clothing cabinet in salon

Making Clothing Cabinets

Tuesday August 25, 2015

clothing cabinet in salon

I remember when I thought that when the time came to begin making the cabinets it would be the easiest job in the world compared to the walls.  The walls were at odd angles in which we had to follow the curve of the hull, but cabinets are mostly straight and should be incredibly easy, right?

Nope.  I’m not lying when I say this is pretty much the only thing we have been working on for the past two and a half weeks. Two measly clothing cabinets in the forward salon and they are taking an eternity to build. It’s not making the frame or even perfecting the curve for the side that does butt up against the hull that is draining all of our work hours. Our two major downfalls on this project have been trying to get everything absolutely level and lined up, as well as finding crafty ways to cover up the piece of aluminum frame that juts out into our cabinet space.

I shouldn’t say all of these are working hours, however.  A lot of them are contemplation hours.  With a few trial and error tests here and there.

Covering the aluminum frame still has us dumbfounded where there is a 2″ section that sticks up above the cabinet frame, but inside will just have to be a lot of specially cut and placed pieces of Eurolite (like we saw on their website here). Although the part of getting the cabinet frame lined up as we’d like it is proving quite tricky too.  We’ve decided we’d like the boat to flow together as much as possible, meaning if possible, we’d like to keep a linear line from where the pantry cabinets start at one end of the galley and ends with our clothing cabinets in the forward salon. Since we’re working with a space that curves in and grows smaller the further forward you reach in the boat.  Luckily our aluminum straight edge we’ve been using for routing is long enough to span this area and helps us to find the correct angle we need for the cabinet frame.

Once we had decided how far we wanted the cabinets to come out into the salon it was time to make the frame.  Rather than waste our precious hard wood cherry on the learning process we picked up some pine from Home Depot to do a few test runs on.  Items like checking the measurements, how the pieces come together, and most importantly, how to work our new Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System.  As the name implies, it creates pocket holes so that the screws run in the back sides of the boards without ever showing on the front.  Even though we’ll still be using the tongue and groove format for the doors of the cabinets, this was a much easier way to do the frame.

framing clothing cabinet

pocket holes using Kreg Jig

Who knew we’d ever be so happy to going back to templating pieces of wood.  Once the frame was in place we needed the pieces of 1/4″ cherry plywood that will serve as the side.  Using our compass we traced the curve of the hull onto one of our scrap 1/4″ strips of wood and cut it down until it fit perfectly in place.  The other two lines were straight enough that we could overlap them onto the first, giving us the edges we needed, before being glued together.  Tracing that template onto our cherry ply we had our side within about 30 minutes.

templating the side of cabinet

To give the cherry plywood a little extra strength and stability we also added a piece of Eurolte to the inside and gave it a coat of epoxy since it will be attaching to an aluminum frame.  Cutting a few more strips of Eurolite we covered the remaining frame on the inside, and added cleats to place the shelves on top of.

building inside of cabinet

 Using a sheet of 1/2″ marine plywood we made the shelves for the cabinets, only having space for two total.  The top shelf should give plenty of space, the middle one a little less so, and I have no idea what’s going to be able to fit into the crack of the bottom area.  Maybe I should talk to Eagle Creek about some packing cubes that we can neatly store socks and underwear in?

The shelves themselves were slightly harder to make templates for with the odd shape of having to bend around the aluminum frame, but after minimal cursing and only a few wrong cuts with the jig saw on my part, we had them snugly fitting inside and it was time for my favorite part.  Painting!  Any time you hand me a bucket and a paint brush I am filled with joy because it means that area is ether near or at an end.  Plus this time I was even more so excited because it means that we can now transfer our clothes from where they are randomly strewn on the pilot house settee to an actual cabinet.

painting the inside cabinets

 The last part of this project, which we’re still working on at the moment, is making the doors.  They’re being done in tongue and groove, which Matt just about has perfectly down now, so that aspect is coming along nicely.  Getting them to fit into the frame with the exact same spacing on all four sides is a little harder.  Plus at the moment we’re waiting on our hinges to arrive before we can install them.  You know, the kind where you can’t slam the door because even when you try it will shut nice and softly for you?  We’ve opted for those.  A nice option when you live on a boat and a random wave might send the door cracking down on your hand.

framed cabinet without doors

Matt installing cabinet shelves

forward salon Trisalu 37

A Walk Through of Daze Off

Friday August 21, 2015

forward salon Trisalu 37

I feel like August has basically been a wash as far as boat building goes on the interior. June and July we were kicking things out, only to find ourselves mostly stalled at the moment. That’s not to say that work isn’t getting done. Our welder has been out almost every weekday since the beginning of the month and with that project getting completed it will be a load off our backs.

It’s just us two that can’t seem to be productive. I mostly blame the heat.Everyone tried to warn us that August is a killer and you’re better off just leaving your boat in the yard while you find cooler locations to kick up your heels for a few weeks, but we did not listen. We should have. I could be sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan right now, but we were incredibly stubborn and thought the heat would not apply to us. Wrong. We were oh so wrong. With daily highs between 91° to 93°, and the Real Feel usually leveling out at 105°, we have become insanely lethargic and probably a little brain damaged.

