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.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Finished with the interior firing

As the title says, I'm finished with the interior firing, and await the insulator. While the firing job is neither sexy nor that much fun, it sure is nice to walk into the shop and smell fresh sawdust vs acrylic urethane, epoxy and thinner.

There's really not a whole lot one can say to dress this job up and towards the end it just felt like work. Looking at what's left of the 1000 count box of bolts, nuts, and washers, I have to conclude that I installed over 600 of those little rascals. My ten year old 3/8 air ratchet took a dive on me during this project, so that got replaced. I used a case of polyurethane adhesive, and a fair amount of lacquer thinner cleaning the adhesive off of my hands.

I had a few people ask me what I meant when I stated I held the firing proud of the steel frames, so I thought I'd include a picture showing how the lumber sticks past the framing vs explaining it. Installing it this way will allow me to use the lumber as a screed when trimming the foam, and will insure all the metal is covered with foam. Any metal not covered with foam has a high probability of sweating condensation then dripping on to the liner and creating a stain or damage. I know boats are a compromise, but having the lumber 5/16" proud of the steel does not mean squat in regard to head room or taking away from square footage. 6' 10" of head room or 6' 9-11/16"... who cares.

Wherever possible, I also held the firing off of the cabin sides. I pretty much stuck with 5/16" everywhere I could. My plan was to get as much of the metal covered with insulation. I used blocks vs continuous firing wherever possible, and once insulated, I'll pad things out to the finished wall surface with finished trim.

I'm going to go ahead and install the blocking for soffit   that creates the overhang on the salon. Since there are no side decks, once the super  structure is welded in place, that job will then need a ladder 16' above grade. I'll bring the soffit to a finished state including finish paint and the wiring need for accent lighting over each of the salon windows.

I have a bit of work to do before the insulator shows up in regard to taping off any finish paint I don't want to get spray foam on. Because all the window openings are finish painted now, I think I'm' going to fasten some 1/8" plywood in the window openings. There is no way paper is going to hold up to the force of the commercial foam gun, and I don't want to pay the foam contractor to stand around while I fix a screw up.

I'm going to foam the roof over the aft deck with a  half inch or so to stop any condensation. I'll also be installing a ceiling in this roof to hide the framing. One thing that bothers me with this ceiling is that the designer changed the height of the trim piece as it goes from the sides to the aft elevation. The trim is more narrow on the aft elevation vs the side elevations. Because of the way the roof is framed, in order to make the ceiling line constant, you'll see the edge of the ceiling material protruding below the trim piece on the aft elevation. I'm not into welding any fix in place now that everything is finished painted and I'm about ready to foam. A drip edge of some sorts might be an alternative or a slight change in the ceiling profile as it passes the last frame. There's more than one way to skin a cat, so it's not that big of a deal, just some more detail work. I can deal with the actual ceiling at the boat yard, but I have to deal with the blocking before the foam guy shows up.

As I sit typing this post on Sunday night, I'm listening to a Neil Young song with the lyrics "don't let it bring you down, it's only castles burning" drifting from my speakers. That lyric sort of seems appropriate in that sweating the small stuff gets us nowhere. In the end, getting there is half the fun.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I started the super structure interior

Because I am swamped with paying work, I've taken a few days off of the build. Hurricane Sandy has changed that, and caused  major slow down in my work, so I'm back to the important things in life... the boat build. I have to say that while we are four or five hundred miles from Sandy, we had 25 mile per hour winds sustained last night while  she came ashore.

To begin the interior, bolting lumber to the metal frames is the first order of work. To make it seem like I was getting something done, the first attachment I made was to bolt lumber to the ceiling frames. Because of the camber of the ceiling frames and not wanting to piece things together, I had to use a 2x6 for the ceilings. It seems like a lot of waste, but all the off fall was ripped again for the side wall frames.

The barn is about as full as it can get and the only place to set up my table saw is under the roof of the aft deck. I had to position the saw so I can make long rips through the door of the salon.

