Friday, December 30, 2011

Port lights

I have seven port lights on the boat and all of them are fixed, non opening lights. The reason I decided to use fixed lights were for two reasons. Reason number one was the designer of the boat was not to keen on opening lights given how close to the water line the port lights would be ( about 3' amid ship, 4.5' on the forward light), and the other reason was for cost savings. The cost savings are a result of me fabricating the port lights and not buying commercially made lights. Including the 1/2" tempered glass, gasket material, and screws, I have less than $250.00 in building all seven port lights. This small amount of money is encouraging, but hopefully is not something that will bite me in the ass years down the road once we start using the boat.

My primary concern with fixed port lights is of me having cut off ventilation to the cabin area of the boat. Because the port lights are fixed, I had to pay closer attention to how I was going to keep the air fresh and flowing in to the cabins. The kids cabin has a 20" x 20" ocean hatch along with two 5" dorade style vents. The hatch will be open when possible, and the dorade style vents will be operable more often that not. The thing I like about the dorade/cowl style vent is that we can leave them open while we are not on the boat so fresh air continues to circulate. The kids cabin also has 12 volt fans. The master cabin has two 6" dorade/cowl style vents and two 4" dorade/cowl style vents. The master cabin also has 12 volt fans. The lower cabin area has a dedicated, marine style, 12,000 btu air conditioning unit.

I recessed the port lights in to the hull 5 1/2" which made the lights flush with the interior trim. I really like the the way the recessed light looks on the exterior hull, and I also like the flush look of the interior trim of the light. The recess of the port light was fabricated using all stainless steel. Given that I was going to bolt the glass to the hull using a clamp ring, and how difficult it was going to be to not mar the metal flange, stainless was the only material I could use to insure that no rust stains would originate from the port light. With the flange of the port light so close to the interior trim, having the metal sweat was another big concern for me. I painted the flange with insulating paint, and also installed a closed cell gasket on the interior face of the flange. The wood trim rings then covers the gasket and flange, so all you see is glass and wood.

To give the exterior recess a more refined look, I flared the recess out 7 degrees. The 7 degree flare made fabricating the recess spigot a bit of a challenge, but once I figured out the cuts, the job was fairly simple. The port light recess spigot consists of five parts: the flange, the two end piece's and the two center piece's. The two end piece's are what make the 7 degree flare, and in order to help the weld up go easier, I bent the end piece's on a jig I built to work on my log splitter. I also built a jig for welding the spigots so all the spigots would be identical. All of this work happened a few years ago, so all of the above post is a re cap.

The current job regarding the port lights was getting the glass installed. All through the port light building process, I had made and save templates of the various parts. Having the templates in the shop has saved me the time and hassle of having to re figure everything and allows me to easily fabricate parts like the 14 additional gaskets I had to cut to get the glass installed.

Each piece of 1/2" tempered glass is held in place by a stainless steel clamp ring. After I fabricated the clamp rings, I sand blasted them to help the paint stick to the rings. The ring is bolted to the spigot flange using (14) 1/4" stainless machine screws and nyloc nuts. There is an 1/8" closed cell foam gasket glued to the flange using contact cement, the glass, and then the stainless clamp ring with another 1/8" closed cell foam gasket glued to the clamp ring. So, basically, if you can envision a glass sandwich of gasket flange, glass, and gasket clamp ring, you can sort of see my design. I did not bolt any of the port lights to any of the interior timber framing, rather all the lights are bolted to the flange only. In my eyes, this was critical to not allow any wood movement to cause nuts and bolts to loosen. In the bathroom, I did use four longer bolts to bolt the trim ring to the port light flange as there was no other way to fasten the wooden trim ring.

