Archive for June, 2009

29
Jun
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Ten: A Boat Under Glass…

I had some difficulty with the windshield on the Vagabond.  I was never terribly wild about the original design as ordered from the factory.  However, a member of our Feather Craft “Rivet-heads” sent me a template he used that was sent to him from another “Rivert-heads” in Canada.

This template was made of old newspaper.  I took it to the local glass company.  No one said “Hey this paper template will never work.  It’s too flimsy!”.  The thought had occurred to me, but I assumed if this was a problem, they would mention it.

A week passed by, and the call came that my smoked Plexiglas, custom cut windshield parts were ready for pickup.  I immediately went to the shop and picked them up and upon placing them on the boat found there were no straight edges to be found.

I’m sorry, but common sense would dictate that any reasonable person would want smooth edges, not edges that have an uneven contour.  These parts were unacceptable.  I called the company who asked me to bring everything in, and while they offered to re-cut them, they asked me to make a cardboard template.

My feeling was that if I was going to make a wooden template, I might as well just cut my own plexi with a router.  I asked if the vendor would be okay with meeting me half way by cutting 1/4 inch Plexiglas slightly larger than I needed, then I could make the template and cut the windshield to my desire.

They were thrilled!  And off the hook. 

Tonight I set about making a template using 1/4 inch luan plywood for a pattern.  Using the tattered old newspaper pattern, and eyeballing for nice curved edges, a drum sander was used to fix all the imperfections as needed.  Double sided carpet tape was used to hold the wood pattern to the Plexiglas.  My trusty Bosch router and a pattern bit was used to make the cuts.

This is the shape of the original Feather Craft windshield.  The roll of carpet tap is in front of the pattern.

This is the shape of the original Feather Craft windshield. The roll of carpet tap is in front of the pattern.

our windshield is a variation on the original pattern.  The top and bottom curvature is the same, but the surface area has be increased in height.

Our windshield is a variation on the original pattern. The top and bottom curvature is the same, but the surface area has be increased in height.

 

The problem with routers are they create a mess.  Routing Plexiglas is the worst mess ever, as every little shaving is charged with static…and it clings to everything.

It's beginning to look like winter in the shop...ehh?

It's beginning to look like winter in the shop...ehh?

 

Using rubber gasket for this application that was purchased on that auction site, the finished windshield is mounted in place.

Using rubber gasket for this application that was purchased on that auction site, the finished windshield is mounted in place.

 

Our Helmsman's position is beginning to look like it is ready for duty.

Our Helmsman's position is beginning to look like it is ready for duty.

 

I still need to work on the back flooring/decking. since the weather is calling for rain, that work can be done in the shop over the next few days.  Then the electrical should be ready for install, and some fine tuning…we’ll be ready for a shake-down run.

Stay tuned…

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27
Jun
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Nine: Put it to the floor!

All boats need a floor…or more correctly….a deck.  A deck is the nautical term for a floor.  So we will put a deck…er, uh…floor for you landlubbers in our little aluminum vessel.

Due to the fact that the entire boat is constructed of aluminum, there seemed a need to add something more organic.  The previous owner had marine plywood for a deck.  I decided this was certainly organic, but very boring.  Instead I tore out his marine plywood and replaced it with more marine grade plywood. 

DoH!

Alright…settle down.  A twist was used to spice it up a bit.  Though it isn’t finished, here is the start.

First a 4X8 foot sheet of plywood was cut down to size using the old plywood as a template.  This is the oh-so-boring marine plywood looking nice and new, but boring as hell.

First a 4X8 foot sheet of plywood was cut down to size using the old plywood as a template. This is the oh-so-boring marine plywood looking nice and new, but boring as hell.

Eventhough the plywood is marine grade, being a big time believer in the merits of CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer)...several coats were applied to seal the wood and especially the end grain.

Eventhough the plywood is marine grade, being a big time believer in the merits of CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer)...several coats were applied to seal the wood and especially the end grain.What sparked the whole idea of spicing the deck up was I found several rolls of unused oak veneer coiled up in my workshop. I used it on my model railroad cabinetry, so decided this would be a good way to use it up.

