Now just finishing the small details that remain in the building of Northern Cross. Up next was the bow eye, the trailer winch and the stainless steel rub plate.
Check it out:
I had a local fabrication shop make me this rub guard. It’s from stainless steel .058″. There’s actually a double bend in the steel to keep the aft edges tight against the boat. If you look real closely, you can almost see it.
The bow eye was first cut to length, the run all the way through the stem. Ordered from West Marine, it started as a 6″ long U bolt.
Here’s the entire ensemble all hooked up and ready to go down the road.
Up next, I’m making a small wooden cover plate for the steering wheel bolt.
Then Northern Cross will be off to the boat shop for bimini, cushions and cabin cover. I can’t believe I’m actually nearing the finish line with this build. It was almost one year ago exactly, when I started. I’m so glad I did!
I got up early this morning to have sufficient time to get the subfloor installed before heading off to work.
Steps I followed:
- Rolled all contact areas and entire subfloor with a 2nd layer of epoxy.
- Laid a fillet on top of the bulkhead cleat and the stem cleat.
- Positioned the wet subfloor.
- Laid fillets around all edges.
- Wet out 4″ glass on bench.
- Laid wet glass onto wet fillet.
- Trimmed all edges of the frayed glass with scissors .
- Smoothed out the glass.
- Rolled the wet glass to smoothly distribute the epoxy.
- Cleaned up with alcohol.
And, here’s how she looks:
The installed subfloor really defines the bow area. Before, it looked so deep and cavernous, but now it looks trim, tidy and efficient. I’m having a blast building this boat!!
As I move through the subfloor steps, I want to be mindful of all the different functions of the bow area. Along those lines, I came up with an idea for routing the wiring for the front navagation lights.
I purchase a 5′ piece of plastic tubbing with an inside dimension of 3/8″. I then sprayed the tube matte black for a better look. I then epoxied a 25″ piece of the tube on the port side of the inner stem. It’s lower end will be below the subfloor. This creates a run to secure and conceal the navigation wiring.
It’s hard to see, but if you look closely, you’ll see a black tube along the port side of the inner stem. This will run below the level of the sundeck and then make its way aft.
I then glued short sections of the tubing to the underside of the subdeck. My wiring will run aft, under the cabin berths, along the port side to the battery compartment.
Now for the water drainage issue. As you know, the subfloor is slopped aft. You are to drill 2 holes (one in each end) to the outside for proper water drainage. This is one of the aft corners that needs requires drainage.
My dad lent me a hole saw kit. It had a center drill bit, to direct the hole saw, while the outer hole saw completed the cut. It worked like a champ.
I angled the cut downward and aft for good drainage.
Core samples shown here as proof that I indeed drilled 2 holes through my boat.
It takes a lot of courage to drill holes through your boat. I’m amazed at the length of the core samples. I drilled through the side doublers on an angle. I don’t plan to install any tubing into these holes, but I will epoxy them for a water tight finish. I’m now ready to lay in the fillets and glass around the subfloor. I will then re-drill the drain hole (from the outside of the hull, cutting inward) to cut a clean hole through the fillet and glass. This should create a nice smooth looking drain hole. We’ll see.
I first mocked up the subfloor using a scrap piece of cardboard I found in my dumpster.
I then transposing the marks to the 1/2″ plywood.
I then cut out the subfloor using my jig saw for a perfect fit.
And, it didn’t fit. So, I assumed the prenatal position on my shop floor, but only got dusty. So, I got up, dusted myself off, and cut some extensions for each side. This made it fit much better. Once cured, I’ll shape slightly and drop it into position.
Don’t get discouraged with a bad cut, Just figure out how to fix it. I’m tired now.
In thinking through the bow subfloor, I decided to add 2 cleats to aid in the positioning of the floor. The first cleat was installed against the forward side of the bow bulkhead.
During installation, I dropped a level onto the cleat to level it from side to side.
This bulkhead cleat will keep my floor level during installation and also provide support for the subfloor.
Then, using a level, I installed a forward cleat into the stem. I positioned this cleat about 1″ higher than the aft cleat. This should allow good drainage to the drain holes that will be installed into each aft corners of the subfloor.