The basic method of getting the ceiling beams done was to clamp the 2x6 to each end of the frame. I then used a scribe set for the gap between the 2x6 and the frame at the center of the frame and scribed the top ( roof  ) side of the cut. Because the frames are so long, and the curve not that radical, I was able to use a circular saw to cut shy of the line. The cut put the saw in a bit of a bind, but it was not too hatefull, and that's what tools are for. Once the roof side was cut to shape, I re clamped the board to the frame, set the scribe for 5/16", and scribed the interior side of the cut. Once again, I used the circular saw ( vs the band saw ) and made the cut. All the boards are being held proud of the steel frame about 5/16" so foam remains on the frame flange after the foam is trimmed. With the board now cut to fit, I applied a bead of polyurethane adhesive and re clamped the board. I then use my right angle air drill, and drill through the existing holes in the steel frames. Next I use a hammer to drive the 1/4"x2" carriage bolts home, followed by a flat washer and a nylock nut, then tighten all the bolts using a 3/8" air ratchet

Gluing the lumber to the frames in addition to bolting might seem like over kill, but bolts have a funny way of working loose in lumber, and since the adhesive is not that expensive, I think it to be good insurance to prevent a squeak.

As I type this post on this rainy Tuesday, I have all the ceiling beams finished in the wheel house, salon, and aft deck. I also have the wheel house walls and windows complete, and am getting ready to start on the salon. Another full day, and I should be finished bolting all the lumber in place.

I have an insulator  showing up in the morning to give me a price on foaming the interior. I'm going to foam the interior down to within a couple of inches of the weld zones.

While I still have the boat in the shop, I'm going to also install the Cherry plywood at the window opening so I don't have to deal with that at the cold boat yard. I'm  using a clamp ring for the window installation, so I have to have the finished wood in place in order to install the windows. The window installation is also complicated by the fact that  the maximum wall thickness at the window is 2 1/4", while the frame thickness of the boat is 3 7/8". It's kind of a strange deal to describe, but on the salon windows and the side windows of the wheel house, the windows will be set in by the difference. The front wheel house windows will be flush with the  interior as I was able to make the tabs work out to 2 1/4" wall thickness.  It will look OK as I'm going to spend a righteous amount of time getting the trim right, but it does add a whole bunch of work to the window trim job. I'm not quite sure how the finish window trim will look, but I'm going to use each clamp ring as a template before I install and make a pattern out of paper board for future fabrication of wooden trims for the windows.

The weather had for sure turned  here, but I have plenty to keep me busy getting the super structure in a more finished state. Taking the super structure as far as installing the windows before she's landed and welded in place has entered my mind, but I think it too risky. I can install lots of the trim, some of the ceilings along with some wiring and a host of other items before I have to commit to taking her out of the barn. While I'm aching to have her assembled at the boat yard, all of this work goes much faster while she's in the barn.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The list

Before Johnny Cash died, he gave his daughter Rosanne a list of, in his opinion, the most influential songs of  his life time. Cash made it a point to make sure Rosanne recorded  some of these songs, and having  heard many cuts from her album, "The List", I can say it's a good one. My list has finally been written regarding the old boat build, and it consisted of : #1- Finish painting the super structure. I now wonder why it's taken me so long to  finally put together a list now that I have finally checked the list clean.... I'm finished painting the super structure. The paint pot is on the back shelf, the boat is unwrapped, the shop has had two months wort of sand blasting, grinding, and over spray blown out of it. You know it's dirty in your shop when you have to use a leaf blower to clean it out.

I guess this is a milestone of sorts for me as I really now feel I"m on the down slope run of this whole deal. No more of the feeling of "this sucks" that I was beginning to feel as I kept attacking the paint job. No more blowing the dust off of me as I call it a night. The other night on  Wednesday, I painted until 1:00 am just so I could get this monkey off my back. Oh well, time to move forward.

The paint turned out pretty good, and I'm for the most part happy with it. I have a bit of orange peel going on, but it's not to deep, and can be wet sanded out. Although a bit late now, I  need to understand what cause's orange peel. I think it's from not applying a heavy enough coat. I've had problems with this paint not atomizing the way I think it should, so maybe there's more  going on with the problem being a few small details.  The wheel house looks excellent, and the aft deck also looks good.

I took a picture of the wheel house where you can also see the fore deck hand rails. when I put the hand rails together, I matched  the angle of the hand rail stanchion to the reverse rake of the wheel house windows. Now that everything is painted it finally shows proud, and I like the detail. Maybe I've been hanging around the paint fumes too much, but I think matching the angle is nice detail vs a plumb stanchion.

