The traditional Clippercraft seat box construction allowed for smaller tanks and limited storage, which did a good job to preserve work deck space, but left an inadequate fuel supply for the fishing range I need. Instead, the boxes were built around the needs of the boat. First step, fuel tanks.

The tanks are in their general planned location, becoming seat boxes with storage all around them, supporting a helm seat facing fwd and an angler seat facing aft on both sides. She is planned to be a 3 man boat, but will fish 4 if needed.

Next came some mocking up this morning, while waiting on some other plans today. There was just enough time to create a mockup of the gauge panel/helm area.

This will hold the gauge cluster provided by Clippercraft, as well as the steering wheel and helm assemblies, primary wiring, and shield the lower cabling from the steering system to hide it. There will be secondary pieces added on between the helm pod and the cabin sides for the throttle assembly and some small bits storage (spare GPS, spare portable VHF).

With a few extra minutes, the actual pieces were cut from 9mm ply, with nailers made of CVG fir scraps from the cabin offcuts.

clippercraft heavy stuff clamp

Out came the epoxy rollers and split roller for smoothing, as it was time to get sticky. The roller found its way across all of the cabin sides, main bukhead areas, bunk tops, hatches, and anything else I could find that needed to be waterproof and hadn’t been overcoated yet.

Showcased above and below, the cabin sides with their new batten on top, looking all buttered up and dark colored. I did have a bit of a conniption fit due to the fact that the plywood I purchased (Hydrotek) was very rough compared to the product I have purchased in the past. It will be requiring quite a bit of sanding, I have a feeling.

Ahh yes, the hatch tops. All sanded up and rounded over.

Still looking like a big boat, but one that is filling up with required material, here’s a shot of the interior all glossed up and waterproofed with her first coat.

Lastly for the photos, the cabin forward. Here you can see the fruits of the last week of labor, in the sanded and faired areas where the white smudges live. As I said, not terribly exciting stuff to update with, but pending epoxy curing up, the primer and possibly the paint will be going in soon. Which reminds me, there needs to be a portable head up there…

Yeah, no tools were thrown, but consider yourselves lucky that your children weren’t within earshot of the shop today. Much in the way of progress, but one huge setback…

It was a lovely 48 degrees today in Northeast Washington. About 15 degrees above our normal nearly-freezing temps for this time of year, and far and away better than the brutal winter we had last year. What a luxury, as I need to get this boat done.

First order of business was to get started on those seat boxes. Rudimentary ideas of dimensions went together on paper, then out came the templating stock.

48″ long, 28-34″ wide depending on the hull shape, 36″ tall in front and 19 1/2″ tall in the back. This is the base point for the seats. My good friend Derek Wolcott taught me a valuable lesson in starting big and working your way down to the size you need. 36″ was a bit tall for seats, but it was an easy size to cut from the ply.

While we are here, let’s toss a top on it so we can see how it will look (soon to be a bad idea).

My wife likes to say things are a “family show” when someone goes off on a swearing fit or says something inappropriate. The shop was most certainly not a family show today. Gee, what a great idea to toss a lid on that seat box, it will help visualize everything. (Insert 90 second swearing fit here)

What is that you say? Why the swearing and the odd picture of the tank? Look closely.

That’s right boys and girls, I managed to cut into the tank while changing the size of the seat box from 48″ to 44″. I thought I had slid the tank out of the way far enough inside, but it looks like I was pretty incorrect in that assumption. Instead, I have dropped a more than 1″ deep, 1/4″ wide slit in the tank. It no longer holds pressure, but it also doesn’t free-flow air out of the cut. I believe this might be fixable, so I have an email into Moeller about it. Hopefully I can get some plastic welding rod, a torch, and do some repair work to make this $350 tank usable again.

Normally this would be a workday-ending event, but I just don’t have the time for that in this build. The longfins are calling, and July is the peak of the season. Pressing on then, I was intending to reduce the length of the box to 44″ and height to 32″. After a short de-escalating lunch of salad with shrimp, I completed all the cutting (without mowing through the tank again) and mocked it up with what I plan to be the final height. The box may become narrower, that is still in the planning process.

Another small project that was easy to knock out today was the basic console box. The sides were cut, cleats fitted, and everything is glued up and clamped, ready for basic assembly Friday.

Okay, it was a productive, but horribly frustrating day. The last couple hours were tied up recoating all the epoxied surfaces to build up some thickness. This second coat closes up the pores in the wood, adds some bulk to the coating for sanding, and makes a nice solid base for primer and paint.
A few minutes were taken at the end of the day to unwind, reconsider the next phase, plan ahead, and just generally admire what she’s going to be in a few months.

The Hydrotek I received was horribly rough, so a full thickness pull of thickened epoxy had to occur on the sides. I took the opportunity to do a few odds and ends as well.

The console came together simultaneously. The steps went as follows. First we pre-cut all the tape with the requisite tabs and pie cuts, then lay it out in a dry fit.

Second, fill in the joints with a reasonably stiff compound.

Then wet out the joints, lay fabric into them, wet out the dry spots, and press everything down tight to the wood with a laminating roller.

The local sheet goods supplier ordered in some 3/8″ 2 sided MDO for me for the seat boxes, and what better time to work on it than when it is 54 degrees here in the frozen tundra. Shop doors were open, it was spectacular. I chose the MDO because it requires far less finish work, can be assembled with mechanical fastenings, and is extremely durable when it comes to banging things into the painted paper surface.

This project used the rapid prototyping trick with cheap ply and hot glue. In short order some scrap was turned into these monstrosities:

Looks horrible, and a little nonsensical, but they result in a very tight fitting final product. The morning was spent getting things ready to go in, templating, and initial cutting.

After snack time, things went really quickly, transferring the lines and getting bits into place. The MDO is heavy, but won’t need to be glassed, will finish quickly with primer and paint, and should be very strong for its thickness.

You can see, these are first cut fits, no touching up or fitting out was necessary after the template was made. They laid in on the first time tighter than a frog’s ass, and look good to boot.

Taking a page out of the Nordic Tug playbook, I decided to pull the sole section out that the seat boxes sit on, and build them as a unit. This makes the work easier and faster to accomplish, and when the seat unit goes into the hull, it will be a much stiffer singular piece to move. It will, however, require the assistance of someone to get them into the boat. Any of you people that live nearby, let me know if you are going to be available in a week or so…

SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) has soccer tonight, so I capitalized on the extra few hours. This glue-up took quite a bit longer than I thought it would, but it will have a 36 hour cure-up time while I’m at the station. All but one of the 3/4″ x 1 1/4″ supports were glued up on each side, using a combination of clamps and drywall screws. This gave good clamping pressure, and allowed for some force to be applied to the panels to hold them true, straight, and get the shape necessary.

I took the opportunity to hot coat the sole support web with two coats of epoxy mixed with fast hardener. This stuff tacks up at 50 degrees in 10 minutes, so it is very fast work, but allows for forcing a project like this to be cured up quickly and hot coated multiple times in a day. Gives it that plastic coated look.

Now that the sole webbing is in good shape, it’s time to fit it, screw it down, and get ready for the seat boxes to be welded in.

clippercraft stern

I dropped a thick coat of phenolic microballoons on the tape seams (though I did it without grinding the selvage edge off the tape, I hate doing that) while they were partially cured before leaving. They had cured up nicely in 4 days, and sanded quickly to show the touch up areas still needing attention.

clipper37 002

With the completed boxes prepped for installation, what better time?

Then tape for added strength:

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