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By Perry Burton - Holyrood, Newfoundland - Canada

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Destruction Construction

When you build structures in Newfoundland, you need to factor in strong winds.

Assembling a 10ft x 20ft tarp car shelter poses the added challenge in the fact that it’s temporary so no concrete base or other nice arrangement. The best I could do was to bolt; strap and weigh the frame down and put in added security by strapping the new boat shed to the rear of the boat and the hitch of the trailer. It’s a good thing because all the other hold downs failed with exception of the trailer and boat rope bracing. Keeping warm is another challenge and I enlisted my father’s skills and he welded a sturdy little wood stove from a discarded hot water boiler.

Please note that under no circumstances are you to put a wood stove in a tent or tarp shelter, however, I am “not all there” so had no hesitation with cutting a hole in the roof and putting in the woodstove. I only mention these things because it took a bit of time and thought as how I could do the necessary work and not loose time on the water this coming summer. It’s done and it works. The stove loves to consume wood but I get a warm 25C work space even with high winds and snow blowing under the walls.

I sat in the cockpit for a moment with a reciprocating saw in my hands contemplating what I was about to do. Once started there was only one outcome that would let me back on the water this summer, finish the job.

I made a cut to the spray rail and settled into destruct mode. An attempt was made to cleanly remove the seat back and deck trim by grinding back the paint and epoxy to back off the screws.

But it was messy and time consuming and I ended up just grabbing the wood and yanked. Splinters flew and wood cracked, but happily the screws remained with heads exposed for me to remove with the drill and bit.

I salvaged about 90% of the screws to use again. Once the rails, and such were torn away it was an easy job to cut the remainder with a jigsaw and grinder with 24 grit disk. Care had to be taken with the deck cutting however, The jig had to be set up first.

The aft wall was dry screwed in place and enough of the forward deck was cut to allow the front wall to be dry screwed in place.

The jig was set up as before and I used a level gauge and pencil to mark where the deck would be initially cut.

I didn’t mention it but I removed the tires from the boat trailer and lowered it to sit level on wood blocks. I levelled the boat front to back by jacking the front hitch. It’s basically set up as if it were on the building jig.

The deck was trimmed to match the wall thickness and the whole cabin assembly was dry fitted so I could add the deck supports where they meet the walls. All the components were trimmed for final installation and removed. The hull was cleaned up and paint removed where the cabin would be glued in place.

The first parts in were the fore and aft bulkheads screwed and epoxied in place with jig to maintain shape.

The walls were added and as that all cured I built my mast compression post and center roof beam, a nice little project of oak laminated and shaped at my whimsy.

Once that was in place I installed the 2 roof panels, though I had to enlarge the hole in the hatch area so I could climb in and out as I worked on it.

The jig was removed with its job complete. With the cabin in place I dry installed the hatch system and marked where the frame, rails, and hole would be cut for the door and hatch, the holes were cut, and the forward frame was glued in place.

A check of the roof strength and a bit of thought led me to add a small beam down the length of the cabin just out past the rails inside the cabin, only ¾” x 2” oak. I took this time to also trim the door opening to final size and glue in place the inside door frame.

The cabin walls hanging out the back side were trimmed flush and a template was made for a new coaming that would run from cabin back to the transom, this time however I went with a substantially stronger piece of wood and I used ½” plywood.

People tended to put a foot on that coaming edge so I figured I would beef it up a bit. The wood was cut, fit, trimmed, fitted again and given a couple of coats of epoxy.

For the window I made a template and scribed a line on the cabin walls to trace the cut out. I cut 2 pieces of 3/8” plywood 1” larger than the final opening size. These were glued and screwed to the inside of the window area. A center screw located the frame in the correct position. The hole was cut after the glue cured. This gave me a ¾” thick frame to scre my lexan window to later.

Where the coaming met the cabin walls I placed a wood block to keep the new piece of wood from pulling out past the cabin. Wax paper was used to keep the scrap holding block from becoming a permanent part of the cabin.

A generous fillet of glue was run down the inside seam to strengthen the joint, once cured the blocks were removed and the screw holes filled.

There were a couple of little surprises in this part of the project, frame #4 was not plumb (not really an issue when it’s just a rib, but can be when adding a wall) I had to leave a gap to later be filled so the wall would be vertical and cabin look proper. The cabin roof beam made of oak along with the compression post made for a very strong roof system along with the hatch frame. I have no issues with standing on this cabin. All that remains now is hatchway cutting, fillers, fillets, an eternity of sanding and finally painting and trim.

In the meantime I’ll keep plugging away and keep the fire burning.

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