Just because I wanted to see how some more finish work would look, I put a few windows in their openings. The white I'm using is actually an off white. The dark windows make it look more pure white, but there's no  denying the windows look sharp in their openings. I'm so glad I went with radius corners.

Like I said before, all the remnants, tools and reminders of the paint job are put back where they belong. My weather window is fast closing on me, but I'm determined to get her to the launch site before the calender says it's too risky. The earliest I'll be ready is in about three weeks. The ideal schedule for me would be to have the hull to the boat  yard on a Wednesday, the super structure the next day on Thursday, and crane the super structure in place on a Friday. This would leave me the weekend to weld the two together, then back to work on Monday. If all goes relatively well, I should be ready to  go in about three weeks, but as I know too well things change. Before Thanksgiving would be the ticket, but early December also works. Like I said before, I'm cutting it close. Hopefully, some global warming will come my way and give me decent weather to work with.

Anyway, the list has been checked off.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

High build primer

The inside of the super structure was sand blasted, then received two coats of epoxy primer. The roof of the super  structure was sand  blasted, then received two coats of epoxy primer, followed by 2-4 coats of Acrylic Urethane. The roof of the super structure will eventually get a coat of some sort of non skid coating, but that won't happen until next year. The sides of the super structure is what I'm working on now, and is what everyone will see and touch, got sand blasted, followed by two coats of epoxy primer, then three coats of high build epoxy primer. Once I'm finished working on the high build, she'll get another coat of epoxy primer to seal the high build, then three coats of top coat Acrylic Urethane.

The high build primer is another step I added to only the sides of the super structure. The purpose of the high build is only to help one achieve a nicer finish on the top coat paint. High build primer is able to be built up quickly to a thick layer, then is easily sanded back down. The easiest way to describe it is by calling it liquid body filler.

Just by the nature of the beast, building the super structure created many imperfections in the metal. Every place I welded a frame, or cleat  on the  inside, a bump in the metal was created on the outside. These small raised areas or "bumps, are called weld print through. If you run your hand over the metal, you feel the bumps. The print through will be extremely obvious on the  shiny final coat unless hidden. My method of dealing with it is to hit each spot lightly with the grinder before sand blasting to lower the bump below metal. The high build primer fills the now recessed area, and everything gets sanded smooth. The high build causes the print through to vanish.

All the welds on the super structure were ground flush, and the high build buries all the grinder marks and allows me to sand everything flush. Because the metal has been  laying around a long time, some rust developed, and after blasting the rust away, some pitting was evident. The high build fills 99% of those holes.

Once the high build  primer is sprayed on, I give it at least a day to cure before I start sanding. I use air tools for all my work. My preferred sander is a six inch dual action sander with a hook and loop pad that can accept a shop vac to eliminate the dust.  I first sand the panel using 220 grit, and sand any bad spots until I start seeing the under lying  epoxy primer. Once I have a panel sanded to 220, I go back over any questionable spots and add a bit of filler, the sand the filler to 220. Once I'm happy with how things feel, I sand the whole panel to 400 grit. This sanding process takes some time, but it's not hatefull, and goes rather quickly. The super structure is different than the hull in regard to  how it's built and how it will look, so I don't feel as if I need to long board sand it to make me happy.  Once the panel is final sanded, and blown off with compressed air, is is now smooth enough that it  begins to show a reflection. I know things are going in the right direction when primer shows a reflection

As one is sanding with the 400 grit pad, the only way one can find imperfections is by feeling them with your hand. Eyes just aren't good enough. The surface really is glass smooth, and any bump or ripple is easily felt by touch. The goal for me is to have a respectable looking paint job that will be easy to keep clean. While most areas seem insignificant, those small holes and marks will trap dirt, and ultimately speed up the demise of the paint. Because I'm going to be the one who's eyes are going to be looking at things the most, I want it to work for me. As long as the surface is smooth and flat, buffing, polishing and waxing will work well in keeping the paint looking fresh for years to come. This could easily be a 15-20 year paint job.

