Thanks to some connections around the country that are Clippercraft owners, a good soul in California, Roger Berkenpas, offered up measurements and photos of his Clippercraft. The documentation from Roger has been nothing less than fantastic. The new sides will be very similar to his, 133″ in length, 22″ or thereabouts tall at the aft end, and all minimizing tophamper. Im still detailing the angles of the front to make sure it is visually pleasing, but that will be settled later. The measurements gave me a gorgeous, straight line cabin side which aligns with the point of the bow. I think it is more appealing than the previous mockups.

First off on our photo tour today is the now-trimmed bulkhead. Using Roger’s numbers, the bulkhead height was set at 17 1/2″ above the side decks, with a 5″ elevation change for the curve. The seam ended up a little off-center, but that’s just due to the fitting out of the two panels. Safer to make one cut instead of two when mating straight panels.

Here you can see the cabin side shape mocked.

After last session, the bulkhead was due up next. The shape had been roughed out, fitted, and a door needed to be ironed out. Using a little bit of Dave Gerr’s text, I decided on a 24″ wide opening. This was comfortable to get in and out of, left plenty of meat for the bulkhead to add strength to the hull, and seemed to fit well. The height was my own doing as well. The bottom of the opening received an extra 6″ of height instead of being at sole level. This should keep a modicum of safety if we slop a wave, hopefully preventing water from reaching the bilges. I also left some meat on top, around 4″. This allowed for a 3 piece mahogany frame across the top, adding more strength, giving a nailer, and a very tough surface in the event we take a wave hard to the bow.

As the photos of a hole cut in plywood were midly uninteresting, I skipped forward to the actual installation for this installment’s images. Here is the bulkhead from aft:

Here is the cabin side of the bulkhead showing the bracing. I used some mahogany scrap that was laying around the shop holding dust off the floor. The 3 pieces were rough cut with the circular saw, then planed back to the correct shape for the curvature. All in all, very pleasant work. Note the cleating at the deck for cabin side support.

The drawings and measurements I have been offered by other Clippercraft owners show the bow bunk tops at 7′ corner to corner against the bulkhead, so I targeted this length. Using some eyeballing, sticks, a level, and some hot glue, 3 shapes were generated. The new A bulkhead, the bunk side, and the bunk top half. I can’t recommend enough to people that buying cheap $10 lauan plywood is the way to go for templating. It goes very fast, can be used as a rapid prototype, and translates measurements very well.

Photos are a bit limited because I would work until absolutely stopped by outside forces (read: loving wife preparing dinner), so I didn’t take great documentation. My apologies.

In the following shots, it is clear to see that the mahogany plywood is already in place. These two shots are the dry fit phase:

What isn’t shown are the roughed-out bunk tops. The coming week will see an edge developed along the hull sides with CVG fir, making a ledger for the seat tops to rest against and glue up to. This will cover one side, while the upper edge will be filleted and taped to the hull. The bow will then be a giant box-sectioned egg crate, making it substantially stronger than the factory Clippercraft setup.

I grabbed a couple botched offcuts from the cabin side nailer. These had a near-perfect angle to glue to the side of the hull for where the bunk tops meet the hull planking. 6″ bits are a good size, as they glue readily to the hull and don’t need too much thickened epoxy.

After ensuring the boat is level (it has been for some time now), grab a 4 foot level and use it across your bracing, marking a line where it touches the hull planking. A permanent marker is best.

Once everything is marked, make sure your hull planking is either sanded back to good solid wood or you have roughed up the sound epoxy coating. Now mix up some good peanut-butter consistency thickened epoxy (I like pine dust and silica) and stick the 6″ bits to the hull sides along the line. I use blue 1/2″ masking tape to hold them in place for the 30 min or so it takes for the epoxy to set.

As those are in place, this is also a good time to add in any remaining nailers or bracing available. I had some filler left over, so I clamped in the remaining support.

24 hours later, everyone seems to be nice and cured up, so it’s time to rip off the tape and see how strong it all is.