Installing the glass was a two person job. One person on the outside dealing with the parts install, and one on the inside holding the nyloc nuts so the screws could be torqued. Even though I used a jig to weld the spigots together, the flange is not perfectly flat. The lack of flatness is not hatefull, maybe .080 across the length of the 19" flange, but it's possible presence gave me enough concern to be careful in how much torque I used while tightening the screws. I torqued the screws enough to start compressing the gaskets, and no more. The nylon nuts will prevent the screws from loosening up. While the flatness of the flange is really not an issue, I did not want to get all gorilla on the screws and risk cracking the glass. Because of the outward camber of the glass, I applied a little bit of contact cement to the glass and the flange gasket prior to installing the glass. I then pressed the glass to the gasket to hold it in place while I positioned the clamp ring and pushed the screws through. The gap between the clamp ring and the spigots sides is a respectable 1/8" - 3/16", which I will calk later, once I figure out what kind of caulk I'm going to use. A clear caulk would probably work, but I'm going to look in to tinting some caulk the same color as my paint. I haven't decided if I will caulk the glass to clamp ring joint yet. I feel very good that these lights will not leak and will be robust enough for off shore use. To test the quality of the seal we made, I had my son inside the boat and I used the shop air compressor to blast air at the port light from outside the boat. Using a smoking match, we could see no signs of air getting past the seal we made.

Because of how the lights are framed, I decided to paint the spigots before installing the glass. I gave each spigot a good scuffing, and repaired some dings I made from carelessly throwing debris out of the port light opening. I'm using PPG's industrial line of paints on the boat and have decided to use an acrylic urethane. The urethane is a high gloss with good toughness ratings and abrasion resistance. The thing I like about this paint is the ability to be able to get back in to the paint for repairs. I really would have preferred to have the whole hull painted, but I'm not ready for that stage yet, and won't be until late spring or early summer. Seeing the first bit of shiny paint on the boat was a big time boost to my morale, and has really got me motivated to get to the stage of being able to top coat the whole hull. Because I painted the spigots before the hull, I have a parting line to deal with around each port light. For painting,I taped the light off 1" away from the spigot. When I paint the hull, I'll wet sand the parting line I just created flush with the primer, then tape back towards the spigot 3/8" or so. I'll then have to wet sand that now new parting line flush with the top coat I just applied and buff. I'll have more parting lines to deal with due to the way I intend to paint the hull. If I can get another person to help with the spraying, I might get away with no parting lines other than the port lights.

All the port light glass is now installed, so I can now permanently install the wood interior trim rings and give them a coat of urethane. Now that the glass is installed, the difference in sound is amazing. I can no longer hear the radio that plays in the shop, and my son and I had to almost shout to communicate with him on the inside of the boat, and me on the outside. I'm happy with the way the port light project turned out, and I'm very happy to have another big job checked off of my list.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bilge pumps

To date, I have three bilge pumps on board. Basically, one bilge pump for each of my three water tight compartments. One pump in the cabin area, one pump in the engine room, and one pump in the lazarette. The pumps in the engine room and cabin area are 1 1/2" discharge, 3700 GPH Rule pumps with Water Witch sensors for the switch. The pump in the lazarette is a 1 1/8" discharge, Rule 1500 GPH. I have also made provisions in my hydraulic circuit to have on board a hydraulic pump rated @ 11,000 GPH. The hydraulic pump will be plumbed in to the engine room and forward cabin compartments, and I will direct which compartment it is to pump out via a valve and manifold. The 11,000 GPH hydraulic pump is a two inch discharge. The pumps all have an automatic float switch along with a manual switch. The pumps will have a control panel at the helm that alarms when water is high and an indicator light telling me if the pump is running. It's pretty easy and inexpensive to install an event counter on the pump, and that might be another handy device to have on board.

On past boats I've owned, bilge pump access has always been one of my pet peeves, and production builders seem not to care about ease of access. On this boat, I've tried to make all systems components within easy reach, and have avoided burying components to a point that maintenance becomes difficult. The bilge pump in the cabin area and lazarette are extremely easy to access and I'm happy with their placement. The 3600 GPH pump in the engine room is a different story, but I think I came up with a good solution to make this pump easy to service.

Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have moved the main engine forward in the boat by 8 or 10 inches. I placed the main engine as far forward to the center of the boat as possible, leaving the engine 8" off of the main bulkhead. That 8" separation gives me enough room to remove the belt guard bolts and be able to service/replace the serpentine belt on the front of the engine. The problem is that 8" really does not give me enough room to access the bilge pump which is under the engine, on the port side, and up against the bulkhead. The real problem is that the bilge under the engine mounts, is over 24" deep, and making pump connections will be extremely difficult at best. The other issue complicating this job is that all the hydraulic lines for the steering, bow thruster, and anchor winch penetrate the water tight bulkhead in this area, so access is not only tight, but it is crowded. The hydraulic lines received the premium real estate in the bilge and penetrate the bulkhead at a high elevation which makes them relatively easy to connect.

The solution I came up with for the engine room bilge pump was to make a bracket on a post and mount the pump to that. The pump mounting post then screws to the bulkhead wall. I installed plywood on both engine room bulkheads, and that decision is paying some dived-ens given the amount of equipment I've attached to the bulkheads without worrying about hitting a nailer. The flexible 1 1/2" bilge pump discharge line is already connected through the bulkhead before I lower the pump in to place. I make the pump to discharge connection while the pump is out of the bilge, make the wire connections, then lower the pump on it's bracket in to the bilge, and bolt the bracket to the bulkhead with four screws. Removal or installation of the pump takes less than a few minutes. The thing I like about this way of mounting the pump is that if I event suspect the pump has a chance to get oil fouled due to work being done in the engine room, I can easily lift it out of harms way, do my work, then easily and quickly replace it. I have about five or six hours in making the bracket and tweeking it, but for me, this is time well spent. I know the older I get, the more difficult it is going to be to cram myself in tight places, and being able to easily service this pump will make life on board much more user friendly. Now that I've had the pump in and out of the bilge a few times, I'm totally happy with this set up as it's a breeze to make the pump connections while the pump is sitting on the engine room door's threshold.

For the lazzarette pump and forward cabin pump, I fabricated some stainless steel brackets. The pump base bolts to the bracket and the pump snaps to the pump base. I tapped threads the metal the fabricated bracket screws to so I could use 10-24 stainless machine screws to mount the bracket. These pumps are easy to access by so no fancy post contraption needed to be fabricated.

I kind of frown on boats that have a rats nest of wire and wire nuts dangling in the bilge for the wire connections on bilge pumps. I decided that I want all my wire connections in a good junction box, so that's what I did. For me, it's all about future maintenance and not having to contort myself for basic service work.

I don't have the hydraulic crash pump installed and probably won't have it for a few years. I've made all the plumbing preparations for the pump in regard to the bulkhead penetrations, and the hydraulic circuit. This pump, more than likely, will not get installed until we get the boat in to the gulf a few years from now.

The engine room bilge pump and forward cabin pump discharges along side the water tank fill manifold on the port side of the boat. The discharge lines loop 12" above the discharge port then drop back down to the discharge port. The discharge port is 12" above the water line.

I'm using a drippless seal for my prop shaft, so I'm planning on a dry bilge in the engine room. Given the boat is steel, I feel as having dusty bilge's is a realistic goal. And while I feel as if I will probably never use my bilge pumps, I want a good installation that is easy to service and maintain so when the day comes that the pumps are needed, I can rely on my end of the work as not contributing to a failure.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bathroom update

All the foam in the bathroom has vanished behind the finish work.

I had some green bead board left over from the kids cabin and installed that for the ceiling. I think I'll tone the green down a little and paint it a more neutral color such as a tan. The access panel for the 4" exhaust fan is finished along with the port light trim ring. I also finished the trim work around the cabinet. It's so nice not to see foam anymore.

Since the ceiling and ceiling trim is installed there was no reason not to install the shower fixtures. The shower is now functional including the wiring of the shower sump. I still have to address the faulty sump switch, but someone told me Rule has an excellent replacement policy and as long as the switch is less than a couple of years old, they'll replace it with no questions asked.

I have the hatch framed in out of Cherry, so I'm ready to fabricate the hatch that accesses the shower sump and valves that direct the sump discharge. I'm going to install a new floor in the bathroom as I'm not happy with the Cherry plywood I have under the composting toilet. The fit is less than great, and it bothers me. I ran into a hard wood floor installer I know the other day and he has enough scrap of Brazilian Cherry in his shop that will do my floor. I only need about 15 square feet and the few dollars a square foot I"ll pay him is extremely fair to me.

