Posted by: Mike Randall | November 21, 2010

Hatching the hatch!

Way back when I first received my Stirven plans I recall looking at the drawings for the hatch and studying the photos on François website thinking how the hell am I going to make that? Truth be known I didn’t really understand the drawings, my fault not the drawings.

The sliding hatch has all these curves and runners and trim and it has to fit neatly and slide open and close smoothly. All I could think was any attempts I had previously made in my amateur woodworking career at sliding draws with wooden runners and neatly made wooden boxes had all failed miserably.

Well guess what, on my first attempt at the hatch… I failed!

Yup after successfully laminating – void free I might add the curved hatch top in my laminating jig I somehow managed to cut it to final size out of square! Not a little bit that some fiddling with trim could fix, but a good 20mm from one edge to the next. Lucky I was in warehouse late at night in the middle of nowhere, because I swore a lot, loudly and for quiet a while!

The offending hatch top – mark 1

New strategy – don't cut anything exactly to size and make the frame first

So that the hatch would be incrementally larger than the frame around the cabin opening I built everything in place with 4mm packers attached to the frame so hopefully everything would one day slide easily!

Frame in place with packers and temporary bracing

Mark II curved top made oversize then trimmed in place! Much more accurate

It fits and it works – No external runners yet though!

Curves and tricky bits – mastered!

These are the twisted little fit out details my boat building is being consumed by at the moment.

After that little experience though I reckon I could build a nifty twisty curvy out of square chest of draws now.

Cheers Mike


  1. Hi Mike,

    I’m a regular visitor of Francois Vivier’s website, but untill recently I never took the trouble to follow the link to your blog. Now I did and I’m hooked….
    The first days I had a lot of catching up to do: lots of posts to read from the beginning of the build till now.
    Now I have to wait till you feel like posting the next episode…. Don’t wait to long, you know how it is with addictions….

    So far I’m one of the dreamers , but who knows?….. One day I hope to build a boat of my own and indeed you’re right: just start, live the dream…
    Your posts are certainly very inspiring, informing and entertaining a well. Thank you, I’m looking forward to the next.



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