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Project Log:  Saturday, February 15, 2014

The first order of business, in my habitual way, was to sand and clean the caprails to prepare for varnish later in the day.  I also sanded the inside faces of the bulwark planks where they passed over the freeing ports, as I wanted to apply additional varnish there as well.

Then, I turned to the bulwarks, and installed teak bungs to cover all the screw holes still exposed after installation.  Because of the thin half-lap joints where the planks joined each other along their lengths, several of the screws were barely recessed.  Somehow I managed to glue bungs into each screw hole, even those barely recessed, but time would tell how this worked out, and whether there was enough bonding area to hold the bung in place.  I'd trim the bungs flush later, once the glue cured, and if I had to do something else on those barely-recessed screws, I'd address it then.



One of the final segments of the boat's systems still unfinished was the ship's batteries and related cabling.  There'd been no hurry to complete this system, and I'd planned all along to put the batteries in the engine room, on either side of the engine itself.  I planned a house bank composed of four 6-volt batteries (for a total of about 450 amp-hours' capacity), plus a separate engine start battery.  To hold the batteries, I'd need boxes on each side of the engine:  I planned two batteries on each side, plus the start battery somewhere.

Some time long ago, I'd built a plywood mockup of a standard 6-volt battery to use for layout purposes.  I generously sized the mockup to represent the maximum dimensions of the batteries, including the terminals, plus a little extra.  So with my mockup as a guide, I used a piece of scrap pattern plywood to cut a base of approximately the size I expected for the battery box, sized for a pair of the 6-volt batteries.  I took this to the boat to check its fit.

On the port side, there was plenty of space available, both in footprint and in height, and I immediately saw that there'd be room to extend this box aftward to provide space for the start battery within as well.


On the starboard side, however, I ran into some obstructions, mainly from the dual fuel filter assembly.  While there was clear space beneath it, the height of the batteries was going to cause issues with the current shape of the box.  However, it looked like I could build a narrower box and align the batteries with their long dimension parallel to the boat's centerline, which would keep the height further inboard and clear of the filters.

With the basic mockup out of the way, I prepared two plywood bases for the two boxes required, using various scraps of marine plywood.  For the port side, I allowed for a pair of the 6-volt batteries, plus a standard group 24 starting battery (which was a little narrower than the 6-volts, and quite a bit shorter, but otherwise of similar footprint).  I left room for the thicknesses of the box walls when I dimensioned the bases.


For the starboard box, I built a narrower base that provided room for two batteries lengthwise as shown.


With the two "real" bases in the boat, along with the battery mockup, I tested the fits again.  No problem on the port side:


On the starboard side, the base platform fit well enough, and generally looked like it would work as planned.  However, I noticed interference between the fuel filter intake fitting and the battery height.  The straight barbed fitting I'd used on the filter assembly extended down far enough that it would contact the corner of the box I hoped to place nearby.



To correct this, and provide an additional inch or so or critical clearance, I replaced the straight fitting with a 90° barbed fitting instead, which rerouted the hose and barb away from the battery box area and saved crucial vertical clearance.  This would make all the difference.

Satisfied that my boxes would work--and, frankly, they had to, since there really wasn't any alternative location for the batteries--I went ahead and cut the remaining plywood parts for the boxes, "stitching" them tightly together with plastic wire ties through small holes at the various edges--the first step in stitch-and-glue construction.

Port box, with room for three batteries:



Starboard box, designed for two batteries oriented lengthwise:



With the boxes held securely in this way, I mixed some thickened epoxy and formed fillets along the inside corners of the boxes, which fillets would, when cured, glue the boxes together and hold them while I fiberglassed the joints from outside.  I kept the fillets relatively small so as not to impede the fitment of the batteries in the closely-dimensioned boxes.



To round out the day, I applied another coat of varnish to the caprails...



...and to the running light boards.


Total Time Today:  6.25 hours

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