Bending an Oval Cockpit


Al- I told you we were in the process of bending a new oval cockpit for Blackbird, here is the jig I just finished up last night.  Its about 8 feet long and almost as much across at the cabin house.  We'll build it with a meranti core and mohogany veneer.  We cut the veneer off that big plank last week.  They are 22-inches wide and 14 feet long. Depending on weather - hope to be bending cockpit next week.  We may vacumm bag the outside layer of veneer.  BB  ps I used Fotki for this one.

the jig looks great, bent combing should be nice

Will the veneers need to be steamed, or will they lay up cold?

Bending Jig

That ought to do it.  Curious how thick you cut the veneer.

 A nice  'how to' where the photo makes it clear.  I expect you had to fiddle a bit to post it  but from now on it will be PDQ.

Answers to cockpit questions

Windage and Green Dragon- Below I have posted some additional photo's to explain the process.  I'll write some upfront text so the photos roll back onto the read more page so as not to clutter up the website.  Jamie and Joe Lowell at Even Keel Marine designed this process and we are executing it together.  I purchased a very flat and straight old growth stick of hondo about 3-inches thick, 22 inches wide and fifteen feet long.  This we cut into veneer about 1/4 to 5/16 inches thick and then had that finish sanded, leaving about $250 dollars of fine Mohogany as sawdust.  Unfortunately two veneers split during sanding but we (Jamie) spliced /joined those as you would in making a long conference table, and used those on the inside.  The mold was then backed with two layers of a fine fiberboard to bring the inside of the cockpit to the correct dimension (mold was 1/2 inch narrower).  The first layer of venner was then position and bent cold into shape then coated with a light mixture of west epoxy with some microfiber filler.  The mertanti plywood was scarfed into full length pieces 24 feet long(high in the sides, low in the back to save wood) to accomodate the sloping side of the cockpit profile. Two layers of meranti were then glued and bent around the veneer, pulling it tight against the faired out mold.  We still have to add the two other core layers and the outside veneer, which we might vacuum bag.  Photos below  illustrate the process.  The final veneer might be about 3/16, truthfully I have not measured them but I'll do so today.


Above is the final veneer being cut from the plank.



Above is the mold with the exterior layer applied


Here is the interior veneer that has been coated with epoxy.  We were too busy to photograph the next two layers going on, but a get some shots today of it clamped up.




Finally, this is the old cockpit set on the new deck to take measurements from.  Essentially, this is what we are replacing.