All in all, it feels like we’ve barely accomplished anything these past few weeks.  Which may be true, but then I do have to remind myself that we still have come a ways from where we first started.  I was looking at a few photos the other day of the first time we got on Daze Off to look at her and had to remark to Matt, “Wow, I can’t believe how different the salon looks now!”. And “That’s what the galley used to look like? I can’t even remember since we ripped it out”.

It was when I was telling him that I should put a few photos up on the blog to show how far we’ve actually come that he reminded me he took a little bit of video to send to our friends Kim and Scott on Anthyllide just before we moved the boat out of storage.  I realized that we never really did a ‘walk through’ before we started demolishing everything and this might be as close as we have to it.

Since Matt had been making the video for our aluminum boat buddies there was a lot of focus on the areas that will need to be fixed.  Areas of corrosion, rotting wood, ect.  I ended up cutting a lot of the video out or else you might be staring at a section of the hull or the sole for 30 seconds while Matt explained what will happen there in the long run and also replies to some of the questions our friends Kim and Scott had asked. Leaving the narrative on while the video now jumps all over the place was also somewhat odd, so I replaced it with music instead.

I know….I’m sure you’d love an explanation of the boat as it gets walked through, but trust me, this was specifically geared for our friends instead of a general audience.  Although it does make me think I should begin shooting a few explanatory videos as we go along with our work now.  We’ll see.

Anyway, here is the closest thing we have to a walk through of Daze Off in her before stages.  Not the best video, but hopefully it will give you a better idea of what she looked like as a whole before we started work on her.  And also, to show there is proof that even though we are nowhere near the finish line, at least we’re not still stuck at the start either.

 

 

 

Daze Off, cleaned forward salon

Jessica routing Eurolite

The Process of Routing & Templating

Sunday August 16, 2015

Jessica routing Eurolite

I feel so all over the place with this blog right now because none of our projects seem to go in order, and there’s usually the distinct possibility that we’re working on five different things at one time.  Depending on if the welder is in for the day or if we have just a few hours to kill before the rain comes in, it seems like we’re switching up projects daily or even hourly. Which hasn’t always made it the easiest thing to track our progress on the blog or even know what to write about.

Welding?  It’s been an ongoing project for the past two weeks now that is going to need so much more time before it’s finished that I’m not even sure what to write about it at the moment.  Should I give little snippets as they come, or wait until the job is finished and center a post wholly on that?  The clothing cabinets we’re trying to build in the forward salon?  Don’t even get me started on those.  Between odd angles and trying to cover up aluminum frames, that project has us scratching our heads and Matt playing out a million scenarios of what solutions we might have available.  Most of which won’t pan out.

So while these other projects are still ongoing and will be for the next few weeks, I’ll take you through one of our smaller projects: routing and templating.

One of the areas we hadn’t touched yet in the forward salon was replacing the overhead.  Previously in this area were long 5 3/4″ wide boards spanning the length, forward to aft, held together by some trim running abeam.  Although these boards never actually looked that bad and probably could have been kept, we didn’t like the variance in size between the grooves of what we’re doing to the walls and would like to keep it all uniform.  So for us to replace them is the same way we would do the walls, just placing it overhead instead.

If we were doing the walls we’d normally have to make our own templates out of scrap 1/4″ wood which is a pain in the butt. Tracing, cutting, and hot gluing these little strips together until they perfectly outline the space we want the new wall to be placed, but in this instance we’re able to keep the existing overhead boards in tact so we can trace them onto our Eurolite and easily cut out the shape we need.

Using much caution since the trim was the only thing keeping these boards together, we unscrewed them just far enough until they became unattached from the furring strips, and while I held the boards from falling down with my arms up over my head, we gently lowered them and brought them down the ladder to our work area until we were ready for them.

taking off old overhead

bare overhead with foam

Since we were replacing such a large area we started out with a brand new 4′ x 8′ sheet of 1/4″ marine plywood Eurolite.  Positioning it on our sawhorses in front of Daze Off, it was my job to mark the board every 3 1/4″, the distance between our grooves.  I will admit there have been one or two instances where my measurements have been off before, resulting in sloping lines, so now I’m adamant to check each side 2-3 times now before we begin routing.  You’d think I’d have the numbers memorized by now… 3 1/4, 6 1/2, 9 3/4, 13….but somehow after 26 I always begin to get a little confused and by the time I hit the 45″ area I can never remember if I’m supposed to be at an extra quarter inch or half.

In any case, we now measure at least twice and cut only once.  When I’m sure I have my numbers down we bring out our large straight edge, an 8′ long section of aluminum that we clamp down to the Eurolite exactly where I’ve made my marks.  Either Matt or I (usually Matt) will then take our router with a v-groove bit installed, and run it down the length of the board making sure to keep it tight against our aluminum straight edge to ensure a straight line.  The reason it’s not always me doing this job is I um…I’m not always so good at that part.  Luckily we’ve been able to hide all my mistakes so far.

