This week’s progress building our beloved MV (Motor Vessel) Möbius and XPM78-01 here at Naval Yachts reached another exciting milestone with the cutting of the first wood being used to build our interior cabinetry and furniture. We are VERY excited about this and as per the title we think “You Wood Too!” Not that the work on all things metal and mechanical aren’t exciting as they continue to progress very well too, but this most recent deep dive into designing and now starting to build the interior of our new home and boat has us particularly excited and wanting to share it with you so please join us as we dive into the latest progress in designing and building mv Möbius.
As you may recall if you read the previous post “Miss Mobius World Wood Pageant” we have chosen to use Rosewood for all our interior woodwork and so it was a very exciting day when the first truckload of solid and veneer arrived from the lumberyard near Istanbul.
With different languages and species all this wood is from the Dalbergia family and goes by several names including Santos, Palisander, Pelesenk, African/Burmese Blackwood and (your choice) Madagascar/Brazilian/Indian/Honduran/Yucatan/Amazon/Burmese Rosewood. You may be interested to know that these woods are called Rosewood because they give off a rose like scent when being cut and worked so I will borrow from the bard’s astute observation that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, add my own “and be as beautiful” and from here on in I will simply refer to this as Rosewood.
The photo above was taken as the protective wrap was first pulled back to unveil the stacks of hundreds of flitches of Rosewood veneer quickly followed by the same reveal of these planks of our solid Rosewood. While we had spent a LOT of time searching for and choosing this wood it still took our breath away with the reality and beauty of this wildly varied colours and swirling grain patterns.
Christine and I were still in Florida being Gramma and Grampa so Dincer had flew up to Istanbul to personally select the specific batches of veneer and solid Rosewood for us and as usual he did a masterful job of choosing the just right Rosewood for us.
My dear friend Eileen Clegg once called me an “extremophile” which I took as a compliment, and with Möbius being the first of Naval’s XPM eXtreme eXpedition Passage Maker series of boats it seemed only fitting that we would have sought out a wood with such eXtreme ranges of colour and grain. The only thing more eXtreme than the beauty of Rosewood is its price but Christine and I may well spend the rest of our lives living aboard Möbius and want to be surrounded by beauty every one of those days so this was an easy decision to make given the infinite amount of joy it will provide for us and others who join us aboard.
This photo shows how the cabinetmakers have unpacked the first four of that stack of wide strips of veneer known as flitches shown above into matching layers after cutting off any splits or damage at their ends.
Is this Beauty in the eXtreme or what???
As with most other facets of boat building Naval does all their cabinetmaking in house which includes doing all their plywood lamination so these Rosewood flitches will soon be matched up on either side of marine birch plywood and be pressed and heated in this large hydraulic laminating press to create the finished veneer panels. You will see this fabulous bit of kit in action in the upcoming weekly updates.
As beautiful as the veneer is the solid Rosewood more than shared the spotlight as you can see here with these first four 25mm / 1” planks to emerge from their own stacks off the truck.
The very large staff of professional cabinetmakers, which I will be introducing to you over the coming weeks, seemed to be equally as excited and impressed by the opportunity to start transforming this Rosewood into furniture and cabinets for Möbius.
You Wood too right?
Those first planks were soon coming out of the table saw and shaper as these T shaped strips which will next be glued to all exposed edges of the veneered panels. This solid Rosewood edging is at least a 10mm / 3/8” thick which enables further shaping and ensures that none of the veneer edges are exposed to any wear and tear over the years.
Panels which will have all four sides exposed when finished on things like drawer fronts have these solid Rosewood T’s glued on all four edges with mitred corners such as the one on the far left here. All the outer corners of these T edges will be rounded over with a 3-5mm radius to make them very easy on your hands and very luxurious in their looks.
Another technique for creating the large 50mm/2” Radius external corners and reducing the amount of Rosewood required on things like vertical cabinet edges, corners of the bed frame, etc. begins with gluing these triangular shaped lengths of solid Beech, the white wood here, to lengths of solid Rosewood.
Why? might be a common question so I grabbed a piece of scrap wood with a 50mm Radius on the bottom side and made that horizontal pencil line to show how the Rosewood portion of the glued up piece on the bottom left will be machined with that large radius surface being all Rosewood and the inner triangle of Beech providing the a large surface area for the adjoining panels to be glued in place and be hidden in the joinery on the inside.
Once the glue has cured the next day and operation is to machine these laminated lengths of Rosewood and Beech …….
…… into this shape and you can now hopefully see how this creates the two wide flats at 90 degrees to each other to form the large vertical corners on cabinets and corners and then have the full 25-30mm thickness of Rosewood to form the rounded outer corner.
