Interior Joinery
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A Class Catboats Olympia's Pilot House 1888 Sloop Elf
Restoring Misleading Lady

Getting around the inside of a bare boat hull is like walking around in a big salad bowl, everything tends to slide to the center. In the center of the hull all of those carefully wrought floor timbers become the work of an evil genius with a thing for sprained ankles. The first priorities are to make the boat easy to get in and out of and to provide flat places to walk as we move about the boat.  First a couple planks are temporarily fastened to the tops of the floor timbers then the cockpit sole beams are  fitted to provide the base for a work platform. As soon as possible a 14” bandsaw is moved into the boat to reduce the number of trips in and out of the boat as the interior progresses.

Physically the most demanding thing about making boats may be these innumerable trips in and out of that salad bowl. The staircase is worth every penny espescially on a project of Silent Maid’s size. As we move along any number of stationary tools will be set up in our shop within a shop to reduce the need to clamber in and out of the boat.  Before starting on the deck structure the ceiling and cabin sole will be finished. The ceiling in Silent Maid was an aesthetic feature of boats of her style and era more than a structural one. It is thin, 3/8”  and only found in the living space. We did overlap the cockpit so it would help  stiffen that part of the boat but it does end short of the mast

With the ceiling and soles in the next step is installing the deck beams. They were made to dimensions taken from the lofting as the hull was being planked. The beams will define the space the interior is to take up and enable us to build mock-ups and make patterns as needed. We have the luxury of being able to do much of the interior layout in three dimensions and plan to take full advantage of it.

In addition to looking at the human dimensions of bunks, seats, galley and head adding to the boat’s structure is to be considered. When Silent Maid was built the interior was simply tacked into the completed hull, the interior did not contribute much structurally. In planning out the new interior every attempt is being made to maximize its structural usefulness.  The interior components are a series of boxes that will be tied together and overlapped in a way that contributes significantly to the overall structure. Silent Maid will tend to twist and the interior components can be arranged and built in a way that resists this tendency. 

To define the interior space of the cabin half of the previously fabricated beams are set up on posts clamped to the carlins. One berth has been mocked up so a person can sit or lie on it; most of the other components are being defined with bits of wood and string tacked together with drywall screws. This is the last chance to get everything right and every option is being mapped out and carefully considered.  It is looking like the Maid will have four berths, a galley and enclosed head. The boat just isn’t big enough for a dedicated inside navigation station, a berth would have to be sacrificed and that is too high a price to pay. There will be a nav station below but the table on the centerboard case will have to serve for studying charts and instruments can go on the forward face of the head bulkhead. The primary navigation will take place outside on the motor box forward of the helm. 

         The cockpit and the area beneath the side decks outboard of the staving will be utilized for a cooler with a cold plate on starboard and for the head’s vacuum pump on port. The tanks and batteries will be beneath the cockpit sole.  The galley will be just inside the companionway on starboard and the enclosed head just inside the doors on port.

         Silent Maid’s systems will be fairly complete with a vacuum flush head, and washbasin a galley with a basin, two burner stove and refrigeration. There will be a 30 horsepower deisel to turn a large alternator and battery storage necessary to run all this and three winches. As much of this as possible is placed in the cockpit area so the living spaces are free for storage and … living.

Silent Maid on