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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm looking for advice on how to begin a redesign of the cabin of our 28 ft sailboat.

One of the top priority projects on the to-do list is refit the head, and get it all legal. Currently there is no holding tank, and the only option is direct discharge overboard. We placard it as inoperative, but hey, emergencies happen sometimes.

Meanwhile, we aren't really happy with the whole layout of the saloon, galley, and head, so rather than redoing just the head only to have to redo it again when and if the cabin is redesigned, I'm considering diving in and redoing the whole thing at once.

The problem is I have have absolutely no experience with cabinet work on a boat. I have some basic skills with cabinetry, carpentry, and furniture making, but have never worked with teak. Also, it seems everything about ships carpentry is so different. The vocabulary, the materials, the conventions and techniques, etc are all very different than what I'm used to.

My main question is, where do I even begin? How can I estimate the time, effort and cost? Where can I find a good reference for carpentry methods and best practices?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would start with a drawing of your boat from the top down.. so you can see the space you have to deal with. Then I would look at the interior of boats you like... and see how you can work those ideas into your drawing

Once you have a drawing you like.. and the cabin in your boat stripped.. mock it all up in temporary wood and cardboard. Once you can see it in the flesh, it should all fall together
Nice, hadn't considered modeling it. That could be quite useful. Might go with a CAD tool, though, as I'm probably better at pushing pixels than making cardboard models. More accurate too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I aproach teak asI do decent mahogany. Didja ever hafta scribe a cabinet to a nasty, plaster wall?? Magnify by 10X and yer there! ;) Ya (almost) can't do plumb and level; so ya gotta do square.. I'd establish a line right down the center of the space, then nX/Y axis offa tthat...Mark I eyeball after that.
Keep yer weight low and roundallathe corners. Oh!.and makesure the sole-to-seating height hits architechtural standards.nuthin' worse than feet not on the deck when seated! Other than that...have at it:D
Good tip on the center line. I wonder if there is a reference for nautical architectural standards...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
How about a picture of what you are currently working with..?
Well, this post isn't really meant to be about a specific design, but more about how one should go about educating oneself on how to do these things.

That being said, I did manage to find a couple of interior shots. Not the best, but gives some idea.

The first is the port side galley sink and a bit of the seat/quarter-berth as well as a bit of the head.



This one shows some of the starboard side galley stove, seat/quarter-berth, and what passes for a main saloon table.



The two sides are virtually symmetrical, with a narrow bench/berth on either side, leaving a fairly wide walkway down the middle. One of the main problems is that there's no place to sit and have a meal. But more importantly, the head is not enclosed, and it is crammed into a very small space.

The cabin layout for our boat shown on sailboatdata.com is very different. The head and saloon table/seating occupy the full port side half, while the galley, quarter-berth and hanging locker are arranged on the starboard side taking only half the space that the port side does. If I could mimic this layout, and install a couple of interior doors as well, I'd be very happy with it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Paul. Since I'm wintering out here in the mountains of Utah, I won't be able to dash right over to Wooden Boat. Luckily they've got a nice online shop though, so my new joinery books should be arriving later this week. :)

Billings does have some talented people, but I find that they are pretty economical with their time and words, even when you're a paying customer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Tom, that's great, thanks for posting. I think that's exactly what I need to do. And with a beam of 8' 4", yeah, it's going to be a game of inches.

I don't know, maybe a dinette like that would be a better choice. Those girls look pretty happy with it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
colsen, I have been where you are: knew what I needed to do, didn't know how to do it. I started here:

I now have two copies. One i keep in my workshop and still reference regularly, and one i keep on the boat and regularly loan out.
Good to know, thanks! I ordered that very book last night, should be arriving on Wednesday. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A composing head will drastically simplify things.
A head with occupant facing fore and aft is easier to use when heeled , but unfortunately, that doesn't seem an option with the space you have
I've used galvanized nails on my interior, with no problems in nearly 30 years , but she is an exceptionally dry, well insulated steel boat.
Thanks Brent. It's a bit off topic, but now I'm reading up on composting heads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Colsen, here are a couple of things to consider.

Materials: Consider cherry over teak. Cherry is a beautiful, warm toned, strong, stable wood. It will darken slightly with age (though you can give it a "tan" to accelerate the process and ensure uniform color throughout the interior).