After each line has had the router passed through it we move the straight edge up to the next mark and so on and so on until we’ve covered the whole board.  A large amount of sawdust tends to accumulate so I’m usually taking a little brush and cleaning the board after each sweep.  From start to finish this part usually takes about an hour.  Before we can begin tracing the template though, we do a good sanding of all the new grooves to take away the rough edges from the router and also give it more of a rounded transition into the board.

Matt routing Eurolite

close up of routing

Jessica routing Eurolite

Jessica routing Eurolite

 The last step is to take our template, in whichever form it may be in, and place it on the board of Eurolite to trace and cut.  Depending on the area it is getting placed into and if it’s the first board in a section or a continuation of an existing board into another area, we have to make sure the routed lines match up and flow together so we don’t have one routed line butting up to the center of a strip when two boards are matched up together.  Usually we take extra care in this by starting with the existing board and taking a measurement of where the first groove is from the edge.  Then we know for the next board that we also have to make the first groove come in 1 1/4″ or so from the edge.

In the case of this overhead piece we also had to have our Eurolite board and template facing down so that both pieces had the lines facing the same way.  One of our first times we accidentally had our Eurolite board facing up while the template was facing down and essentially cut our piece backwards and wasted that sheet of Eurolite.  It was not a good day.

Lining everything up we added a little extra area to the template from where we noticed it wasn’t fully butting up against the wall.  We’re learning it’s usually better to be a little large and cut down where necessary.  Which also happens a lot in this process.  I’d say that once we have the new piece of Eurolite cut out there are approximately four trips up and down the ladder with the new board and we try and fit it in it’s new space and then have to shave off 1/8″ here and there.  Eventually though we do get it right and then it’s time to screw it into place.

placing template over Eurolite

Matt tracing template

mistake in routing

standing over open floor

Odds & Ends Projects

Wednesday August 12, 2015

Matt varnishing cherry

So we go through all the work of ripping apart the galley, ready to get ourselves started on it so in a month or two we’re able to cook meals on our own boat instead of the marina’s grill, and it turns out we can’t do a d&^n thing in that area.  What we couldn’t see behind the cabinets and wall was that there is a large area of pitting in the aluminum that is going to have to be replaced by our welder.  And until that gets done, this area is basically untouchable.

In the meantime we’re now looking around to other little things that can be done.  The good news is the welder has started this week, but we know it won’t be any time soon before he can get to the area in the galley.  Just like us, he’s starting forward and working back. We’re thinking it will be a few weeks before that area gets touched.

Trying to do what we can, we’ve thought about making the Eurolite pieces for the wall and then removing them once the welding gets done, but there’s only a few areas we can because wherever we decide to put the new fridge (we’re debating leaving it where it was or moving it to the back corner) we’ll be using foam instead. Unfortunately the whole galley area is turning into ‘We can’t do this until this gets done, and that can’t be done until the floor is installed, and we can’t install the floor until the welding is done’.  Which is why I’m still in the frame of mind that we should have scrapped August in the boat yard and went back to Michigan.  Not that it would have helped with the welding though, because we still need to be here for that.

So now we’re scratching our heads and coming to the realization that what we can do at the moment are a lot of the finishing touches we had been hoping to put off until we could either A.) Do a larger area at one time, or B.) Hopefully won’t make a mess of while we’re still using the area as a construction zone.  We still don’t want to do the final coat of paint to the walls since based on what’s happening to the primer that’s already been applied, it will become extremely dirty and have to be done again. This has now left us with varnishing and working on a small area of the floors.

First job was the varnish.  We haven’t done incredibly much yet with the cherry, although with the hours we’ve (Matt has) put into it by now you’d think that there would be piles and piles of wood to be varnished instead of only the cabinet doors in the v-berth and the fronts to the settee in the forward salon. The debate is still on for if we want them to have a gloss or a matte finish in the end, but we know that it will be a total of about six coats and we needed to get something on it soon to protect it.

After hours and hours of research on Matt’s part we landed on Epifanes Clear Varnish with an ultra UV filter to get ourselves started.  If we decide to go glossy we’ll stay with that and if we want to go matte we can change it for the last few coats. From what we have seen, the varnish is taking the cherry and almost turning it into a honey color.  Not what I was expecting it to look like at all, and honestly not exactly what I’m hoping it will stay like.  To me it looks a little too much like oak.  But Matt tells me that with time the wood will darken and maintain more of a cherry color.

The floor has been another fun project and something we know won’t be finished until the interior of the boat is 95% done.  When everything is finished we hope to have a 1/4″ maple wood laying on top of 3/4″ marine plywood, but we won’t be adding the maple until the very end. For the moment though, we can go ahead and lay down the 3/4″ plywood.  Originally to me this seemed like the easiest project we’ll have taken on yet because I thought we could take the existing pieces, trace them on to the new board, cut it out, and voila!, new floor.

