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Project Log:  Sunday, November 18, 2012

With a new outlook on the overhead, I began the new day by ripping 1-1/2" plywood strips out of the original template and some additional plywood.  I'd use these strips to make a skeletal template of the overhead, a method I normally didn't employ since it's more labor intensive and I usually didn't find it necessary.  But in this case, it seemed this sort of template construction made the most sense for this challenging area.

Armed with a pile of strips, a saw, and a glue gun, I built a template of the starboard half of the forward cabin overhead.  I temporarily attached various strips to the overhead supports with screws as needed, beginning with a strip down the centerline, then one down each of the transverse overhead supports before gluing in shorter pieces to follow the curve of the outboard edge, along with additional sections to hold the whole thing together as needed. I aligned one edge of the template strips with an edge of the support strips for later reference, as I could use these to mark out screw locations to streamline installation of the actual overhead.


I carefully removed the template from the boat.  I'd made this template in one piece, but once I removed it from the boat--with difficulty--I decided I'd have to do the overhead in two sections per side:  I knew I'd never be able to reasonably get the heavier plywood overhead into place in a single piece.  Much as I wanted to build this part of the overhead from only two pieces, it simply wasn't going to happen without much frustration, difficulty, and the likelihood of damage to surrounding surfaces.

To ensure that the final fit wasn't too tight, I held the template slightly off the straight centerline cut, using a scrap of the 3/16" thick plywood, which would leave a gap between the two halves and allow easier removal and installation; there'd be trim strips to cover this seam, and others.  I traced the template onto a sheet of 9mm marine plywood, including the support strip locations, and cut it out, then cut the section into two pieces--a larger section for the wide forward section, then a smaller piece for the sidedeck extension.  For now, I left excess material where the sheets would hang out past the cabin trunk so I could mark those cuts in place.  I marked and drilled fastener holes where I planned to install screws.



I found it was much easier to maneuver the smaller sections into place, and had no trouble temporarily installing the overhead with a few screws through my pre-drilled holes.  I was pleased with the fit, and this vindicated the extra time it had taken me to make the hot-glued template.  I traced the outline of the cabin trunk on the overhanging part of the sheets, and removed them for trimming.


I repeated the process for the port side, after determining that the overhead was far from symmetrical:  I attempted to fit the starboard section over the port side (after inverting it) and found it was nowhere near the same.  This time, I built the template in two sections, corresponding with the planned seam between the sidedeck and foredeck areas.


I cut out the plywood overhead sections according to the templates, and dry-fit them to check the fit and mark the cabin trunk boundaries before removing the sections and trimming off the excess material.



Then, to ensure the fit of all pieces, I reinstalled the four sections.  The centerline gap ended up a bit wider than I'd originally envisioned, and I'd reduce the amount of the gap in future overhead sections, but in any case that posed no problem since the planned trim would cover the gap regardless.  Cabin trunk trim pieces would cover the plywood edge and the air space between the overhead and the underside of the deck.





In way of the main bow mooring bit, located on the centerline near the chainlocker bulkhead, I cut out a 10" square section of the overhead, which would allow for a hefty backing plate and bolts for the bitt, since the clearance between the overhead and the fiberglass deck was not large enough to hide this installation.  Later, I'd cut and install the backing plate to fit.

Before final installation, I'd remove and paint the new panels, which I'd do as time allowed in the near future.

Total Time Today:  4.5 hours

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