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Date Posted: - Monday - 05/ 5/08 - 3:01am
Author: Randall ()
Subject: REPORT #13: varnish, furniture, and a new battery box
In reply to: Randall, M31, Murre 's message, "Aft Cabin Bulkhead Replacement" on - Monday - 01/21/08 - 9:56pm

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 ˝” 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 ˝” x 1 ľ” 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 ˝” 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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Replies:

[> REPORT #14: Moving to the Exterior -- Randall, - Wednesday - 08/20/08 - 1:01am

These remarks pertain to work done in the first weeks of June:

It would be easy to imagine from that most previous report and its final photo (an interior varnish shot so glossy as to be almost pornographic) that the job’s end was in sight. And so it was, but only with a fairly powerful set of binoculars and an active imagination.

While I could confidently walk away from the interior, there was plenty left to complete outside the boat.

For one, I decided to seal the bulkhead’s exterior joint with two layers of 6” tape.

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Here, the cabin-top sheathing had been pulled away a few inches to allow the tape and revealed the mahogany ply and putty over the many ring-nail fasteners. Remember, the new bulkhead slides under the coach roof lip, so the graining you see at the joint is rounded off mahogany coach roof wood.



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And sanded.


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And puttied.


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And primer going on.



Late in the game I decided not to re-sheath the entire cabin top. This turned out to be a great relief to my neighbor Mike, who had lobbied me hard not to attack that job, but rather simply to paint and get on with my life.

“But look, it’s springy,” I said one afternoon, jumpy up and down on the coach roof while Mike looked on, “it needs new glass.”

“What the f*ck are you doing?”, he cried, “get off there; it’s fine. I’ve seen boats come in here with holes in the ply, with glass cracked and pealing. It’s not like you’re gunna have a party up there. Paint and be done already!”

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And I followed his advice—this year, anyway. After all, it was already June.


It is strange how much thought can go into choosing a shade of white, or for that matter, how many shades of white exist. I have used “blue glow-white”, “white”, “off-white”, “cream”, and “Hatteras white” on Murre at various times and have not been particularly happy with any of them. Wanting something softer than pure white but not as creamy as cream or Hatteras, I mixed one part Interlux Brightside Hatteras with two parts Interlux Brightside White, and am pleased with the result.

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Next came calking the exterior deck-to-cabin side seam. I had used plenty of epoxy on the joint when gluing up and so had to go back with the Fein Master and dig out a trough for calk. I then poured in black LIQUID Life Calk to just below the deck level, the thinking being that I wanted the calk to fill all the nooks and crannies and to create the essential seal. After that had cured I applied a layer of regular Life Calk as a “top coat”.

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The seam I laid was a thing of beauty—clean lines and an even curve along its entire run—until I stepped in it two hours later, destroying its perfection and tracking black tar all over the cockpit teak.



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The port light had been permanently installed from the inside on a previous weekend. Even so, calking and then screwing the exterior frame into place turned out to be a messy job. I used lots of 3M 101 to create the seal, then turned the piece in place (remember, it screws on like a brass barometer face), wiping up excess goop as I went along. Because of the viscosity of the calk and the mess, getting a bite on the frame for that last turn was a challenge. I put a screw driver against the fastener holes and whacked with a hammer until the frame was tight and even.


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In contrast, the eyebrows were eyeballed in place and went on cleanly, only requiring the courage to drill fastener holes in one’s shiny new bulkhead. The bend in the port eyebrow will straighten out while off the boat, so start fastening at the outboard edge and work your way inboard drilling and fastening as you go. Be VERY careful when inserting the wood plugs at the outer edges of the eyebrow as the wood will split with the least provocation.



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Before removal, I had measured closely the location of the propane box, but when it came time for the return, it was obvious where it went. For some reason, hooking up the propane felt like a major step. It cleaned up the “construction mess” considerably and I had the immediate satisfaction of boiling up a cup of coffee.

One didn’t need binoculars to see the end now!

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