Turns out things aren’t exactly level on our frame though and there was one good day Matt spent on his hands and knees, measuring, leveling, moving around the fronts for the settee, and basically getting everything to perfectly match up.  I felt so bad as this part was a one person project and all I could do was sit on the ledge for the centerboard and watch, while singing along to Pandora.  Which I’m sure really helped his concentration. Have I mentioned lately what a great husband I have and how much work he’s putting into this boat as I usually sit on the sidelines?  There’s no way anything would get done around here without his knowledge and focus, that’s for sure.

What did end up happening is he found out how to take the original floor boards that weren’t fitting perfectly, where to add a little extra oomph on some sides, and where we might have to add a few wedges below to level things out.  Then we did trace the existing boards onto the new ones, added the extra where it was needed, cut a little big just in case, and then fit them into place, sometimes shaving off an 1/8″ here or there.

While they may not still fit perfectly until we can work with all the surrounding boards, but it is a huge improvement from where they were and it no longer sounds like a 300 pound man is lumbering toward us when Georgie walks across them.  No joke. It scared the hell out of us the first few nights on the boat.  Cheers to small improvements!

Matt varnishing settee front

panels waiting to be varnished

Matt measuring floor space

construction zone of boat

standing over open floor

torn apart galley

Mission Demolition – Galley

Saturday August 1, 2015

Matt ripping apart galley

Today we ripped apart the entire galley.  Which must mean that we’re close to beginning work on it, and that makes me very excited.  After having ‘planned’ for the v-berth and salon area only to take 4-5 weeks to complete, and here we are moving on to week 8, I need to see a noticeable sign that we actually are moving in the right direction.

The only issue I had with this is we’d just gone through the boat to make it presentable to guests since our welder will be starting any time now, and this means that all the pots and pans and tupperware containers that had been sitting all willy nilly throughout the pilot house were actually placed in cupboards and out of the way.  Don’t ask me why this took so long, I think I had issue with putting things away into these filthy spaces until I realized that we won’t be using any of them for quite some time anyway.  So my mixing bowls might get some dirt and grime on them.  That’s ok, it’s not like I’ll be pulling them out tomorrow to make a culinary delight!  Which means I had to once more find a place to put all of these things and they eventually ended up in the storage area in the pilot house that runs under the cockpit.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Once everything in the galley had been cleared out though it was time for demolition.  Not quite as fun as easy as the forward salon though since this area was a little more complex.  In fact, instead of handing me a screwdriver and letting me loose on taking things apart like had happened before, I was set to stand back and watch Matt as he began taking a crowbar to the cabinets and shelves, ripping them out with abandon.  Since none of these items of wood are going to be reused for templates, furring strips, or anything else we can think of, there was no reason to keep them all in once piece.  As soon as a piece was torn out it was handed to me where I then placed it in the cockpit for later disposal.

This first part went fairly quickly and easily although I was soon called into action to help with the removal of the fridge.  Once the counter top was pried off we still needed to get this chunk of metal out from the multiple layers of foam in which it was encased. The outermost layer was only sheet insulation, and with a few good stabs from a chisel was pretty easy to get out.  The real trouble came when we needed to remove all the sprayed in foam that was sitting between the back of the fridge and the hull.  Hardened over many years, this stuff did not want to come out.

Each taking a side, we attacked it with whatever tools we had at our disposal. Chisels, pry bars, and even a bread knife.  Which surprisingly did the best job of all. Slowly we made progress as the extra foam fell away and we were doing well until it came time to find the wires for the fridge hidden in the bottom layers of the foam.  After a long game of hide and seek between the foam and the Dremmel we did finally locate them and found out they had melted themselves into the material since they were not in any kind of casing.  Of course they had.  Why should we begin expecting now that there was once one good spot of wiring on this boat?

The good news is A.) We’ll be replacing it all anyway, and B.) after this point the rest of the galley became extremely easy to remove again.  Working aft we took out the rest of the cabinets, the kitchen counter, and even the sink.  Everything was dumped in the cockpit until we could decide if there actually was anything we’d like to spare.  The sink?  Possibly.  Cabinet doors? We’ll take off and save the hinges.  The rest though could be trash.

A trash I was hoping to get rid of the next day since it was now raining, but someone felt it prudent to get out of the cockpit right away. So through a light stream of water we pieced out the items in the cockpit and tossed everything to become trash over the side of the boat and onto the ground. When everything was sorted it was tempting just to run back inside and leave the mess for later, but I figured that I was wet already so why not bring everything to the dumpster at the other end of the yard?

Back inside and toweled off we went through the work of cleaning up the remnants of our mess.  Garbage cans full of foam pieces and lots of vacuuming of the floor and the areas underneath where the frame of the boat collected bits of our destruction.  Soon enough the area was spic and span, or as much as it’s going to be at this point, and we were staring at the blank canvas of what our new galley will be.  I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of hard work and a total pain in the butt to build, but we’re both extremely excited for this next step in boat building.