The first task was to carefully cut the oak veneer on a table saw into 2.5 inch strips.  The strips would be contact cemented to the plywood and for a bit of extra traction, 3M safety tape would be laid between the oak strips.  This make for a bit of warmth in and otherwise very metallic vessel.  The visual appearance should also conjure up thoughts and images of the grand old wooden boats that preceded our vessel.
The oak veneer strips were laid in place by first finding the center of the decking.  Then a bit of contact cement and a carpenters square was used to line up the center strip of veneer.  The other sections followed by laying a sacrificial piece of the 3M safety tape inplace and butting the next strip of veneer against it.

The oak veneer strips were laid in place by first finding the center of the decking. Then a bit of contact cement and a carpenters square was used to line up the center strip of veneer. The other sections followed by laying a sacrificial piece of the 3M safety tape inplace and butting the next strip of veneer against it.

In this photo, the black safety tread is temporarily laid in place to butt the next veneer strip on to the plywood.  A strip of this tread will be placed between each veneer strip after CPES and varnish is applied to the oak to seal it.

In this photo, the black safety tread is temporarily laid in place to butt the next veneer strip on to the plywood. A strip of this tread will be placed between each veneer strip after CPES and varnish is applied to the oak to seal it.

 

As for the transom, we went back to the machine age a tad.  Wandering around the hardware store i came across thin sheets of decorative stamped aluminum.  These would be almost a perfect fit.  For some added strength, the sheets were doubled up to make them thicker, and then fastened to the aluminum ribs.

This is the same aluminum sheet that would be used on a screen door.  It's not terribly thick, so two sheets were layed on top of each other to double their overall thickness.

This is the same aluminum sheet that would be used on a screen door. It's not terribly thick, so two sheets were laid on top of each other to double their overall thickness. The perforations allow for drainage into the bilge should there be a spill.

 

That is how the Feather Craft sits today.  I hope to install floatation foam this week now that our cottonwood tree is finished polluting the neighborhood.  Also the transom will be varnished and installed, as well as the electronics.

This thing may get to the water yet!

16
Jun
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Eight: What a mess!

Well, following the slowing down of our cottonwood tree shedding little tufts of …uh cottonwood thingies all over the inside, outside, and any other side of the Feather Craft, it is now June, and I can get back to work.

I set about using aluminum brightener to clean the 50 years of dirt from the inside area of the transom and cockpits.  Also the seats, though well built by the previous owner, seemed a bit worrisome to me.  Actually the flotation foam under the seats is what had me worried.

I removed the wooden bench seats and found what I would have expected…crumbling foam.

 

The flotation foam was not likely to pass muster with the USCG, let alone keep the boat afloat.

The flotation foam was not likely to pass muster with the USCG, let alone keep the boat afloat.

 

The seat trough where the foam resides was filthy with debris.  This will have to be cleaned, and new foam poured to fill the cavity.

The seat trough where the foam resides was filthy with debris. This will have to be cleaned, and new foam poured to fill the cavity.Here is what is left of the original foam. YUCK!

If this scene were found on the water, the Coast Guard would have a fit.  It looks like a debris feild from a sinking.

If this scene were found on the water, the Coast Guard would have a fit. It looks like a debris field from a sinking.

Can this block of floatation foam be trusted?  I think not.

Can this block of floatation foam be trusted? I think not.

After using the aluminum brightener to clean both front and rear cockpit seat troughs, they looked great and will be ready for new foam.
The rear seat is cleaned with aluminum brightener.  All the years of dirt and debris removed too.

The rear seat is cleaned with aluminum brightener. All the years of dirt and debris removed too.

The "Captains Quarter's" is cleaned and ready for refitting. Notice the newly installed vintage Airguide Speedometer, compass, and original Johnson electric start plate have been added to the dash.

The "Captains Quarter's" is cleaned and ready for refitting. Notice the newly installed vintage Airguide Speedometer, compass, and original Johnson electric start plate have been added to the dash.

A final parting shot of our little Vagabond.  Some deck hardware has been added to make me feel I am getting something done, though there is lots to do.

A final parting shot of our little Vagabond. Some deck hardware has been added to make me feel I am getting something done, though there is lots to do.

Next on the agenda is to cut flooring using marine plywood and creating new bench seats.  Electrical wiring will get done at some time in the near future, and the windshield made of 1/4″ Plexiglas is on order as well.

 

Until next time…