Caledonia Yawl – Chapter 5: Interior construction

Once the boat was turned upright, the pace picked up. The centerboard trunk we made earlier was installed.

Centerboard trunk installed

Centerboard trunk installed

We then added the forward brace and trunk cap.

Centerboard trunk cap and forward brace

Centerboard trunk cap and forward brace

One day was “Floor Day”, where we made all the floors, which strengthen the bottom of the boat as well as supporting the floorboards. We are halving the spacing of the floorboards so that we can use thinner material for the floorboards. Thinner floorboards are easier to bend into place and lighter and easier to handle when assembled into sections. Additional floors also better support the floorboards.

We fabricated and installed the deck beams and bulkheads. The aft bulkhead is full height to the deck, with an enclosed section on the starboard side and a motor well (as yet unbuilt) on the port side.

Aft bulkhead

Aft bulkhead

The forward bulkhead is only a partial bulkhead which will allow for storage under the forward deck.

Forward (partial) bulkhead

Forward (partial) bulkhead

Since you spent a lot of time waiting for epoxy to cure while building a glued lapstrake boat, you always need to have other projects in the works.

We turned our attention to the rudder, rudder head and centerboard. These are laminated from multiple thicknesses of plywood to yield the desired thickness. We have to run a couple of pieces through the planer to shave off a millimeter. No 5 mm stock on hand? No problem. One pass through the planer on the 6 mm, and presto: 5 mm.

We use two methods for gluing up the pieces. The first method involves screwing the glued plywood sandwich to the workbench, but that means we later have to plug the holes. We chose to use the second method — vacuum bagging.

We installed a new surface on the bench, a piece of 3/4 melamine-faced particle board. We then placed the glued up plywood sandwich on the bench. We placed a 3 mm plastic sheet over it and sealed it around the perimeter using butyl tape, which is readily available from our local hardware store. Using a fitting that attaches to a compressor and creates a Venturi vacuum we suck the air from the workpiece aiming for about 21 inches of vacuum. We allow about four hours for the parts to cure. During the winter the shop is much cooler and the cure time can double.

Vacuum bagging

Vacuum bagging

Before assembly, we shape one of the outer layers to the final shape using the pattern as a guide. The rest of the plies are rough-cut. After the epoxy cures, we use a flush trim bit to rout the rest of the parts to the final profile.

After epoxy has cured on centerboard

After epoxy has cured on centerboard

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