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Date Posted: - Monday - 04/14/08 - 1:37am
Author: Randall
Subject: REPORT #12: more small stuff and staining
In reply to: Randall, M31, Murre 's message, "Aft Cabin Bulkhead Replacement" on - Monday - 01/21/08 - 9:56pm

There was time enough this weekend for only a couple half days on Murre. Still, we are that much closer to an end.

We started by cleaning up the plugs installed last weekend. Having not done plug work before, I was pleased with the outcome.

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Then it was back to the hatchway grabrails. The new fasteners on the starboard side were #12 bronze like their sisters on the port side. I didn’t try to remove the old fasteners that had broken in place, but rather lowered the rail ¾” so as to get at new wood. As it turned out, this placement matched the general position of the port grabrail better than the original positioning.

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And more plug work. The original plugs had come out cleanly, due in part to my careful attention but largely to the hardness of the teak wood. This enabled me to stick with the original ½” sizing for the new plugs, which snugged right in. One word of caution: on a thin piece like this, be careful not to tap the plug in too deep as it may split the largely unsupported plug hole.

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Next day both rails were easily taken down to bare wood.

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The next step was to get the slide-out navigation table back in place. Here the bulkhead-side frame is being dry fit. Unlike the grabrails, these plug holes were a mess, so I changed up the fastener size from #10 to #12 and rebored for a ½” plug. Before gluing-up the frame, I tested to make sure the navigation table actually fit (I know, silly me).

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Frame installed, plugs faired.

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There is a small shelf just above the navigation table. The original wood for this shelf was in OK shape until I took the area apart—an action it did not survive—so I fashioned a new piece out of ¼” ply, seen here from below. The original was held in place with glue and small brass brads, but given its location and the fact that I was unwilling to take the deck up just to have a good swing for the hammer, epoxy and clamps were the only option here.

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Attempting to install the fiddle at the leading edge of this shelf caused a good deal of consternation. It was too long and simply refused to slide back into its notch at the top of the forward bulkhead. Only after many attempts did I remember that the disassembly of this area came AFTER I’d removed the old bulkhead, and so by rights, the fiddle and shelf should have gone back in BEFORE the new one. This would have been a clever trick as its aft side rests on the above mentioned frame which itself anchors into the NEW bulkhead. (How this piece was originally installed back in 1972 is a mystery.)

In any case, the situation made in necessary to shorten the frame nearly an inch, as shown in the below photograph. A tiny knee on the backside now acts as support where the bulkhead use to. One advantage of the fiddle space is that it allows for easy cleaning of the shelf.

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And then staining. After many experiments (I now own 12 different cans of stain) I stuck with the original Min Wax Wood Finish. I blended roughly three parts Colonial Maple (223) to one part Sedona Red (222). For the new Luan slats at the extremities, I used more Sedona Red to bring them up to the redness of the original Honduras. The color is a pretty good match as it stands (though it could be a touch more orange), and I’m curious to see next weekend how it takes varnish.

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[> REPORT #13: varnish, furniture, and a new battery box -- Randall (), - Monday - 05/ 5/08 - 3:01am

How to bring a job to completion—that is the question.

When one is in the beginning stages, the only thought is of getting to the dark heart of the project. And when in the thick of it, nothing but that battle matters. But as the bigger tasks resolve and one edges toward an end, the end seems ever to dance away just beyond reach.

The strange math of work like this is that if 10% of the project remains, and if you complete this weekend what you think is 5% of that, what you will find next weekend is that 9% remains to be done.

And it doesn’t help that if of four weekends in a month, one is now available to you instead of the promised four. But that is the problem of job and family, which, in truth, we would not be without.


So work proceeds slowly. But it proceeds.

I am very pleased with the varnish work four coats later. I used Epiphanes, for no particular reason than to see how it worked.

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And following that I have gotten side tracked into building a new battery box under the navigation table. Murre’s factory “box” is just aft of the new bulkhead and suffers the disadvantage of being in the heat of the engine room and of being but a box for two banks when what I want is three (two house batteries instead of one).

At 60 pounds each, the batterys' weights are considerable and so care is needed in constructing their home.

I began by building a new sole for the box out of ½” ply covered with 18oz roving, two layers on each side.

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Below the sole I built in a heavier frame than existed originally, this of 1 ½” x 1 ¾” hardwood anchored into the bulkheads and the hull. The forward frame was fastened with four SS #14 x 3” wood screws (the length of fastener was allowed because the frame was on the level with the frame for the settee on the other side of the bulkhead) and the aft with two #14 machine screws. Two photos: dry fitting and fastened up.

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Next came building the box. Actually, two boxes were required.

Two of the three batteries fit side by side and athwardships at the forward end of the compartment, and so a box was built to surround them of ½” ply. The ply was affixed to the deck with biaxial tape; the inside was radiused with fairing compound, and then both inside and out were covered with light roving. (I am followed, in general, the instructions found in Nigel Calder’s BOATOWNER’S MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL MANUAL, p. 40).

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The third battery only fits securely in a fore and aft position. I could have forced an athwartships orientation, but that would have left no room for the switch box arrangement to be installed in coming weeks.

One word of warning: as suggested in the above photos, I built the two bank box outside the boat and the second box after the assembly had been fitted in place. This was a happy accident, and I only discovered while dry fitting the assembly with just the one, larger box that if I'd built both outside the boat, installation would have been impossible.

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All metal fasteners are either covered with epoxy or 3M 5200. The deck is fastened to the frame with #14 machine screws (not pictured). Lids and such will come later.


In between glassing and varnishing episodes, I was also able to get the aft cabin bulkhead furniture back in place. This includes the cabinet, Joanna’s prized cup holder and the portlight. As to the portlight, am including a detail shot here of the light undone for those who may be disassembling it in the future. The shot shows the long, threaded neck that passes through the bulkhead from the aft and the exterior framing pieces. I caulked up the assembly with 3M 101 but used a bead of BLACK LifeCalk on the outer edge of the ring for aesthetic purposes only. There was plenty to wipe away before the final coat of varnish.

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And finally, the results of that last coat of varnish.

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Last edited by author: Mon May 05, 2008 11:06:43   Edited 1 time.
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