Home - Project Just Right
Chapter 1 - My goals and Requirements
Chapter 2 - Choosing the Boat to Build
Chapter 3 - Preliminaries, What I Did Before Starting
Chapter 4 - Setting up Frames and Building the Hull
Chapter 5 - Interior
Chapter 6 - Deck and Exterior
Chapter 7 - Topside Details
Chapter 8 - Keel, Centerboard, and Rudder
Chapter 9 - Mast, Rigging, Sails, Outboard & Anchors
Chapter 10 - The Electrical System
Chapter 11 - The Trailer and Trailering
Chapter 12 - Sea Trials and Cruising Pictures
Chapter 13 - Future Projects ... When is a Boat Finished?
Chapter 14 - Useful Information... Sources and Links
Chapter 15 - Questions and Answers
Chapter 16 - Other Vagabond Builders and Aficionados
Chapter 17 - A Few Good Ideas
Chapter 18 - Chapter 18 - Specifications and Equipment

Chapter 5 - Completing the Interior

The interior is where the real fun begins. The hull was pretty cut and dried. All the little nooks and crannies that make a custom boat need to be laid out and thought through before cutting out the bulkheads. I thought about all the things that I planned to stuff into the boat, their sizes, and weights. Some of the large or heavy items include the outboard, gasoline, battery, water, anchors and chain, an inflatable, and food stores. Since my goal was to have positive floatation if the boat were swamped, I had to allocate some fairly large chambers for floatation. With these in mind, I started laying out and cutting the bulkheads.

Cut Out Cleats

The first item of business was to prepare some 1x1's for all the glue cleats that would be needed for both the bulkheads and longitudinal framing. The idea was to fillet and tape where I could but for areas where this was not feasible, I used glue cleats. Some time ago, I discovered that the frames of old doors were a great source for nice dry, straight fir. A friend of mine offered me two wonderful fir doors. They were a thing of beauty but step one was to reduce them to lots of 1x1's.


Cut Out Bulkheads

The next step was to lay out and cut out the bulkheads from 9mm plywood. Once again, the battery powered Makita 3 3/4 circular saw was very useful. Each bulkhead was fitted inside the hull without pushing out on the hull. The hull panels stayed fair.



After fitting, each bulkhead was saturation coated with resin. After an overnight cure, each panel was washed to remove the blush and sanded. Cleats were glued to the bulkheads. Can a boatbuilder ever have too many clamps? I was limited in space to spread out all the panels at once so I had to do one or two at a time. A final fitting was made assuring that the bulkhead was level in all axes. I used the water level to carry the DWL in to each bulkhead.


Install Bulkheads

The next step was to tack and tape the bulkheads into the hull. Since the hull was constrained by the frames, I just started at the bow of the boat and installed the bulkheads from the bow aft. There may be a better way to do this but I did it this way. Before I faired the hull, I put little squares of blue masking tape at each of the points along the centerline that was scheduled to receive a bulkhead. The fairing material obscured the pencil marks but the tape benchmarks allowed me to reconstruct the centerline and bulkhead positions. Once the position of the bulkhead was determined and leveled and plumbed, I tacked the bulkhead in place with short fillets. After the putty set, I went back and completed the fillets on both sides. The next step was to tape the bulkhead to the hull, sand the tape, fill the tape, and sand again.


After a few of the bulkheads were in place, it was time to check out the human factors considerations!

Build Centerboard

After the center bulkhead was in, I gathered my courage and cut the slot in the hull for the centerboard trunk. I fitted the sides, and then glued in the spacers. The sides of the trunk were covered with DB120 and later painted with bottom paint. Since the trunk is a critical area, I glued using a Cabosil putty since it creates a strong joint. I installed the block for the centerboard and then taped the starboard side of the trunk into the hull.

Prepare Floors

When the bulkheads were taped in place, the floors were next. I couldn't really find solid lumber in the dimensions needed so I laminated the floors from four layers of 3/4" stock. The floors were fitted to the hull and set in lots of putty. I drilled the keel bolt holes on my drill press before installing the floors so the holes would be perpendicular to the floors. After installation, I drilled the rest of the way through the hull panel.


Tape In Vertical Panels and Covers

The longitudinal panels were next. Here are a few shots of the interior.

