Bimini, Cabin Top and Cushions

Northern Cross is back from the upholstery shop.

Check it out:

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

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The cabin top secures with snaps…

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wrapped down around the cabin walkway.  

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

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

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

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

Now for the Bimini:

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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

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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.  

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

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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.  

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

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The aft strap was secured in a similar way.  

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And, there you have it.  Secure and solid.

Summary:

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.  

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Securing the Motor Cover

One item that needed attention was the motor cover.  When traveling, I didn’t want the motor cover to flop forward and spring the hinges.  I also wanted a way to keep the cover from blowing forward when motoring.

Here’s what I came up with:

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I first added 3 eye straps to the inside of the slosh well.

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I then attached a bungie cord to the top eye strap and added a carabiner to the opposite end.  I secured one end of the carabiner with shrink wrap.  This leaves the opposite end for attachment.  

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This is the “ready to raise the motor” configuration.  Notice I added shrink wrap to the ends of the bungie cord to keep it tidy.

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When the motor is completely raised, the bungie cord keeps the motor cover from blowing forward.  

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This is the “motoring around the lake” configuration.  When cruising, I can clip the bungie cord to the bottom eye strap and keep the cover from blowing forward on the water.  Both of these configurations are about 12″ apart, hence the tension is comparable in either position.  

Even in the “motoring around the lake” configuration, I can raise the motor several inches…if I come across a shallow area.  The flexible bungie offers movement to accommodate some lifting of the motor.

Summary:

I love trying to get things right on my boat.  These little things make the overall experience so much better.  If you take care of the little things, the big things seem to take care of themselves.  

 

 

Final Touches to Motor Cover

From the onset of this project, I had a very distinct look I was trying to achieve with the motor cover.  It was just in my head, but it was somewhat of a vision.  When I was a small boy I saw a wooden motorboat with a wooden flag pole mounted to its stern.  That look has stayed with me for years.  Now at age 51, I have the chance to recreate that look on my own hand built wooden boat.

Here it is:

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I added Teak handles to aid in boarding from the lake.  Notice, they aren’t epoxied and varnished?  I’m experimenting with the maintenance of oil on Teak.  Also, Teak has so much resin in the wood, I’m not sure how well epoxy will bond to it.  These handles contained so much resin, it almost felt like I could wring them out.

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Basic stainless hinges from West Marine.

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Now, what’s that on the back?  Awe, that’s the stainless steel flag pole mount.

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I used a forsner bit to cut the foam for the flag mount bolts.

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I love the look of the US Yacht Ensign.  This flag measures 12″ x 18″.

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I drilled a 3/16″ hole through the flag pole to secure the flag.  I used nylon line to secure the flag.

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The teak pole is 24″ tall.  The bottom is turned to 1″ which fits perfectly inside the stainless flag holder.

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The flag holder angles aft for a soft look and uses a small set screw to secure the flag.  

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This photo gives you the proportion of the flag to that of the boat.  I think the proportion is just right.

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The taper on the teak pole is stunningly elegant and beautiful.  

Summary:

It’s very rewarding for me to see the final outcome of the motor cover.  I almost gave up on this step…just got impatient and frustrated with it’s design.  I’m so glad I stuck with it and finished this boat off with this key visual element.

Houston, We Have a Lid

It’s been long in the coming, but here it is.

Check it out:

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I added a small cleat (1/2″ x 1″) to the under side, aft end of motor cover to stiffen the lid.

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I added a small fillet under the lid on all sides.

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I’ll add a foam panel under the lid once the epoxy cures.

Summary:

I’m very pleased with the simplicity and strength of this motor cover.  I can’t wait to see it mounted to the motor well.  I’ll now focus on applying varnish to both the motor cover and loading ladder.   

Motor Cover Continues to Evolve

After consulting the finest engineer I’ve ever met, my dad (who isn’t actually an engineer) I’ve further simplified the motor cover.

Before, I had designed in 2 different hinge points, one at the base of the cover, the other at the lid.  This system allowed the lid to hinge upward when traveling and yet the entire box could come off if you needed access to the motor.  Pops scratched his head and said, why not hinge the whole cover as one piece?  It’s not heavy and that would reduce the need for 2 sets of hinges.  My reply:  Cuz then you’d loose access to the motor.  His reply:  How often do you need access to the motor?  Hummmmm!  Not very often.  Only if you have a dead battery or need to do motor work.  His reply:  Then why not just pull the hinges when needed?  Brilliant!

Now I can send back those $59.00 break away hinges from West Marine and buy a battery tender instead.

Check out the box so far:

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The inside corners of the motor cover got a rather large fillet with glass overlay.  I cut away the foam to accommodate the hinges. 

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After this redesign, I won’t need to install hinges near the top of the cover, just the bottom.  

