Winter 2014 has been brutalizing my schedule.
But with the Chris Craft Roamer Cruise Control trim tab patterns off to the fabricator and me not being in the mood to mess with the hateful helm windshield frames just yet, I started putting floors on either side of the center-line fuel tank in the aft cabin. I’m sick of walking on the framing and hull, and it’s a bit of a hazard. Plus, there’s nothing that gets done quicker and with more apparent signs of progress than interior work. Unlike the evil helm windshield that’s been dry fitted a dozen times or more over the winter but still isn’t done, plywood that’s cut, fitted and ready for sealer is undeniably [almost] done. Like many things on this job, though, the floors weren’t easy.
On the one hand, I’m very happy that Tent Model X is holding up so well to all of the storms we’ve had this year.
On the other hand, enough with all of the freakin’ snow storms and subfreezing temps, eh! It’s almost April already!
1969 Roamer 46s came with “Ozzy & Harriet” bunks on either side of the aft cabin, with fuel tanks underneath that sat on 6061 aluminum extrusions that were welded onto the hull framing. You can see the original configuration of the aft cabin in the Refit Begins article for this boat. By building new fuel tanks and moving them centerline, we’ll be able to have a queen-size bed in the captain’s quarters. But the hull framing comes up at an angle to match the deadrise of the hull, making it impossible to have the floors on either side of the bed the same level as the rest of the cabin. Angled floors were out of the question and I do not want to cut into the framing, so instead we’ll have a step up.
One really neat thing about aluminum is that it can be cut with carbide bladed woodworking tools. My beater Skil circular saw and Harbor Freight Sawzall ripped through this in no time. Then I used the Skil saw to cut parallel to the frame plating to remove the remaining weldment. The carbide teeth last lots longer than grinding disks.
I’ll need to make longitudinal supports for the floor panels, too, but I’ll hold off on that until I have a “welding day” since I’ll use 6061 angle for the the additional framing.
This track saw is far better than any table saw I’ve ever used, and is so much lighter than lugging around a portable table saw.
It’s amazing how just a little thing like a floor where before there was framing and the hull can make the day seem productive.
I’m going to route out the underside of the step up floor panel so it fits lower over the frame members. This should drop the level of the sub-floor ~1″ or so and yield 6′ 1″ overall height. The hull framing protrudes on the outboard side of the sub-floor, but it will eventually be hidden behind drawers and other cabinetry.
I may have to adjust the height or orientation of the drawers when I build out the aft stateroom cabinetry, but that will be a relatively simple thing for another day.
It took far longer than I anticipated getting the floor level on the starboard side. So on the port side I first cut the aluminum extrusions to get them out of the way and then clamped in temporary braces to support the aft end of the floor panel that were level both laterally and longitudinally. Normally, you wouldn’t use a level on a boat (especially one that was floating), but over the long winter I leveled the Roamer in preparation for just this sort of interior work.
I made sure there was adequate room to access the rudder spud nut with a long wrench.
None of the floor pieces aft are screwed down yet. I plan to follow Chris Craft’s old paint schedule and coat all six sides of each panel before I do the final assembly and screw everything down. Between now and then, I also need to install the fuel and steering hydraulic lines…don’t want to get ahead of myself.