One of my dilemmas is to when quite filling, smoothing and sanding. The hull sanded out very smoothly with one coat of microballoon filler followed by a thin coat of WEST 410 Microlite. I found that I was spending lots of time trying to fill and smooth all the taped joints in the interior and it was taking forever. I finally decided as they say, "It was time to shoot the engineer and build it." I stayed with my goal of not having any sharp edges in any of the lockers. I decided on three levels of fairing. In the lockers I intended as bouyancy, one layer of fill would be enough. I quit sanding and coated the interior with one or two flow coats of thinned and pigmented resin and started gluing on the tops. I spent the time to put one additional fill and sand in the cockpit lockers where I planned to store things. After reading Devlin's recommendations on painting and talking with a paint tech rep, I decided that I liked the white colored flow coating better than paint. I think resin will be a nice hard surface and since it will be out of sight, why paint. Besides, marine paint costs about the same as resin. The third level I am reserving for the interior living spaces. I plan to flow coat all the surfaces to seal up the filled surface, wash, sand with 150, prime, sand with 220 and paint with an off white one-part urethane [Interlux Brightside]. I will varnish the hatch covers just to show a little wood. I'll cover my plans for the exterior painting later.


The picture above shows the aft compartment with two coats of white resin. The next picture shows a set of stiffeners glued to the bottom of the cockpit seat. I found that 9mm plywood needed some reinforcement to stand up under my weight. I cut some 12 mm strips with 45 degree bevels on each side. I glued the strips under both the cockpit seats and sole. I also curved the sole to stiffen but the extra pieces were still needed. I covered each of the stiffeners with one layer of 4 inch tape. I found that taping was necessary, glue along didn't hold. The next picture shows the reinforcement for the chainplate. I cut blocks so the chainplates will line up with the spreaders. I hope to avoid any eccentric loads on the toggles and pins.

The Finished Interior

This set of pictures shows the interior furnishings with some of the extra parts in place but before painting. The tour proceeds from forward aft.


Looking forward, the forward most compartment is a buoyancy chamber topped with an inspection cover. Next are two anchor storage bins, then the portipotti. I added horizontal stiffeners between the first two sets of ribs. The aft ones have shelf fronts. The Bomar hatch is large enough to crawl out of and set off center by 2 inches to give just a little more headroom over the head. On the starboard side is a locker glassed on to the hull with another compartment underneath. The gray and black box is a trash compactor wastebasket. We found on another boat that we could put four times as much trash in one bag with this jewel. Not cheap but well worth it.


The galley on the starboard side took lots of planning. I built in a 9 gallon water tank next to the hull. The blue tape covers a clear plastic gauge. We used steam table trays for a single burner propane stove, a sink and countertop. I'll add a cutting board in the right hand tray. I is interchangeable with a deeper tray to be used a large sink. There is a pump connected to the water tank below and a fill pipe and vent just behind the pump. The pump thermos allows us to have hot water on tap for a hot drink without firing up the stove. The small sink collects any drips from the faucet and since there is no drain, we expect to just dump it overboard. The boat has no through hull drains.

On the port side is the electrical panel and navigation station. There is a box, well coated with epoxy to contain a size 27 battery. The panels on the compartment and some of the shelves are removable so I can easily modify the nav locker to add radios or instruments. You can also get a glimpse of the head in its compartment. The water tank, battery and head are fairly heavy items and I hope that I have located them as low as I could in the boat and distributed the weight appropriately.

The last picture shows the access hole to the centerboard trunk.


The seat backs and seat lockers are shown. Each of the locker tops will have a rotating latch to prevent the contents from spilling out at really big heel angles. The middle pictures shows the deck beams. The last picture shows the starboard gas container locker. The locker is open fronted so no venting is needed. I don't plan to store any gas below decks.

That pretty much winds up the interior except for painting. The deck is next. So far, I haven't used a single fastener in the entire boat. Everything is glued together with epoxy and glass fabric. I weighed the hull and it is close to 500 pounds. I've gotten lots of positive comments from people who have stopped by to see the boat. One friend commented that when compared with his Cal 20, this was quite some boat. An artist stopped by and declared that the boat was almost a piece of art.

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