Getting the shaft

So maybe you have noticed this 2001: A Space Oddity-like monolith that has been rising out of the center of the main deck in some of the other pictures?

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It is the shaftway to conceal (and deaden the noise of) the piping for the engine exhausts and all the pipes that will eventually go from the engine room below up into the new smokestack above. There is a divider inside this shaftway to create a 12 inch by 12 inch duct (on the left side in this picture looking toward the bow) that will bring fresh air down into the engineroom. The green round flange attached to the side of the shaftway is the future connection for the wood burning stove that will be in the main parlour. That will have another pipe going up into the stack. I also need to fit another large pipe for the diesel boiler exhaust, two fuel tank vent pipes, the sanitation tank vent pipe, a compressed air pipe to run the air horn, and electrical piping in this shaftway. It is going to get crowded fast.

I am punching all the holes with a hydraulic punch and then bolting it together with the plan to eventually hot rivet the whole thing together. I want it to look like it has always been a part of the ship and no one does hot rivets anymore. I have a great large rivet gun, the dies and an air bucker to install the rivets and my friend Darren has a propane fired forge to heat them up. I am going to build it first by bolting it all together in place – and then disassemble it to be blasted and primer coated. I will then reassemble it with the bolts in every other hole and then hot rivet the empty, remaining holes. Then to finally remove the bolts and we will finish riveting. Whew – I cant wait!

Here is a detail of the stepped edges with some test rivets just placed in the holes to see how it looks:

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I am building this out of steel plate and angles and not out of wood as it will have to support the weight of the steel smokestack above it. Its interesting to have steel interior walls that will eventually mate with the wood walls and ceiling.

But the other function of this monolith is that the forward side of the shaftway becomes part of the enclosure for the new stairs going down to below decks. Here, in chalk on the deck, is the rough layout of the stairs. This also forms a common wall with the bathroom on the main deck. It is going to be a small bathroom – only 60″ by 44″ inches, but that is all the room I have to work with! At least the door doesn’t hit the toilet bowl!

The green 2″ pipe with the cap (in the bottom left in the picture) is the diesel fuel fill pipe that will get buried inside the exterior wall with the fuel fill connection on the outside wall.

I have the room to do a standard rise/run with these stairs to make it easier to go up and down. It will be a 10 inch tread with a 1 inch bullnose and the height from tread to tread will be 7 1/2 inches. Pretty standard for a building but uncommon in a boat. One unknown factor is whether I will put in a hardwood floor in the main parlour, it’s thickness and how much the finished floor will above the steel deck.

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