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Project Log:  Saturday, December 6, 2014

When I installed the ceiling (hull liner) in the forward cabin some time back, I'd framed out the four round in-hull deadlights, creating rhomboid openings along which edges I'd trimmed the ceiling planks.  This left the cut ends of the planks exposed, along with the plywood support strips.  All along I'd planned to trim these out, and the time had finally arrived to complete this task.


Though I didn't spend any time worrying about details beforehand, given the nature of the four openings I'd expected to build L-shaped trim pieces that would overlap the edges of the ceiling planks, and extend into the openings to cover the exposed framework that defined the spaces.  So with basic measurements in hand, and a piece of leftover mahogany stock thick enough for the job, I milled as many blanks as I could (five), preparing to further mill the blanks into the trim profile required.

I needed a 7/8" depth to cover the framing, plus enough to overlap the board ends.  But with 7/8" stuck in my mind, I began by resawing one of the square blanks to 7/8" thickness--an error I caught quickly, when I'd sawed about halfway into one of the blanks.  Regrouping, I changed the saw setting to 1-1/4", and resawed each blank accordingly. 

I found that the stock was significantly bowed, however, and I just didn't like the looks of it after I'd resawn the initial pieces--it looked like it was going to be hard to work with for this application.  Additionally, I'd been thinking of the inconsistently rhomboid shapes of the openings, which I'd known all along would require some fussy measuring in order to miter the trims cleanly at the corners--doable, but not my favorite sort of thing, and it would have required many trips back and forth from the shop to the forward cabin.  The shapes of these openings had been dictated by the actual positions of the vertical ceiling frames, and whatever had looked good, rather than to any sort of symmetrical pattern or design.

I started to rethink the plan to better suit the realities--something simpler in execution.  Instead of a single trim profile to do it all, I decided to try a two-piece approach, beginning with strips of mahogany trim within the openings to cover the plywood frame edges and flush with the surface of the ceiling planks, over which I'd install simple flat trim to cover the seam, leaving a reveal.    I milled some additional stock into 7/8" width by about 1/4" thick, and tested a small piece to ensure that this size worked properly.

Happy with this, I used a small portable miter box and hand saw to cut and install the inside trim pieces on each of the four openings.  I made simple butt joints at the corners, since most of the edge seam would be covered with the flat trim on top.  I installed the inner trims with stainless brads into the plywood framing.




This looked better already.  Now, I needed flat trim on top, which would cover the final seams and leave an additional reveal for further texture to the openings.  From leftover cabin sole offcuts--the same wood I'd used for the ceiling planks--I milled a series of 1" wide trim pieces.  Leaving the original chamfered edge profile on one side, I ran the newly-cut opposite edge through my little router table equipped with a 1/4" roundover bit, and sanded the new profile smooth.

To reduce the fussiness factor and save me who-only-knows how many trips between the saw and the boat, I templated the deadlight openings with paper strips, which I taped together over the framework in the boat, leaving the reveal I wanted, and which, when complete, gave me the actual size and shape of the opening I needed to frame with the flat trim, and which I could bring down to the shop and use to determine, cut, and fit all the mitered corners accurately and with as minimal effort as possible.  I made little marks at each corner to help me align the wooden trim once I'd cut it, so that it would start out in the appropriate places.

I secured the pattern to my bench with tape, then used one of the pieces of trim to trace out the width around the edges, after which I could bisect each corner angle on the paper itself, which would serve as the necessary patterns for my miter cuts.

From here, it was pretty straightforward to cut and fit each piece of trim directly from the pattern.  Since none of the corners were square, this required several test fits and fine-tuning for each corner, but this was easy since there was no measuring nor calculating required, just a few steps back and forth to the nearby saw and test-fitting against the pattern.

I numbered the pieces, drilled pilot holes for screws, and, up in the boat, taped them all in place to allow me to adjust their positions as needed so the corner joints ended up tight and in the right places.  Then, I screwed the trim into place with the same round-head bronze screws I used for the rest of the ceiling details.


Happy with my proof of concept on the first deadlight, I quickly repeated the process on the second one on the starboard side, which went even more quickly now that I had had one on which to practice.


I thought this was a good, simple look in keeping with the remaining ceiling details, and effected with minimal fuss and time once I got rolling.  I'd finish up the process with the port deadlights next time.

Total Time Today:  4.25 hours

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