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Project Log:  Saturday, September 29, 2012

I'd been speaking with a local canvas and upholstery contractor for a few weeks, and the plans for the interior were beginning to coalesce.  After reviewing various fabric samples, my wife discovered a unique fabric in a brochure that looked interesting and was along the lines of what we'd been thinking of (without really knowing), so we ordered a one-yard sample to check it out.  I liked it, and planned to use it for the dinette cushions.

After a brief scare when we were informed that the fabric was discontinued, Jason the canvas guy managed to find a sufficient stock of the material at one vendor, and proceeded with the order.

The upholstery job was relatively straightforward.  For the dinette area, I planned upholstered backrests that doubled as locker doors over the three lockers in the backrest, and after discussing ideas with Jason settled on a plan for the locker door backs.  I'd build two-piece doors:  first a piece to fit within the existing openings; then a second, overlapping section that Jason could upholster and secure to the structural portion.

During original dinette construction, I'd saved the offcuts from the locker openings for this possibility, so I used them to build the structural inserts.  To begin, I trimmed the edges, which I'd hand-cut with a jigsaw to create the openings, on the table saw to straighten them and remove 1/2" from each edge.  Then, I cut and fit 1/2" square solid cherry banding around the edges to hide the plywood end grain and bring the inserts back to full dimension. 

Once the glue had dried, I test-fit the pieces, rounded the corners so they'd fit in the openings (which had 1/4" radius corners), and sanded them smooth.  Since the "outside" face of these inserts would be hidden from view by the upholstered backs, I used the "good" side of the plywood facing inward, so that it would be visible when the locker doors were opened.  To hold the locker doors in place for test-fitting and later hinge installation, I temporarily hot-glued some scrap lumber behind the openings, so the plywood inserts could rest against the cleats and simulate their final positions.


I didn't have the hinges I needed on hand, so I ordered them (just basic semi-concealed flush hinges), along with some other supplies I'd need.  However, I could still build the overlapping panels that would later accept foam and upholstery.  I made these from 1/2" cherry plywood, and sized them so they'd overhang the openings by 1" on the top and two sides, and flush with the opening (and the insert) on the bottom edge to accommodate the hinges.  I rounded the four corners of the panels with a 2-1/4" radius, which was close to Jason's ideal of 2-1/2" for making clean corners with the upholstery, and also close to the radius found on the boat's aluminum-framed ports and windows.  I used a 2-1/4" radius since I had a 4-1/2" hole saw on hand that I could use to make an accurate template of the curves; close enough.

With the cuts completed, I eased the corners of the plywood and sanded the pieces smooth.


I had to order some fasteners for the job, as I wanted to use threaded inserts in the panels to make installation and removal easy and secure.  To account for the thickness of the upholstery and its construction, I also planned to use 1/8" thick spacers between the panels.  I'd continue the work once the new hardware arrived.  I'd also need to install at least a temporary hull ceiling at the lower portion of the forward cabin, so that Jason could pattern the area accurately.

Total Time Today:  3.75 hours

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