The Process of Routing & Templating

Sunday August 16, 2015

Jessica routing Eurolite

I feel so all over the place with this blog right now because none of our projects seem to go in order, and there’s usually the distinct possibility that we’re working on five different things at one time.  Depending on if the welder is in for the day or if we have just a few hours to kill before the rain comes in, it seems like we’re switching up projects daily or even hourly. Which hasn’t always made it the easiest thing to track our progress on the blog or even know what to write about.

Welding?  It’s been an ongoing project for the past two weeks now that is going to need so much more time before it’s finished that I’m not even sure what to write about it at the moment.  Should I give little snippets as they come, or wait until the job is finished and center a post wholly on that?  The clothing cabinets we’re trying to build in the forward salon?  Don’t even get me started on those.  Between odd angles and trying to cover up aluminum frames, that project has us scratching our heads and Matt playing out a million scenarios of what solutions we might have available.  Most of which won’t pan out.

So while these other projects are still ongoing and will be for the next few weeks, I’ll take you through one of our smaller projects: routing and templating.

One of the areas we hadn’t touched yet in the forward salon was replacing the overhead.  Previously in this area were long 5 3/4″ wide boards spanning the length, forward to aft, held together by some trim running abeam.  Although these boards never actually looked that bad and probably could have been kept, we didn’t like the variance in size between the grooves of what we’re doing to the walls and would like to keep it all uniform.  So for us to replace them is the same way we would do the walls, just placing it overhead instead.

If we were doing the walls we’d normally have to make our own templates out of scrap 1/4″ wood which is a pain in the butt. Tracing, cutting, and hot gluing these little strips together until they perfectly outline the space we want the new wall to be placed, but in this instance we’re able to keep the existing overhead boards in tact so we can trace them onto our Eurolite and easily cut out the shape we need.

Using much caution since the trim was the only thing keeping these boards together, we unscrewed them just far enough until they became unattached from the furring strips, and while I held the boards from falling down with my arms up over my head, we gently lowered them and brought them down the ladder to our work area until we were ready for them.

taking off old overhead

bare overhead with foam

Since we were replacing such a large area we started out with a brand new 4′ x 8′ sheet of 1/4″ marine plywood Eurolite.  Positioning it on our sawhorses in front of Daze Off, it was my job to mark the board every 3 1/4″, the distance between our grooves.  I will admit there have been one or two instances where my measurements have been off before, resulting in sloping lines, so now I’m adamant to check each side 2-3 times now before we begin routing.  You’d think I’d have the numbers memorized by now… 3 1/4, 6 1/2, 9 3/4, 13….but somehow after 26 I always begin to get a little confused and by the time I hit the 45″ area I can never remember if I’m supposed to be at an extra quarter inch or half.

In any case, we now measure at least twice and cut only once.  When I’m sure I have my numbers down we bring out our large straight edge, an 8′ long section of aluminum that we clamp down to the Eurolite exactly where I’ve made my marks.  Either Matt or I (usually Matt) will then take our router with a v-groove bit installed, and run it down the length of the board making sure to keep it tight against our aluminum straight edge to ensure a straight line.  The reason it’s not always me doing this job is I um…I’m not always so good at that part.  Luckily we’ve been able to hide all my mistakes so far.

After each line has had the router passed through it we move the straight edge up to the next mark and so on and so on until we’ve covered the whole board.  A large amount of sawdust tends to accumulate so I’m usually taking a little brush and cleaning the board after each sweep.  From start to finish this part usually takes about an hour.  Before we can begin tracing the template though, we do a good sanding of all the new grooves to take away the rough edges from the router and also give it more of a rounded transition into the board.

Matt routing Eurolite

close up of routing

Jessica routing Eurolite

Jessica routing Eurolite

 The last step is to take our template, in whichever form it may be in, and place it on the board of Eurolite to trace and cut.  Depending on the area it is getting placed into and if it’s the first board in a section or a continuation of an existing board into another area, we have to make sure the routed lines match up and flow together so we don’t have one routed line butting up to the center of a strip when two boards are matched up together.  Usually we take extra care in this by starting with the existing board and taking a measurement of where the first groove is from the edge.  Then we know for the next board that we also have to make the first groove come in 1 1/4″ or so from the edge.

In the case of this overhead piece we also had to have our Eurolite board and template facing down so that both pieces had the lines facing the same way.  One of our first times we accidentally had our Eurolite board facing up while the template was facing down and essentially cut our piece backwards and wasted that sheet of Eurolite.  It was not a good day.