These cleats are not shown in the plans, but I believe they will make the installation of the subfloor much easier and allow me to get the floor exactly where I want it. It also gives me more confidence in the integrity of the floor and doesn’t add much weight.
I can now begin dimensioning the subfloor. I think I’ll use cardboard to mock up this piece. It may be difficult to get a proper fit, so the cardboard will afford me several tries.
After taking a couple of weeks off, it was really nice to continue this journey of building my own motor cruiser. The bow panels went on nicely and didn’t give me any trouble. I applied 4″ glass tape over all the seems after laying the fillet.
I rolled another layer of epoxy over the entire lower portion of the bow. Typically, one would paint or varnish over the epoxy (epoxy contains no UV protection), but in this case there won’t be any UV rays hitting this storage compartment. So, the lower portion of the bow is now in its finished state (minus the false floor).
Good to be working again. Love the design of this cruiser. If you are on the fence (like Matt B.) you should definitely build one of these boats. I love the process and love watching the boat come into shape. This is one of the best things I could ever be doing with my time. Can’t wait to start on the cabin top.
After receiving the navigation lights, I rebuilt the upper stem piece to better fit the lights. I made the entire piece 1″ taller and 1″ deeper.
I drilled two holes through the stem. The smaller hole indexes the lights for proper positioning. The bigger hole provides room to route the electrical wiring.
I then drilled a hole through the bottom to route the wiring below the breast plate.
Once the epoxy sets up, I’ll trim the outer oak stem flush with the top of the upper stem and blend the two pieces together.
With the rope running through the smaller hole, down through the breast plate, I can keep it clear of epoxy while things set up.
This shows the rope from beneath the breast plate. I will run the wiring down the inner stem, below the false floor in the bow, then under the bunks in the cabin.
My upper stem is a little different from what the plans show, but it all works. I’m now ready to build the bow caps.
I started by cutting the breast plate to its rough dimensions.
I then used a block plane to taper the edges for a proper fit. The top of the inner stem needed to be filed down a bit to allow the breast plate to fit flush. This looks a bit long, but after looking things over very carefully, I prefer the longer breast plate. It still allows me plenty of room to access the bow and climb into the boat, but also offers more organizational space under the plate to store lines, anchor and fenders. I settled on an overall length of 16″.
Prior to glueing the breast plate into position, I mocked up the stem. I wanted to make sure these two pieces look good together. I’ll be using a chunk of 2″mahogany for the upper stem.
Once all looked good, I lubed everything up and dropped it into position. I toe nailed the aft corners to hold it from falling. I then added a fillet to the underneath sides and a strip of glass above the inner stem to further strengthen the bow. Once cured, I’ll add an oak or mahogany strip to the raw aft edge. This strip will also become a great organizational piece for hanging lines, lifejackets or fenders.
After installing the stem, I’ll add a cap strip to the entire top edge of the bow section of the boat.
Question: You might be wondering why I held the bow plate flush to the top edge. I plan to add a cap strip to the bow area, say 3/8″ x 1-3/8″. This cap strip will widen (+3/8″) the top edge for more comfortable sitting as I swing my feet over the bow when loading and unloading.
The breast plate creates such an eye catching detail. The function and beauty of this little boat just continues to amaze me. It just keeps getting better.
I took the cutout from the transom and used it for the base of the bow breast plate.
I then planed white oak and mahogany down to 1/2″ x 1″ strips. I also chamfered the edges just a bit for a planked look.
I then set them up to roll with epoxy.
I then shot them onto the 3/4″ plywood using a brad nailer. I left the pieces longer than needed so the brads can be cut off the ends once cured. I then rolled the top with epoxy.
After I walked away from the breast plate, I looked at how Kilburn designed his breast plate. Frankly, I like his pattern better than mine. But, mine is done, so I probably won’t re-due it. Once cured, I’ll begin fitting this breast plate into the bow of the boat.
This is an amazingly beautiful wooden boat. I want to thank Kilburn for this excellent design. So far, this boat is far simpler to build than was my Scamp. I believe one can build a Skiff America in half the time it takes to build a Scamp. I’m very impressed with this design.