[ Home Page ]    [ History ]    [ The Project ]

Project Log:  Saturday, October 22, 2011

The small cabinet behind the stove required a few additional installations before I could consider installing the cabinet front.  Since I thought this particular cabinet might be good for spices, cooking oil, and that sort of thing, I decided to insulate it, so that heat from the dark hull wouldn't overheat the locker.

As elsewhere, I installed a simple piece of 1/2" rigid foam insulation, which I covered with a 1/4" cherry plywood panel.  I held the panel and insulation behind it in place with some small cleats on the sides.

Next, I built a narrow shelf across the back of the locker, located about halfway up the door opening.  I milled additional small cleats to secure the shelf; the cleats, the same size as the cleats I used to secure the back panel, were too small for screws, so I used glue and stainless brads to secure them while the glue cured. 

The shelf was 3" wide, enough for spice containers and small bottles, and after I secured the shelf in place I installed a 1-1/2" tall fiddle (1" above the shelf, plus 1/2" to cover the plywood) across the outer edge to hold the shelf's contents.  I thought this was a good place to use a piece of cherry that had a knot in the lower edge, most of which got cut away, but it wasn't a piece I'd use somewhere highly visible.


Earlier, I'd drawn some locker openings on the cabinet face behind the sink, but I'd not been happy with them.  I felt the key reference point on this section was the centerline of the sink, where the faucet was located, so I chose this point as that from which the remaining measurements followed.  Initially, I'd planned out equal-sized openings on each side of this "center" point, but because there was much more space on the aft (right, as you look at it) side, it looked funny, and the smaller opening on the after side also would limit access to that part of the cabinet, which extended some inches past.  These marks are barely visible in this photo.

With all this in mind, I decided to extend the after opening and end it the same distance from the aft end of this cabinet section (in line with the plate shelf opening) as the forward opening was from the adjacent bulkhead, or 1-3/4".  While the openings were no longer equal, this arrangement just looked better to my eye.  I cut out the openings.  Afterwards, I applied a sealer coat of varnish to the back side of the panel in preparation for its installation soon.

Normally, I'd not install something like the stove at this early stage of the job, but now that it was in the boat, and in the way, and wouldn't be leaving the boat again, I wanted it in its designated spot once and for all.  The opening was more or less ready to accept the stove, but there were a couple details remaining.

The back panel of the stove cutout would be inaccessible with the stove in place, a bit less clearance than I'd thought based on the measured drawings supplied with the stove; the space I left was the correct size, but the back part of the stove's housing extended a bit beyond the top edge of the unit, where the measurements were taken.  This posed no particular problem, but it did mean that I'd have to complete the propane hose and other installations before I permanently installed the stove. 

I'd planned ahead for this, and now it was a simple matter to install a little propane sniffer at the lower back of the stove compartment, part of the propane control system.  I fully expected this sniffer to fail and start giving false alarms--that seems to be their main purpose in life--but I dutifully installed it nonetheless.  (It'd be easy to disconnect when it started giving false alarms.)

The sniffer came with a 10' plug-in wiring harness, the other end of which I'd connect to a propane control panel nearby, and I ran the harness up to the wiring chase as needed.

Similarly, I ran a length of propane hose from the engine room, through the countertop, and into the utility space behind the stove.  Wherever the hose passed through a bulkhead, or over any sort of wear point, I passed it through short lengths of tough rubber hose for chafing protection. I secured the hose as far as the forward end of the engine room, then taped over the open end and coiled the hose up for storage for now, till I was ready to continue the run to the new propane locker.



Where the hose exited into the stove cutout, I installed a special vapor tight fitting--not necessary here, but I chose the fitting because it was clean in appearance (not that it was visible) and would secure and protect the hose as well.  I pulled through enough hose to allow me to connect it to the stove when the unit was just partially slid into the cutout.

With my connections behind the stove complete, I installed the cover panel over the opening, using a couple knurled-head machine screws.  Then, I installed the upper panel over the galley cabinets, securing it with glue and screws in pre-drilled holes, which I then filled with cherry bungs.


At this point, I was ready to install the stove.  Since I'd test-fit the stove, I thought this would be a quick process, after which I'd move on to other things.  Instead, it turned into a two-hour odyssey.

To begin, I lifted the stove into its opening--being careful not to let the sharp edge of the trim scrape and scratch the Formica (which eventually happened anyway)--and slid it back to its final position, supposedly secured with the little bracket I'd installed on the enclosure floor, and with the trim tight to the face of the cabinet.  After checking the position, I marked the location of two screw holes at the forward end of the range; these screws would secure the stove in place.

I also noticed a problem:  the trim piece I'd installed at the front of the opening to cover the plywood end grain was too wide, and parts of the stove were hitting it, preventing the stove from resting properly on the floor.  I made notations where the piece was hitting the stove so I could modify it as needed.

Removing the stove, I drilled holes at the marked locations near the cabinet front.  I planned to use #10 machine screws and nuts, instead of the screws suggested in the instructions.  I also removed the little trim piece, which was easy since I'd secured it only with a pair of brads.  I trimmed the trim down to size--just 1/2" wide, to cover the plywood--and set it aside to install later, once the stove was in place, as I'd also determined this would be easier and necessary.

Now, I returned the stove to the opening, pausing to secure the propane line as needed before sliding the stove into position.  I could feel the stove slide beneath the little bracket as intended, and then I got it positioned where it needed to be side-to-side and over the bolt holes.  Easy.  I secured the bolts with fender washers and locking nuts from within the locker beneath.


The point of the bracket beneath the stove is so that the stove cannot tip towards its front.  With no way to access the back or underside of the unit when in place, someone obviously came up with this method, perhaps as an afterthought, when designing the stove.  So with this in mind, I tested it:  I pulled up on the back of the stove, expecting firm resistance.

