The blog of the design, construction, and launching of the vessel "Floating Empire", an electrically driven boat utilizing recycled and repurposed materials and a mix of modern and 18th and 19th century technologies to reduce carbon footprint. The vessel is a tiny house barrel barge, simply built of castoff materials and easily available parts, providing an easy living space for an individual or couple
Well, we got the wiring done today....well most of it anyway: The 110 is done and most of the 12V lines are run, but will have to wait till I mount those navigation lights. Still, very productive day. We also finished mounting the vent and chimney for the hearth and painted most of the ceiling on the lower deck.
We color coded the 110 and 12V lines, just to make sure we didn't make some kind of hideous mistake now or down the road. The orange is 12V, the green is 110 AC from the inverter.
So the Galley outlets are in.....
As are those for the media center in the loft. You can see the galley hearth down below.
We also measured and laid out the tile and side rails for the hearth. These will get mudded in tomorrow.
I really gotta keep a cleaner workspace. This is a high shot of the hearth, covered in tools and crap. .....Sigh.....working on it.
We also did some rough layout on the Japanese style bath and the head, making sure we had our measures right.
So tomorrow, final wiring, medallions and trim for the stern, beginning the panels and interior walls for the head and bath....lots to do, but lots done
Quick note after a long day of driving: Success!! Now according to the State of Delaware, we have a boat! :) We were issued a hull number and registration number, which we will dutifully inscribe on the hull.
Tonight, eastern shore strawberries and wine. Tomorrow: electrical wiring and the Galley
Lots of followup today on stuff we started yesterday. We finished putting the stain on the interior rafters. The panels between will be painted white, which should make the place light and give it a nice sort of Tudor-y look.
We also continued with the galley, setting the hearth permanently in place and locking in the corrugated iron surround.
Then we began the work of installing the vent hood....actually the former top of our beloved Chargriller grill. We installed two cross beams, stained them to match the rest of the crossmembers, and then lofted the hood into place.
Yeah, it's really really black......
Beneath it, we attached the iron and stainless pot rack, that will double both as storage and as support for pots over the fire. This all went in a LOT more easily than I'd anticipated. I also got the thimble for the 3" vent installed, but putting the actual chimney in is gonna have to wait for the rain to stop.
All that being done, I built the structure that will hold up the sink and counter and got them in.
The galley is turning into a really comfortable layout. Here's the sink in place...
It's just tagged into the countertop with self tapping sheet metal screws and then siliconed into place.
And here's with the pump in place, threaded on, and screwed down.
On the whole, we're really pleased with this.
Tomorrow won't be a work day. Tomorrow, I venture to Dover to get a hull number assigned for the boat and to register the vessel. Sunday, I hope to finish the galley (shelves, doors, and backsplash) and get both the 12V and 110V wiring roughed in.
Lots more done today before the rains. I'd keep working but somehow running power tools through an extension cord snaking over 150' of wet grass during multiple lightning strikes seems to me to be tempting the fates a bit more than I usually do.
I'm happy to report we're now starting to get work done on the interior, which is the last phase of this thing. Started the day, though, by finishing up some of the wood stained trim on the foredeck.
Then, wonder of wonders, we finally started on the hearth. As reenactors, we both love open hearth cooking. Cooking on most vessels prior to the 1800s was mostly a matter of a cookfire in a sand filled lead tray set on deck. We cast around for ideas and came across this lovely kitchen setup from our friends at Jas Townsend and sons.
These are great folks if you don't know them, and amazing sources for 17th,
18th and 19th Century goods and technologies. Check them out.
At any rate, our reduced version of the hearth begins like this: We created a platform for the fire surface out of two layers of 1/2" duroc (this is a concrete board used under tile, very solid, very flameproof, and very easy to work with).
The cementboard top will get a fairly thick coat of a mixture of fuller's earth ( a type of clay used, among other things, in clumping cat litter) and vermiculite (a volcanic product that doesn't transmit heat easily and that weighs next to nothing, used in gardening mostly), with a course of terra cotta tile for the top.
We also lined the corner where the hearth will stand with duroc, with a layer of corrugated iron on top to reflect the heat.
The hood goes at the top of the sheet metal, and has a full grid for hanging pots and pans...you'll see :)
We also got in the supports for the sink counter. Here's a rough in, just checking for position.
There will of course be storage under.
And with the sink and pump in place it should look a bit like this:
Right now, I'm sipping a glass of wine and listening to the thunder. Tomorrow, more kitchen stuff, perhaps panelling and stain for the interior. Then work on the paddlewheel. Closing in on it folks.
