Anchor, Chain Locker, and Anchor Roller, Part 6, Anchor Roller Platform, Construction, Part II

The anchor platform, fully shaped and fully drilled
Having filled some holes and protected some holes in the deck with thickened epoxy in and around the bow of the boat, I could now complete the work I had started on the mahogany anchor platform. I had created its basic shape, but I stilled needed to drill some holes and give some final form to this piece of wood. How I carried out these tasks for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, is the subject of this posting.
In the picture below, we see the anchor platform as it existed before I went off on my epoxy-work digression.
This piece of wood was 2 inches thick. In the lumber business in the United States this is called an 8/4 inch piece of wood.
I had purchased this 8/4 inch mahogany at Southern Lumber in Charleston, South Carolina. Most of the exotic woods at this business are sold in a rough-sawn condition. This means that you need to plane it down yourself after you purchase it.
I wanted to plane this piece down as little as possible - just enough to remove the rough saw marks.
I needed this piece to be as thick as possible so that it would correspond to the two inch thick shelf at the stem of the bow.
After a few passes through the planer, this piece was cleaned up and ready to go.
I had determined that my routed cutouts for the flanges of the pulpit bases were not quite as large as they needed to be.
Therefore, I marked the mahogany and broke out the router once again.

That did the trick.
Now I needed to do something to the mahogany to account for the camber of the deck. You see in the picture below, the mahogany was not flush with the shelf of the stemhead.
There was a gap underneath the mahogany, at least on its forward end.
I checked and double-checked the cutouts for the pulpit bases. These were not presenting any problems.
The aft end of the mahogany sat flush on the deck, with the exception of the extremes of the port and starboard sides.
From what I could tell, I needed to do something to the forward end of the mahogany so that it would sit just as flush to the deck as the aft end. At issue was the camber of the deck. It was obviously more pronounced on the forward end.
This was where my angle grinder once again came in handy. It enabled me to remove small amounts of material in a smooth and consistent way from the forward end of the mahogany.
I started small, making sure that I did not remove too much material from this centerline area of the forward end.
A straight edge confirmed my observations that the deck was more cambered at the forward end than at the aft end.
I ground and I ground and I ground, repeatedly stopping along the way to see how the mahogany fit in this space.
The more curvature I gave to the mahogany the more flush it sat with the shelf of the stemhead. This changed the way it sat on the deck, which meant that it changed the way that it sat relative to the pulpit bases. Therefore, I had to make some slight adjustments to them with the grinder.
Eventually, the mahogany sat flush or nearly flush in all areas.
The curvature of the underside of the mahogany was obvious when you viewed it head-on from the forward end.
With this job out of the way I could focus the holes for the hardware. The chain pipe hole was first.
Using several reference lines on the deck and on the mahogany, I marked the mahogany with an oval shape using the chain pipe as a guide. This hole had to be just right. Otherwise, I would have to throw away this piece of mahogany and start all over again.
Knowing that a jigsaw blade can easily walk, especially when cutting thick and dense material along an arc, I decided to use a hole saw to remove most of the material for this oval shape.
After I had partially cut the two holes, I turned the mahogany upside down and started to cut two more holes exactly opposite the other two.
I did this to prevent tear-out on the bottom side. I also did it to ensure that the cuts were as plumb as possible, all the way through this thick material.
The first hole was nice and smooth and appeared perfectly plumb.
After I had removed the plug from the first hole, it was impossible for me to use the hole saw to complete the cut for the second hole. Therefore, I had no choice but to use my Makita jigsaw for this purpose. There was very little material left, so the jigsaw blade did not give me any problems.
Afterwards, I cleaned up the friction marks with the Dremel.
The chain pipe fit perfect in the cutout with just a little wiggle room to account for the movement of the wood in different temperature and humidity conditions.
Out on the boat, I was happy to discover that my measurements had been accurate, for the most part.
The oval in the mahogany and the oval in the deck corresponded to each other, fore and aft. That was good. On the starboard side, however, there was some excess mahogany that needed to be removed. I could live with that.
I marked the mahogany to give myself some idea of how much material I needed to remove.
I then slowly removed it, a pass or two at a time, with the Dremel.
Eventually, the two holes lined up just right.
Now I could mark the mahogany for the holes I needed to drill for the anchor roller. I have no pictures of all my work with the anchor roller, because I needed two hands for this work. I measured and remeasured this area many times, checking the chain locker to ensure that the bolts for the holes that I wanted to drill would not interfere with the hardware for the pulpit bases. I also had to take into account the G-10 backing plates that I was installing behind all of this hardware. While I was doing all of this I was ever-vigilant regarding the alignment of the oval in the mahogany with the oval in the deck. There was little room for error.