Matt ripping apart galley

Matt ripping apart galley

ripping apart fridge

taking out fridge in galley

ripping apart galley

torn apart galley

torn apart galley

galley ripped out

 

epoxy coating boards

Random Happenings in the Boat Yard

Monday July 27, 2015

George looking for food

Sometimes, a lot of the time now actually, I’m finding that we’re so all over the place with our boat work and every day life that it’s hard to keep track of it all.  Lots of things that don’t warrant a blog post of their own, ether because the event itself is too small to worth noting, or even because there’s a lack of good photos.

Take for example our last night with our Young Bloods group.  The six of us, including Mark and Hanna of s/v Cara, and Meike and Sebastian of s/v Meise, had a great night out at JR’s Saloon as a final farewell before Mark and Hanna left to go West and Meike and Sebastian left to go East.  But I only had 2 photos of our night out. 2!!  Hardly worth encompassing a post on, even though we all did have a really good time.

Looking through some of my photos as I’ve been prepping other blog posts I found a few other cases of the same thing.  I don’t want to leave them out necessarily, but I can feature a whole post on them either.  So instead I’ll give you a quick rundown of the random things that have been happening here over the past few weeks.

  • I’ve been spending a lot of my time doing epoxy coatings.

Glamorous right?  Not exactly, but a necessary evil. We want to be so absolutely sure that no wood on our boat rots that we’re taking every precaution to keep it from happening.  Since condensation is most likely to form against the inside of our metal hull, anything we put up that is near this metal needs a water blocking epoxy coat.  The furring strips that attach to the aluminum frames running horizontally though the boat and every piece of wood that gets attached to these furring strips.

So every piece of Eurolite that is being turned into ceiling, or overhead, or floor, gets a coat of epoxy to it’s back side.  The fronts will be coated with primer and paint (except the floor).  I’m still debating on if I like doing only 2-3 pieces at a time to quickly get the job done and over with, or if I like them to pile up after a few days of measuring and cutting, then spending a good half day out in the blazing sun but without worries of having to do it again for another week.  One great part about finishing each time though means we get to install them and there is visual proof that we are making progress on this boat!

epoxy coating boards

epoxy coated boards

  • The people that previously wired this boat are idiots.

No, I’m serious.  It’s a wonder no one has died on here yet from electrocution or the boat hasn’t gone up in flames.  We found some of their stupidity when we first arrived to Indiantown while looking into compartments in the pilot house and found out that some of the wiring was done with an orange extension cord. That was pretty bad, only it doesn’t end there. When we were ripping out the overhead in the forward salon we noticed that they used an extension cord for their wiring in the mast as well.  WTF? So now, because of whomever these idiots were and thought they could take such a stupid shortcut on wiring, we’re going to have to drop the mast so we can fix it.  Another unexpected chunk of change out of our pockets.  Yippee!!

bad mast wiring

bad mast wiring

  • We made some new friends!

Unfortunately this is not a case of someone new at the marina to hang out with on a near daily basis, but we were contacted by the super fun Bo and Allison of Sailing B+A because they were shortly in town. Another young couple just like us, but these two are not just only new cruisers but newlyweds as well!  Having just tied the knot in May, they left Orange Beach Alabama just a few days after the wedding and have recently pulled into Stuart to keep their boat in a slip for hurricane season.  Realizing they were a mere 20 minute drive away from us they shot over an email to see if we’d be up for a dinner out sometime.  Of course we would!

Wanting to give Bo and Allison the full taste of what Indiantown has to offer, we suggested we meet up at JR’s Saloon for Taco Tuesday.  Along with us for the fun was our mutual friend Ellen (online to them, and in person to us). It’s too bad that we were only able to meet up for a few hours because these two are a hoot and the five of us could have stayed and closed the place down.  The good news is they’ll be back in Stuart in a few months, between odd jobs to keep the kitty full during hurricane season, and we’ve already made plans to meet up as soon as their back in town.  In fact, us girls aren’t even going to wait that long.  As soon as Allison is able to make it back to South Florida we’re going to have a girl’s night on her boat in Stuart full of wine drinking, talk about hair and make-up, and possibly a chance for me to wear my crazy print leggings without getting an eye roll from Matt.

(Again, I only took two photos while we were out.  What is wrong with me?)

Matt and Bo

Sailing B+A & MJ Sailing

 

Matt installing v-berth foam

A Comfortable Place to Sleep

Saturday July 25, 2015

Matt installing v-berth foam

Today is a day I have been waiting for a very very long time.  It is our first day off from boat work in I don’t even know how long.  Since our Today Show filming, which I think was now three weeks ago.  And that wasn’t even really time off!

The reason we finally have the day off today, and maybe why it’s taken us three weeks to earn one, is because we have now put the foam mattress in the v-berth.  This probably doesn’t make sense to you on why it warrants a day off, but about two weeks ago when I thought we were 3-5 days from this happening I told Matt “We should take our next day off once we view mattresses and have one installed

01.  Spend the day lying in a bed from TV Bed Store and watching movies”.  He agreed.

One of the things I forgot about with Matt is how literal and stubborn he can be sometimes.  The date of putting the foam mattress in kept getting pushed further and further back because we’ve also been working at re-bedding a hatch frame with the timber bed base in the v-berth which can be quite messy at times and we wanted to wait until it was 100% finished before we placed our cushion below.  Since we know it won’t be easy to move the mattress around the boat once we have it in we didn’t want to deal with the fuss of even trying. (And if you’re waiting for a post on the re-bedding hatch, you’ll be waiting a looong time. Some of my friends suggested to get an adjustable bed at Sleep Essentials, which will reduce the task of moving the bed time and again. We didn’t document the first one since it was more of a trial.  We’ll show you how it goes on the 2nd or 3rd one once we have it down.)