Instead, I found I could pull the stove up nearly 1/2" at the back, this despite the bracket and the bolts at the forward end.  I was puzzled.  I thought I had the bracket in the right place, which I'd worked carefully on during the test fit on an earlier work day.  However, I was willing to accept that the bracket might need to move to better capture the stove, so I unbolted the range, pulled it out, disconnected the LPG line, and removed the stove from the opening. 

I repositioned the bracket a bit further inboard; I knew from an earlier positioning attempt that one set of holes I had was too far out (and didn't let the range slide all the way back till the trim was tight), and the holes where I'd subsequently moved it were apparently too far away, so I chose a spot in the middle and resecured the bracket.

With this, I returned the stove to the opening, thinking I'd surely worked out the glitch.  Again, I secured the hose, positioned the stove (once more, I felt it slide beneath the bracket), and secured the bolts.  Smug in the belief that the stove was now well-secured, I pulled up on the back of the stove, knowing it'd now be tight and immobile; how could it not be, after all?

It wasn't.  I could lift the back of the stove nearly 1/2".

I couldn't figure out the problem. With a flashlight, I could just see the bracket through one side of the front of the stove, and the stove was clearly captured beneath it.  Awkwardly, I maintained my view of the bracket and managed to pull the stove so I could watch what was happening; the bracket captured the stove, all right, but still allowed enough flex and movement, which manifested itself in the lift I was able to achieve.  Completely unacceptable, yet it seemed to be how it was.

Disgusted, I removed the stove again--a relatively simple process made onerous by the fact that the 2" long bolts needed to be threaded most of the way in and out thanks to the size of the holes in the sheet metal bottom of the stove.  Out on the settee, I mocked up the hold-down bracket in its appropriate position at the rear of the stove, as seen below.  It was just as I'd seen it through the small opening when the stove was installed, and clearly there was simply too much slop for the stove ever to be tightly held by the bracket.

Getting a bracket of this nature to be tight enough, while still allowing blind installation (i.e. not being too tight), would seem to be a challenge--a challenge not fulfilled by the designers, apparently.  For a few enraged moments, I ranted and raved with derision to anyone who would listen about people who design things, and how poorly so many things seem adapted to the real world rather than these designers' theoretical computer screens.  Fortunately, no one else was in the shop to hear; I was alone.  

Clearly, the whole built-in trim kit, including the useless bracket, was an afterthought, and obviously I should have ordered the gimballed stove.  But I didn't, and they manufacture and sell the trim kit, and I bought it and expected it to work.  I was extremely disappointed.

Regrouping, I made one more attempt to relocate the bracket, this time to a set of holes that I knew was too far out to let the stove trim seat tightly against the cabinet, but I thought maybe it would force the bracket into a tight fit.  This time, I didn't install the propane line.  And the stove didn't fit, as I'd expected, so I removed it and replaced the bracket to the set of holes that I now knew unequivocally was the best position for it.

I needed some way to hold the back of the stove down.  The bracket would ultimately hold it and prevent catastrophic tipping, but any movement was unacceptable.  The stove needed to be tight and secure. 

Eventually, I came up with a simple solution.  At the back end of the trim kit, the L-shaped trim left a wide air space between the stove surround and the stove itself (more of a gap than I'd wished for, in fact, but this was no fault of the stove's--just my own).  But now this gap presented an opportunity:  I could install some wooden blocking at the rear of the compartment, so the trim could slide over and rest upon the wood, and then I could attach the trim directly to the wooden blocking with screws. 

If my opening had been slightly narrower (something--in hindsight--I wish I'd done, but I went with the cutout dimensions supplied with the trim kit), I could have secured the trim directly to the countertop, perhaps, but as it was there wasn't enough overlap to do so.  The blocking would give the bearing surface needed to secure the trim with screws.

These screws, and the blocking, wouldn't be really holding the stove per se, but would prevent the nuisance movement I'd identified.  In the worst event, the bracket would hold the stove in place, but not without this irritating movement.  Preventing the movement was what this was all about.  This idea would also cover the exposed plywood at the open back end of the cabinet, which I'd planned to trim out anyway.

After determining the size of the stock I needed, I milled two pieces, pulled the stove partway out, and installed the blocking securely with screws to the inside of the cabinet.  Then, I slid the stove back into position, tightly, and when I was sure everything was in the right place I installed one pan head screw at the back end of each trim piece.  This held the back of the stove securely against any movement. 


Later, I'd finish trimming out the back area and clean up the blocking for better appearance, but I'd already spent at least two hours (maybe three) on this install that I thought might take 30 minutes tops, and the afternoon had been wasted and was nearly over.  I'd diligently followed the instructions to the letter (or, as it were, the number); yet I'd been let down. 

All frustration aside, when all was said and done it sure was a good-looking stove. I hoped the gimbal installation arrangement, which most buyers would choose (I wish I had), was better-conceived than the built-in.

 I replaced the little trim piece at the front of the cabinet, holding it with two screws since it would need to be removed whenever (if) the stove had to be moved, and reinstalled the oven door and trim.


I'd hoped to do other things, but all I had time and inclination for now, late in the day, was to pare away the excess bungs from the new galley upper cabinet front, after which I applied a sealer coat of varnish to the face.


Earlier, I'd milled and varnished a fiddle for the shelf beneath the sink, to close off the after end enough to keep things from sliding off, and now I installed it with glue and brads.


Total Time Today:  7.25 hours

< Previous | Next >

The Motorsailer Project
Site design and content ©2010-2015 by Timothy C. Lackey.  All rights reserved.

Please notify me of broken or missing links or other site issues.
You can always find every day's project log links on The Project page.

Questions and comments | Home Page
V1.0 went live on 8/26/10