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Project Log:  Saturday, March 10, 2012

Picking up where I left off earlier, I prepared the final layout and cut the holes for the instrument displays going in the overhead electronics box.  I temporarily installed the instruments to ensure that there'd be no interference behind the panel (there wasn't), and to see how it would look.


This was about as far as I could go on this project, I realized, since I had plans to replace the center pilothouse window; the original just didn't work very well.  I'd need to modify the overhead box a bit to allow for the inside window frame, but without the actual window on hand I clearly couldn't proceed with that.  there was no point using the old window frame if I was going to replace it with something different.  So I advanced in my mind the need to spec and order the new window, something I'd looked at before but hadn't acted upon.

In any event, the main work was done.  The overhead box was simple in concept and execution, and to install it I'd need to install some support cleats on the overhead and forward pilothouse bulkhead, to which the side panels could be attached.  At the narrow bottom of the angled box, I left room for a thin panel to cover the edge grain of the front panel, and close off the minimal opening between the panel and the window frame, wherever that ended up.


I spent the remainder of the day working on fussy trim pieces around the helm console.  Truth be told, I was well into the construction of the existing area--too far to turn around--when I vaguely remembered that I'd conceptually intended to build it from solid wood, which would have brought its own difficulties but would have obviated the need for some of the trim I now required.    Considering this was the first custom, recessed helm console I'd ever built on a Fisher 30 (or, come to that, any boat), such clarity of hindsight was inevitable.   The continuing challenge of self-improvement was one reason I enjoyed these projects. The time will never come when I can't do better "next time", but if it does I don't know what I'll do with myself.

In the event, I spent inordinate amounts of time finishing off the main areas of the console with trim, severely testing my limited patience from time to time.  I kept the trim as simple as possible, and typically the conception of how to build and shape the trim took far longer than actually milling it, so it seemed I spent more time cogitating than actually working. 

I wanted to allow for future reconfiguration or electronics replacement without a need to completely rebuild the console, so where needed I installed trim without glue so it could be pried up to allow removal of the main panel.  These panels would not be removed routinely and were essentially permanent, but in 10 or 20 years or whenever, should changes or upgrades be desirable, the area could be dismantled with minimal trauma.

In addition to trim bits that covered the plywood end grain and provided transitions between the console and the surrounding dashboard, I also added a small fiddle to the flat area just aft of the main nav display, thinking this would be a good place to hold pencils, sunglasses, or whatever, as well as to cover the seam between two pieces of the console material.  I left the ends open so I could more easily keep the area clean.


For the top of the recessed console, I milled a solid piece of cherry, incorporating a 60° on the side facing the console (to match the angle of the panel itself) and large radii on all the exposed corners.  In these photos, this piece is only dry-fit.

I'd continue work on the helm and pilothouse trim next time.  My immediate goal was to get the console and surrounding areas to the point where I could complete the varnish work, so that these areas would be ready for final installations at a time of my choosing.

Total Time Today:  6.75 hours

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