I’ll be able to show you this in much more detail in the coming weeks as the cabinetry progressed so let’s leave the cabinetmakers alone for a bit and go back aboard Möbius to see how things are progressing there.
The “Sparkies” as our brilliant Kiwi (New Zealand) designer Dennis would call the team of electricians who are growing in number aboard Möbius, are now busy running literally nautical miles of wiring throughout the conduits and wire trays and have setup shop in the SuperSalon to do the cutting and labeling of all the individual runs of wire.
If you look in the background of the picture above (click to enlarge any photo) or in this close up shot you can see some of the runs of flexible conduit going up the inside of the vertical SuperSalon window mullions which are soon filled up with the wires for devices up in the ceiling of the SuperSalon and the SkyBridge.
Each length of wire is labeled with the temporary tubular yellow labels you see here. With hundreds, perhaps thousands of wire end connections to make, this labeling is key to making it faster and clearer for the Sparkies to know that the right wire is going to the right switch, light or circuit breaker.
Before the final wiring of each connection is done each wire will be cut to the just right length and additional labels will be heat shrunk to each end of all wires for future reference whenever someone, aka ME! is doing any modifications or maintenance of any of the eXtensive electrical systems aboard Möbius.
Down in the Basement we see that the “Poopsmiths’ ** aka plumbers in Kiwi speak, have been busy starting to install the runs of Vetus Sanitary hose for all the Grey (shower & sink) Water and Black (toilets) Water tanks, pumps, drains, etc.
** Full list of such wonderful Kiwi slang words here for those of you interested in “dropping your gear’ and go “full tit” to be fully “home and hosed” when it comes to speaking like a native down under. I hope this doesn’t’ come across as rarking you up or pack a sad for too many of you and if so the next drink is my shout but this offer is only good at sparrow fart.
Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile will recognise this and for the rest of you this is one of the hatches which I’ve designed and Naval is is now building in house. The little army of aluminium boxes on the right are the hinge boxes which provide the support for the SS hinge pins that slide through the 8mm / 5/16” holes in their sides.
Turning these boxes transparent in the 3D model of these hatches (click to enlarge) will show you better how they work. Everything but the Rosewood inner liner is all aluminium but I have coloured the Lid Blue and the Frame in Red he blue for added clarity and you can see how the Blue Hinge Arms which are welded to the Lid, extends into the Hinge Boxes under the deck and rotate on the white SS 8mm diameter hinge pins.
I used one of my favorite CAD tools, Autodesk Fusion 360 to design these hatches and here is a little animation Fusion enables me to create which I hope will show you how the hatch works.
One of the most rewarding aspects of designing and building your own stuff is when your designs are transformed into reality and here is my most recent example. This is what the Hinge Arm you’ve seen above looks like as a component within the Fusion 360 model.
And here I am holding that very same Hinge Arm after Uğur has cut it from a solid block of aluminium.
We decided to create a few prototypes of these hatches to fully test out my design in the real world and here is one of the prototype assemblies of the Hinge Arm assembled within the Hinge Box on a temporary threaded hinge pin.
Hinge Arms tacked to the Lid and Hinge Boxes tacked to the outer Frame.
A quiet ”Open Sésame” and Voila! it works! The hatch opens fully to the 120 degree angle I wanted as the Hinge Arms come into contact with the inner edge of the cut-out in the outer Frame where the Hinge Boxes attach.
After a few tweaks with the prototype hatches to get these hinges working and positioned just right we were ready for the critical step of welding the Hinge Boxes to the actual Hatch Frames that have been welded into the decks on Möbius.
As you can see from the photos and models above, the two Hinge Pins have to have their centerlines precisely aligned in order for the Lid to open smoothly so Yiğit and I designed up a jig that Uğur and Nihat could use to hold each pair of Hinge Boxes in just the right position under the deck plates and up tight against the outer Frame surfaces and tack the Hinge Boxes in place. You can see the aluminium plate part of this positioning jig in Ugur’s right hand here and It worked just as we hoped.
I forgot to take a picture of the jig itself so what you can’t see but can hopefully imagine is that there are two arms welded to the edge of that aluminium plate which exactly replicate the Hinge Arm positions and have matching pipes for the Hinge Pins to go through. So Uğur slides these two arms on the jig into the rectangular openings you saw above in the outer Hatch Frame and then holds each Hinge Box in his left hand and slides it over the arms of the jig and inserts an 8mm pin through the holes in the Hatch Box and the jig.
Takes longer for me to type this than it did for Uğur and Nihat to tack the Hinge Boxes in place and hope this all makes some sense to most of you?
