Friday, February 3, 2012

Arts and crafts. Making a console overlay template

Attention class, everyone get into your seats, and get your supplies ready. We need our template paper, scissors, a straight edge, tape, and our scriber. And Johnny, quit sniffing that styrene, and stop running around with those sharp scissors, you're going to hurt someone. The materials are simple, and the only thing in question is what to use to do the scribing, and we will get to that in a moment.

First off we need paper that is heavier than than newspaper stock. I used paper from a large tablet, but brown packing paper works just as well. If you have to cut out the piece from something larger, leave one straight factory edge available to you. Don't fold it up or use crumpled stuff, this will bite you later. We start in this case at the bottom of the console, and tape it so we have one good edge level, and on the flat part of the console bottom. Ending up on the curve will create issues when you install the new panel. Double check that you are level straight, and square at the bottom edge again. Don't screw this up, or your eye will always see it.

Now we want to tape the paper to the console so it's drum skin tight across the console face. This is a metaphor, we just want it nice and taut across the surface. Where you have corners, take the scissors and cut a couple of relief slits up to near the edges of the corners so the paper will lay flat around them. When all looks good, carefully tape the paper securely to the console. You just need enough tape to secure it while it is being scribed. Use a good quality painter's tape so it will come off both the console and the paper with grace. This is not a good place for Bob's pretty good tape you bought on sale in the dollar bin.
My favorite scribing tool is a long screwdriver bit. It's straight, has flat surfaces, and always has a nice surface rust patina that comes from living in the constant Florida humidity. I have given up through the years trying to stop my tools from getting rusty. A few of the expensive ones such as my micrometer always get wiped off, but when you work on boats, things get wet, and rust will occur. As I have learned on the Antiques Roadshow, things have more value if the patina is left in place, or so I say to myself when I chant that mantra.

I've used other things over the years such as #2 pencils that leaves a light yellow line, but this slighty rusty tool has worked best for me. Hold it so your fingers keep it just a little off the surface, and rub it on the edges. this make a line that is just a wee bit up on the curve. When you cut away the line, you are on the flat

Most boats still use molds that were made by hand, and although the mold maker might be very talented, in places the console shape is going to be a bit wonky as you can see here. Without the line for your eye to follow, it's almost impossible to see it. We do know that we don't want our template to follow that line we scribed.

The fix is easy. Take a piece of tape, and place it on the paper to create a new line where you want the correction made. When you take the template off, be careful not to pull that piece of tape off of the paper. When you get it off, place another piece of tape on the back side of the tape line to keep it from sticking to everything.

Taking the straight edge, and where the lines are straight, redraw them with pen or pencil. Get the scissors, and walk, don't run back to the template and carefully cut it out. Do a good job of this because this will be the shape that is cut out. I'm going to have this panel made for me. It will cost about $60. I couldn't do it myself as well as someone who does this work for a living, and as I have said before, " Find out what you don't do well in life, and then don't do those things."

In the end, it turned out very well. It was attached using #4 SS flat head screws that are counter sunk flush with the surface. The last step is to take the screws back out, paint the heads with black paint, and put them back in. Don't paint the screws before putting them in for the first time, or you will muck up the paint. When you put the painted screws in, start them by hand so they catch in the newly made threads, and screw them in by hand. If one of them gets marred, use the end of a paper match head, or the ilk to touch them up. A last note. I like the look of this shiny console, and since the majority of the console will have equipment installed in it, the reflection from the surface shouldn't be a problem. If it is a problem, using 1500/2000 grit wet/dry sand paper on it will give it a matte surface. 

Nothing is better than starting with a blank slate. The next time you see this console, there will be a Garmin 7215 installed in it. Our chirping Garmin GSD 26 sounder module is already installed behind the console, and I will be discussing how to select the right transducer for a chirping sounder module. There are a lot of choices, and making the wrong one is very expensive.

1 comment:

  1. Bill,

    I love your blog and sympathize with all of it, as I have a similar business, albeit on a much smaller scale. Sometimes I even re-post your items on my Facebook page with my own comments.

    Here is a trick that I use to make black-headed screws: I spray the screws with three coats of high temperature black enamel made for refinishing grills. Then I bake the screws at the 500 degrees in the oven for a half hour. The resulting finish is very durable and doesn't chip.

    Tim Metcalf
    TCM Marine Electronics Services


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