Friday, November 29, 2013


As I sit and type this post the sun has just began it's climb and a heavy frost covers our front yard. In my last post, I had mentioned how Winter was sneaking up on us so I had to get the barn put back together. Well, over the last few days, Winter has made and appearance with a  heavy "thunk", as the temperature outside is a chilly 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  A large Arctic high has settled in over us, and will be planted  here for the  next five days or so keeping things on the cold side.

The ceilings in both the salon and the wheel house are #2 - 1"x6" V groove, white pine. My original plan was to paint the ceilings a traditional yacht bright white finish, but after talking to a contractor I do work for, he convinced me to pickle the wood. Pickling is a simple treatment of wiping on a semi clear white stain, then wiping it off. This gives the wood a bit of color, brightens things up, while still allowing the character of the wood to show through. If we end up not liking it, we can always scuff the ceilings and paint them a solid color. The ceilings will get a few coats of satin urethane to seal them.

The salon ceiling is completed, and the wheel house ceiling is close. When I mean close, I'm talking about one board has yet to be installed on on both the port and starboard side. In the case of the wheel house, the wall material has to go up before I can finish the lasts two ceiling boards, as those two outboard planks have to land on nailers attached to each side wall.

The salon ceiling was about as straight forward as one could get regarding installation. The salon ceiling  has a nice  camber to it which I think looks great  now that the ceiling is in place, and the taper of the width aft to forward is not that great. The salon ceiling frames connect directly to the wall frames because the windows are about a foot down from the ceiling. Because the windows are a foot down from the ceiling, I was able to create a chase without having to cut in to the steel frames on either side of the salon. I have one " in ceiling" access panel that goes from the exhaust intake stack to the mast step, and that panel is only about 4' in length.

The wheel house ceiling has a few more challenges. The wheelhouse ceiling has a slight camber as it sheds water from fore to aft on a decent grade. The tricky issue with the wheel house is that the windows and door openings go almost to the ceiling. Because of the window opening height, I could not create a wiring chase along the walls. The bulk of the wiring enters the wheel house via a chase below, with at least six spare 1" conduits ran to a junction box in the engine room. On the two center forward windows, there was room for the ceiling boards to miss the trim ring. On each of the outboard forward windows, the ceiling boards hit the trim ring. I really did not want the ceiling hitting the trim ring, so I held each ceiling board off the trim ring 1/4". Because the gap is consistent, and the trim ring is black along with the angle one has to view the install, the gap is not at all noticeable. Because of how the windows are installed, if I ever have to remove the window, I'm pretty sure I'll have to cut the ceiling to do so. I debated holding the ceiling 1" away from the trim ring, but that would have looked bad, and would have required complicated trim to make it look reasonable as the foam would have showed.

If I ever have to remove the windows, I'll deal with the ceiling at that time, and call any modifications a repair. Because of how the ceiling is framed, and the fact that I neglected to install a  nailer for the ceiling at the two forward side windows, I have a small area of ceiling that will require a little bit of work to finish the install. The fix is not really that complicated, but in order to make it look tight and right, a piece of cherry with a tongue on it will have to be fabricated and fastened to the widow frame right above the trim ring (  more on this later if I remember).

Now, I'm on to fitting the side wall material in the wheel house, and also having to finish the jambs on the door before I can wrap up the ceiling. Getting the ceilings and walls lined really makes me feel like I'm making progress because the  foam is starting to vanish, and the inside is starting to  look quite shippy.  The bad news is that on December 1, the boat  yard is only open Monday-Friday 8-5... no more weekends. The yard holds this schedule until March 1, so I'm going to loose a noticeable amount of work time over the next 12 weeks.  I'll be able to make up some of this time because Winter weather kills my for pay work schedule, and I for sure have more time, but on the flip side of that scenario, I"m covered up busy with paying work right now and am really booked solid for the next ten months.  Depending on how busy the weather lets me work for pay, and how reliable  my cash flow is, I  might end up hiring out some of the straight forward mechanical work I have to get done to some good, reliable contractors I know. Now that I've been at Washington Marine for a few weeks now, I've seen  how they work, and I for sure can tell you that they'd be at the top of the list for some of the jobs I have in mind. We'll see how all this schedule thing works out as the time is fast approaching where we have to commit funds to leasing harbor space for the up coming season.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I've started to finish

The last few weeks have found me rushing around to get the boat weather tight, and starting to organize my thoughts on  how best to manage the build to the finish. Like most things on this project, a lot of work needs to be done in a certain order before progress becomes visible.

With winter sneaking up on us, I had to get the barn put back together. The  mornings are getting colder and with the heavy dew making it's way in to the barn, some of my tools are showing signs of rust. It took me a weekend to frame the opening back in, find the correct insulation, and trim the door opening to be ready for the crew who were re installing the door. I have to be able to fabricate much of the wood work for the interior in the barn, so having it weather tight and able to be heated is a big deal to keep the boat build moving. As I write this post, the barn is now back together, and while it's still a mess, it sure feels good to have all the space back.

The dry exhaust stack for the engine room is one of those deals that not much else can be started  until this part is finished. Getting this finished turned out to be a bit of a pain as some poor measuring on my part  had me doing a few  things over. I framed access panels  on both the port and starboard side of the stack. The port side panel is larger as to allow me to install the exhaust pipe through the panel. I also had to configure the panel opening to work around the microwave cabinet so I don't have to remove the cabinet to replace the exhaust pipe.

The  exhaust stack was the last big welding job I  have to do inside the boat, and it feels good to be able to take the big generator out of the back of my truck and leave it in the shop.

Now that the foam is all finished, I wanted to get the ceiling in the master cabin, and get that room pretty much wrapped up. The ceiling is 3 1/4" pine bead board painted an off white. To make things easy on myself, I primed and painted one coat of top coat paint on the boards to prevent bare wood from showing once things start moving around. The ceiling  job was pretty straight forward, and the only tricky part was building the removable access panel on either side of the center beam. The access panel is for throttle and engine controls, hydraulic lines for the anchor winch, hydraulic lines for the steering system, and some conduit. The center beam is about 3/8" lower than the ceiling, and instead of wrapping it in bead board, I decided to wrap it in Cherry. I needed a board over 10' long, and instead of joining two together to get the length, I found a long one on the bottom of my now air dried stack of lumber. The longest boards I have also  happen to be the widest boards. As you can see from this picture, this particular board is over 19" wide and dried pretty darn straight. After I finish milling the faux beam, I'll install it in a day or so, and the master cabin will have a finished ceiling in it.After the master cabin ceiling is finished, another day of work should have the guest cabin dressing room ceiling completed which will also mean all the ceilings below will be finished.

Another small detail I needed to get squared away was building a proper set of steps to get in to the boat. I've been using a ladder, and given the amount of trips and quantity of material I have to get on the boat, the ladder was the old accident waiting to happen. I  also have a lot of people who like to stop by, and any thing I can do to prevent them or me from getting hurt helps everyone in the long run. I also want to do right by the boat yard, and keep my operation in such a way as to minimize any exposure.

The tooling I need to finish the job is also getting to the point where I'm comfortable. I wish I would have built all the engine room cabinets before we move her, as it would be nice to be able to start organizing the floating shop. Once in a while I do find myself borrowing a tool off of my truck, but for the most part the boat is now tooled up.

Boat building and schedules don't seem to get along in Conallville, but I"m going to take another stab at it. My plan is to have the bulk of the wood work finished by sometime in January. Once the wood work is finished and coated with urethane, I can focus on getting the needed systems up and running for our May/June launch. Without going into a bunch of detail, the systems I'm talking about are AC/DC electric, hydraulic, and engine controls.