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Project Log:  Saturday, December 15, 2012

Late Friday afternoon, Jason brought over the completed backrests for the forward and after bulkheads in the dinette, completing the upholstery order for now.  The complicated wedge pieces looked great, as I'd come to expect.

To install the backrests, I chose keyhole-shaped brackets, which would allow the backrests to hang with blind fasteners, while hopefully being secure yet allowing easy removal.  I couldn't find this sort of hardware in anything other than plated steel, but thought that for this situation that would be just fine.  Obviously I'd never use those things in an exterior application.   A protruding flathead screw driven into the plywood back of the cushions would engage with the keyhole slot to hold and, hopefully, tighten the backrests.  The brackets were small, about 1-1/2" long and requiring approximately 1/8" clearance, which worked out well with the backrests' design and piping.

Keyhole Fittings

Because I was concerned about proper alignment, I decided to do a dry run of the installation, not only to prove the concept, but also to provide me with an easy way to mark the installation location of the brackets in the boat.  To this end, I prepared two pieces of junk luaun plywood, ripping them to 11" wide (same as the backrests) and cut to length at the same overall maximum length of the backrest panels themselves. 

After determining the desired position for the brackets and making the layout marks and measurements required, I installed the keyhole brackets on the plywood template, and test-fit screws (the flathead screws required turned out to be #8s; a #10 was a tighter (and possible) fit in the bracket before it was installed against a panel, but the tolerances were too tight to allow it to slip down once installed, so I went with the #8s.


From there, I carefully determined the center point of the screw itself, and marked it accordingly on the plywood backing of the cushion, then predrilled and installed the screws, leaving the protruding a certain amount (subject to experimentation).  I test-fit the cushion, and was pleased with how the system worked, and with the alignment of my template.

I repeated the process for the second backrest, which was just slightly differently sized (1/4" difference in length).


These backrests were designed to align, top and bottom, with the backrests on the adjacent locker doors.  So once again, I laid out two critical layout lines:  one horizontal even with the bottoms of the next-door openings; the other a vertical demarking the inboard edge of the cushion, which was even with the end of the berth inside the fiddle.

Holding the template securely against these marks, I checked its position visually with and a level, and then used the screw holes already in the template (from the dry-fit) to drill pilotholes in the bulkhead for the keyhole bracket screws, after which I installed the brackets and then the backrest itself, repeating the process for the second cushion as well.



With the locker backrests temporarily installed (I'd soon be removing all the cushions for safekeeping during the balance of the project), the whole saloon began to come together.  All I needed now was to complete the overhead, overhead trim, head compartment, cabin sole, storage locker door, lighting, shelving and trim...blah blah blah--in other words, still lots left to do despite the new cushions.



With three new overhead light fixtures on hand, I decided to go ahead and install the two slated for the main cabin.  Fabricated by Alpenglow Lights, these fixtures featured LED bulbs with dual power, plus night vision, built into cherry frames that matched the interior.  Later, I planned on ordering a number of LED reading and task fixtures, also from Alpenglow, but didn't need them yet, and wanted to spread out the costs.

Installation was easy.  The lights incorporated a shallow excess in the underside, which at first made me skeptical, thinking there would not be enough space, but it turned out to offer plenty of room for the excess wire length after I made up the wiring connections.  Final installation, once I'd completed the wiring, was with two screws (supplied) through the housing.  With no electrical source (otherwise known as batteries) yet on board, I could not, at this time, test the fixtures, unfortunately.

With visitors planned for the remainder of the weekend, this was the extent of my accomplishments for the day.




Total Time Today:  2.5 hours

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