I installed one 7 watt LED can light in the bathroom. In a perfect world, another light would be ideal, but the one light does the job and gives the room a nice glow. All the lights on the boat are controlled by wall switches, and I prefer that much more than having a switch on the light. The can light pivots, so we can direct light either in to the shower or in to the cabinet above the toilet.

I think the next move after I complete the bathroom is to do some DC electrical work on board. I want to get the battery cables installed along with the battery control panel for my three battery banks. I can now install the lower air conditioner along with the duct work and then button up the starboard chase way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Passage door update #2

All five passage doors are hung in their openings and have two coats of urethane finish on them. Another fairly large job can be, for the most part, checked off of the list.

Because of having to build the boat in two sections ( hull/ wheel house @ salon), I cannot install the ceiling in the hallway and master cabin. Because I cannot finish the ceilings, there is no point in casing the doors, so that job will wait until the boat gets to the launch site.

I purchased a mortise lock set for the master cabin bathroom door. The lock set is solid brass with a brushed nickel finish so my hope is the lock set will handle corrosion. I installed the lock set and I'm happy with how it looks and works. Installing a mortise lock set is a slow, time consuming job with very little room for error. I roughed in the mortise with a 5/8 forstner bit, then cleaned out the mortise with a chisel. I had to make a jig to hold the door plumb with my drill press, and other than cutting the mortise a 1/4" shallow, all went well. From start to finish, I had about 2 1/2 hours in installing the lock set with 1/2 of an hour consumed with building the jig for the drill press. The lock set has a dead bolt so we can lock the door from inside of our cabin. I think I'll have dead bolts on our cabin doors, and the bathroom doors, but will use lock sets without dead bolts for the other doors.

I brushed two coats of gloss urethane finish on the doors. I'm not incredibly happy with the finish and I think I'll spray the final coat of finish on the doors. No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to brush a good finish on my work. I think my problem is I'm expecting too much out of two coats of finish. Next summer, when the boat is at the launch site and we're putting the final finish coats on everything, I'm hoping I'll get some help on getting a decent top coat on all the wood. For right now, everything is getting two coats for protection, and that's the story I'm sticking with.

The next job is to get the bathroom completed. There is really not a huge amount of work left to finish that room, and I should be able to get it off of my list in a week or so. I have to install the exhaust fan, install the ceiling, fabricate the interior trim ring for the portlight, and install the portlight.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Passage door update

All the passage doors are built with three of them hung in the openings.

Like I said in my last post I decided upon mortise and tenon construction for these doors. Just to give an extra added bit of strength to the joint, I through pinned each joint with two 3/8" wood dowels. The day I needed the dowels ( more of my great scheduling skills), I went over to the wood working supply store to get a few things and some Cherry dowels. The store was out of Cherry dowels, and in my haste to get a door assembled, I decided to make the dowel a design element, and went with Walnut dowels. The dowels all but guarantee the joints will never pull apart, and to be honest with you, I like the dark contrast of the walnut dowel. I think the doors will really pop once I have some finish on them. In order to prevent blowing out the back of the door while drilling the dowel, I clamped a block of wood where the drill exited the door.

The door project has put a serious hurting on my pile of air dried Cherry lumber, and I'm going to have to harvest a tree or two before too long so I can have dry lumber by next summer. I really do not have enough time to air dry by next summer, so I might be building a solar kiln late this winter to speed things up. In order to save lumber, I decided to buy a sheet of 3/4" Cherry veneer plywood, rip the jamb stock off of the ply, then miter the stock back against itself to make it look like a solid board for the jambs. This worked out well ( more of a suggestion from Captain Ted of LTS Builders), and only took me an hour to rip all the plywood, miter all the end caps and glue and nail theme together. All told I fabricated ten jambs in an hour. I used my brad nailer to pin the miter pieces while the glue set up. You will not see the nail holes as I held the nails away from the miter, and my door casing, with its 1/4" reveal, will cover the nails.