Lining everything up we added a little extra area to the template from where we noticed it wasn’t fully butting up against the wall.  We’re learning it’s usually better to be a little large and cut down where necessary.  Which also happens a lot in this process.  I’d say that once we have the new piece of Eurolite cut out there are approximately four trips up and down the ladder with the new board and we try and fit it in it’s new space and then have to shave off 1/8″ here and there.  Eventually though we do get it right and then it’s time to screw it into place.

placing template over Eurolite

Matt tracing template

mistake in routing

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Euroliting the Ceiling

Friday July 10, 2015

walls in vberth

So much work and so little to show for it.  At least that’s the way it feels lately.  Whenever I post photos on our Facebook page of something new that’s gone up or the difference from when we moved on her a month ago, all of you have been extremely encouraging by telling how nice everything is looking and how far we’ve come along. I think that Matt and I forget that the demolition stage is very quick and easy, yet the rebuild takes a lot more time.  A LOT.

I remember back when we had either first bought the boat or were debating it and Matt showed me the website of a guy that was doing something similar…ripping out the whole interior and starting from scratch, just like we are.  This guy had all day every day to devote to his boat as well and we thought we’d be on the same kind of schedule as him for completing projects.  Framing out v-berth?  Bam, 1 day.  Building new cabinets for the salon?  Bam, 1 week.

Two things we have learned since then.  A. We are not boat builders.  Or carpenters.  This is all new for us and although we hope we get the hang of it as we go along and things will eventually run much more smoothly and quickly, we’re still in the learning stages right now.  And B. We’re making our job infinitely harder by trying to make an ‘intricate’ interior.  If it was just installing plain ‘ol plywood we’d be much further along by now.  But instead we had to get fancy. Oh, and having an aluminum boat requires extra steps. Let me explain.

For the ceiling (walls) of the boat we are using a 1/4″ marine plywood.  After doing some shopping around we landed on something called Eurolite which, like it’s name implies, is an extremely light wood made from a European poplar.  While buying a sheet of 3/4″ marine plywood from a shop in West Palm Beach they gave us a sample of it to take home and after applying an epoxy coat to one side we were confident that it would still give us the strength we needed as well. We’ve ordered 10 4×8 sheets to start at about the cost of $34/sheet.  Keeping all the extras stored in a 10×10 unit we’ve had to rent up the street, we’ll bring one back at a time and begin the fun on it.

As part of our ‘intricate’ interior we are routing v-grooves into the plywood spaced 3 1/4″ apart.  Between marking the plywood with a pen on each end, clamping a straight edge on it, routing, and then sanding the grooves, each board takes about 2 hours to complete. Once the sheet is routed and sanded go into the boat and make a template of the area we want by cutting and gluing together small 1/4″ pieces of wood that we then trace onto the Eurolite.  Using our jigsaw to cut out the traced pattern we bring it inside to fit, and usually have to make a few adjustments before it fits into place and we can screw it into the furring strips.

Once we’re satisfied that the pieces fit we have to take them out again where the back side and edges are epoxied to prevent any possible condensation around the aluminum frame from rotting the wood. So far we only have the two boards in for the v-berth, but we’ve also spent a lot of time working to cap and enclose the area that the murphy bed folds up into, separating the v-berth from the forward salon.

One of the last projects we’ve been working on lately has been replacing the plywood that folds down for the murphy bed.  While we’re redoing the area we decided to extend the width of the area that folds down and extra 4″ on each side, which actually gives us the space of a queen bed now.  Before we’d be laying on our backs with our shoulders basically touching, but these extra few inches have made a world of difference. We can actually spread out without bumping into each other anymore.  I don’t think we’ve had this much space in a bed since we’ve lived on land and we’ve been sleeping soooo much better already.

Eurolight boards in v-berth Matt in murphy bed taking out overhead Jessica & Meike v-berth Matt working on caps paneled v-berth And once again Georgie puts up with us and our work.  If she’s not hiding somewhere in the crammed quarter berth she’s out laying on the sport-a-seats that we keep in the pilot house until it’s time to bring them to bed at night to use as our mattress.

In a quick note on our friends, they are all gone now, leaving us to fend for ourselves for company.  Meike and Sebastian are spending a few days touring Miami before flying back to Germany and Mark and Hanna are on the Gulf side of Florida positioning themselves for a jump down to Guatemala.  Before they left though we were able to get Hanna her birthday gift of an American meal.  Corn dogs and Budweiser.  What’s more American than that?
Georgie on a sport-a-seat Hanna

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