Deck part 1

 

higgins_hull_5Once the hull is free of the building board and on the cradle. the next steps included trimming the upper parts of the ribs and preparing to plank the deck.

higgins_hull_6The first step was installing deck beams on alternate frames, using the deck beams to also frame up the various hatches to be added or created later.  I used the same plywood for the deck beams as for the ribs, supplemented by hard maple for some of the areas needing reinforcement, such as the position of the Samson Post.  Then I added the perimeter board/rub strake to the deck, using hard maple, the same thickness as the deck planking to be added later.

higgins_hull_cabin_1The deck was also planked in two layers, as the hull, with the first layer laid on diagonally and the second layer longitudinally.  The area of the main cabin was left un-planked and the cabin framing set up as shown as a guide the planking, which was stopped at the forward edge of the cabin.

Once the first layer of planking was in place, the main access hatch was laid out, running aft from the cabin.  This was not a hatch as on the original, but designed to give easy and full access to the hull interior during the rest of the construction and after completion.  higgins_hull_cabin_2Once this hatch was cut, trimmed and fitted, the cabin was sheathed in plywood, turrets made up from Creole/Cajun seasoning cans (of paper) and the second, longitudinal layer of planking could be laid.

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Hull Interior Part 1

Access to the interior through the large access hatch allowed some interior work to be done.

higgins_hull_exhaust_manifoldOne early step was to install the tubing for the air supply for the “exhausts”.  When the exhausts were made, I epoxy cemented short lengths of brass tubing into the opening of each, then let that tubing through the hull.  Plastic air tubing for aquarium use was then used, with connectors and control valves, to make a manifold on each side for later connection to an air pump.  I am planning to use a 12 volt air pump such as those used to aerate bait tanks on fishing boats as an air source.

higgins_hull_cabin_3The access hatch was sanded and fitted to the opening and supports installed along the side.  The cabin itself fitted atop the first layer of deck planking.  In this shot you can see the paper cans used to make up the gun turrets, to be added later.

Hull Planking

The hull planks were milled from white pine.  They were cut to a thickness of about 1/32″ and width of about 3/16 inch.  The planking was in a double layer, as in the original boats, with the first layer glued onto the frames in a diagonal orientation, about 45 degrees from the frames in the mid portion of the hull, and as it ran for the remainder, especially in the bow.  The first layer was slanted directed toward the bow above the chine, and opposite below the chine, to make a chevron pattern pointing aft.  Then a layer of thin cotton fabric embedded in waterproof glue was laid over the first layer of planking, taking care to smooth it well and eliminate air bubbles.  Once that layer was dry, the final layer of planking was installed, with the planks above the chine at a diagonal opposite the first layer, and the planks below the chine running nearly horizontal fore and aft.

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The hull with the first layer of planking installed and the fabric layer applied over the planking.  I used Titebond III waterproof glue to install the planking and to embed the fabric layer.

higgins_hull_planking_4aSecond layer of planking done, chine/spray rails installed, and first coats of urethane marine varnish done.  Note the direction of the planking as described above.

higgins_hull_5The hull cut free of the building board and the board converted to a cradle. The exhausts are carved from maple and painted gold/bronze.  The exhausts are hollowed out and have plastic tubing for an air pump to create, I hope, somewhat realistic exhaust bubbling later on.