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I added a small 1″ x 1/2″ cleat to the top and bottom of the front panel for increased strength.  

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Port side of the cover.  

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Starboard side of the cover.  The aft edge of the cover matches the transom angle. 

Summary:

When the motor hinges forward, the entire box hinges forward, raising to get out of the way.  I’ll use a tether to hold the box down against the raised motor when traveling.  When I need to pull start my motor, due to a dead battery, I’ll simply remove 4 screws from the front hinges and lift the entire box out of the way.  This shouldn’t be a very common situation, so I’m fine with removing 4 screws if and when needed.  Now the top lid can be epoxied directly to the side panels, making the entire box much stronger and more secure.  This is important because I plan to mount a boarding handle on the Port side to facilitate boarding.  I’m surprised how strong and light the cover feels.  I used 1/4″ plywood for the sides and top panel and 1/2″ x 1″ mahogany for all the cleating.  

Stay tuned for the motor cover lid and final finish pieces.

Motor Cover Trim

After 2 coats of epoxy on the side pieces, I was ready to attach the mahogany trim pieces.

Check it out:

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Side pieces of the motor cover.  The mahogany trim is 1/2″ x 1″.  Make sure you don’t build 2 left shoes.  The side panels need to be opposing.  

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All trim pieces were rounded over.  I left the plywood just a skosh proud.  I’ll trim flush with a router once cure.  

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This is the front angled motor cover piece.  I placed cleating on the back side to stiffen this 1/4″ panel.  The hinges will be mounted outboard of the cleating.  

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I tried to line up all the cleating for a neat fit.  

Tons of small iterations here…that seems to be the deal with boat building.  There’s always a lot of little steps that precede a big step.  Small daily tasks get the boat built.

 

Motor Cover Layout

I’m finally feeling better about this silly motor cover.  I mocked up the height and angle using a level and angle gauge.  It’s actually been quite fun…but it sure befuddled me for a while.

Check it out:

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The wide angle lens makes this front panel appear huge.  

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It still looks huge, but trust me it’s not.  The above 2 photos might have been taken prior to my final height cut.  The front panel ended up being 9″ heigh.  The back of the cover matches the transom angle, the front of the cover angles also, but less aggressive.  

 

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These are the take-apart hinges from West Marine.  They will allow me to remove the entire cover for motor work or to pull start the motor.   Now you can see why I needed the horizontal mahogany strip of wood.  

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After mocking up all the pieces and milling out the mahogany edging, I got one coat of epoxy on all the parts.  It’s much easier to epoxy the pieces on the bench and assemble them later.  

Summary:

I feel like I’m rolling again.  After 2 coats of epoxy, I’ll put all these pieces together and begin working on the hinging top lid.  Just to be clear, there are 2 hinges to this cover:  1-near the base of the cover to remove the entire ensemble.  2-up near the top of the front panel, allowing the lid to hinge up out of the way when raising the motor for travel.

 

Motor Cover Beginnings

After languishing over the motor cover design for days if not weeks, I think I have at least a little direction of how I want to proceed.  It seems I can build an entire boat, but can’t figure out how to build a motor cover.

Here’s what I have thus far:

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I wrapped the top edge of the slosh wells with 3/4″ x 1,3/4″ mahogany strips.  I then glued in a horizontal piece just aft of the U seating.

These mahogany strips accomplish a couple of things:

  1. They straighten up the top edge of the slosh wells (they were quite un-true).
  2. They stiffen up the top edge of the slosh wells providing rigidity for the boarding ladder line.
  3. They provide support for the motor cover.
  4. The front piece, directly behind the U seating provides a spot to mount cover hinges.
  5. Finally, they look good.

The slosh well pieces have a simple rabbit cut out of one side, as to wrap over the top edge covering the 1/4″ plywood end grain.  I’m now able to begin building the box that will surround the motor.  Stay tuned…  

Beginning Motor Cover

After hours of thinking about how to build a motor cover, tonight I got started.   Sometime thats the best way to understand how to proceed.

Things will make a lot more sense once I get a little further along, but so far, here’s what I have:

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First off, I needed to rasp away some material to make room for the steering rods (when the motor’s in the up position).

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The steering rods rotate with the motor so an elliptical shape was needed. 

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I then rounded the transom corners.  Here you see the motor leaning fully toward starboard with ample clearance.  

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The beginnings of the motor cover.  I’m building a flat area of about 3″ onto which I’ll lay the bimini, then the cover will slope aft (matching the transom angle).  

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I notched out the slosh well sides to accept the 3″ flat board.

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Like this…

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I then cut 2″ filler circles to plug the electrical access holes.  These weren’t needed because I ran the electrical wiring underneath the seats.   I want this area to be as quiet as possible, hence the plugs.

Now, off to watch the BYU basketball game with my kids.  More to come…