Tom Tweed's Boatbuilding Pages

Page 9- Finish Work

Once the decks were closed in it was time to start the finish work. One of the most beautiful, functional, and labor intensive features of the boat were it's teak decks. Since the plywood subdecks supplied all the structural strength, the teak overlay was just a veneer of 3/16" thick by 1-1/2" wide teak strips, laid in an epoxy bed thickened with Cabosil® and graphite powder, spaced 1/8" apart, and bronze-stapled into the subdeck. The graphite powder turned the adhesive dark grey/black, simulating the old polysulfide compound that was used in caulking traditional teak plank decks. This also protected the epoxy from UV deterioration, but was quite messy and ugly while laying up the strips. The hatch coamings have been installed in the pic below to trim out the rough openings before the teak went down.

Once the epoxy was sanded off, though, the beauty of the teak started showing through. In this pic, the caprail has been laminated from 3 mahogany 1" x 1" strips and joined to a little nose piece crossing the bowsprit. The black spots still left on the deck were the areas the grinder and orbital sander could not easily reach, and had to be hand-sanded. Very tedious.

This shot shows the decks all sanded, and the main hatch cover and the hinged cover for the cockpit storage locker have been oiled, accounting for their darker color. The washboards for the main hatch are also installed and oiled. The front hatch still has it's protective paper on the smoked Lexan lite. The furring strips for the backstay chainplates have been laminated to the hull at the stern.

Once the decks were done, it was time for paint. The boat was finally lifted onto it's keel and a new cradle fabricated to accomodate the new shape. The deadwood was hung in front of and behind the keel casting, and the prop aperture was faired in. The rudder was hung using bronze gudgeons and pintles from Pacific Seacraft, and then a white epoxy sanding primer was sprayed on the topsides. More fairing and sanding followed.

I used cast aluminum and lexan Bomar hatches to ensure watertightness and longevity, and to cut down on labor, a hinged one for the forehatch, and a sliding one for the main hatch. The mast collar can be seen behind the forehatch in this pic. The mast would slide through this collar and be stepped on the keel below.

Looking aft, the gallows frame can be seen, as well as the seatbacks in the cockpit.

The footwell contains the engine controls and panel, and a hasp to secure the hinged, port side seat locker. Another aluminum/lexan hatch leads to the lazarette locker, and the compass is mounted behind the helm. This was a bit untraditional, as it requires steering by a reciprocal course, but I didn't like the bridgedeck location called for in the plans. This was never a problem once you got used to it.

I trimmed the interior out in teak as well, with floorboards matching the teak decks. All the panels except the fixed bulkheads were removeable, to allow complete access to the hull for cleaning and repairs. The settee backs were hinged on both sides and could be raised and fixed in place to use as a table on either side, depending on which tack the boat was sailing. While spartan, the interior was very functional and adequate for a cruising couple who were in a "backpacking" sort of mentality. It was much better than a tent!

I converted the two saddle tanks under the settee berths from water to fuel, to increase the cruising range of the motor. The fill spouts for them intruded into the cabin (the little vertical pipes at the rear of the settees below), but once the 4" thick berth cushions were added, they disappeared. Care had to be taken when filling these tanks with diesel fuel, however. This would NOT be a good idea if the fuel were gasoline! I didn't want to add vertical chases to extend them up to a deckfill, as this would intrude on the cabin too much, I felt, and inhibit moving around in the already cramped space.

There was a 20 gallon water tank already in the stern, so making the saddle tanks into fuel tanks increased the cruising range under engine power alone to over 600 miles. I could have motored back to San Diego from Cabo (which is quite an uphill run) with only one refueling stop in Magdalena Bay! I preferred to carry extra water in jerry cans rather than fuel.

I had Rick, the painter at Hog Fish's shop, shoot the finish coat of linear polyurethane, because I didn't trust my limited experience with a spray gun. He did a beautiful job. The topsides were a creamy beige with a deep maroon accent stripe wrapping over the caprail. This proved to be a very durable finish, lasting for over 10 years without significant weathering, except for the accent stripe. It turned out to be too dark, and the sun's rays heated it so much that I had a few spots that suffered some hairline cracks from expansion of the wood grain beneath. If I were to do it again, I would have chosen a lighter color. The bottom was painted with a copper-tin Pro-Line antifouling paint.

A detail shot of the finished bowsprit and figurehead.

I purchased the mast and boom from a local rigger. He had made it up with a custom taper for an Olson 30 and then the customer had reneged on the deal. We sprayed them both with zinc chromate primer and then white LP paint, and they are laying next to the boat in this pic, as I was assembling the hardware on them, getting ready for the big LAUNCH DATE! After 5 years, I was getting close...


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