While Uğur and Nihat were busy working up on deck, our awesome Master Welder Sezgin was busy down on the shop floor under Möbius finishing up the welding of the Hatch Lids.
And the pile of finish welded Lids piled up quickly. In case you are wondering, he tacked two lids together to help hold each Hatch Lid assembly in alignment and prevent them from warping or moving as they were welded up. Then the tacks are ground off to separate each Lid and the Lids are cleaned up and prepped for the last bit of welding the Hinge Arms to the Lids which is perhaps the trickiest and most important step to ensuring that the Hatches open, shut and seal just right.
Once the Lids have their Hinge Arms welded on they will be sent off to the glass supplier to cut and install the 15mm tempered glass to complete the Lids and I’ll cover that as it happens in the next few weeks.
And as Porky the Pig used to say “Th-th-th-th That’s All Folks!” At least for this week. Hope you are continuing to enjoy and possibly even get some value from these weekly progress updates and I look forward to your comments, questions and suggestions you leave in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Great design job on the hatches Wayne!
Greetings Dennis, hope this note finds you, Raquel and Koti enjoying a lovely anchorage up in the Bay of Islands and getting ready to shove off and head to warmer climates to the North soon?
Really appreciate you continuing to join us on this adventure and means a lot to get such a compliment on the hatches from such a talented designer and builder as yourself. For those reading this, Dennis is “our” awemazing Naval Architect and designer who worked with us for the past three years to transform our ideas and visions for our “Goldilocks” just right, just for us boat mv Möbius into the reality of intricate 3D models and drawings. Now as all the talented people at Naval Yachts are transforming those models and drawings into the final reality of a finished boat, you’ve been seeing examples of Dennis’ design work, models and drawings here on this blog.
Dennis is the founder of Artnautica Yacht Design originally based out of Auckland New Zealand but he has recently cut the dock lines on his LRC58 mv Koti as he and his wife Raquel now point their bow North and through all other points of the compass as they set out to travel the world aboard Koti. I would also want to add that Dennis after designing what is known as the LRC58 line of boats, Dennis spent the next few years almost single handedly building the very first LRC58 named Koti (Finnish for home) which then became his full time home and office. LRC58 #5 is now under construction by Aluboot in the Netherlands which is managed by Rob Westermann who you can contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
Given Dennis’ background you can understand how getting comments from him like this most recent one about the hatches we have designed and are now installing on Möbius means so much to us.
Thanks Dennis, and please keep the comments, critical and complimentary, coming! We look forward to them all as well as following you, Raquel and Koti on your own new adventures.
Wayne & Christine
Hatches look great. Will you have a isolation sleeve between ss pin and aluminum hatch?
Hi there Chuck, and Lauri! Thanks for joining us on our adventures here building Möbius while you are both enjoying the wonders of the Marshall Islands aboard your fabulous floating home FreeSpirit. I thought about pressing some Delrin bushings into the Hinge Arms for the SS hinge pins to bear upon and keep the metals apart but I was concerned about possibly weakening the aluminium of the Hinge Arms around that hole so we will KISS with 8mm SS pins with a nice sliding fit to the Hinge Arms. All the other commercial hatches I’ve had experience with such as Lewmar, Bofor, etc. have SS pins in AL hinge bodies and they have held up well over many years of use. When we go to assemble the Lids into the hatch frames we will put a bit of TefGel on the SS pins to help reduce even that little bit of SS to AL contact and then keep an eye on them over the years as we use them.
How are you finding the SS hinge pins in your Lewmar hatches on Free Spirit to be holding up as they are now around 25 years old and to the best of my knowledge are all still original?
Hug to Lauri please and any others up there in the Marhsalls that might still remember us and thanks again for joining us and commenting. Look forward to many more.
Still following along each week’s instalment – thanks for publishing.
I am full of admiration for you making things like hatches rather than just buying ‘off the shelf’. You are lucky to have found such a capable team in Turkey.
How is the engine rebuild progressing. I would have expected to see that installed by now – but I suppose you have an engine room hatch and can do it at a later stage than normal?
Thanks so much for the kind comments and questions Nigel. It has been very satisfying for all of us here to design and build these hatches in house in order to get them just right for us and the XPM use case. One of our big goals, requirement really, is to avoid all penetrations of the aluminium hull which are not welded in. So no screws or bolts, no fittings with sealant, etc. and so securing the hatch frames to the decks fell under this “rule” and needed to be welded not bolted and caulked in place. This and a few other design criteria meant that our only choice was to get one of the higher end hatch companies to custom build the hatches for us using all raw aluminium so we could weld them into the decks. We found two companies that were willing to do so and they would have built excellent hatches, however the very understandable costs for them to develop such a one off custom set of hatches to our rather exacting requirements made designing and building our own here in house at Naval a better choice for us so that’s what we’ve done. They aren’t quite done and fully tested so I’ll reserve assessment of how well they meet all our stringent specifications till we do but so far we are eXtremely happy with how well they are turning out.