High build primer is a porous coating and needs to be sealed with epoxy primer before the final coat of Acrylic Urethane is applied. The filler I am using also needs to be sealed, and there are some spots where I sanded to bare metal. There is no way around one more coat of epoxy primer, but that's a good thing and a small price to pay to make sure the job is done right. Once the last coat of epoxy primer is on the boat, I have 72 hours before the primer gets too hard and will not allow the top coat to chemically bond with the primer.  If I wait longer than 72 hours, I'll have to scuff to get a less than ideal connection between the top coat and the primer.

It's Sunday morning as I sit and type this entry, and the salon is ready for top coat. I still have to sand the wheel  house, but the trim, eyebrow, and all the difficult stuff has already been sanded and faired. The only thing left to be done on the wheel house is the flat panels, and that can be finished in four or five hours. I'll probably seal the super structure with primer early this week, and final coat the super structure by the middle of the week. I have one large area of "orange peel" I need to re paint on the hull, so I plan on sanding and painting this coming Saturday. As long as things go close to my planning, I'll have all the painting COMPLETELY FINISHED  by next weekend and I'll be able to  unwrap the hull and the super structure.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Getting closer

I'm getting a little closer... with finishing the paint that is.

The  roof is now painted and is all white and shiny. Too  shiny if you ask me, and I know for a fact that it's going to be dangerously slippery once it's outside and able to get wet. I've always had a plan on doing a non slip  coating,  and I still do plan that treatment, but I'm going to wait until next year prior to launch. I know I'm going to do some damage to the roof paint during the finishing, so I'll repair those spots as I go and once she's in a punch out state of being, I'll final coat with non skid.

The roof was a pretty straight forward job: blast any rust spots and all grinder marks and welds to white metal, blast the whole surface to roughen, then two coats of epoxy primer, followed with three coats of Acrylic Urethane top coat. In order to make painting the super structure sides a bit easier, I painted under the soffit, and the side trim on the wheel house and salon. By painting down the super structure sides this small amount, I have a good spot to tape the roof off from and will have no visible parting line.

It's Saturday morning as I sit and type this update, and the super structure roof is taped off and covered with poly sheathing and tarps. I'm getting ready to start the body work on the wheel house and I should have it ready to final blast sometime today or tomorrow. Taping and protecting the roof from the dust, grit and over spray from the final stage of work took me about two hours, but it's done and off of the list. The next time I see the roof, all the painting will be finished, I'll be happy, and I'll be doing work directly related to getting her out of the barn.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I've started painting the super structure

The interior of the super structure is painted and once again I've discovered the hard way just how big a boat this is.

To begin, I am changing the paint schedule. After speaking with a commercial boat yard, they have me convinced to  only prime the interior of the super structure. The interior metal will get covered with closed cell spray foam then the liner will go over that. There is nothing such as UV or physical abuse that is going to break the primer down, so a top coat of paint is really not needed. I gave the interior a thorough blasting and applied three coats of epoxy primer.

Because I  have to weld the super structure to the hull, I taped off the the bottom edge of the metal so I will not have to grind away the primer later. Having the prime being burnt off by the welding is not only nasty, it can lead to the  primer gas mixing with the weld shielding gas and cause a defect in the weld. Porosity of the weld would be one example of a defect of this nature. Taping the joint is a heck of a lot faster and easier vs grinding.

Because paint over spray is not an issue with the interior, I decided to do this area first. Acting on the advice of some experienced paint people, I have taken a different approach to painting this part of the boat vs the hull. When I painted the hull, I blasted then primed, then started doing my fairing and filler work. The paint guys talked me into blasting the joints I want to do filler work, applying the filler, then blasting the rest of the metal then priming. Doing the work in this order will save me time as I will avoid some scuffing. This order of work will save me the most time on the roof. I  have a few areas I want to do some filler work on so I blasted those areas clean, and applied some filler. The filler work I'm doing on the roof is more for function than for aesthetics. I'll sand those areas smooth, blast the rest of the roof, apply two coats of primer, and within the 72 hour chemical bond able time limit, I'll top coat the roof. No scuffing will be needed, and the more reliable chemical connection between primer and top coat is achieved.

