Sunday, 18 December 2011

First piece of joinery

With the aid of the aforementioned pocket hole jig, a router and his trusty compound mitre saw the skilled cabinet-maker produced his first cabinet for Harry - this little corner unit in the bathroom.
To be honest it's not 100 per cent - though I'm reasonably happy with it - but the low light photography means you won't really be able to spot the flaws. Apart from the cutting marks on the worktop which I'll skim off with the router.
The framed doors are the tricky part: I haven't yet devised a satisfactory way of producing an accurate slot in them to take the centre panel. These were done using a biscuit jointing router cutter in a couple of passes but lack of skill meant a wandering cutter and two feet of oak frame into the waste bin. That's why there's only one door at the moment!
Any top tips gratefully received...

My new toy

The Pocket Hole Jig - another of those clever devices designed to help turn the person who can barely hammer a nail in straight into a skilled cabinet-maker!
This nifty little item is a jig that enables you to drill holes at a shallow angle into pieces of wood which you can then 'secret screw' them into other bits of wood using special screws. It's ideal for fixing cabinet sides to bulkheads, fixing frames and a dozen other things.
It's impossible to explain simply so have a look at this little video where an American with bad haircut and glasses explains exactly how it's used to the accompaniment of irritating background music.

Friday, 2 December 2011

It's been a long time!

Maroon, grey and black - the colour scheme of choice
All grey - a previous scheme
The engine room plumbing almost complete
And the view through with the bulkhead removed

The blog has been in hibernation these past couple of months. And to be honest it might have stayed there if it hadn't been for our friends in Canada emailing "are you okay" because the blog had been so silent.
It does get depressing writing regular reports of progress so slow it would be quicker to watch paint dry, and constantly taking the same photo from one of the boat to t'other. But, with a suitably guilty conscience about our lack of news I'll bring things up to the present day.
After our summer of cruising we're now tied up at Streethay and working full-time on Harry. And progress seems to have speeded up. Well at least the engine is running! I decided early on to move all the fuel, oil and water tanks to the opposite end of the engine room. If I'd realised how much re-plumbing was going to be involved maybe I wouldn't have bothered. But it is worth it; the new layout is much more space efficient and I can actually clamber all round the massive JP3.
Having plumbed it up I put 10 litres of fuel in the tank, pumped it up to the day tank and after a few false starts - bleeding the air out the diesel pipes is bleeding tricky (sorry) it fired into glorious life and ran perfectly with only a couple of minor leaks.
The really big decision in the engine room was to cut away the steel bulkhead between that and the back cabin. Access through had been really cramped - the corner of the bench seat having been cut away to improve it to even that level. But with the bulkhead gone, it's superb - great access and a fine few of the engine from the rear steps.
We've also finally decided on the exterior colours after experimenting with every shade of grey. Master painter Starwoman first of all painted one side in the black, grey and white scheme of Star. But on the bigger boat it looked too gaudy. Then we went dark greyh/light grey but that was too dull so now we have black, dark grey and a maroon rear 'name'panel which we reckon looks cracking.
With the engine room more or less sorted (bar the hand controls) it's back to joinery work in the main boat. And an end to all those weeks of oil stained hands and grimy fingernails. Next job is to start fitting out the bathroom. Then install the Refleks stove and we'll almost be able to move aboard!!