Posted by: Mike Randall | November 11, 2010

Cabin fever!

I’ve just finished installing the cabin top and I finally have a Stirven! Woo hoo!! Lets not get to carried away just yet but the boat is finally recognisable as a Stirven and I’m stoked. You can see the mast Tabernacle roughly in place. This just arrived from Classic Marine along with a bunch of other exciting brassy bits.

All the major structures in place!

While I was painting the interior I had plenty of time to ponder how I was going to make a bending jig for the curved cabin top. This is made from three layers of 3mm or 4mm Gaboon/Okume ply laminated together. The plans have this component efficiently nested across the three sheets, but this requires the cut outs to be scarfed together to make the full size components. Confused? Stay with me. I couldn’t be bothered with all that scarfing and worrying about fit. So bought an extra sheet of ply for the hatch cover and made the cabin top oversize out of the three sheets and trimmed it when in place! If your still confused don’t worry all I’m getting at is for $40 I made my life easier!

Here is my laminating Jig.

The cabin top laminating jig

Believe it or not these two opposing parts fitted quiet snug. But to be sure though I laid down some packing foam sheet first, this way I figured it would compress out any misalignment.

Foam Sheet and Plastic below ply

Schmooing the gooo!

All clamped up with no where to go

Out she popped a couple of days later all curves

I guess it goes something like this

To make it twist to the curve of the companionway bulkhead I had to rough cut the hatch opening and to my horror I found a couple of gluing voids in my laminations! I wasn’t going to put this pic in the post, as I wanted you all to think I was brilliant and this went without a hitch. Lets face it though when the mug amateur boat builder screws up we all love it and think hey that stuff happens to me too!

Anyway I dripped and jammed epoxy into to void and re clamped it. The whole thing will be epoxy coated inside and out and all edges sealed so it should be fine even if there is another void somewhere in there!

Gluing void in cabin hatch off cut

I trimmed and flush routed the cabin top after it was glued and screwed down to get an accurate edge fit. Aside from the void panic I think it all came out pretty good. I couldn’t wait to get onto the carlins around the hatch opening so the top would be fully defined. There are a few fancy angles and curves to make this all work, this has made it some of the more interesting woodwork to date!

Cabin Top Carlins

Thank goodness for the gap filling qualities of Epoxy

Another cabin shot because I like it

I’m about to get onto the hatch, but before I do I’ve been trying to settle on a timber species for all the varnished trim! I’ve finally settled on Sydney Blue Gum this is mostly used for flooring or furniture making but does also get used in Australia for boat building. I like its red colour when varnished it’s also available everywhere here.

Sydney Blue Gum – nice red

I’m off to hatch a hatch!

Cheers Mike


  1. Are those multi-function printers? – I can’t find anything in the user manuals about their use in boat building.

  2. Definitely single function!

    Handy if you want multiple copies of your boat bits! Crap when you lift them up and toner spills everywhere.

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