Monday, December 27, 2010

Zip on Floor Jacks - Seat install

I have done a lot of work on my "Zip" boat project since the last time that I made a post on this blog so I will attempt to give you the rundown. The big milestone was on Christmas Eve when I had most of my brothers, son-in-law and nephews over and they all offered to help me lift the boat and it's cradle so we could place the floor jacks under it. Once everything was raised 12", there was enough room to put the 40hp motor on the transom. I needed to get that into position so I could start to figure out how all the steering linkage and electrical wiring would be connected.

Some of the other things that I have been working on were mounting the battery switch into the rear seat frame, making boxes along side of seats to hide wiring, steering cables, shift control box and of course a place for an afternoon beverage.

I have also built the seat bottoms and backs and started the upholstery project.  I really wanted to get the foam seats glued up to them so I could sit on in the seat and feel if the position of each on was correct.  I am so glad that I did because when I built the seat frames I thought that everything fit just right with enough room to remove them when I wanted, but I was wrong.  The seats did not fit after gluing up the foam pads on the seat bottoms and backs.  Ten minutes of trimming saved me major headaches if I had found this out after the fabric was put on them.

Whats next....fairing the top deck, and getting the steering control linkage figured out.   Begin the wiring process and having a lot of patience when things don't go just right.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cutting Holes and Getting things done

I was able to work on the boat a lot this week and over the weekend.  I don't really have much to show for all the work that I put into this part of the project but a few things were real milestones.  Most of the week I have taking everything apart I previously fabricated so I could epoxy and glue them.  These items included the seat box frames, seat bottoms and backs and four side panels.  If you notice in the pictures, the interior of the boat is gutted.  The reason it is empty again is:  That is the process you need to go through when building.  You fabricate and then take it apart, epoxy it and then reinstall it.  It is almost like building several boats because you end up putting things together and taking them apart many times in the course of fabricating.

The seats are gone to the upholstery shop.  I ordered my own fabric and fabricated everything that I wanted to have upholstered and I found a real talented lady about a mile from my house who is taking on that part of project.

I spent a good part of the weekend cutting holes in the instrument panel for the instruments.  I will have an RPM, fuel gauge and a volt meter in the dash.  The biggest project was to cut a 2 1/4" hole and (3) 5/16" holes to mount the steering wheel.  I have been waiting a week for the 20 degree mount and it finally came in so I made a trip to West Marine to pick it up.  I did not have the correct size hole saw so I also made a trip over to my brother Joey's and he loaned me his.  A couple of 1 1/2" holes were needed in the bulkhead to route the steering cable and the rough mounting and fitting of Teleflex rack mounting system was complete.

I also mounted the bilge pumps and made a box to house the battery.  The battery drops right into the box and it is very secure.  I always worry about accidents and the possibility of sever weather so I added tie downs for budgie cords if needed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Proof of Concept - Boat in the Kitchen.

You Sure it Will Make it out of the Basement?

A good friend of mine who is building a "Squirt" boat in his basement asked me to come over this weekend and help get his boat out of his basement and into the kitchen.  His name is Art Atkinson and you can follow his blog and watch his progress.  He is really building a piece of artwork.

The PROOF OF CONCEPT - The million dollar question?  Will it really come out of the basement?  Art wanted to build in the basement because that is where his wood shop and all the tools are located.  But will the boat fit around all the corners and up the stairway and through the kitchen.  So, before starting his project he made a jig that had the dimensions of his boat and the jig fit so he started building.  Fast forward, a year later he now he has a hull and really did not know if his new boat would make all the turns.

Art is to the point in his boat building that he will need to start working on the deck.  If he was going get that boat out of the basement the way he planned then now was the time.  The boat is lighter now than it will be when finished and if it does not fit up the stairway and into the kitchen then into the garage and finally outside he would have all winter long to plan an alternative option. 

