Bimini, Cabin Top and Cushions

Northern Cross is back from the upholstery shop.

Check it out:


Cabin top in stormy weather configuration, buttoned down for the night.  The vertical bulkhead panels are velcro’ed around the edges.  


The cabin top secures with snaps…


wrapped down around the cabin walkway.  


I wanted a longer flap than normal on the front filler board, to keep water out of the cabin when driving down the road.  


Cabin entrance with rain panels removed. The bug panels also remove by unzipping from the cover at the top edge.  


The bug netting snaps back out of the way for easy entrance.  


Bunk cushions were made from 3″ dense foam.  They fit beautifully and still allow great access to storage below.  

Now for the Bimini:


Bimini in the up position.  It rests across the hand rails of the motor cover when traveling.   I also have a travel cover that fits over everything that I’ll show in a later post.  



Bimini in the up position.  I held the Bimini forward in the cockpit to offer more protection when standing and motoring.  It’s about 6′ in length.  


After looking things over, we decided the best place to mount the Bimini, was directly onto the oak handrails.  This widened the Bimini and kept the bars out of way of my elbows while also providing a little more shoulder room.   It should also keep a little more water out of the boat.  


Stainless fittings secure the aluminum uprights.  I applied lock tight to the screws to prevent them from vibrating out when traveling.  


The Bimini was secured by screwing the webbing directly to the tubing.  Though this might work fine , it didn’t seem secure enough to me.  


Instead, I decided to wrap the webbing around the tubbing with simple knot.  


I then replaced the screw to keep the webbing from shifting up or down the tube.  With the webbing wrapped around the tubing, it’ll be much more secure.  


I used stainless pad-eyes to secure the forward webbing straps.  


The aft strap was secured in a similar way.  


And, there you have it.  Secure and solid.


I’m now adding a compass to the bulkhead and a tow hook to the transom (for rescuing stranded ski boats on the reservoir).  I’m all but done folks and it feels so good.  I’m looking to get back on the water for the official launch early next month.  


Cabin Upper Trim Pieces & Stuff

As I move forward with this build, it’s time to install the cabin upper trim pieces.  I didn’t have any mahogany, so I used a left over piece of Sapelli.


To match the corners of the cabin upper trim piece to the existing bulkhead is almost impossible.  One end of the board is a compound miter, the other end is sloping in one plane and the entire board is curved, making measuring and fitting very difficult.  Here’s the good news:  Don’t sweat it.  No, instead, install the trim pieces and then glom on thickened epoxy to the corner joints.  At first this will look very ugly.  DSC00483Then take your shinto rasp and begin cleaning up the joint.

DSC00485 DSC00484With thickened epoxy, you can perform all kinds of miracles.  Never sweat a mis-cut board, just fix it with epoxy.

DSC00491I then built filler pieces for the exposed aft corners of the cabin.






Small details matter to me.  I wanted to get these things right before I move on to the next major step, which is installing the chine panels.  This boat just keeps getting better and better every week.  I’m really enjoying this build.  I’m continually amazed at the beauty of this design by Kilburn Adams.  Major kudos going out to Kilburn for taking the time to design, test, build and develop plans for this wonderful little wooden boat.  

Detail Pieces Epoxied

Just a few detail shots to show how things are coming.  After sanding all the surrounding areas, I rolled a thin layer of epoxy over all the parts.


I used a 3/8″ oak dowel to plug all the screw holes.  You can buy an oak dowel at Home Depot for $1.44.  That’s a lot of look for under 2 bucks.  I use a large nail to daub epoxy into the screw holes and then drive the dowel plugs into position.  I then use a Japanese hand saw to cut the dowels flush and follow up with a Shinto rasp to flush them with the gunwales.  This is really a simple process but offers an old world look to your boat.  I have 38 oak plugs in the gunwales.  Lots of fun folks.

Shaping French Curve & Cap Rails

Just a little touch up this morning of the French curve and bow cap rails.

DSC00480DSC00481The 3/8″ plywood piece needed to be blended with the original French curve.  This created a nice filler piece between the coaming and the cap rail.

DSC00484The first generation Ham n Egger (dad) suggested I further rasp the bow cap rails for a smoother transition.

DSC00486So, I carried the angle back further for a more gradual blending of the cap rail.


Get things the way you like them before moving on.  We build wooden boats for just this reason, you get to do it your way.  Little touches here and there make the boat uniquely yours.  I love being able to put my own touch on these little details.  