So there we were with a hatch frame that needed a ridiculous amount of sanding and priming and painting and could not go in for about two weeks later than we originally expected.  You’d think that we’d still allow ourselves a day off in the mean time, but my stubborn husband kept reminding me that ‘No no no, we said we wouldn’t take a day off until the foam went in’.  I should have known better than to make deals like this with him.  To be fair though, we have been busting our butts and getting a ton of work done lately with the remaining Eurolite pieces for the ceiling and overhead to the v-berth and forward salon.

But today, after staring at the two cardboard boxes of foam we’ve been hiding in storage for nearly two weeks now, we were able to bring them back to the boat to make a comfortable sleeping spot for ourselves.  In total we have three different pieces of foam which together add up to a thickness of 6″.  Two inches of a firm foam on the bottom, three inches of a medium foam in the center, and one inch of a soft pillow topper to rest on top.

Each of these sheets of foam is 80″x60″, so in order for them to be shipped to us in a somewhat tiny package they were vacuum sealed to suck out as much air as possible. The real fun part was watching them expand as the tightly wound pieces of plastic containing them were cut free.  In mere seconds these tight packages blew up to their full size and we went through the process of trying to neatly layer them on top of each other.  Not without a few swan dives into our new cushy bed first of course, just to test it out.

Since we were trying to get a section of material that was 60″ wide into a space that eventually runs down to 36″, we knew it would not be a smart move to try and perfectly line the foam pieces up and glue them together while parts up them were running up the wall in v-berth.  Spraying together the half of the foam that was able to stick out onto the flat board of the murphy bed, we attached the three pieces together using a spray adhesive from 3M specifically to include foam.  Waiting 5-10 minutes to fully let it dry we rotated the foam 180 degrees to line up and glue the other side.

The only thing left to do now was to cut them into place.  We couldn’t leave it as one big piece overall since when we go to flip up the murphy bed, the piece that sits on the ‘wall’ would not fold well into the area since the foam is so thick. Measuring from the tip of the v-berth up to the hinge where the wall folds up and down, we made one cut horizontally to give us the two pieces.  Since the wall of the murphy bed is so wide now, that piece was all set.  Using a sharpie to mark the angle of the v-berth, Matt then used the hacksaw to shave off the edges of the second piece and get it to fit snug into the v-berth.

For the time being the cushions will be left uncovered with fabric as we didn’t like what we had originally ordered online for them.  A clearance gray/silver fabric we thought was Brisa, but turned out to be some kind of off brand pleather that does not look very breathable and we think will get way too hot in the heat of the tropics.  So they’ll just get covered with our bed sheets for now and hope they stick together until we can encase them in a fabric we actually like.  I have to admit, I don’t mind putting off my sewing projects just a little bit longer.

Tonight I am looking forward to the best night of sleep I’ll have had in about a month and a half, now having six inches of pure heaven underneath me.  No more stiff as a board sport-a-seats or cockpit cushions so thin you can feel the plywood underneath us.  All we need now is a finished galley (and possibly lights) and I think we can live comfortably on this boat.

opening foam from package

opening foam cushions

foam cushions expanding

resting on new foam

half of v-berth cushion installed

tongue & groove cabinet face

Tongue & Groove

Monday July 20, 2015

settee face

The intricate construction I was mentioning in the last post?  Unfortunately does not just apply to the routed plywood we are using for the ceiling and overhead.  We have decided to make things very complicated for ourselves in the way we are going to assemble all of our cherry doors, cabinets, and pretty much everything made from cherry.  To make them look really nice and add a fine detail, instead of using just plain pieces of cherry plywood we are now using cherry boards to frame an inset of cherry plywood.  I’ll give you a quick example of the cabinet doors in the v-berth before I confuse you further.

(*Let it be known now that I will probably do a terrible job explaining this process.  If you’re looking for actual know-how, visit this page for someone who made cabinet doors for a home using this style of woodworking.)

cherry doors in v-berth

For anyone curious to know the details or specs, for the frame we used cherry 4/4 lumber that we milled down to S4S 1″x3″s and 1″x4″s, and used 1/4″ cherry plywood for the inserts.

To get the boards of the frame to fit together we did it in a tongue and groove style so there are no nails or screws holding any of it together.  Now that we’ve done this process a few times it’s begun to get a little easier, but there were about two solid days of trials on pine 1″x3″ boards, using our table saw to slice 1/4″ grooves right down the center for us to be able to slide the plywood in. The grooves only extended 1/2″ into the boards, so a lot of practice was getting the proper blade height and the distance between the blade and the fence to make sure the grooves ended up in the middle of the board.  Once that part was down we had to spend even more time practicing the perfect cut for the tongue on the end to be able to piece the frame together.

