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Project Log:  Saturday, October 15, 2011

Earlier in the week, my countertop material, which I'd special-ordered, arrived at the store, so with this now on hand I could continue work on the galley. My goal for the day was to install the countertop permanently, but before I could do so there were a number of items to take care of first.

A 12-volt outlet receptacle that I needed for the refrigerator had arrived during the week, so to begin I installed this--a task that would be possible with the countertop in place, but was assuredly easier first.  One of my goals in boatbuilding is never to install any systems that I can't reach and service from within the confines of the finished boat, and to this end I typically wait to install systems till late in the process:  if I can install it in and around the challenges of cabinetry and other obstructions, then I can remove and service it similarly. 

Here, however, I'd made provisions for access in the future, but saw no reason not to take advantage of the wide-open access that was available at the moment.  While I was at it, I connected a pair of wires to the back of the receptacle, which I'd later hook up to the power supply through a terminal block.


I wanted to install another ventilation port above the back end of the refrigerator, in the countertop itself.  I'd purchased a cherry wood louver for this purpose, and now I laid out the position where I needed it to be, keeping in mind the fact that I needed room against the hull for a planned wire/hose run space between the engine room and starboard side of the boat. 

This all worked out happily, and not unexpectedly, and I made notations on the plywood countertop where the vent would go so I could cut out the opening later, before applying the countertop surface.

A reader offered me the suggestion for what he called a "scraping block", which turned out to be simply a hole through the countertop above the hidden trash receptacle, through which one could dispose of trash, vegetable cuttings, etc. without needing to always open up the main trash bin door.  I thought this was a good idea, and simple enough to implement.

I installed the rolling trash can holder in its designated spot, then made some reference marks above to show where the mouth of the trash can was, so I could locate the opening in the countertop above.  I made the necessary notations and left it till the countertop was back on the shop floor for final preparations.


Before proceeding, I decided I ought to test-fit the range and make sure the opening worked as I'd planned, before I made the ultimate commitment to fitting the finished countertop.  Getting the range into the boat turned out to be a complex procedure that ate up half the morning:  the stove was heavy, awkward, and not something to treat casually.  There would turn out to be other (not completely unexpected) complications along the way.  With apologies up front, I am afraid there are few pictures of the various steps in the process.

After removing the temporarily-installed trim pieces, and any other excess weight I could (only later did I discover how the oven door came off, but at the time I couldn't determine how, so I left in place), I puzzled out the lift for a while.  Though at the onset of the project I'd had full intentions of building staging and a permanent walkway to the nearby staircase in the shop, I'd never found time or inclination to actually complete this, nor (so far) a true need.  I used a large stepladder for access, and this was always satisfactory. 

Had I had a real staircase, getting the stove on board would have been substantially easier, as I could lift it well enough, but didn't want to try carting it up the ladder because of its awkward shape and weight distribution.

Eventually, I rolled a small section of metal staging into position adjacent to the cockpit, and with the platform at its highest level, lifted the stove from the floor to the platform, about 4+ feet.  From here, I'd initially hoped to simply repeat the four-foot lift and raise the stove to the cockpit, but found that I was uncomfortable with the situation when I tried:  there wasn't an adequate sense of security.

Instead, I installed two ratchet straps around the stove, and to these attached a length of sturdy line that I ran to the cockpit.  Then, standing securely in the cockpit, I lifted the stove on board with the line, and eventually grabbing the straps themselves to maneuver the range out and up as needed.  This wasn't easy, but I got it done.    I used soft cloths to protect the boat and range.

Now I ran into the not-really-unexpected complication, but one that I hoped I'd find some brilliant way around once the stove was in hand:  the stove didn't fit through the doorway from the cockpit to the pilothouse.  I'd measured, of course, and knew the actual measurement was too small, but sometimes it's possible to sneak things through by twisting this way and that, and so forth.  Anyone who's moved furniture into houses knows this.  Unfortunately, that was not to be in this case.

Instead, I had no choice but to lower the range into the boat through the large overhead hatch in the pilothouse.  The last thing I wanted to do was manhandle this stove further, but what had to be had to be.  With some difficulty, I managed to carry the range onto the deck forward of the pilothouse, then set up a wide board across the pilothouse, spanning between the forward windows on each side.  I had to dig a board out of the woods, clean off the dirt and dander, and hoist that into the boat too.

