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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Lots of good progress lately... Did a test fit on all the wheelhouse doors and windows. Visibility will be excellent and the layout should be very nice. I'll be drilling the holes for all the window and door bolts this weekend, then we will get a crane on-site to lift the wheelhouse into place on the hull. We decided to install the engine after all the welding, grinding and painting is done to avoid complications with masking the engine and getting a good paint coating in the engine room bilge. The plan is to lift the engine and gear through the side wheelhouse door and lower through the soft-patch (machinery opening in a deck) that we built into the wheelhouse deck framing. Also got the day-tank installed. You can see it on the aft bulkhead of the engine room. The day tank is filled from the storage tanks which hold about 1500 gallons of fuel. The transferred fuel is filtered to a high standard on its way from the big tanks to the day tank. This assures that we are always feeding super clean fuel to the engine. Dirty fuel is one of the the primary causes of propulsion failures at sea. Also being only 50 gallons, with a finely calibrated site glass, it is very easy to monitor fuel usage. All the production welding is completed now and the boat is technically "ready to float". A big thanks to Casey at CS Marine (just down-river from us) for setting us up with a large trailer mounted compressor. We'll be using this to air test all the production welds the first part of next week. -PB

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wheelhouse windows

Spent today drilling many, many holes... All the windows and doors for the wheelhouse will be bolted on with 5/16" silicone bronze and 316 Stainless through bolts. Bolt spacing will be about 3". thats about 40 holes per window (more for the doors). Today was spent drilling all the frames. Wasn't too bad since the window frames are bronze and the doors are aluminum, both of which are relatively soft and easy to cut. Also I was able to set up a jig on the drill press which is a lot less effort to use than a regular drill. Still took all day though... Next will be drilling corresponding holes in the wheelhouse. This will be through steel which is a lot harder. Should take about two days. At the end of the day today, I drilled 4 holes in the wheelhouse for each of the front windows and temporarily bolted them in. Looks like a little ship. In the end this will be a very strong installation and worth all the hard work and sore muscles I think.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wheelhouse and deck hardware

Have been spending a lot of time lately finishing the fabrication of deck parts including bitts (for tying lines to), fairleads (to lead lines to the bitts), and louver panels for ventilation intakes and exhaust. These parts are all made from 316L stainless steel which holds up very well to the marine environment. It is also a very hard alloy and difficult to work. After trying a few different techniques, I settled on a "brushed" finish on all these stainless parts. I ran everything through the bead blast cabinet, then polished with a wire brush wheel. I think it came out pretty nice. Not nearly as much work as polishing to a mirror finish on the buffer, and I like the look... not as flashy as a full polish. Jesus cut out the wheelhouse window and door openings. What a difference! The layout worked really well and the view from the helm will be outstanding. I also scribed all the porthole openings in the hull, which we have started cutting out. Nice to get some light into the interior. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time out for the Thanksgiving holiday

We've all taken a few days off here and there over the past two weeks to visit with family for the holidays. Production welding continues... most of the final interior welding is complete except for the tank tops, and work is continuing on the outside seams. The plates are first welded from the inside, then the seam is back-gouged on the outside using carbon-arc and grinding. This opens the seam back into the first weld so that, when it is welded from the outside, there is full penetration and no gaps. Its a lot of work but this makes for a very strong weld. All the exterior plating is being done this way. The wheelhouse and stack are just about finished and window cutouts should be done soon. My plan is to drill all the holes (350+!) for the exterior bolt in windows and doors, fit them up, then remove them for lifting the wheelhouse into place. They will be re-installed after the painting is done. Also have the anchor winch stripped and prepped for galvanizing. This took longer than I thought as there are a lot of pieces to it. The parts also very heavy and some barely fit in our bead blasting cabinet. With the galvanizing and a few new parts, this heavy duty winch should easily last us another 30 years. -PB

Monday, November 16, 2009

Anchor winch, etc.

We found a very stout deck winch for the boat this week. Boats, one of our neighbors at Galilee Harbor, was looking to sell his winch and its just what we were looking for in terms of size and construction (big and heavy). It was probably built about 30 years ago. It's hydraulic with an oil bath chain drive. I disassembled it a couple of days ago and am now looking for a rebuild kit for the hydraulic motor, which needs new seals and bearings. If I cant find a kit, we'll have to go with a new hydraulic motor.  The plan now is to get the parts all cleaned up and send them to the galvanizer for a hot dipped zinc coating. Then we'll reassemble the winch and load it up with 300 feet of 3/8 high test anchor chain. Still working on the design for the anchor roller.

Also finished the fabrication work on all the bitts. Looks like a lot for a boat this size when they are all sitting on the palette but they will all have a necessary spot on deck for tying up the boat, towing, being towed, etc. Final welding on these will be a good indoor "rainy day" job.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


We've been doing a lot of finishing up work on the engine assembly. Nothing major, just a lot of little details. Here's some recent pictures...

Friday, November 13, 2009


Wheelhouse is coming together. Now that it is assembled, I am revisiting the helm layout... will probably go with two helm seats fwd and some sort of built in seating and table aft. This is about all we have room for but should be a nice space. There will be three steps up to the door to the aft deck. We built in a scuttle so you have full headroom all the way up the steps to the aft deck. The other door will exit to the stbd side deck. The windows are all heavy bolt in bronze frames with 1/2" tempered glass. I'll be doing a lot of drilling when it comes time to install those... I re-crated all the windows and doors after I inspected them when they were delivered, but I'll be unpacking them again soon and will put up some pics of them then.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cap rail and other details...

Quick update and some pictures... Cap rail is completed. This finishes off the top edge of the hull plating and defines the shear line of the boat. Also installed a very heavy duty hatch in the forward anchor well. It has a nice coaming so any standing water in this area won't rain down on us when we open it from below. Production welding continues on the interior. Wheelhouse will be going together this week. Also, sending the rudder and prop shafts off to the machine shop for final machine work. Finalized the engine placement and will be starting on fabricating the engine mounting brackets. Also began fabricating bitts (made from heavy stainless pipe and round bar).
Detail, details...