The lumber pile is for sure on the down hill side of the ride, so I had to use some pieces that had a few flaws. My biggest concern regarding lumber quality was finding straight grain, and no cracks or checks. The styles and rails are 4" wide, and while it seems it would be easy, finding ten, six foot long pieces, that I could mill into the correct width with no cracks was a challenge. So given those search parameters, I used some pieces with bad knots. A bad knot is what I call a dead branch knot, meaning a dead branch created the knot. Dead branch knots will fall out or have rot around them. I dealt with the knots by routing them out the same way a dentist would remove a cavity, I then filled the excavation with a Dutchman patch. I really like the character the Dutchman patch gives the piece, and like not having to waste wood. I built five doors and I had to make four Dutchman patches.

I'm pre-hanging the doors on my plywood jambs the same way a pre hung doors comes to any building site. I should have the doors hung and cased by the end of the week, then I'll get some finish on them.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Passage doors

There are five wooden passage doors in the lower cabin area between the various rooms. The master cabin has an entrance door, the kids dressing room has an entrance door, the kids dressing room has a door leading to the bunk room, and both the master cabin and kids bunk room has a door leading to the common bathroom. I'm narrowing down the names for the boat and at the top of the list is: " I"m glad I did not bid this job since this turned out to be a ton more work that I'd figured". It might be hard to get that name to fit on the transom, but hopefully you get the jest of my lame joke and how much work went in to the passage door project. In all seriousness about a boat name, every time I think of naming her, I keep hearing Neil Young's opening guitar salvo of the song "Homegrown" so I'm keeping that name on the boat name list as she is totally homegrown/ built.

The first order of business on the passage doors was deciding on the method of construction. I could have made things easy on myself and gone with plywood slabs for doors. I really did not want the look of the plywood slab, so I quickly ruled that method out. I know I wanted a frame and panel door so I just needed to work out some construction issues. My cabinet frame and panel shaper cutter set seemed like the obvious choice to build these doors, but the more I got to thinking about it, the more I started to think that method would not be robust enough for passage doors. Ththe set of cutters I have is made for 3/4" thick stock. I was having doubts I could get 3/4" stock to stay flat on a door that was going to be over 6' tall. I was also concerned that the cope and stick pattern of the cutter would not give enough glue area on the joints to be able to handle a the violent slamming these large doors might see once we are at sea. Also, the shaper cutter set is tooled to form a 1/4" groove, so 1/4" plywood or raised panels would have to be used for the door panel. I did not want to use raised panels due to the environment of below deck relating to wood movement and also the amount of wood I'd have to use, so I had to consider 1/4" plywood. The problem with 1/4" plywood is that it is only good on one side so I'd end up with a door with one good veneer side, and a not so good side. If I were going to use the cabinet door shaper cutter set, I would also have to consider reinforcing the joint with dowels to give the door a fighting chance of surviving life at sea.

I have been bouncing ideas of door construction off of a builder/cabinet maker I work for, Ted Lenord of LTS builders, and he kind of went along with my fantasy of getting these doors built fast and cheap, but I think he tired of me dragging this out and one day told me "listen up MO FO, you're either going to do this job half assed or your going to do it the right way and build a mortise and tenon door." Ted was right so I decided upon the mortise and tenon method.

I started picking through my stack of air dried Cherry, and soon realized I did not have enough stock to make all the styles and rails I needed since I wanted the style and rail thickness to be 1 1/4". I for sure did not want to pay retail for this amount of lumber so I decided to laminate material together to get my 1 1/4" thick stock. I had a four inch H beam in the shop so I used that as my surface to clamp the ply's to for my laminating process. I decided to use two ply's for the lamination. The laminating process was pretty straight forward as I would pick my stock, straight edge it and rip, plane to thickness, then rip a thinner piece to make the final laminate. I would then pick the best sides, make sure the grain went opposing directions, spread glue with a paint roller then clamp both ply's to the H beam. I only had enough clamps to do one piece at a time, so getting all e stock laminated took me almost 10 days. W hen I removed the stock from the form, I jointed one edged straight, then ripped to the final width and jointed the ripped edge. I waited to plane to final thickness once I was getting closer to assembling. Laminating in this method made for a board that was straight as string across all faces and also incredibly stiff. I'm hoping that this will also make for a more stable door that will handle the moister levels an ocean going, tropical traveling boat will experience.