Again, I’m probably getting ahead of myself and should explain the full process better.  Getting into technical terms, the frames are made out of what are called rails and stiles.  Rails run horizontally across the top and bottom, and stiles are anything that run vertically.

rail & stile

After the cabinet doors in the v-berth our next project was to make the face of the settees in the forward salon.  The plan was to use a 1″x3″ rail on the top and a 1″x4″ rail on the bottom, as well as 3 stiles, one for each end and one for the center.  The rails were the easiest part as they only needed one groove.

Using our calipers to measure the blade height of the table saw and getting a few more practice runs in with our pine, we brought the cherry boards over to cut the groove in them, sending them across the table saw twice, rotating the board after each run, front to back, to get our desired width of 1/4″.  Then they were set aside until later when they’d need to be cut to their proper length.

The stiles required this step as well, placing a groove down the center, each end piece only received a groove on the inside, and the center piece receiving grooves on both sides. To be able to fit the stiles into the rails we also had to give them a tongue, with a length of 1/2″ and a width of 1/4″. To do this on the table saw we first cut the stiles to the proper length, adding an extra inch to account for the tongues on each side, and then raised the blade up just high enough so it would not cut through the entire piece of wood, but would only come up approximately 3/8″.  Measuring back 1/2″ from the end you make a swipe on the table saw and then keep moving the board further from the table saw, still making swipes until you’ve hit the end.  Flipping it over and doing the same to the other side you should be left with a small piece in the center that is now 1/4″ wide and 1/2″ long.

The next and easiest step is cutting the 1/4″ plywood insets.  Measuring the length and width of the open space in the frame, we needed to add an extra inch on each side to account for where the plywood would slide into the groove.  Something we almost forgot to do on more than one occasion.  Measuring the lengths we ran them through the table saw to get a straight cut and that was it.

Then it’s time for the dry run!  Setting the bottom rail on a flat surface we slid the tongues of the stiles into the gooves of the rail and lined them up flush on the ends and centered the middle piece.  From there we slid in the plywood pieces and then placed the second rail on top where the groove encased both the tongues of the stiles and the extra 1/2″ of the plywood.  If anything wasn’t fitting properly we’d take it apart and make a few necessary cuts, usually just an 1/8″ here or there.

When we were satisfied with the way everything was fitting together on the dry run it was time to glue it all together.  Bringing all the pieces inside the boat we went through the same process, just adding a wood glue to the tongues of the stiles this time.  After it was all pieced together we used clamps to press the boards tight together and left it to sit for about an hour.  Then voila!  Time to install!

Kind of.  We’re not permanently installing anything at the moment, plus all of our pieces of cherry will need about six coats of varnish in the end (three with gloss and three with satin), but it’s still nice putting them in place and becoming one step closer to finishing an area.

measurements for settee face

Matt making measurements

tongue & groove cabinet face

tongue & groove cabinet frame

gluing v-berth door

glued & installed settee face

cherry settee face

Serendipity 3

It’s All About Money: Sail Loot Podcast

Monday July 13, 2015

I’d have to say that about 70% of the emails we get in our inbox have something to do with money.  It may not be the sole subject of the email, but it usually comes up one way or another.  “How do you afford this; What did you do to save; What does it cost to maintain this lifestyle”.  We don’t mind these questions, in fact we usually openly talk about our money.  Through our Cost of Cruising pages you can find out what we spend each month and year and where all of our money goes.

To take it one step further though and find out everything there is to know about us and money; starting from the beginning and going up until now, we were contacted by Teddy at Sail Loot to participate in a podcast talking about this subject. We talked about absolutely everything from when we bought our first boat, how we outfitted Serendipity to cruise, what gets covered in our monthly expenses, and how we try to save where we can.  If you’ve ever had a money related question for us, chances are it’s been answered in this interview.

Keep reading to see how our interview appeared on the Sail Loot website, including the podcast.  If you’d like to see the full thing on their site as well as check out more links relating to the discussion, make sure to check out the original post here. For even more podcast from other great cruisers talking about their finances, make sure to check out Sail Loot’s home page.

Thank you so much Teddy for taking the time to interview us, it was a pleasure talking with you!

Matt & Jessica The Baths

“Matt and Jessica decided that it was time to get off the couch and start experiencing life. How they would experience life was the first question. When they decided that sailing was the answer, all they had to do was learn how to sail, find a boat, and figure out how to find their sailing money. Easy enough, right?

They ended up taking some sailing lessons, and getting some sailing practice for about 2 years on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. Their sailing money came with a lot of hard work, some downsizing (of their possessions and their activities), and some budgeting to make sure that they wouldn’t blow through their cruising kitty while sailing across oceans.

Matt and Jessica started with a little bit of money saved up, “normal” jobs, and a dream. They took off with enough sailing money in the bank to cruise for about 4 to 5 years if they stuck to their budget. Enjoy listening to this episode of the Sail Loot Podcast for all of the details!”

