Los Angeles Fireboat 2

Part 1 - Layout / Materials / Bulkheads

Construction of Wheelhouse at Nichols Bros. Boat Builders - Photograph Copyright © by Nichols Bros. Boat Builders Here is a profile view of the Wheelhouse. This structure (Forward/Aft Helm Stations, Chart Table) connects directly to the Bridge Deck.

I decided to build the Wheelhouse structure using Celtec (or Sentra). Celtec is a PVC material in sheet form that is a wonderful material for model building. You can saw it, sand it, drill in it, bend it (with heat), glue it, paint it and even submerge it in water as it is waterproof.

I get all of my Celtec from a local company; Norva Plastics, Inc. (visit their web site from my Links page). The company has a very large inventory of this material in various sizes and colors, and the people there have always been very professional and helpful.

If you are a model builder, I recommend Norva Plastics, Inc. for all of your Celtec needs!
I decided to use 3/16" Celtec for the deck itself. That thickness is close to scale and is sturdy enough (hard to bend) to withstand the weight of the bulkheads, fire monitors and radar mast. It will also provide ample material for mounting servos, plumbing and electronics later on.

Here, you can see the deck itself supported (temporarily) by two pieces of Celtec material. Notice the grooves cut around the edges on both the top and bottom to support the bulkheads.
The structure bulkheads will be made from 1/8" Celtec. Why is this material yellow and blue? Well ... its because the only 1/8" material I had was in these colors.

The screws in the top of the deck are there so I can remove the structure from the temporary supports later on. The entire inside space will eventually be open.

Notice the masking tape holding the bulkheads in place. The bulkheads were glued on top only! They will be glued to each other, but not on the bottom yet until I decide how to gain access to the inside of the boat at the lake!
Most of the remaining Wheelhouse bulkheads have windows. Here, you can see the windows cut out of the forward & aft bulkheads.
The forward port & starboard bulkheads are essentially the same except for a few more windows and more angles.

I used a mini drill press and bit for the pilot holes and then a table top scroll saw to cut out the windows. The operation was time consuming, but it went smoothly.
Construction is progressing nicely ... if I do say so myself!

But ... there is one more level of bulkheads to go. Time will tell.

Part 2 - Bulkheads (continued)

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Copyright © 2003 - 2012 John T. VanderHeiden
Last Updated Wednesday, December 17, 2003 7:17:59 AM