Check out his wife's Kitchen....Yes, Art Atkinson built every little piece and it is so beautiful it has been featured in magazines.  Did you notice the padding on the glass cabinet.  This is what we were faced with at the top of the stairway.

Well, as you can see......Art's planning was perfect.  No problems, the boat fits up the stairs and we were able to get it into the kitchen.  We were all smiles and so was his wife Vicki.  She said, OK take it back down in the basement and finish it.  So, that is what we did, we took it back down in the basement and Art will continue to build.

The moving crew from left to right....Bill, Ted, Art, Rick and Brett.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Making Progress with the Interior

I have been working long hours and finally feel like I am making progress.  The floor is now behind me and I am onto boxing out the interior.  My first step was to make two boxes out of Mahogany along side of the seats.  These boxes will serve several purposes.  They will help in the finished look of the interior, be used as mounting supports and cup holders and they will also hide some cables and wires.  They were very time consuming and took me more that a week to build.  The inside wall of the boat is curved from front to back and sloped up and down.  Need I say, there are no square corners on a boat unless you build them. 

My next step was to figure out where everything was going to be placed.  This includes the instrument panel that houses the fuse panel/switches.  I started with a $50 piece of wood and put in a slopped instrument panel 5" in front of the one in the photo above.   Once I realized that I wanted more room in the pilot cockpit I discarded that panel ( after 4 hours of work) and now I am going with my original frame as the instrument panel/dash and I will tilt just the steering wheel 20 degrees for comfort.  I wanted to position the fuse/switch panel in the right corner so I needed to make a mount for it.  It does not look like much but this little guy took me an entire evening after work to design and build.  I will epoxy it to the existing frame/instrument panel and when it is done will look like one piece of material..

 Next, building the seat bottom frame boxes, seat bottoms and backs.  The seat bottoms and backs are removable and sit in the frame box.  I still have another day of work on the seating but the rough fitting is done.  I think I spent almost as much time thinking, measuring, and designing as I did building the seats.  I will not fasten the seat boxes into position until my upholstery is done and the steering wheel is mounted.  I want to be sure that the seating is comfortable and in the correct position.
Like I mentioned above, the seating is rough fit so my next project will be to finish them up.  I need to drill a couple of drain/air circulation holes in the seat bottoms.  I need to router all the edges on the seats so the upholstery will not tear from use.  The final thing for this stage will be to make some templates and cut out four insert panels that will be upholstered on the right and left side of each seat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The floor is installed

I have finally completed the floor installation.  The rear floor area was milled to 1/2" X 4.25" Ash and that weight came in at 17 lbs.  I am pleased with the look and now it will be time to move forward.
What is next?
This afternoon I will make another trip to the wood mill to pick up a few more Mahogany boards.  I will then start to make the bumper rails and boxing in the seat areas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Taking some Weight Off

I have been working on the floor of the boat.  I made this floor from 3/4" ash and installed the two front sections.  The three sections are made up from front (under the deck), the main cockpit area and rear passenger cockpit area.  I really like the looks of the floor but the weight of the floor has bothered me.  I just had to know, so I put the floor from the under the deck and the main cockpit onto the scale and it came in at 72 pounds.  I went to the table saw and set up a dado blade and was able to shed 8.5 pounds off the weight.

Now my plan is make the rear cockpit floor from 1/2 inch Ash.  The span is not as long and I don't think the planks need to be as thick.  I will need to take the rough Ash that I have planed to 3/4 in, down to 1/2 in for the rear floor.

Yesterday evening, my brother Gary joined me for a few hours and were able to fit all the blocking and supports for rear floor. 

It continues to surprise me how long some of the little things take to make.  Once again it was great to have my brother help me with measuring and fitting.  It is also nice to have someone around so you can run ideas back and forth and come up with a better plan.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Interior Structure lay out

Well, it has been sometime since my last post and I am sorry about that.  I have been very busy with life, the house, my airplane and just very busy at the fire department.  I have been working on the boat at least 2-3 times a week and even though it does not look like it in the photos, I have accomplished a lot of work on my boat.  In earlier pictures that I had posted, most of the interior structure was cut and fit into position and was held in position with either clamps or screws.Now, all the battens and motor well/splash well, bridge and passenger compartments and permanently glued/epoxied and screwed into position.  

