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Project Log:  Saturday, August 4, 2012

Without wasting huge amounts of space, there was no way I could allow full opening of the cooler lid in this situation.  Therefore, I searched for a usable compromise when positioning the next shelf in the locker, above the cooler.  I figured I needed at least 6" of opening between the edge of the cooler and the lid when angled open--this to accommodate the typical size of a standard ice block.  This was also ample room to reach in, see, and grab a cold drink or whatever.  It seemed a realistic minimum.

With this in mind, I determined a position for the next shelf, and cut and fitted support cleats on each side of the locker, just as I'd done with the lower shelf.


With scrap cardboard, I made a template of the new shelf, then transferred it to more 1/2" cherry plywood, abundant offcuts of which I had on hand. 


I'd not planned to make this locker a showpiece of cherry, but since that's what I had on hand it seemed nice to use it, and, as with other lockers elsewhere in the boat, varnished locker interiors (to a point) would be pleasing rather than having all storage spaces being pure utility.  Since I planned the upper portions of this locker for clothing storage, I thought I might install some of that cedar closet lining material on the fore and after bulkheads.

The lower shelf needed additional stiffening.  I didn't plan to permanently install these shelves:  I wanted them to be removable, particularly this lower one, for best access to the utility space beneath.  So I'd not be securing the shelves to the hull with adhesive or tabbing.  For this shelf, which could be called upon to support 50 lb. or more, extra stiffening to prevent bending seemed appropriate.

Since I also needed a means to hold the cooler in place without sliding around, I thought I'd add the stiffener on the top side of the shelf, which  would act not only to stiffen the board but also as a cleat to hold the cooler.    So I milled a 3" wide strip of poplar to fit, angling the ends and rounding over the top edges for a more pleasing appearance.  I sanded the cleat smooth, and glued and screwed it to the shelf in the appropriate position.


At the aft corner, I cut an opening large enough for some chafe-reducing hose to surround the potable water supply line leading from the forward tank to the plumbing manifold in the engine room.  With the course for this line now determined, I'd be able to continue leading it forward once these shelves were installed.  I also drilled another hole through the forward bulkhead, beneath the lower shelf, to allow this supply line to continue forward.

With the new upper shelf in place, I test-fit the cooler and its lid again.  Here I ran into a problem:  a protruding section of the cooler lid, incorporating the molded handle, didn't allow the lid to open as far as I'd hoped.  This section ran into the shelf 1/2" before the main portion of the lid, reducing the opening accordingly.  I'd not planned on this, and could have easily made the shelf supports higher, but they ended up where they ended up and the situation wasn't dire enough to remove the glued-in cleats and recut the shelf.

Instead, I realized that if the offending section of lid could just pass into the shelf a little, I could remedy the problem.  To this end, I cut a 1-1/2" wide slot just about this molded handle, which allowed it to pass into the void and enable the lid to open to my required 6" minimum.  The slot didn't bother me and wouldn't adversely affect the utility of the cabinet for storage, but obviously I would have preferred to have avoided it.  If needed, I'd cover this from above with a slim panel, but for the moment didn't plan on doing so.


Since I had these nice cherry shelves, I decided to varnish the shelves for their final finish, so I removed them to the bench for this chore.  I painted the underside of the lower shelf for protection.


Meanwhile, I painted out the lower section of the locker with gray Bilgekote, covering all areas, and also painted the entire back (hidden) side of the cabinet frame.  The upper section, above the shelf, would receive aromatic cedar paneling, with insulation against the hull and possibly a simple fabric liner against the inside of the cabin trunk and overhead.


Total Time Today:  3.25 hours

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