turned a stud with threads on the end to hold the handle in place, and make a pivot to engage the handle. Basically, the handle will dog down against the jamb, pulling the door tight and holding things fast. A nylock nut and washer holds the handle to the stud. To  make the keeper, I mortised out the wooden door jamb, then fabricated a stainless steel keeper for the handle to dog against. I gave the keeper a slight taper to help lock the handle in place. The more you engage the handle, the tighter it dogs the door down. As things wear and tolerance's get looser, I have plenty of areas to adjust ( without much difficulty) to keep the door locking tightly. When we're on passage, the door will be dogged shut. When we're lounging on the fore deck, or working up there, the door will be opened and resting against the Portuguese bridge. I need to find a rubber bumper to hold the door off of the PB, and also to prevent paint from chipping if the door gets slammed open.

The other item I finished was adding a wooden cap to the Portuguese bridge. A lot of you are probably thinking that I'm an idiot for adding some bright work, and I hear you, so let me spout off my justification. I like the look of bright work, and I don't mind the maintenance as long as it's easy. The height of the wood cap and the fact that there are no rails or fixtures to work around will make this an easy area to maintain. Scuffing this cap with some 300 grit and apply some varnish, will be fast and easy with NO BENDING OVER on captain Conall's part. I'm liking this part, and if I was on face book, I'd give her a thumbs up. Because the Portuguese bridge area is going to be a pretty social spot, I wanted the wood cap to make things more comfortable, and give all a comfy  place to lean on and rest a beer. The wood cap feels and looks nice, and hopefully will eliminate bangs to any revelers funny bones.

I had to use the last of my wide boards to form the cap. I used the band saw and a belt sander to form the curves. I then used a 3/8" round over bit in my router to ease the edge of the cap. I ran out of wide boards so I ended up edge gluing some stock together to finish the job. I used a combination of traditional scarf joints reinforced with biscuits, and floating tenons to reinforce all the joints. Just before where the wheel house meets the salon, the Portuguese bridge terminates with a sever angle down to the deck. This leaves about thirty inches between the Portuguese bridge and the wall of the salon.  I treated this area of the cap by laying the cap over  the top of the cap headed down to the deck. I could have used a miter joint in this area, but I was afraid the joint would open up, and I like the way the eased edge of the top cap feels and looks. This is also the area where the spring line will be secured, and also where the shore power cords will pass through. There will be a two bar stainless steel rail bolted to the down cap and welded to the salon in this area, but that can't happen until the salon is in place.

  I bolted the cap down to the PB using 1/4" x 1 1/4" stainless screws and nylock nuts. I counter sunk and bunged the screw bore so no fasteners can be seen from the top of the cap. I had a few bad spots in the wood ( primarily a few dead branch knots) that I treated the same way I do all bad knots on my wood work. My preferred method of dealing with dead branch knots is to rout the bad wood away, and install a Dutchman patch. I use an inlay tool in my router to make these patches. The Dutchman patch is a legitimate repair used for century's, and give the work that "homegrown', folk art character that I like. The cap will get four coats of urethane, then I will caulk the underside joint where the wood meets the metal. Once the caulk is laid down, this job will be off of the list.

There is really not much left to do to the fore deck and Portuguese bridge until the boat gets TO THE LAUNCH SITE , so I'm going to scratch this area off of the list I keep meaning to write. I'm kind of glad I'm finished working up here,  as I'm getting tired of ducking under the barn truss's . I'll vacuum and clean this area this week when I finish, and hang some tarps over it to keep the dust off and forget about it until she's out of the barn.   


  1. It will be more work down the line, but in my mind the look is worth it. It softens up the whole deck and gives a bit of class. This little bit goes a long way, I think.

  2. Thanks Marcus, and I agree with you 100%. The cap just feels right and looks better.