The fuel tank is now in position. Building the motor well and doing the layout of both passenger compartments were a big job.  The real truth was that it just took a lot of thought and measuring. 

I also decided to put in two drain holes with the brass plugs on the outside of the transom.  I will have two bilge pumps but if I ever park the boat outside without the battery, I will have an option to drain some water.  The other to drain holes do not have a plug and remain open to let the splash water drain out.  I also put a couple of side holes into the well so the bilge can pump into the well so the water will flow out by gravity.

Next, I will be to build a battery mount, control mounts and the seat boxes but before I do all that, I will need to finish the floor in the rear passenger compartment.  All the other flooring is done and fitted, I just removed it for now so I have room to work with spilling epoxy on it.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Motor Well / Splash Well

I have cut and fitted all the parts for the splash well and things are looking good.  My good friend Art Atkinson came over and helped me lift my 40 hp Johnson outboard onto the transom.  I wanted to see if I was going to have enough clearance before I epoxied everything into solid state.  Well, the answer was not really.  On the first attempt the motor did not fit on the transom because it measured 2 1/2" thick so I got out my router once again and cut away.  Now the transom width measures 2 1/4" and the motor slipped right into position and the clearance around the splash/motor well is good.  So now, I need to get at drilling two drain holes and start to epoxy everything into position.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fuel Tank Install

I know it has been a while since my last post but I am back at boat building again.  I have struggled with the placement of the fuel tank.  As a matter of fact, I purchased a portable and a permanent fuel tank but at the end, I decided to go the permanent route.  I like the idea of a portable because I really don't need a lot of fuel and it would be nice to take the tank out for filling on shore but I just did not feel that I had the room to get the tank in and out and the bottom line is that I really did not like the look of an open well in the rear of the boat.

So, my final decision was a mounted fuel tank.  I choose a 12gal tank which I am mounting in left aft of the boat.  I ran into a few problems and they were all related to space.  The tank was just a little high because I had an 1 1/2" stiffener epoxied to the floor batten.   Using a router made a fast work to remove the vertical stiffener allowing the fuel tank to sit directly on the floor battens.  The position of the tank was important because I needed to allow room for the bilge pump between the tank and the transom knee.  Another area that I needed to pay close attention to was the slope of the splash well.  The top corner of the fuel tank needed to clear the bottom of the splash well.  I will have photos of the enclosed splash well fitting in my next post.

If you look very close in the photos you can see that I have epoxied stainless steel bolts into the floor batten making a hard point.  I feel that these hard points, attached using nylon nuts will be much stronger than screws.  All of the fasteners are not installed in the photos but you can see how the fuel tank is clamped into postion.

The only problem with this fuel tank location is that the rear seat box will need to be removed if there ever is a need to take the tank out for service.  It can be done, but will be a challenge to reach your arm around the tank.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Windshield Brackets Arrived

I ordered my windshield brackets from Lake Shore Aluminum Castings in Erie, Pa and they are now in my hands.  At the same time that I ordered mine, I also got a set for Squirt builder and friend Art Atkinson.  Art is now doing the research for us. We are going to get them polished and chrome plated.
If you look at the Zip boat at the very top of this page you can get an idea of what the windshield will look like once the glass is installed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Layout of Floor and Fuel Tank

I have been busy encapsulating the floor boards with epoxy and trying to figure out where to place the fuel tank.  I bought a portable tank but after trying it in the boat I thought that it would be very difficult to remove without leaving the rear compartment open.  Having to leave the rear compartment open is not the look I want so I purchased a permanent fuel tank and now I am measuring for it's installation.