A Few Things You’ll Learn About Matt and Jessica, MJ Sailing, and their Sailing Money In This Episode:

  • Their Hunter 240, their first trailerable sailboat.
  • Their jobs on land prior to taking off cruising.
  • How much they paid for all of their sailboats.
  • Their cruising budget.
  • How big their crusing kitty was before they left. You know, this directly relates to how long they planned on cruisng.
  • Where they’ve sailed so far.
  • Crossing the Atlantic…twice within the span of a year.
  • The Re-fit of their new sailboat, Daze Off (the current name).
  • Matt’s hobby.
  • Where they’re living while they re-fit Daze Off
  • How Matt and Jessica keep a low-cost lifestyle.
  • Going the “wrong way” around the Caribbean.
  • Jessica’s sailing money and frugal cruising tips.
  • And Much More!

Kimberly Joy lifestyle photo

Serendipity 3

Daze Off 2

Eurolight boards in v-berth

Euroliting the Ceiling

Friday July 10, 2015

walls in vberth

So much work and so little to show for it.  At least that’s the way it feels lately.  Whenever I post photos on our Facebook page of something new that’s gone up or the difference from when we moved on her a month ago, all of you have been extremely encouraging by telling how nice everything is looking and how far we’ve come along. I think that Matt and I forget that the demolition stage is very quick and easy, yet the rebuild takes a lot more time.  A LOT.

I remember back when we had either first bought the boat or were debating it and Matt showed me the website of a guy that was doing something similar…ripping out the whole interior and starting from scratch, just like we are.  This guy had all day every day to devote to his boat as well and we thought we’d be on the same kind of schedule as him for completing projects.  Framing out v-berth?  Bam, 1 day.  Building new cabinets for the salon?  Bam, 1 week.

Two things we have learned since then.  A. We are not boat builders.  Or carpenters.  This is all new for us and although we hope we get the hang of it as we go along and things will eventually run much more smoothly and quickly, we’re still in the learning stages right now.  And B. We’re making our job infinitely harder by trying to make an ‘intricate’ interior.  If it was just installing plain ‘ol plywood we’d be much further along by now.  But instead we had to get fancy. Oh, and having an aluminum boat requires extra steps. Let me explain.

For the ceiling (walls) of the boat we are using a 1/4″ marine plywood.  After doing some shopping around we landed on something called Eurolite which, like it’s name implies, is an extremely light wood made from a European poplar.  While buying a sheet of 3/4″ marine plywood from a shop in West Palm Beach they gave us a sample of it to take home and after applying an epoxy coat to one side we were confident that it would still give us the strength we needed as well. We’ve ordered 10 4×8 sheets to start at about the cost of $34/sheet.  Keeping all the extras stored in a 10×10 unit we’ve had to rent up the street, we’ll bring one back at a time and begin the fun on it.

As part of our ‘intricate’ interior we are routing v-grooves into the plywood spaced 3 1/4″ apart.  Between marking the plywood with a pen on each end, clamping a straight edge on it, routing, and then sanding the grooves, each board takes about 2 hours to complete. Once the sheet is routed and sanded go into the boat and make a template of the area we want by cutting and gluing together small 1/4″ pieces of wood that we then trace onto the Eurolite.  Using our jigsaw to cut out the traced pattern we bring it inside to fit, and usually have to make a few adjustments before it fits into place and we can screw it into the furring strips.

Once we’re satisfied that the pieces fit we have to take them out again where the back side and edges are epoxied to prevent any possible condensation around the aluminum frame from rotting the wood. So far we only have the two boards in for the v-berth, but we’ve also spent a lot of time working to cap and enclose the area that the murphy bed folds up into, separating the v-berth from the forward salon.

One of the last projects we’ve been working on lately has been replacing the plywood that folds down for the murphy bed.  While we’re redoing the area we decided to extend the width of the area that folds down and extra 4″ on each side, which actually gives us the space of a queen bed now.  Before we’d be laying on our backs with our shoulders basically touching, but these extra few inches have made a world of difference. We can actually spread out without bumping into each other anymore.  I don’t think we’ve had this much space in a bed since we’ve lived on land and we’ve been sleeping soooo much better already.

Eurolight boards in v-berth Matt in murphy bed taking out overhead Jessica & Meike v-berth Matt working on caps paneled v-berthAnd once again Georgie puts up with us and our work.  If she’s not hiding somewhere in the crammed quarter berth she’s out laying on the sport-a-seats that we keep in the pilot house until it’s time to bring them to bed at night to use as our mattress.

In a quick note on our friends, they are all gone now, leaving us to fend for ourselves for company.  Meike and Sebastian are spending a few days touring Miami before flying back to Germany and Mark and Hanna are on the Gulf side of Florida positioning themselves for a jump down to Guatemala.  Before they left though we were able to get Hanna her birthday gift of an American meal.  Corn dogs and Budweiser.  What’s more American than that?
Georgie on a sport-a-seat Hanna