Bunk Tops

I found time this evening to tie on my shop apron, pick up my tools and create some sawdust.  I love the smell from freshly cut wood.  I even love the way my hands smell after handling and cutting the wood.  Trees are one of the great gifts God has given us on earth.  And, to think you can make a boat out of trees.  That’s enough to make any true man cry.

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I almost did cry when I say how nicely the bunk panels fit in the cabin.  What a nice place to get out of the sun and take a nap.  How many 20′ boats have a convenient place for 2 full size adults to stretch out and take a nap, completely out of way?  I can assure you, not many.

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All corners were rounded over and a 1/4″ gap was created between all the panels.  This will allow slight movement within the panels.   I plan to add a 2″ pad to the bunks for comfortable sitting or sleeping.

  Summary:

I had a nice visit with Kilburn this morning.  We discussed the advantages of Skiff America over sailing vessels such as the Sea Pearl 21,  to which I’m particularly drawn.  Ironically, Kilburn owns both boats, so it was a very insightful discussion.  I’m always drawn toward sailing.  But, the honest truth is Skiff America fits my life style and location much better than any sailboat.  I can’t wait to get my her in the water.  The maiden voyage and christening is slated for March 2017 at Lake Havasu, Arizona.  

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Intermediate Hull Bunk Supports

With a few hours to work in my shop tonight, I cranked out the intermediate hull bunk supports.  Take a look:

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Using scrap 3/4″ plywood, I shaped the 4 intermediate hull bunk supports.  I used a router and carpenter’s rasp to clean up the exposed edges.  

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After applying thickened epoxy, I placed them in their proper location.  I used a small nail near the bottom of the supports to hold them in place.  You must pre drill the nail holes or the plywood support will split.  Also, be very careful not to go through the 3/8″ chine panel.  It doesn’t take much to hold the support in place, so just tack it.  

Summary:

With all the bunk supports now in place, I can apply finish paint to this storage area.  I like to get all the hard to reach placed painted as early as possible.   I’m looking forward to building the bunk tops sometime next week.  Slow and steady wins this race.  

Hull Side Bunk Supports

The outrigger stick system worked very well when I installed the hull bunk supports.  I moved slowly, making sure to get the supports level with the bunk support panels.

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Notice the cedar shims to level up the outrigger arm.  I used the block underneath for support and the stones on top to hold the stick down.  This system worked exceptionally well.  

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I love looking back along the hull and seeing the supports.  They look very robust and should support the bunk edge very securely, they also provide a strengthening gusset for the hull.  

Summary:

Tomorrow, I’ll begin building the 4 intermediate supports.  They allow the bunk to hinge at the bunks widest cross section.  I’m very impressed with the simplicity of Kilburn’s design here.  Simple, quiet, serviceable in the field…I could go on and on.  You could even remove a bunk panel and use it as a back support if someone got injured on the water.  I love designs that allow for flexibility and serviceability in the field.  This is just plain good design. 

Hull Supports

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With the hull supports built, drilled, sealed and sanded, I’m ready to get them installed.

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The plans suggest using a weighted 1×4 to insure their proper placement against the hull.  This seems to work well.

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Before the epoxy cures, I’ll run my gloved finger (after dipping it in alcohol) over this epoxy joint to smooth out the seam.  If you catch it just right, it works really well.

Summary:

I’ll now install the 5 additional hull supports.  I plan to install one about every 8 hours while making my way around the interior of the cabin.  I gotta say, I’m so much enjoying seeing this marvelous boat come together.  This is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve every undertaken.  If you’ve got a little money and even a little more time, this could be a great experience for you.  I’m so glad I started!

Hull Bunk Supports

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Drilling the 1/4″ holes at an angle using the drill press.  I didn’t calculate this angle, just winged it.  

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Now let’s clean up the sharp edges.

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I used a hand counter sink to ream the holes.

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And, a rounder over bit to smooth all the sharp edges of the top plate.  

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I used a brad nailer to shoot small nails into the brackets to hold them while they dry.  

Summary:

The plans describe an easy way to mock up all the necessary angled support brackets.  I used a simple angle gauge to determine the proper angle for each bracket.  The angles all change as you move forward and the hull begins to narrows.  Take your time and mark everything carefully.  It’s easy to get things mixed up.  As I was writing this blog, I realized I had nailed all the top supports on backwards, so I quickly ran back out to my shop, pulled them all apart and corrected the mistake.  There’s always some’n waiting to gitch ya!