Sunday, December 30, 2012

Window framing

Life and boat building have collided a bit as of late and, life won out. Now that the holidays have passed, boat building work can resume. As you can see from this picture, Winter has also settled in to our piece of the world, so the pace of life has slowed.

The foam is all trimmed, but the window openings still need some work. The work required by the openings is as much about the finished look as it is still prepping the rough openings. The rough opening in the metal is correct, but I still need to finish the opening so that the clamp ring for the window  has something to grab against. Typically, windows can either be bolted to a metal hull, or the style I have which utilizes a clamp ring to attach the window.

The wall thickness required for the windows is different than the wall thickness created by the frames on the design. The two wall thickness's add some work, and design challenge regarding  how the finish work will look.  Fitting the clamp ring  surface now vs at the launch site will shave mega hours off of this job and keep frustration at bay.

Since all the window openings in the Salon are the same, I decided to start there. I decided to build all the frames on the work bench vs framing each opening in pieces. The first order of the build was deciding how I was going to join the styles and rails of the frames. I'm partial to using pocket screws, but given the 1/2" thick plywood I was using, my prototype pocket screw frame turned out not near rigid enough. So given the pocket screw frame failure, I decided  to use biscuits. While biscuits take more time than pocket screws, they turned out to be the right method for this particular job.

Because I have radius window's, I had to make these frame with a radius inside corners. To make things easier, I cut the whole radius on the style pieces ( vertical piece). I made the style wide enough to accept a cleat later so I can trim the finish wall material neat to the clamp ring.  I don't need a cleat along the rail as the window will have some sort of sill on the bottom, and wall material on the header will have plenty to screw to above the window. Once I figured out the width of the style, I made a pattern, then transferred that to my work and cut it on the band saw.



I have enough clamps to do three window frames at a time. After an hour in the clamp, the  glue was set enough to un clamp the frames and clamp three more. I gave the frames a day for the glue to cure before I fit them in the openings. Fitting the frames required no more than pinning them in place using my brad nail er and some 1 1/4" brads. While doing the metal work to the super structure,  I had carefully bolted blocks the the metal so that when the 1/2" plywood was nailed to the blocking, the wall thickness would be exactly 2 1/4". Once the window clamping frames were installed,  I had to see how easily the windows installed, and how they looked against the cherry plywood. I love how the clamp rings pull the windows tight to the metal, and I love how well the radius looks. I also very happy  how fast the clamp ring is to work with. In terms of long term maintenance, the clamp ring should be more user friendly vs drilling 20 holes per window in the metal.  Once the windows are bedded in with the recommended sealant, I have zero concerns about these leaking. For the re fit of my previous boat,  I used the same windows ( Motion Windows Inc.)  and they gave me nothing but trouble free service. I'm happy to see the window  manufacturer has changed some things around and for sure improved on their design and manufacturing process.

I used Cherry plywood to build the frames, so if I want to stop at this layer of finish work, the clamp ring/frame joint will look good. I think I might add another piece to the finish work regarding window trim, so the cherry might get buried. Either way, I have it beat now. As soon as I finish the wheel house frames,  I'll go ahead and put three coats of Urethane on the frames, and then they'll be ready for the final install of the windows once we get to the launch site. There's three or four days worth of work ( in the warm shop ) prepping the openings to accept the windows, but once  I have it completed, it should only take two of us a couple of hours to get all the windows  installed once I land the super structure to the hull. It's important to me to be able to quickly have the boat  weather tight once she leaves the barn.

Temperatures are going to drop in to the teens tonight, so I have the wood boiler running  hard and the radiant floor heat has the shop floor up to about 90 degrees. The rest of the building is about 65 degrees and all is good in Conall-ville.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I've not posted for while as I've been waiting on my spray foam contractor. The crew showed up last week, and ran out of material about 15/16's through the job. It took them another week to get back on site, but all is good now and the super structure is foamed. It was worth waiting on the foam contractor as he did the job  for less than I could buy the material and do it myself.

All the metal is covered and I started trimming the foam flush with the wood firing. I held the wood proud of the metal about 5/16 ", and that has proved to be enough as the foam is sticking to the metal as I trim it. If I hurry things, and try to pry a piece of foam off with my knife, it will pop off of the metal which will need to get another coating. My goal is to have no metal showing so the metal won't sweat. I'm afraid that if any metal is exposed, it will sweat and drip on to the finished interior. A worse case would be if I would get some copious sweating and cause some crevice corrosion to start behind the liner.

Now that I have the foam in and can see how the windows will install, I think my method will work just fine. I will have a small 5/8" shoulder to deal with on the aft bulkhead wall, but it won't be that big of a  deal as there are only two windows on that wall. For the man door on the aft bulkhead wall, I installed blocking 3/4" in from metal rough opening so I can install a solid wood jamb. The solid wood jamb will let me install a temporary door to keep her locked up  once I get her down to the launch site. I'm not  going to try to fabricate the finish doors until I have the hull and super structure out of the barn and I have some room to work.

The aft deck ceiling also received a coating of foam. Experience from owning heavy equipment has taught me that  metal roofs will start dripping heavy as the sun hits the cool metal in the morning. Again, I don't want any metal sweating on the boat.

Trimming the foam is kind of a pain, and is going slow. Having caught a case of the winter crud from the kids is also slowing me down. I guess the one of the kids dragged a bug into the house and it latched on to me. I feel like crap, but foam trimming must go on!!! My tool of choice is a fillet knife. Dull knives are one of my pet peeves  I keep an oil stone lubed up on the work bench and every ten minutes or so, I'll put an edge on he knife. The foam guys  had some long, skinny spatulas that they put an edge on, and that looked like it too would be a good  tool . Like I said above, the foam will pop off of the metal if you pry on it. Once I weld the super structure to the hull, I'll need to buy a small kit to foam the weld zones. I'll touch up any damaged areas at that time.

The weather has  turned to crap in these parts, with cold temperatures and lots of rain. I'm hoping the snow stays away again this winter, but I think I'm hoping for too much.  Because of the weather, and the speed I can get most of these jobs done while she's in the barn, I'm  in no hurry now to get the hull out of the barn.  I have plenty to keep me busy for another couple of months. and there is two years worth of fire wood split to keep the barn warm.  I'm still planning on moving her this winter, but I have to finish some jobs I have going on with contractors, and I have to deal with the holidays coming up.Once the holidays are over, I'll get more serious about getting her off of the hill.