The sides of the super structure is the area that everyone is going to see. For the sides, I'm blasting all the joints and welds I want to fill over, then I'm applying filler. I'll sand the filler smooth, blast the rest of the sides clean, and two coats of epoxy primer. While the primer is still hot, I'll apply two coats of sand able high build primer and long board that coat smooth. I know I'll be doing some more filler work on top of the high build, but that's  to be expected to get a nice finish. Once I''m good with the high build surface ( my version of good is different than a professional body man's version). I'll spray another coat of primer to seal the high build, then top coat with my off white Acrylic Urethane. At this point the paint will be finished, and the list will be that much smaller.

I'll be posting updates as I work through the roof and sides.

The move to the launch site continues to get pushed back further. October seems doable, but early November seems more realistic. Once the paint work is finished, there is still work to be done here in the shop that will make the launch site assembly go faster. There is really no reason to slow things down by getting in a hurry. This is a big ass ed job, for one man to do by himself, and the time it takes is going to be the time it takes. I can only hope that the crap weather holds off until I have her dried in at the launch site, but I've worked my whole life out in crap weather, so I'm not to worried about me. I just don't want to compromises any work on the boat nor cost myself extra money.

I'll have the roof blasted and primed this weekend, and if all goes well, we'll have a off white roof to look at come Monday evening or Tuesday morning.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Super structure metal work is finished.

Tomorrow morning, before I take off for work, I'm going to spend an hour or two so I can clean and organize the shop now that the metal work is completed. I'm ready to prep the super structure for paint so I need to put away all the tools I've been using to do battle.

I'm a little blown away with how long it took to get the metal work completed. I did have a major set back in that the rough openings for the windows were cut for a four inch radius, and the windows are built using a six inch radius. There are 17 windows in the super structure and the repair consisted of me using my plasma cutter to cut out the 68 corners out of the existing rough openings. I then cut 68 new radius corners and welded them back in to the openings. The windows in the salon were easy as they were all square. The windows in the pilot house were a bit more of a challenges as they are all parallelograms, and required a little bit of noggin work to get the angles along with the radius's correct. But, the window openings are now correct and all the widows fit the way they're supposed to. Along with repairing the window openings, I added 60 or 70 more tabs to the window openings to bolt framing lumber to. 




Another job I got finished was fabricating the Tabernacle for the mast. After some indecision and talking with some other builders, I decided to go with a six inch mast. The primary function of the mast is going to be used to hoist my skiff to the roof of the salon. I am also going to have my radar mounted on the mast, and some lights and antennas. My long term plan regarding the mast is to be able to use it for a future para vane rig, and at a minimum, a flopper stopper rig. The Tabernacle is built out of 1/2" stainless steel. The pins used to hold the mast to the tabernacle are 1.25". The tabernacle is centered on frame #13. The tabernacle also has a doubler plate that it sits on and by doing some additional framing and reinforcing, I am spreading the load of the tabernacle to two additional frames, #14 @ # 12 . The bracket that will hold the para vane pole is also connected to frame #13 with solid 1/2" plates. I increased the flange thickness on # 13 to 5/16, and all is a continuous weld  were the reinforcing occurs. Two frames aft of the main para vane bracket, sits another bracket for another pole that will act as a brace for the main pole. The bracket for the brace is also connected to the frame with 1/2" plates. To connect the stays and shrouds, I welded 1/2" stainless pad eyes to frames.  I have two shrouds on each side, and one fore stay. I don't know if I'll ever use a para vane rig, but I do know I'll use flopper stoppers while at anchor. I had an engineering friend of mine give me some advice with beefing up the structure, and I feel good that I have things beefy enough. A fair amount of time and fabricating went in to this part of the boat. Because I will have electric winches for the mast/boom, radar, and some lights, I welded a 1.5" stainless nipple next to the tabernacle to run the mechanicals. I positioned the nipple so that  I can bolt a 6"x6" splice box to the tabernacle gusset, and use a grommet to make a water tight seal to the nipple. I'll use good quality cord grips to bring the various feeds out of the splice box.

The other job I  did was increase the width of the door at the salon to 32". I'll be fabricating the aluminum door, so I feel OK with the increased size. I plan on  having at least two dogs in the door to help hold it fast. Along with being weather tight, I want a door that will keep the thieves out.

