The aft stateroom is coming together pretty quickly. It may not seem like it since my posts covering the wall installations are spread out over many weeks. But since I can only work on the boat on weekends, and each trip to the yard and back takes two hours out of each day, it really has been coming together in a relatively small number of working hours. This time, I got another one of the aft stateroom en suite head walls installed.
SketchUp is a slick CAD application, and even slicker since the basic version I use is free. After laying out the walls on the floor of the drawing (i.e. in 2D), you grab the walls and pull them up to make the 3D model. In the pic above that I exported from the model, I left the wall I’m installing today in 2D to preserve the corner and door frame details.
In the larger plan pix above, this area looks fuzzy grey. But that’s because of all the dimension details that are packed into the space that you can see when you zoom in close. I’ll eventually make the door frame/pocket piece in the close-up above out of solid mahogany. For now, getting the walls in is the priority.
I sanded off the base coat so the epoxy I use to wet out the area will saturate the wood. I’m using the same 1/4″-20 stainless bolts with nyloc nuts as I used on the first walls I installed, and I’m gluing the joints all around using epoxy thickened with wood flour and cabosil.
Gotta love the Kreg R3 Jr pocket screw jig.
The next step involved a bit of panel tai chi to put the wall into position. It’s challenging moving a pre-finished African mahogany (ie pretty) 3/4″ plywood wall (ie heavy) that’s cut to fit within 1/8″ of the plywood decking overhead, when the 3″ tall frames the panel must attach to are spaced 16″ apart…oh, and sticky epoxy has been applied to very specific areas on the top, bottom, and sides of the panel. You can’t bump the panel into anything or you damage the beautiful wood AND get epoxy all over. So, lift, tilt, move gently into position while rotating back to near-vertical. Then, just as there’s no more space for your fingers to hold on the outside edge because the panel is almost touching the hull, give it a final twist back to vertical as the wetted out frame and floor glue joints slide home.
Hence, panel tai chi.
Note Chris Craft’s use of mahogany frames with zinc chromate-primed steel plates screwed to them for strength. I believe that thru-bolting the steel plate to the frame and the 3/4″ plywood wall, with thickened epoxy enhancing the bond, makes a much stronger assembly.
I grind out a small trench in each corner to ensure a tight fit, then drill pilot holes and countersink for the screws that attach the corner piece to the plywood panels.
Harbor Freight acid shop brushes are cheap and work well for wetting out plywood edges with epoxy. After wetting out the plywood and corner piece with epoxy (3x on the plywood, since the ripped edge really drinks up the glue), I mixed up another batch and thickened it with the wood flour/cabosil mix and applied it to the joint area.