On the subject of hardware, now was a good time for me to dry-fit the new cleats, because this would help me determine where I needed to locate the chock and the chain stop on the mahogany anchor platform. Earlier, as you will recall, I had filled the cleat holes with epoxy. Now I needed to drill them out. I began by using a countersink bit.
The bevel in the epoxy then allowed me to line up the straight drill bit in the center of each hole.
These new cleats were Schaefer brand stainless steel cleats, 8 inches in length. The screws for these cleats were 5/16 inch in diameter. These replaced the old 7 inch aluminum cleats with 1/4 inch screws. You'll recall from my earlier posting that the stainless steel screws were hopelessly corroded within the aluminum cleats.
Now that I had the new cleats dry-fitted into place, I could get a better idea of where I needed to locate the chock on the mahogany anchor platform.
I decided that I would install the chock on the port side and the chain stop on the starboard.
This would allow me to use the starboard cleat for the paying out of the nylon anchor rode. When the weather was benign, I would use the port side cleat to secure the rode. When the weather was malevolent, I would still use the port side cleat to secure the rode, but before setting the anchor I would reach up beyond the roller and pull the nylon rode abaft to the starboard cleat where I would make it fast. This would reduce the chances of the nylon rode getting snagged by the anchor roller on the port side, since the boat would be anchored from the starboard cleat, not the roller itself.
When I had figured out exactly where I wanted to locate the chock, I marked the mahogany with a center hole punch
Afterwards, I drilled the holes for the two long 1/4 inch hex head bolts that would secure the mahogany anchor platform to the deck. The carriage bolts for the anchor roller would secure the mahogany on the forward end. In terms of the aft end, I could have installed two bolts on that end, but the washers and nuts for these bolts would have been in the V-berth instead of the chain locker. I did not want them in the V-berth, since this was a finished space not a utilitarian space.
I flirted with the idea of installing a large pad eye (that I had salvaged from an abandoned Hunter 27) on the aft end of the mahogany, but I decided to leave this space open in the event that I wanted to install some other piece of hardware in this space.
In terms of the chock, it was clear that the edge of the 2 inch thick mahogany presented an obstruction in terms of a fair lead from the chock to the cleat on the port side of the bow. Therefore, I decided that I needed to chisel out a portion of the mahogany to allow for a fair lead.
In order to determine where I should install the chain stop, I temporarily installed the anchor and the 30 foot chain rode. I wanted the stop to be far enough aft to hold the anchor as securely as possible in the roller. I have no idea why I had the chain wrapped around the cleat when I took this picture.
Now it was time to mark the holes for the chain stop with the center hole punch and install the chain stop temporarily.
The last thing I did was to install the screws for the chain pipe.
Having installed these pieces of hardware temporarily in the mahogany anchor platform, I removed the platform and used the countersink bit to bevel the holes for the bolts that would secure the platform to the deck. I would use butyl tape to seal the underside of the mahogany to the deck. The bevels would allow the butyl tape to form a gasket of sorts around each of the holes.
I drilled out the top side of the 1/4 inch bolt holes for the bolts on the aft end of the mahogany with a 5/16 inch bit.
This allowed me to insert the 5/16 inch router bit into the holes. This also allowed me to rout out the balsa core. Soon afterward, I would fill these holes with epoxy, just like I would fill the holes for the anchor roller with epoxy. This would seal the balsa core and thus prevent water intrusion into the core.
Back at my work table, I began to focus on the cutout in the mahogany for the fair lead from the chock to the cleat.
I used a chisel and a dead blow hammer to create the cutout.
My initial cuts with the chisel were not very attractive.
As time went along, however, the cutout started to look a lot better.
I would chisel a little and then sand a little.
I paused from work with the chisel and began to bevel the bolt holes and screw holes. These holes, just like those in the deck of the boat, would allow the butyl tape to create a gasket of sorts when I tightened everything down.

After I had finished beveling the holes, I pulled out the quarter-sheet sander and began softening the hard edges of the mahogany.

I remembered that my work with the cutout for the nylon rode was not complete.
Therefore, I returned to it and made it deeper and more pronounced.
The forward end of the mahogany was sort of rough looking, so I smoothed it up with the quarter-sheet sander.
All the burn marks from the saw blade were now gone.
I softened the forward edge of the mahogany just a little, but not much. I wanted it to be nice and crisp where it joined the fiberglass shelf at the bow.
I used the Dremel to smooth up the pulpit base cutouts.
This was the easy way to get rid of all those burn marks.
I did the same thing to the cutouts for the pulpit base flanges on the bottom side of the mahogany.

I also softened up the edges on the port and starboard sides of the mahogany.

The last thing I did was to sand the face of the mahogany to remove all evidence that I had passed this piece of wood through the planer.
Now, at last, I could call this mahogany anchor platform construction project complete, and now I could begin to think about staining and varnishing this beautiful piece of wood.
This ends this posting on how I constructed the anchor roller platform for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

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