French Curve Stiffener

I needed to stiffen the French curve at the rear of the cockpit.  I cut a piece of 3/8″ plywood from scrap.

DSC00479After this cures, I’ll round the coaming for a smooth transition between these two pieces. I epoxied the 3/8″ to the outside of the hull to keep the inside smooth.  It also transitions nicely between the coaming and the cap rail.

DSC00486I had some thickened epoxy left over so I quickly made and attached two front bulkhead pieces shown below.



It’s a lot of fun to see all these pieces come together and trim the boat.  Daily progress is the goal here.  If you work on your boat every day, your boat will be completed.



Cockpit Coaming

DSC00479DSC00482DSC00483These photos show the handrail shape of the cockpit coaming I settled on.  I will now beef up the french curve at the rear end of the coaming and then blend the handrail into the french curve.


If my eye accounts for anything, Kilburn Adam’s has a winner in the design of this boat.  It just keeps getting prettier and prettier each day.

Cockpit Coaming and Bow Work

DSC00473First a word about tools.

I have not always been a tool guy.  When I was younger, my father would buy me tools using words like “son, these will last you a lifetime if you take care of them”.  I would stare blankly at the tool, then gaze off across the room and begin dreaming about backpacking gear.  In fact, I sold several of the tools my father bought me in exchange for backpacking equipment.  Then, in my late 30’s the latent tool gene kicked in.  All of a sudden I found myself in sales for a living while doing nothing with my hands.  I felt little value in my profession; it seemed like nothing I did was of lasting value.  This left me feeling empty and hollow inside.

Then, it happened.  I decided to build something.  I saw a maple tool chest in a Tool Smith magazine.  It looked smart, efficient, clean with sharp lines.  I showed my dad the plans.  They gave him great pause…remember, I hadn’t built much in my life.  To him it didn’t look like a beginner project.  But to me it looked heavenly.  We went out to Home Depot and I purchased several shop tools.  A table saw, jointer, band saw and drill press.  With these core tools, I built the maple tool chest.

DSC00470It has proven to be very helpful in organizing my tools and served me very well.  After that came a tool bench and multiple other wood working projects.

My interest now is more centered in good quality hand tools.  I find them very enjoyable to use and very effective at accomplishing different tasks.  So, when you see the hand saws above, don’t think I’ve always been a tool snob.  No, instead I’ve grown to love hand tools after many hours of using cheaper tools.  Christopher Schwarz offers the best advise I’ve found regarding the reasoning and effective use of quality hand tools in his profound book entitled, “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest”.  Worth the money if you are serious about investing in quality tools as opposed to quantity of tools.  He describes and presents 50 hand tools worth every penny you spend on them for general wood working.  I bought every one of them and have never looked back.  The total cost of all these quality hand tools was far less than the cost of a single four wheeler.

Now, on to boat building.

DSC00485I trimmed the bow panel down flush with the bow cap rail using a block plane and shinto rasp.  It was extremely fun to watch the panel come into compliance and take shape.  This is one of those moments I had been waiting for…to see the defined bow of this boat.  It is stunningly beautiful and reminds me of a battleship.

DSC00470The bow cap rail and gunwale needed to be shaped at their forward end.

DSC00474The first cut was with a fine toothed panel saw.

DSC00475I then used a fine toothed rasp and hand sanding to blend the lines.


DSC00484DSC00482DSC00480You might notice I created a little different shape with the cockpit coaming.  I planed stick #5 down to 5/8″ as opposed to the 3/4″.  This created a bit of a reveal between stick #4 and stick #5.  I liked the handrail look this dimension created.  I also ran #4 & #5 a bit forward of the designated stop point.  I’ll shape this forward end once the epoxy is fully cured.


The great thing about wooden boat building is the chance you have to make little changes to the boat which make it uniquely yours.  This is indeed half the fun of the building a wooden boat.  Take you time, get it the way you like it and have fun.  If your not having fun, something’s wrong.  

Cockpit Coaming

Waiting for epoxy to dry, I turned my attention toward the cockpit coaming.  I had a board of white oak left over from the gunwales.  It turned out to be just the right size.  The oak will contrast with the mahogany and make for a beautiful and strong coaming.

I’m striving to install one piece per day, so check back in five days for the finished product.


Piece #1 bend quite easily into position.  I clamped the oak strip with multiple small clamps and had no trouble creating a smooth curve.