Monday, July 2, 2012

Work has started on the super structure

The axle work continues, just not by me. Due to me being busy with work and not wanting to mess with re building the dually axle I procured, I happily delivered it to JCM Equipment so they could put bearings in the axle. This axle has turned in to a loosing deal, but I'm too far in to it to call it quits at this point. The easiest way to explain the dual wheeled axle I got for free is that this has been  the most expensive "free"  I've ever found. I should probably end this thought with a Gumpism and say that "this is all I have to say about this right  now"

So, while I wait for the axle to  be picked up from JCM, I started work on the wheel house and salon, which I will now call the super structure. All the parts for the super structure were scattered around the barn years ago, and it took me half a Saturday to round them up and inventory everything I actually  had some of the long frame pieces stashed away in the roof truss's. I found everything, and checking my stash against the working drawings, every piece is accounted for.

After inventorying all the parts, the first order of business was to drill all the frames for the bolts that would be used to fasten the framing timber with. One of the mistakes I made on building the hull was to not drill all t he frames before I erected them. Drilling on the drill press will save me hours of work. Using 1/4" bolt is what I plan on doing, so I drilled all the holes to 5/16. The overage gives me plenty of room for paint and will help prevent skinning up the hole when I drill for the timber. After I drilled all the holes, I used a counter sink to ease the edge and give me a more paint friendly hole.

When you break the super structure down in to it's most simple form, it's basically a box. Four sides with a roof. Because of having to build the boat in two pieces, it also made the most sense to build the super structure as panels. Assembling the panels went very quick. Because all the parts were cut on a CNC machine, the accuracy of the parts is amazing. The really nice thing about having the metal cut via CNC is that the designer also had all the layout lines burned in to the metal. My appreciation to Bruce Roberts and Hal Whitacre on their attention to detail. A nice surprise I discovered while assembling these four panels is that the designer gave each panel a slight outbound crown. The crown is slight enough, about an inch over the length of the 16' salon panel  you see hanging from my skid steer loader, but not so severe as to interfere with the window installation. I don't know the reason for giving these panels a slight crown, but my guess is that the crown puts some tension on the metal and will help it to fair up much nicer.

The salon skin showed up at the shop with the window openings already cut out. The wheel house has the window rough openings burned in to the metal, and only the door openings are cut out. I'm going to wait until I have the panel welded in place before I cut out the windows.  I already have the windows on site, I just want to wait  until the panel is in place as this will be help keep the panel shape as per design.

You can see on this picture below how the wheel house sheathing arrived at my place. The precision of the CNC plasma cutting is amazing. As you can see from this picture, the wheel house side is in three pieces. All I have to do is grind a bevel in the outside joints that will be ground flush. Turn the pieces over, kick them together so they line up, and tack them. The next step is to put the longitudinal stringers on the layout lines that were laser burned in to the metal and tack them in place. Making sure the sheathing is tight to the longitudinal stringers assures the panel will take the shape the of the design. Once all the longs are tacked in place the frames are fit over  the longs and tacked in place. The frames have all the notches cut in them including the mouse holes so no water can get trapped and start a crevice corrosion situation. The longitudinal stringers were also cut by the CNC machine so the designed shape is formed by the longs.  On this size project, with all the framing I had to do, I have yet had an situation where no part fit any less than perfect. 

All the panels are assembled and stacked against the barn wall while I begin taking the boat off of the building cradle and sitting her on the axles. JCM has told me the axle will be ready for me to pick up mid to week. I have to make a trip to the steel yard and pick up some square tube to build stanchions for helping support the boat on the axles. I hope to have her sitting on the axles after this coming weekend.

I'm feeling pretty good about finally being able to assemble the super structure. It's a big piece of structure, but I feel as if it will go together quickly and without any major hiccups. I am pretty sure I have a plan that will allow me to do some good layout and build the super structure so that it will mate with the hull in a good way.




  1. Amazing amount of work Conall. I'm sort of kicking myself we didn't go with steel. Oh well, maybe the next boat. Oh, don't tell the wife I said that! :-)

    Carry on. Watching eagerly.


  2. Thanks Rick,

    Metal is a pretty easy material to work with and it can take a beating. This part of the build should go quick.