Once all the stock was jointed and planed to final thickness I could then plow the groove for the panel. I decided to use 1/2" Cherry plywood for the panel. I plowed the groove in the center of the style's and rail's, stopping short on the the end of the style so the groove would be hidden. I used a stacked Dado cutter on my table saw to plow the panel groove.

The next step was to decide how I was going to cut the mortise's . On projects past, I've cut mortises with a drill press, then used a chisel to clean out the mortise. I've also used my router mounted in a home made router table using an up cut spiral bit. For this job I decided to use my mill and a 1/2" up cut spiral bit. The mill was a nice tool to use for this for a couple of reasons. Reason number one is it's quiet compared to a router. The best reason I like about using the mill is the precision I get with it. I have way too much time and resource involved in laminating my stock, and I really don't want to be making a mistake due to lack of precision or careless measuring. The depth of all the mortises was 1 1/4", and I was able to do that in two passes by maintaining a slow, constant feed using the mill's hand crank table. It also helped that the tool was new and razor sharp, and that I was able to keep the mortise cleaned out while cutting it by using my shop air compressor.

To cut the tenons I again used the stacked dado cutter in the table saw. With the amount of time I had in laminating my stock, I was super cautious about cutting the tenons. I measured the thickness of the stock using a caliper, subtracted the tenon thickness, then divided by two to get the height of the shoulder cut. I then dialed in the height of the dado cutter and ran a test piece so I could accurately measure the cut with the caliper. Once I was sure of the depth of cut, I used a dial indicator to lower the cut a few thousandths to make sure my tenons finished out at least ten thousandths over 1/2" or .510. My goal with the tenon was to make sure I had a snug fit that would require a little work with a rasp and block plane to get a perfect fit in the mortise.

Having each mortise fit to it's particular tenon, I dry fitted all of the doors. This last picture only shows four doors. The door not show is my prototype door, and is already installed on the boat. I"ll post again shortly after I have the doors glued and when I'm ready to start hanging the doors on the jambs. I"m going to pre-hang the doors on their jambs to make installation easier. I've yet to decide upon hardware but I'll discuss that more in my next post.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


We have two showers on board, the lower shower in the cabin areas, and another shower on the aft deck. We decided to use tile for the lower shower and I finished that job this week.

There are three ladies in our family and all of them were firm in that they wanted a shelf to rest their feet for shaving their legs. The shelf will probably serve double duty as a place to rest shower things as we did not install any ceramic things like a towel bar or soap dish.

The shower is kind of an odd shape, but rather roomy once your inside. Our last boat had a totally inadequate shower, and while we used it, it was one kind of a pain in the ass to use.

There is a sump under the bathroom floor to pump the shower water either overboard or to a holding tank under the kids starboard berth. I tested the pump when I first installed it, and was disappointed that the rule mechanical float switch was not reliable. I have the pump switched for manual or automatic but I think I might install one of the sensor type float switch's and do away with the old style mechanical switch.

Now that the tile work is finished, I think I'll stick with the bathroom work and finish the room. The ceiling can now be installed along with the four inch ventilation fan and the fan's access panel. I still have to build the trim ring for the port light and I'm thinking I might also install the light. I've finished laminating all the rails and styles for the five passage doors I need to build, so I can also get the bathroom doors installed. We are planning on a shower door, but I'm in no hurry for that to be installed.

I spoke with a few steel trawler owners regarding tile in the showers and they have not had any problems with it. I framed the shower stall in a way that minimized it's connection to the hull so I'm hoping that the tile does not crack. If this decision turns out to be a bad one, I'll make sure to tear in to the tile guy and make him fix it with another system. I guess one of the good things about doing your own work is you know who to be pissed at when things don't go so well. Once I get some off shore hours on the boat, I'll let all know how the tile holds up.