With all the great experiential learning from building several prototype hatches and now having all ten hatch frames and lids all welded up, there will be further refinements in the design for when Naval builds the next XPM with these hatches in them which makes all this time and effort all the more worthwhile.
As for “Mr. Gee” as Christine and I affectionately refer to our Gardner 6LXB single main engine I will need to beg your continued patience before I can bring you more pictures, video and coverage of that rebuild and installation. As you’ve noticed the big hatch in the Aft Deck over the Engine Room has been sized such that Mr. Gee with his partner the Nogva CPP Servo box bolted on can fit through this opening and allow us to install/remove that whole assembly at any time. We have taken the same approach of installing all the systems and equipment AFTER the hull and superstructure is pretty much complete to guarantee that these can be removed and replaced over the lifespan of the boat without requiring any cutting away to do so. The big opening over the Engine Room is part of that, as is the sizing of the door frames throughout the boat and the sizing of the big hatch in the floor of the SuperSalon which is the only access to the voluminous Basement area.
Mr. Gee is not scheduled to be installed for another few months as other work continues inside the boat and as I finally push him up to one of my top priorities here and get the time to completely restore him to better than factory new condition. I’m very pleased to let you know that as of today, he is now completely stripped down “naked” with every single part, nut and bolt removed and is now sporting new cylinder liners, new valves and reconditioned heads and I’ve teased you with two short shots of that in this week’s progress update and promise lots more to come in the next few weeks. It will take longer than usual as I’m going to be polishing and painting every part to bring him up to the museum level of quality he deserves and much as I’ve done in my past with antique car restorations. I love the process but it does take lots of time.
Throughout the build though, we have been closely taking measurements as things like the massive Engine Beds and the CPP prop log tube were installed and will soon be fabricating the mounting frames that will support Mr. Gee and the Nogva servo box. So thanks for your interest and questions and stay tuned for more on the whole propulsion system installation in the coming weeks and months.
Like Nigel Wood look forward to each instalment in perticular more details on the engine rebuild.
Quick question for you, as the hatches are flush to the deck how easy is are they to open from the deck?
Hi Andrew. As per my answer to Nigel below re the Gardner rebuild, “I’m on it” and Mr. Gee will soon be a star of these weekly progress updates I assure you.
Re your question about the hatches “… how easy are they to open from the deck?”, the answer is quick and easy; Don’t! 🙂
After MUCH deliberation over many months, Christine and I decided to not have the latch mechanism of the hatches into the living space be accessible from the deck. It would have been quite possible to have the latches go through the glass covered lids as is quite common with many manufactured hatches and I modeled such a design to help with our decision. The interior latch body would have extended up through a sealed busing in the glass with a star pattern female socket that you use a winch handle to open/close the hatches from deck level. This remains an option for future builds of these hatches for other XPM owners.
However our primary reasons for deciding to not do this and have all the glass hatches only able to be open/closed from the inside, included the following:
* No penetration of the outer glass which covers the entire top surface of the Hatch Lids. This in keeping with our KISS approach, no glass cutting required and the whole 15mm tempered glass is simply adhered to the wide flat surfaces of the CNC cut 10mm Lid plates with industrial adhesive that is used for the similar construction of glass sided high rise buildings.
* No penetrations to the interior eliminates a common source of leaks
* Having now means to open these hatches from the outside, keeps the interior of the boat more secure with the only other access from the outside being through the one WT door from the Aft Deck down into the SuperSalon or through the WT door on the Swim Platform into the Workshop, which in turn is sealed off by the WT Door through the WT Bulkhead into the corridor by the Guest Cabin.
* We also thought this design esthetic was KISS also with no visible frames, no visible hinges, no latches, nothing but the rectangular glass visible from on deck.
** NOTE: These glass surfaces will have stripes of non slip tape on them to keep them safe when walked on in wet stormy conditions.
The trade off or compromise that is part of all such decisions on a boat, is that this feature of no external opening of the hatches will at times be a “bug” when we are up on deck and want to open/close one of these hatches and now have to go inside to do so. However for all the reasons above, for us, this is the best arrangement and all part of the “just right, just for us” design principle we have for the whole boat.
Hope that makes sense and answers your question?
great practical trade off on the outside access … I love it … keep up the KISS
Thanks for the kind comments and glad you are enjoying the blog posts.
We will continue to do our best to KISS our way through the rest of the build.