Cabin Sole and Ladder
- Installing the Walnut Cabin Sole
- Building and Installing the Companionway Ladder
The walnut is very hard . . . and it's heavy. It will definitely add some weight to the boat. Probably not a bad thing since I removed about 1000 lbs of engine and fuel tank. The weight is low so it should make the boat a wee bit stiffer. It's probably not much but nonetheless it will not detract from stability. I could have milled it to 3/4" and saved a little weight, but I figure I am building the boat to last. If the walnut works out, at some point it will need to be resurfaced. the planks can be removed and run thorough a planer or cleaned up with a belt sander. They would look as good as new. The extra 1/8" provides for future maintenance. to your block, write your own text and edit me.
Next, I glued up two sections from the last of the walnut to make the aft most section of the sole. Three on one side and two on the other--it was absolutely the last of my walnut except for small off-cuts. This is a very oddly shaped section. There was no way to support individual planks so I glued them together into two sections--two halves if you will. I took a lot of time today to get the shape and the bevel correct--much time was spent with a spoke shave and a block plane. After I was generally satisfied with the fit, I spent a fair amount of time shaping some thick mahogany cleating stock to work as a 'thwardship beam to support the aft most ends of the two halves, and two nubs for the outboard edges of the two haves to rest on. I sanded away some of the grey Interlux Bilgekote paint and prepared the surfaces for epoxy so I can secure them in place. I ran out of time to install them tonight. Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 22 F degrees and even with a heat lamp I would not want to epoxy the supports to a hull that cold. Plus, tomorrow is family time so no boat work anyway. Saturday it is supposed to be 50 F here and with heat lamps in place I can epoxy then. I epoxied in the supports and included a photo in the gallery below. I paint them grey when I touch up a few areas in the next month or so.
For the last two days I have focused my efforts on installing the key parts of the cabin sole lock down system. The simplest system is one associated with a teak and holly plywood cabin sole, as most of the sole is screwed down with access hatches cut into the plywood. That is what the Far Reach originally had. But, I wanted to install a solid cabin sole so that I could easily remove for cleaning and for access to the entire hull. Also, I think it looks great and is another modification that eliminates the "production" look associated with most boats. It also makes the boat uniquely ours. And, I just wanted to see if I could do it. The entire cabin sole project has actually been one of the more enjoyable projects I have undertaken . . . the walnut is enjoyable to handle, to mill, to shape, and to install. But, figuring out how to keep the floor boards in place is a bit of a challenge. I looked at lots of hardware associated with cabin soles. The locking handles and pull rings are pretty expensive and they down really fit with the interior style we have created. And because I have many different planks installed they would not be practical. I found a picture of the lock down system in Taleisin which is inexpensive to make and fits with the overall design of the cabin sole. It cost me exactly nothing to make. See the photos below. I installed three turn knobs: one for the galley area, one in the saloon, and one for the head/fwd cabin. To be sure, this is only the lock down for a single plank in each of the three areas (and I still need to install a bronze "tongue" on the other end). The adjacent planks still need to be secured too. I have am considering using shock cord system for the adjacent planks that I read about in Bill Seifert's book Offshore Sailing. As most of the space under the saloon sole is filled with water tanks that floor system does not have to retain heavy objects. It just needs to keep the planks in place during a knock down. The planks with the locking turn knob are above the tank shut off valves so wanted to be able to have easy access to them.
It was finally time to trim in the cabin sole around the base of the mast. The walnut, in the photo to the right, fits flush with the cabin sole but I had to leave enough space around the mast that we can move the mast fore and aft as required to tune the rig. I will make a cover plate out of teak that will sit on top of the sole but more precisely fit around the mast of the mast. Also, the bare aluminum mast in the photo is not the actual mast. That's a seven foot section that I used to get the heel of the mast positioned and to build the trim. The real mast is white and I may paint the bottom seven feet of it (the part in the boat) a wood color and or box it in with wood I will worry about it later.