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Project Log:  Saturday, January 15, 2011

Before I could cut and fit the second section of cabin sole substrate, I had to make some decisions about the first section, and determine how I planned to lay out the bilge access hatches.  In order to do this, I first needed to work on some preliminary--and basic--layout questions.

I didn't plan any major changes to the layout of the main cabin from the original configuration.  I'd finesse the layout a bit to better suit our way of thinking, but in general there would still be a longitudinal galley to starboard, and a dinette to port. 

(What there wouldn't be was the unnecessary and space-wasting quarterberth on the starboard side in that space aft of the galley; this space would be better utilized in the engine room and galley, respectively.)

This fuzzy drawing from somewhere online shows the basics of the original layout:

The details of the new configuration weren't that important yet, but what was important was for me to know roughly where the dinette cabinets would land on the sole, so I could plan hatches and plywood seams around that information.  I already knew essentially where the galley cabinets would land, and because of their position well to starboard these didn't factor into the preliminary planning.  My rough planning at this stage allowed plenty of leeway for various manipulations to the final dinette shape and layout, details of which would make themselves clear soon enough.

When I initially demolished the original dinette structure, I'd made some reference marks on the adjacent bulkheads.  These marks now allowed me to sketch out the rough footprint (at least as originally designed) of the cabinets on the new plywood sole; I also measured for and marked the position of the longitudinal support containing the two table leg bases, which, whether I planned to re-use this support system or not, factored into the various planning.  I also market the position of the support beams on top of the plywood.

What I accomplished with this hour's work was a guideline for how and where to lay out the bilge hatches, and also helped me make the decision to leave the plywood seam right where it was, which would make the second section quite small and easy to work with.

To this end, after ensuring the large section of plywood was properly positioned, I made reference marks on the tops of the support beams, and also at the forward and after ends of the sheet where the marks would be easy to see during later steps.   Then, I removed the large sheet back down to the bench, and prepared a smaller blank from which I sized, scribed, and cut to fit the second section required to make up the cabin sole substrate.

With the large piece of sole on my bench, I laid out four access hatches for the bilge:  three along the sole's length a bit to starboard of the centerline, and a fourth in the port corner in an area that would eventually be located within the dinette seat cabinetry. 

I sized the openings so they fell appropriately between the support beams and so they were large enough to provide the level of access I wanted to the space.  I didn't install a hatch at the aftermost end, as this was where a ladder from the pilothouse would eventually land, and from the aft hatch I could see and reach the final portion of bilge anyway.

Once I had the hatches cut, I hefted the now somewhat-lighter sheet back into the boat for a final test fit.


While the sole was back in place, I made additional measurements and reference marks to fine-tune the location of the table support receptacles, now buried beneath the sole.  I was unsure whether I'd use these for my new table, or whether I'd install some other sort of support, but  I needed to be sure I could accurately drill holes in the cabin sole to expose the supports if I decided to use them.

I brought both pieces back down to the bench, and got to work cutting and installing support cleats for the bilge hatches, gluing and screwing them into position beneath the openings.  I chamfered the edges of the cleats so there'd be no sharp corners or splinters.



With the basic substrate construction complete, I coated the bottom side and edges of the plywood with epoxy resin to seal the wood.


Total Time Today:  6 hours

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