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Project Log:  Sunday, October 14, 2012

To get started, I lightly sanded the newly varnished areas with 320 grit, then cleaned up.  When building up coats of paint of varnish, my preference is to always do the sanding first thing in the day, though I'd not apply the next coat till later.

While more or less in the forward cabin, I decided to install my temporary ceiling simulations, so that the v-berth mattress could be templated.  I wasn't sure when this would happen, exactly, but it could be anytime.  Upon reflection, I realized that the plywood I'd used to build these was thinner than I'd wanted--only about 3/16", so I added an additional layer (in the form of slim strips beneath) to bring the total simulated thickness close to 3/8".  I planned to resaw my ceiling material from 4/4 stock, which, with blade loss, typically allowed finished board thicknesses of about 5/16" +.


Mulling over the companionway opening and planning the trim there, I eventually determined that I needed to build and install the trim surrounding the top opening first, so that the edge trim along the bulkhead could overlap that as well.  When I'd cut the opening in the dashboard, I'd pushed the cutout much closer to the windshield than the original opening, which was squared off and, for the brief time I worked around it during the very early days of the project, always seemed to be in the way and was a head-banger.

The original companionway on August 26, 2010

I'd also allowed the forward end of my new opening to parallel the windshield, mimicking the angled profile of the forward edge.  These changes meant that the new opening, while necessarily requiring vertical trim to meet the eventual plane of the overhead beneath, would be larger and more comfortable to use.

When I installed the top fiddle trim around the companionway opening, I'd planned ahead for the trim I was about to build by allowing the fiddle to extend below the edge of the plywood dash substrate by 1/4" or so.  This would hide the seam at the top edge of whatever trim I built, and would also register its position properly.

I made some basic measurements to determine the overall width of the trim pieces; I needed blanks of at least 6" wide to handle the starboard side, as the overhead followed the camber of the cabin trunk and, with the horizontal dashboard, the gap to fill became larger the further outboard one went.  So I milled a piece of 4/4 cherry to 6" wide, then measured and cut the two forward sections of my trim, which incorporated the miter angle corresponding with the facets of the pilothouse windshield.  I left these pieces a bit overlong so I could be sure to get the miter right first.

Clamping the pieces in place was a bit challenging, and the starboard (right in the photo above) section tended to pull a way from the trim at the top edge, which opened the miter joint as seen in the photo.  By pushing the top edge in tight to the overhanging fiddle trim, I could correct this problem, and would do so with wedges during final installation.

With the "hard" pieces cut, I measured for the two sides.  On the port side, this section would have two simple vertical cuts, while to starboard the forward end needed an angle to mate properly with the angled trim ahead of it.  I cut these sections slightly overlong and then trimmed incrementally as needed till they fit tightly.


For now, all the pieces extended further down than required, so I could mark and trim them exactly where the overhead would lie.  I planned to use the bottom edge of this trim to secure the overhead panels, so I'd trim the solid companionway surround to the same height as the plywood overhead cleats.


First, however, I marked the overlong ends of the two forward sections. where they ran past the returns, and trimmed the excess.  Then, I used a straightedge held across the overhead cleats to mark a cutline on the sides, and also made a series of marks along the front edges to show where the cuts needed to be made. 


Then, I removed the trim sections and made the cuts according to my marks,  and finally sanded all the pieces smooth before dry-fitting them one last time.


Satisfied with the fit, I installed the trim with glue, gluing to the underside of the dash, the after bulkhead, and, where sections met, to itself.  There was no way to use fasteners. 


Finally, I applied a coat of varnish to the bulkheads and trim in the forward cabin and passageway.


Total Time Today:  4 hours

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