Cherry plywood is MUCH less than teak plywood and cherry veneer is readily available. Cherry itself is MUCH less than teak. Buying from a local wholesaler I pay around $3-$4 a board foot for cherry, $25 a board foot for teak isn't unusual.

Folks like Tartan and Sabre use cherry for their interiors now so you're in good company and you're reducing the cost of materials by 85% :D

An old trick for laying out curved surfaces. Rip some 3/16 luan plywood down into strips an inch or so wide, and rip some 3/4 pine into 3/4 square strips. Take it all down to the boat with a handsaw and a hot glue gun. Establish a straight line (like a cabinet edge) with the 3/4 pine. Hot glue a strip of luan from that straight edge back to the hull and cut off the excess. Do the same as your work along the length of the cabinet gluing on strips to follow the curve of the hull. Pretty soon you'll have the outline of your cabinet in 3D. Don't worry about measuring, use the strips to figure out what actually fits the space. If you don't like the results throw it out and start over.

When you have the outline you want take it back to your workshop and build the cabinet out of clear, knot free 3/4 pine. This will let you work out the joints and attachment points. If there are two ways to do it and you're not sure which is better build it both ways and take both to the boat. Test fit the pine piece. You'll need to fine tune it to fit. A block plane, rasp and scroll saw are good tools for fine tuning. Take your time and don't be afraid to redo your mock ups. You're not on the clock. Beer helps this process.

When you've worked out all the bugs take the completed mock up back to your shop and build the finished piece out of cherry, teak or whatever wood you decided to use for the interior. It's always better to make your mistakes (and you will make mistakes) in pine rather than an expensive finish wood.

Good luck, this can be a really fun project if you're not in a hurry.
These are just the sort of tips I'm looking for. That all makes great sense to me. Good stuff, thanks for posting.

I've built a few pieces over the years with cherry, and love the way it looks. Probably a lot easier on the tools as well as the wallet. One issue would be marrying it with the existing woodwork, at least some of which is teak (I think). But there's a good chance I'd end up redoing the whole works anyway once I get started. How it usually goes...
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
If I may chime in on this. What will the craft be used for? Looks pretty much like a a sailboat on the inside.

If I was going to race I would strip it down to the hull. If I was going to ply the northwest passage, maybe a heater and a rack for hunting implements such as spearing seals and polar bears. Maybe help bitcoin guy by installing liquid cooling equipment and sail next to him or even better take the gig to the tropics and pull up next to credit card captains and AC the boats at anchor. Endless possibilities, but first you have to admit you have a problem. Define your problems, create a wishlist then compromise.
:laugher

Well, A) As much as I'd like to go after polar bears in the northwest passage, my actual needs are a bit more pedestrian. I'd like to enclose the head for privacy and sanitation (the admiral does NOT like the proximity of the head to the galley), and I'd like a place to sit and eat a meal or plot a course.

And B) Yes, I've been assured by many that I do in fact have a problem. So no worries there, I admit it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Here is a link that might help. It is Tim Lackey's site Northern Yacht Restoration. He details his wirk with pics and commentary daily. The link is to the work on his Triton 28 Glissando but every project is on the site day by day.

Pearson Triton #381 Glissando | Interior Projects Main Menu

Good luck and don't remove anything structural.
Neat site, thanks. It's inspiring to see what he was able to accomplish alone in his back yard. I see I'm not going to get much work done this afternoon...
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Too many boats, especially 30' and under, don't have one, good, seat. Designed to sleep 4 to 6, the settees are often poor seating. Too low to feel comfortable, too wide to allow a back rest and no chance for any easy fix and few feel comfortable 'working' at the table.

I can recall more than one person telling me, "There's not one good seat on my boat". :)
That's it exactly. The number of times we've needed (or wanted) to sleep 4-6 people on board is exactly zero. If it's more than 2 or 3, we're probably going to pitch a tent on the beach. But I don't think a week goes by that we don't have 4-6 aboard for an all day or multi-day cruise. That's a lot of time for people to spend in a small, uncomfortable space, each one hoping they won't have to use the head. A thoughtful layout could really improve the experience for everyone.

Of course, the sensible thing to do would probably be to trade it in for a boat that has the cabin layout we want. But where's the fun in that? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
This sure looks like a pan boat. You cannot change the interior layout, the pan is structural.

You might be able to install a vertical holding tank behind the toilet?
Lee Sanitation Online Store for Marine Toilet Parts Service Kits

Or switch to a porta potti.

f
Well I had to look up what a pan boat is, and although I was surprised that the technique was actually in use in the 60s, ours is "stick built".

