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My philosophy? Measure 20 times,
cut only once. Once the teak was removed(decided to go without teak)
the framing and ply overlay was clear. I can easily
say that I've spend a week sitting in the cocpit in this condition thinking,
calculating and trying to envision the rest of the process. Once the
diagram was complete, I was ready for the demolition.
The stringer is your frame base. Notice the three main frames that make up the foundation of the puzzle. The first is against the cabin, the second right under the scuppers and the third on the fore side and under the steering box.I drew a diagram of the whole cockpit area and took very accurate measurements for the 50th time. Take as many photos as possible before demolition starts, you'll need references.
Tip: a very long 'level' is a must. When you're done measuring, everything is logged in the diagram and you're ready to start ripping things off....stop and check your measurements one more time.
Very carefull at this point.
Two weeks later after every single frame was measured and then ripped
apart, there is no going back. The biggest problem at this point is keeping
yourself from rolling into the black abyss of the bilges. Now you get
a better view of the Perkins (for work), the steering column, the chainplate
mount on the stringers, the insulation for the ice box and the electrical
panel. Good time to put a couple of coats of paint on the inside of the
Tip: On either side of the hull you'll notice three points where there used to be framing on top of the fuel tank. Connecting those three points by a single frame you create the floor framing for your cockpit well. The cockpit well floor should drain fore (into the already there throughhulls).
Calculating the amount of
lumber needed is a task in it self. Researching the issue, I found
out that the best lumber to use would be Honduras mahogany, for several
reasons. First is alot more rot resistant than Phillipine mahogany and
second is strong enough but not as dense as white oak. White oak I was
afraid, would not have the flexibility needed for such applications.
You DO need some kind of flexibility. My father-in-law's garage became
my workshop. 2.5" x 2.5" for most of the frames, except at the fore side
of the cockpit well which I doubled.
Tip: if you mount your frames on the stringer (you should) you'll automatically make your cockpit drain at the right locations (cockpit well and scuppers). Your main frame should fall right under the scuppers.
Putting the puzzle together piece
by piece. Dry-fit the framing but do not install yet. This will give you the
option to calculate routing and flush-fitting. DO NOT forget the massive piece
of white oak that makes the support for the mizzen mast step. Route the framing
and install flush with the rest of the frames. When you're all ready to 'create'
then start by through-bolting the main frames to the stringer (under scuppers,
steering box and against the cabin bulkhead). The cabin bulkhead frame will
be through bolted to another frame on the inside of the cabin, thus sandwiching
the cabin bulkhead in the middle (look for the belowdecks frame in the galley
photo, about 8" above the countertop). The rest falls in place.
I used epoxy only for the hatch opening's assembly and such. After the whole
puzzle is in place, I coated the mahogany with a couple of coats of epoxy.
Tip: DO NOT install ANYTHING permanently. Some day you'll have to take it apart. Route the drains for the hatch seats in a way so that they drain inboard (towards the cockpit well).
There are no pics of this process since my hands were too sticky with the epoxy to take any. WEST SYSTEM has a guide to epoxy, found at all West Marine stores. It's fool proof. 'I' did it.
Once the fiberglassing is over and a couple of coats of polyurethane paint were brushed on (mixed with non-skid compound), it's time to start installing various things that belong in the cockpit. Hardware, propane locker, mizzen mast step ( you should already have the new one made), mizzensheets blocks, cleats, winches, hatch covers and their hinges etc. etc. The compass binnacle must be wedged from below (fore part) in order to be in a vertical alignment. Remember the cockpit well floor has a fore 'lean'. The worm gear support brackets were through bolted on to the ply. I used the original hatches since they were in good shape and the teak on them would brake up the monotony of the glassed cockpit. This process is the result of the post- cockpit rebuilt planning I was refering to earlier. Results can be very rewarding. Would I do this again? Hell no!!! Well...maybe on a Mariner 40!!!