The lines looked a little wonky to me at first, but it turns out I had 3 different thicknesses of supports in there, so they look a bit odd. After setting some wood on them, they are going to be within the 1/4″ gap filling ability of the epoxy, so we charge ahead.

Luckily I had purchased the right amount of plywood earlier in the year for my cabin project. I made a template of the cabin top shape out of lauan, roughed it in, and laid down the lines on 6mm okoume mahogany ply. This first panel required a bit more fitting, which resulted in a decent gap tolerance to the hull. I used that panel to mark out the second (both from a single sheet of ply), and laid it in for fitting. The second panel required adjustment as well. After much fiddling, I managed to get them both in and lined up in a position that was well supported.

In all likelihood, this thing is going to be almost expansive in comparison with the boat we fish out of now. The seam down the middle will be butt blocked with plywood, then filled with epoxy filler to a smooth finish. Later trimming gives each bunk side 22″ of width and 7′ of length without the center panel in place.

Next up was a long free day with good weather, so out came the epoxy. In a very common moment of absentmindedness, I left the bottom of the longitudinal panels free to roam about the hull. Solution? Filler, fillet tools. This should be ridiculously stout, as I filled the area between the 5/8″ stringer and the panel completely, adding a good deal of laterall stiffness, but leaving a small scupper in the event of water penetration.

We have strong, we have supported, we have storage, let’s make it all waterproof. All surfaces had been coated by the previous owner with CPES, a good base. To this I added 2 coats of neat (unthickened) epoxy, as well as a couple coats on all the new materials. Anything that isn’t a gluing surface must be coated at this point, or we will be reaching through holes to do it.

A couple coats of epoxy wet on wet will keep the panels in good shape, while getting a good bond with the filled epoxy I will use .

Gluing in the bunk tops is always a peculiar operation, as they tend to have not only strange shapes, but oddly placed support structures. Here you can see my use of the “Heavy Stuff” clamp.

Clippercraft cuddy

Whilst that project went quickly, why not get the other bits ironed out as well, as the gloves are still sticky. I made up blocking of 6mm ply and 6″ wide boards to create a bedding surface for storage hatches. A little scrap from the inner cutout portions utilized the rest of the single sheet of ply necessary to make the bunk tops.

A combination of free time and weather completed a great 3 day shot of wet on wet epoxy work. This time of year, any epoxy that has been laid within the previous 24 hours isn’t completely cured, which allows it to bond molecularly, creating a one piece adhesive assembly. Highly recommended not only for strength, but for saving sanding time.

The shape of the hull laps required doing the layup in 2 pieces. I made a fillet and laid in 12 oz 45/45 biax glass bedded in epoxy, but split the tape at the lap. I then backed in a bunch of filler to bond the lap, and used excess neat epoxy to make little fills, making the lap area level and watertight.

My parents had arrived last night, bringing with them from Oregon a set of cradles which this boat is quite familiar with. She was once sitting on them in the past, when the previous owner had her in the shop for work. I had told him then that I wanted the cradles, and that I would someday own them, but he didn’t add them in. Lo and behold, he put them up for sale and guess who bought them? Heh…

Thanks to Ron down the lake allowing me to borrow some foam blocks to crib her up, she was destined to be off the trailer by the end of the day. My scalp was tingling in anticipation of not being beaten into the rafters of the shop constantly.

Out comes the foam, floor jack, some clamps and braces, and the 6×6’s.

Poof, trailer magically disappears from hovering hull.

Now that she’s on the substantially lower cradles, I have a hand’s thickness from my tremendous noggin to what I can only compare to the gladiators of the roof truss world, seeking out my scalp at all costs.

Unbelievable difference, it will take time to get used to not hunching over constantly to work, but man I love that space. The boat is also willing to scoot side to side at a whim, moves around the shop without effort, and puts everything at a much easier to work height.

Well, it isn’t that late in the day, let’s rehang the cabin side mocks…

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