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Thread: Boat Work

  1. #1
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    Boat Work

    I've been asked to do some woodworking on the interior of a boat. It will include a small set of cabinets, a pull out bed and various other finish jobs. The boat is in the water year round. Are there any special techniques or pitfalls I should be concerned with such as materials, glues or methods? The customer wants to use ash to match exhisting panelling. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

    Lou
    Procrastination.......

    Maybe I'll think about that tomorrow

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Growing up, we only worked on the wood on the exterior of our sailboat. We only used teak, and if I remember correctly, we used 6 layers of spar varnish. Don't underestimate the amount of damage the UV light and salt water will do.

  3. #3
    Lou,

    I did a small boat project last year for a friend of mine who lives "in the water" year round. Thankfully the project (a media cabinet) was to sit on top of an existing shelf and not "built-in" per se.

    What I did notice while taking measurements was that there were no straight and square points of reference. It makes it a bit challenging to design without them.

    Also, be very mindful of what is behind any surface you may be fastening something to. Lot's of wires and piping get run behind walls along the hull.

    That's all I can think of.

    Good luck,
    -joe
    Illegitimi non carborundum

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Morrissette
    Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

    Lou
    Be careful when drilling or screwing on the outside hull.
    John Lucas
    woodshopdemos

  5. #5
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    Joe,

    I know what you mean about "no point of reference." When I went out to measure the job, silly me tried to use a level on a windy day. You know how well that worked. As you say, it is a challenge. Thanks for the imput.

    Lou
    Procrastination.......

    Maybe I'll think about that tomorrow

  6. #6
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    I am thinking that Mr. Smalser needs to comment since boats are his real gig!!
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

    Equestrian Sports. The most fun you can have with your boots still on...


  7. #7
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    Lou, I think it would be worth it to you to pick up a book called Boat Joinery and Cabinet Making by Fred Bingham. If you can't find it locally, the WoodenBoat Store carries it online. Another book you might find useful is 25 Woodworking Projects edited by Peter Spectre. This book is a collection of related articles from Previous issues of WoodenBoat Magazine.

    The first book has some good information regarding how to go about fitting cabinets and bulkheads to the complex shape of the interior of the hull. The work is actually easier than describing it.

    Here's a couple of things to keep in mind.

    1. Don't seal any spaces completely. I'm specifically referring to the spaces between fixtures/furniture and the hull. There needs to be a good flow of air to keep things dry. Remember that the inside of a hull may sweat like a toilet tank on a humid day if it is sitting in cold water.

    2. Make it possible to take stuff out again without destroying it. Someday it may be nesseccary to come at the hull and you don't want your hardwork ruined.

    edited to add: Also keep in mind the size of the companionway--the access to the cabin.

    3. If you use screws for assembly, use silicon bronze or stainless. Preference is SB, though. Counterbore holes for the heads and set bungs (plugs) to cover the heads. Do not glue the bungs. Instead, use the varnish you'll use on the project to set them. This will make removal much easier and you won't have any glue lines to deal with when finishing. Make sure to align the bungs with the grain of the piece being plugged.

    4. If you are making shelves, fiddles are a good idea. A fiddle is the ledge that prevents stuff from sliding off the shelf when the boat heels.

    You might make a trek to your local Barnes and Noble and see if you can find some books on classic boats. A lot of the coffee table style books will ghive you some good ideas in photographs of the kinds of things that are traditional in marine woodwork.

    Of course we'd like pictures of what you do so don't forget your camera. (Tyler should be proud of me. )
    Last edited by Dave Richards; 08-19-2005 at 4:46 PM.
    SketchUp Authorized Trainer and Visiting Professional.

  8. #8
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    Jim Becker, you made a funny with your gig statement. Bob will get it, anyway.

    Here's the Captain's gig on USS Constitution
    SketchUp Authorized Trainer and Visiting Professional.

  9. #9
    I did some cabinet and door work on a SX50 Offshore Challenger last year.
    I'll tell you one thing, there are no squares or corners anywhere in a boat.
    Make lots of templetes, to walls, etc.
    When doing cabinets, make everything square, but overhang everything. Sides, tops, etc. Overhang enough you can trim to fit.
    They make a metal strap for hanging and attaching stuff in boats. They are a strip of steel or alum., fiberglassed onto the boat. The strap hangs out some, and thats what you use to attach stuff too. Usually you have some mortises somewhere in your cabinet, and then pull the strap through the mortise hole tight, then screw the strap to the cabinet.
    Steve
    Do a search on challenger and my thread ought to come up.


  10. #10
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    I'd say plywood, waterproof glue, and high quality stainless or brass screws would be a good start.
    I could cry for the time I've wasted, but thats a waste of time and tears.

  11. #11
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    Dave, ain't that a dingy!

  12. #12
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    Jim, the Captain's Gig a dinghy? Forsooth! Now, I might be a little dingy, though.
    SketchUp Authorized Trainer and Visiting Professional.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2004
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    Cape Cod, Ma
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    Thanks to all of you for great suggestions. Making of templates is an idea I did not think of and will be very helpful in fitting to the hull. Especialy when level and plumb are a fantasy on a moving boat. This is a good challenge for me and I'll try to keep everyone informed on my progress.
    Thanks again to all.

    Lou
    Procrastination.......

    Maybe I'll think about that tomorrow

  14. #14
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    Lou, sounds like you're looking forward to the challenge. Good on you.

    I found a link to an article that talks about how to make templates to match curves using a tick stick. hopefully this will give you some good ideas.

    http://www.practical-sailor.com/news...93scribing.pdf

    BTW, a suggestion to use brass screws was made. I would avoid them though. Especially since you're in MA and I imagine the boat will be in saltwater. While you hope the cabinets and other furniture will not be in the water, there is plenty of salt air and it will corrode brass screws. Silicon bronze would be a better choice.

    A good source for silicon bronze screws is Jamestown Distributors in Rhode Island or Hamilton Marine in Searsport, ME. Both have online stores.


    BTW, what sort of boat are you working on?
    SketchUp Authorized Trainer and Visiting Professional.

  15. #15
    I just use stainless screws and bolts for hardware. It can be obtained at your local hardware store usually.


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