Thanks for the holding tank link. The vertical tanks with integrated vacuum generators are pretty neat (insofar as a sanitation system can be neat, I mean. Obviously).
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
I found a grainy scan of that dinette. This is our son in one of those clamp on high chairs. He's 22 now.

This table could have been longer, but we added needed dry storage forward. The sole to seat top and then to table height are the most important. Then shoulder height to under deck. Other than that, you can see we didn't change much. You can just see the diagonal fixed brace under the table. That kept the foot area open.

If I had it to do over, I would have extended each raised seat 'box' 4 inches or so toward the centerline. We had plenty of space there and that would have improved it.

Each cushion, velcroed to plywood, lifted out for new needed storage. That was very handy for tools and spares.

Our head looks no bigger than yours. There was a door starboard that closed it and the vee berth off.
I hadn't considered a fixed table, but you make a good case for it. Not only does it allow you to make it extra sturdy, but it's size and position aren't influenced by storage/dual-purpose concerns.

Yes, I believe both bulkheads are structural (probably doing important things like supporting the mast). I could probably change where the hatch openings are though. Making the port side bulkhead wall longer, for example.

Currently I'm toying with the idea of building a door that can be used to close off either the head or the bulkhead. Hung from the port side of the aft bulkhead, it would normally be used to enclose the head. To use the head, one would open the door, swinging it 90 degrees aft and latch into the bulkhead door jamb. This would provide privacy from the main cabin (same as your door did). Need to research any hinges and/or door designs that would allow this to work.

Thanks for the thoughtful posts and pic. It helps get the wheels turning...
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
It's all very easy. Just do a drawing like this:

This drawing was a done by 16 year old Will Porter who just spent 16 days staying with me and doing an informal internship. This drawing is his very first interior design.
Well, it's a thrill just having such a talented designer chime in on this little thread. Young Will is a lucky man.

So if I've got this right, all I have to do is come out for a 2 week internship with you, and I'll be able to redesign my cabin? Deal. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I'll add my two cents before I spend it at Defender. We are using cherry to trim out the boat. Here in east TN cherry goes for $1.00 a board foot rough, log run at the saw mill.

I use foam poster boards from the dollar store to make patterns. I find they are a bit stiffer than cardboard and cut easier. A hot glue gun is your friend. Hot glue stuff to hold it in place while the epoxy kicks off.

Get some hold down clamps, fasten them to a table saw sled. They come in handy when making cuts for scarfing joints.

To the OP have you looked around to see what owners of your model boat have done?
Thanks for the tips, and yes, I've scoured the interwebs for pictures of other HR-28 interiors and squirreled away a few dozen. Almost all feature the standard factory layout shown in the drawings from sailboatdata.com. I guess ours was an earlier version, or possible modified by a previous owner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Col:
There are a few key dimensions that you need to be aware of so that the human body will be comfy in what you build. You don't need to invent any table/chair relationships. That's all been done before. I'd be happy to look over what you do and give advice if I see any red flags.

The best advice you have received here is to mock things up. You can use photo board, cardboard, thin plywood but build your idea so you can see it in real life. I do pretty good drawings but I like to see a mock up before proceeding.

Young Will gets introduced to some good, old fashioned hand drafting techniques. He had a ball with this. Analog forever!
Thanks, Bob. I may take you up on that. I expect this will either be a fun project, or a total nightmare. But either way, it should be good learning experience with minimal lethal risk.

Both my father and grandfather were pretty handy with the drafting techniques. I'm really not great with either analog or digital, but am also not afraid to try. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
No way will this be a nightmare. This will be fun. I just worked with a friend on a similar project.

You are going to get a lot of help right here.

We'll slap you around if you get out of control. I'll check with the Mods to see if slapping around is allowed on SN.

And remember, the eraser or delete button can be a very creative tool.

Young Will holds up his very first computer faired set of hull lines. He was proud.
Excellent. Guess this means I have to actually do it now.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Yes you do. You can send me the drawings that you have. I can put them into a form you can work with. And we can start like that.

I would take your drawings and reduce them into what is necessary for structure and what you can play with. This is a piece of cake for me and it would be fun.

Bob P.
OK, well there's no way I'm turning down that offer. I'll PM you later. Thanks!

-Chris
 
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