For some reason, these pictures are not so great. I should have re positioned the light I have in the shower room to let the flash do it's thing. These pictures make the tile look more yellow than it is in case your wondering. I could be seeing the demise of the cheap boat camera.... I'll keep you posted.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Companion way

I still had one more major wood working job left on the lower hull that I've been blowing off for a few months now, and that was finishing the companion way from the salon to the cabins below. In order to get the 12,000 BTU air conditioner installed along with the associated wiring, I had to get the companion way ( stair way) completed.

This is another busy area of the boat. The DC electric passes from the engine room to the helm via conduit and a junction box in the companion way. This includes the 2/0 cables from the battery bank, the main engine and generator wiring harness's, the bilge pump's controls, high water alarms controls and whatever other DC wires I can conjure up. I installed six one inch conduits, two 3/4" conduits, and some 1/2" conduits from this junction box to the helm in this tight space.

The 12,000 BTU air conditioner will also reside in the companion way underneath the stairs. This 12000 BTU air conditioner is keel cooled and will be for the sleeping cabins only. Another marine air conditioner is in the lazarette, and will service the wheel house and salon. The stairs you see in these pictures are plywood stairs that I'm using for construction. The final stairs will be made from Cherry, and will be closed stringers and risers ( with ventilation). The important part of the stairs you see in these pictures, and along with the final stairs, is that the stairs are hinged for quickly gaining access underneath the stair case. The hinging of the stairs is another one of the things I got right on the build and have proven to be fantastic in regard to getting things done quickly in this area. Along with the air conditioner, the ducts for the forward cabins will rise from the air conditioner via the companion way cabinet on its way to the utility chase that is framed between the ceiling the the hull liner.

The vent and fill manifold for the starboard water tanks are also accessed from behind the companion way cabinets via access panels.

The overboard clothes washing machine discharge piping along with the half bath sink above, and the sump discharge for the air conditioner leave the boat from this area. Just to make things complete, I installed two spare one inch above the water discharge points, and one more 1 1/2" above the water discharge point in this area. All of this is accessed from either underneath the stairs, or from inside the companion way cabinet.

Once you come down the companion way stairs, you land in the area where you either continue straight to the kids cabin's dressing room, or you turn left to enter the master cabin. Since the outboard area of this landing was not much use, I decided to add shelves go get more storage. The shelves are fixed and have fiddles fixed to them. I have a vision of these shelves being used for can goods, but time will tell just how they evolve. I know they will need another bar going across the opening to hold things in place, but I'll wait on building that until I see what everyone wants to use them for.

The cabinet on the outboard side of the companion way came about as a way to hide the junction box and air conditioning duct work. I created two shelves in this cabinet plus sunk the bottom of the cabinet to allow storage of large bulky items. This will be a large item cabinet. Because of the hinge stairs, and wanting to keep the stair case width, I built these doors as a flush style vs the overlay style I've built on the rest of the boat. The flush style is more challenging to build as the door must be fit in to the opening and all the reveals need to be consistent for the door to look good. Since the humidity has been high here lately, I gave these doors a 1/6" reveal. The doors are frame and panel construction using Cherry wood. When all is said and done, and the final stairs are installed, I want no more than a 3/8" gap between the hinged stairs and the companion way cabinet and opposing wall. This is why I went with the flush door method, and is also why I'll have to use drilled finger pulls ( holes ) to open the cabinet doors. I want this area to be easy to navigate down with no snags or things to bump against. I paid particular attention, using a plumb bob and good layout, to make sure these cabinets were square and plumb with the bulkhead that the steps will be hinged to. It is important to me that the steps swing up smoothly and do not rub the cabinets and wall given the tight gaps I want to hold on the casework.

I have two coats of satin urethane on everything so things should be protected for the rest of the build. I can now install the keel cooled air conditioner and check another item off of the list. This was a fairly large wood working job, and I have over a week in getting it completed. The last wood working projects for the lower hull are building of the passage doors and building the finish stairs for the companion way.