Stunned at how fast things are going now. This morning, I completed work on the stops and weather stripping on the forward doorway....sorry, no pix right now. Then we tied into the insulation and over the course of the next several hours completed all the insulation on the lower deck.
The first panel going in. The insulation is 1/2" of foam with a foil backer over a 1" air gap, giving us a respectable level insulation and heat reflection without adding a whole lot of weight.
Heres the starboard side with the insulation panels in place, ready for paneling.
And here's the port side.
It is a major convenience to be able, finally, to lock the boat rather than to have to truck all the tools (two drills, two saws, the bladerunner, rulers, squares, hammers.....) out and up to the house. Major time sink, that was.
Tomorrow, We'll complete installation of the duroc and steel behind what will be the hearth, install the hood over the fireplace, and with any luck, all of the trim on the fore of the deck house.
Comment, damn ye. Would love to hear your feedback and ideas.
We are very near, now, to having the deck house fully enclosed. A good part of today was spent creating the bow doorway, staining and varnishing the wood, cutting the acrylic to cover it, building the aft topside window....you get the idea.
We also mounted all the tuftex for the floor to ceiling windows in the aft studio. This is amazing inside, and at night, it has a lovely kind of art deco-y quality.
Its a wonderful material with which to work. I ssee now why Deek at Relaxshacks.com loves the stuff so.
We also did some prep to disassemble our wonderful old chargiller grill. Seriously, if you love cooking over charcoal, get one of these things. This one has been sitting here, used on very nearly a weekly basis, for over nine years now. But it's doomed. The lid with chimney is destined to become the hood and chimney for our hearth on the boat. Looking forward to many more wonderful meals from the thing.
In the middle of everything, we got this amazing rainbow. I sincerely hope it's an omen.
Tomorrow, the windows get finished and we begin with the insulation and hearth.
Things happen faster now. Keep touch, and please comment.
....and I can tell we're getting there because I'm starting to deal with a lot of the little niggly bits. Today was a window day, creating frames for the acrylic windows...
The windows are simple, framed from glued and stapled 2x2, glazed with lexan panels
So first you lay them out
Then you paint them. And after drilling, silicone caulking, and screwing the all too delicate (at least until it's mounted) plastic in place....
You mount the hinge....only to discover that due to wood warpage, accumulated error, your lousy carpentry, the wind being from the SW, and probably the cat, you have to take a surform plane to the window sill to make it close. This process will be repeated over and over for each window....especially the planing part.
But they're in, and they work. Ill add some trim to make them pretty later...
I've left the protective paper on the outside and it'll probably stay there until after the move. No sense inviting trouble from passing branches, etc.
The acrylic, here in the forward deadlight, is astonishingly clear....far more so seemingly than glass, but from an angle you can see every point in the framing where there is stress by flexing in the glazing.
We've had some REALLY heavy showers lately, and I'm pleased to report that the membrane and frame are holding the water out. The only thing I didn't anticipate was that the small flat section of the roof would act as a rain cache, holding a couple of gallons suspended in the membrane.
I've done a temporary fix with some lathing to keep the membrane better supported at center (If I hadn't decided to expand the width, there would be no problem), which I'll make permanent and pretty tomorrow. For tonight, more rain....sigh.
But we're definitely getting there. I felt confident enough today to contact the mover with photos and to try to set up a date to get this beast to water.
Tomorrow, more windows, more wood, more trim, first attempts at the cabinets, more aspirin......
Another busy and productive day. Today we finished the trim on the port and starboard sides. This isn't just decorative, the trim boards protect the seams in the side walls and frame the windows.
The first trim board goes on: These are glued and caulked into place.
Here's starboard mostly done
Portside in progress. There are a few support posts I'm having to work around. We'll pop those on when we're on the trailer.
Port completed. This thing is starting to look decent.
Also today we got the last of the window acrylic, the hinges, and other fittings we need to finish the glazing. Tomorrow, since it's supposed to rain, I'm set up to go work inside the boat and finish the windows. Wish me luck.
First of all we did a touch up on the spar varnish on the sides, especially on trim that was added late in the game.
Then we added the last bit of framing for the window area over the galley. This was kind of weird and wanky as the design changed midcourse and we had to close the window in a bit.
Then we finally started on the forward dressing for the roofline, installing the medallions and trimming the membrane. The medallions are both practical and decorative, serving to delineate the roofline and also to help hold the roof membrane in place. Here's the installation going in prior to trimming the membrane.