I'm using composting toilets on board and each one of those requires an 1.5" vent. I made those vents out of sch. 40 stainless. One is welded in to the soffit above the salon, and the below deck vent is welded in to the front of the wheel house.  I'll use PVC to connect the toilets to the stainless stubs I welded in the hull.

We have a shower for the cabins below deck, but due to the size of my posse, I felt it best if we had another shower on board. The easiest place to do this was on the aft deck in the port side corner of deck on the salon bulkhead. This will be a hot/cold shower. I fabricated a stainless shelf with a lip on it to retain soap, and a bar for wash rags and to hold back shampoo bottles.

I installed a 4" stainless vent for our 230volt clothes dryer.

On the aft salon bulkhead on the aft deck the fuel fills and vents reside. There is a two inch fill on both the port and starboard side. Next to each fill are the vents for the two port side tanks and two starboard tanks. The fill and vent pipes are welded in place. I really need a box around each set of pipes, similar to what Peter did on Koala ( now Kame Hele... not sure of the spelling). I have a little bit of time left where I can fabricated these box's, and I might try braking them over the work bench. If not, my neighbor will do it on his press brake.

Outboard of the fill and vents are the two three inch vents for the lazzarette. These are weld in place.

I welded the six inch vent intakes for the master cabin. These vents are in the foreword wall of the wheel house.

To get up on the the roof of the salon, I'm going to gain access via the wheel house side deck. Because of the raised pilot house, a five foot tall ladder is all that is needed to get on to the roof. I fabricated and welded some brackets to the salon wall to pin the removable ladder to. It's hard to describe it now, but because of the bulwark, and how I plan on working the salon roof hand rail, this will be a safe, secure way to get up on to the roof. I was going to get fancy and use a torsion spring to have the ladder self stow up on the roof, but my short time frame killed that idea and I decide to stow the ladder on  stainless post welded to the front of the wheel house. The forward  rake of the wheel house windows along with the almost 5' distance to the Portuguese bridge will allow all to pass by this area without bumping the ladder. It will make more sense once the super structure is welded to the hull.

Because I moved the aft salon wall, I had to cut the panel that extends down the salon line towards the aft deck. One of the boarding doors conflicts with this panel, so I cut it to fit. I gave this cut a nice looking radius where it meets the aft deck roof. It was important to me to keep some protection of the aft salon wall at this area, so we still have an inside corner where I cut the panel to accommodate the boarding door. Because both the port and starboard side panel are 3/16 material, I decided to treat each edge with a 1/2" stainless round bar. The round bar treatment should come in handy on the side where the boarding door is as this area will get some abuse. Hopefully, the stainless round bar helps with decreasing my  maintenance painting. Every exposed, exterior edge on board, has a 1/2" stainless round bar welded to it.  

I used 70 lbs of .035 welding wire to build the super structure. I'm not for sure, but I think I drilled darn near 500 5/16 holes for bolting framing lumber to the steel frames. I might have drilled more holes, but I'm going to order 500 2"x1/4" carriage bolts, nylock nuts and washers and see how that works out. 

As of today, my paint schedule is going to be blast the metal followed by two coats of epoxy primer. The inside of the super structure will get two more coats of Alkyd Enamel, then the framing lumber gets bolted on followed by spray foam. The roof of the super structure will get blasted followed by two coats of epoxy primer then three or four coats of Acrylic Urethane. I'll probably put a non skid on the roof, but that won't happen until after launch. The outside of the super structure will get blasted, two coats of primer, two coats of high build primer, fair ed, more primer to seal the high build, then top coat with three or four coats of Acrylic Urethane.

The last job I did to get the super structure ready to begin paint prep was to have my daughter and her friend Olivia walk around on the roof so I could fix the six or seven areas that were "oil canning". All that was required of that job was to find the offending areas, then weld a 1.5" flat bar between the longs and pull the roof sheathing down and weld it to the flat bar. Pretty easy job, but it still took us about three hours to wrap it up.

As anyone can imagine, I'm glad to have this part of the job behind me. Paint and paint prep is going to be nasty, but I can now see the bitter end. Maybe by early October, I'll be able to post some sort of smiley face as I should be starting to take the front of the barn off.