Finally, with a soft cloth covering the board, I lowered the range through the overhead hatch, again using straps and line to help control and hold it.  This was fairly easy.  Once inside the boat, and resting on the platform, I could easily lower the range to pilothouse floor level, and then finally in to the main cabin.


After cleaning up from that operation, I removed the protective plastic from the sides of the range and permanently installed the trim pieces.  Then, following the supplied instructions, I installed a special hold-down plate on the floor of the stove enclosure, which plate was designed to grasp a section of the bottom of the range and prevent it from tipping.  The initial location I installed this turned out to be wrong, a combination of a mistake on my part and equally from a lack of clarity in the supplied diagram:  when I installed the range, I couldn't move it far enough into the cabinet. Moving the plate back an appropriate amount solved the problem, and I slipped the range into place (temporarily). Everything fit as I'd anticipated, which was good, and which had been the point of this exercise all along.

Note that eventually the refrigerator cabinet front will be covered with a door.



Other than ensuring the fit of the opening, another reason I'd wanted to test-fit the range was to double-check required clearances for the burners, particularly as related to the position of any cabinetry behind the stove.  The required 7" clearance from the center of back burner only brought me to the edge of the range itself, so I'd have no trouble safely installing cabinetry anywhere I so chose.

After removing the range (it wouldn't leave the boat again), I test-fit the sink again and determined where to drill a hole for the main faucet, a single-lever pull-out item I'd purchased, then drilled the hole and checked the fit of the faucet.   Later, I'd install a pair of simple faucets for the manual pumps (fresh and salt), but could and would drill those holes later; I didn't happen to have those faucets on hand. 

While I was in the area, and while things were still convenient, I installed a 90° tailpiece on the galley sink through hull, which I'd determined earlier would give me the best lead for the sink drain.

With the countertop removed and down in the shop, I turned to the various final cuts and openings I needed before I could install the countertop surface (Formica).  I made the cut for the wooden refrigerator vent; somehow, the saw went off track, making this an ugly cutout, but fortunately the wide overlap of the vent would cover this error. 

Nearby, I made a 2" wide, 6" long cutout directly above the open space between the refrigerator and stove bulkheads, through which I planned to run hoses and wiring.  This opening would provide the access for these hoses and wires to run from their chase above the countertop from the engine room (as related in an earlier post) and into the hidden areas beneath the cabinetry and countertop.  This opening would be hidden within cabinetry that I'd build on top of the countertop once it was installed.


Between the stove and sink, I located the "scraping block" opening.  This didn't need to be overly large, nor did I want it to be, and eventually I settled on a cutout of 4.5" square, which, even with cleats to support the lid, was wide enough to accept normal cans.  I centered the opening between the edge of the stove trim (approximately) and the edge of the sink flange, and over the center of the trash can when measured from the countertop edge, and cut it out.  I'd hoped to use a router template for the cutout and the lid, which would ensure a close fit, but didn't have the correct bit on hand.  Sometime later, I'd build a lid that would fit the opening closely, but I didn't have to do that now.

With these preparations complete, I installed the Formica countertop surface, in the normal way using contact cement (two coats on the plywood).  The color is "midnight stone", Formica # 6280-46.



I had one final step before I could install the countertop permanently:  drill a hole in the forward galley bulkhead for the eventual continuation of the PVC conduit that I'd installed behind the stove.  This was simple enough.  I didn't install the conduit at this time, as I lacked fittings, and there was no need, as I could install this later.  But drilling the hole was much easier now.

I dry-fit the countertop one last time to ensure that it still fit as required after installing the laminate top.


Finally, I installed the countertop in a bed of adhesive, using clamps and various weights to hold it in place while the adhesive cured overnight.


I'd considered various countertop materials during the weeks leading up to this point, from stone to solid surface to stainless steel, but as the galley came together, and I realized how small the overall surface would be, none of these other choices seemed worthwhile, and all would involve subcontractors, delays, headaches, and additional cost--all factors that are sometimes worthwhile for a desired end result, but in this case there was no justification.   While ideally I'd have ended up with a heat-resistant surface (stone or stainless), in the end this just wasn't a worthwhile pursuit given the specifics of the galley as it eventually came together.  I was very pleased with the Formica color we chose, which replicated a stone surface surprisingly well (even to the point of texture), and was simple to install.  I really liked it.

Total Time Today:  6.25 hours

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