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From a Bare Hull:  The Deck:  Details (Page 2)


Earlier, I had cut an access hole in the poop deck, and now it was time to finish off the opening and create a hatch with which to cover it.  I began by squaring off the radiused corners of the opening, as my plans did not allow those to remain.

Next, I cut four pieces of mahogany to fit tightly inside the opening.  Each piece extended above deck level by an inch or so, and extended the thickness of the deck into the opening.  When I was satisfied with the fit, I  permanently installed the pieces using epoxy adhesive and bronze screws, creating a raised coaming around the opening.

With the coaming in place, I began work on the hatch to cover it.  Using the coaming as a guide, I cut four pieces of stock, each taller than the coaming, to fit around it tightly, but with enough room to allow for ease of operation.  I left the two longer (transverse) rails overlong to allow for trimming to exact shape later.  T hen, I glued up the frame with epoxy, doing the glueup right in place on the boat to ensure that the basis for the hatch fit perfectly around the existing coamings.  Once it was tightly clamped, I removed it to the shop floor for curing.

I also glued up a panel of solid mahogany for the top of the hatch, using three scrap lengths left over from the rudder blank glueup.  I set these pieces aside to cure.  To keep the small clamps, which I used to hold the boards flat during curing, from sticking, I grabbed whatever was close at hand--in this case, a used pair of latex gloves.  Mmm.

When all the glued subassemblies were cured, I sanded away any imperfections and cured epoxy, and then epoxied the solid mahogany hatch to the rail assembly, leaving an overhang on all sides for later trimming.  Once the glue cured, I removed most of the overhanging excess on the table saw, and then trimmed the top flush with the rails with a router and a straight-cutting pattern bit.

Next, I milled a pleasing 3/4" roundover on the top edges of the top, providing a smooth, rounded appearance, and then sanded the hatch smooth.  All that remained was final varnishing, which would take place over the coming days.  Finally, I placed the hatch in place on the poop deck and scribed the camber of the deck onto the edges of the hatch.  Down on the bench, I sanded away the excess, up to my line, which allowed the hatch to fit cleanly against the deck.

Finally, I applied a number of coats of varnish until I had sufficient buildup and the piece began to look good.


I built a laminated tiller from strips of mahogany and walnut; I chose the walnut to add a unique accent to the laminated structure.  After so much time working with only mahogany, it was a pleasure to enjoy the unique and pleasing aroma of walnut during the milling operations.

To begin, I milled a series of strips, 2" wide and 1/4" thick, of the two woods.  Then, using some cardboard, I created a rough template of the tiller curvature up in the cockpit, using the tiller strap to determine the exit angle (the most important aspect of the design) and creating what I hoped would be a pleasing and functional curve by eye.  After cutting out the shape and making some minor modifications, I was happy and decided to go ahead and laminate the tiller.

I built a laminating mold on my bench, and glued up alternating strips of mahogany and walnut, clamping them into the mold with thickened epoxy adhesive between the planks.  I left the assembly to cure overnight before removing from the mold.
I ran the cured blank through my planer till it fit perfectly inside the bronze tiller strap and smoothed both edges.  Then, with a variety of sanding tools and router bits, I shaped the raw blank into a pleasing shape, after determining the proper length of the tiller by mocking it up on deck.  I was striving for a very smooth, rounded end where one would hold the tiller, but with less dramatic roundness elsewhere.

Once I was pleased with the shape, I sanded the tiller smooth and began the process of varnishing the tiller.  This photo shows the tiller after 3-4 coats had been applied; more to come.


All photos and text on this site 2002-2009 by Timothy C. Lackey and Lackey Sailing, LLC
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