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Project Log:  Tuesday, March 4, 2014

To install the shower pan/head sole, I first attached a drain hose to the sump drain.  To ensure longevity of this hard-to-access (once the pan was in place) hose, I chose hard wall 1/2" reinforced hose, which I led into the compartment from beneath the after bulkhead; later I'd run this hose to a sump chamber.

I had a tough time getting this hose over the plastic (Marelon) hose barbs on the drain fitting, and in fact had to sand away the barbs from the fitting in order to squeeze the hose on at all.  One of life's great mysteries is why plastic hose barb fittings are always too big for their supposed size, and good hose never fits well over them.  Anyway, eventually I got on enough of the hose to securely clamp, which was good enough for this non-critical installation.

Access to this hose and fitting was theoretically possible with the pan in place, thanks to a cutout in the pan directly overhead, but of course it was tight beneath and this wasn't something I hoped to ever have to change.  So to this end, I planned my final construction in the head to be semi-removable, at least to the point that it would be possible to someday remove this pan without destroying it.

With new support cleats already in place, my first step to install the pan was to screw it to the inside bulkhead in the space.  Because I was striving towards a highly water-resistant (stopping short of anything truly waterproof, if such a thing even exists) space, I applied a bead of sealant first, to seal the seam between the shower pan and the bulkhead.  I had another plan for the two sides of the pan, at the fore and aft bulkheads, but I'll get to that in a bit.


With the pan in place, I began construction of the head platform itself.   I started with some basic layout, and the vertical panel, which I kept flush with the small raised molded section of the shower pan above the sump.  With an oversize 9mm plywood panel cut to the correct width, I marked for support cleats behind, which I cut and installed with screws--no glue on these since having them permanently installed would prohibit future non-destructive removal of the shower pan.  I scribed the base of the panel to fit the contours of the shower pan, and, once I'd determined the final height of the platform, keeping clear of the seacocks, I cut the top of the panel at the correct height and temporarily secured it with one screw (it was otherwise a friction fit).



Now I laid out for horizontal support cleats fore and aft, to support the platform itself.  I installed the cleats with a slight angle towards the centerline of the boat, so that the platform would tend to shed bathing water rather than collect it--note the bubble just off center.  This translated to about 1/16" out of level over the length of that torpedo level, or perhaps 1/8" higher at the outboard end of the platform versus the inboard edge.


Starting with a cardboard template roughly cut to approximate the shape of the space, I scribed to the shape of the hull, then transferred the shape to the first of two layers of 9mm plywood.  To be strong and self-supporting, the platform needed to be at least 3/4", but the only plywood I had on hand was the 9mm, so two laminated layers would do the trick and in fact be stronger than a single, thicker layer.

After a couple minor manipulations, the panel fit against the hull, and I trimmed the inboard edge to be flush with the vertical panel beneath.


Then I transferred the shape to another piece of plywood, and cut out the top layer.


I selected a Lavac Popular manual head, and now gave it a quick test-fit on the generous platform to see how it fit.  Ideally it might have been nice to have the platform a bit lower, but the finished height as is was pretty OK.  The head compartment itself was very comfortable and generously-sized, with plenty of floor space.

For access to the seacocks below, I planned a pair of access hatches, to be located either in the vertical panel (my initial thought) or possibly on either side of the head in the flat panel, which location would be much more convenient for operating the seacocks.  Either way, I'd prepare the openings for these hatches before final installation.

With the two panel sections complete, I laminated the two sections of plywood together with epoxy, securing them temporarily with screws till the epoxy cured.

To round out the day and prepare for final installation, I painted the area beneath the platform, after first drilling a hole in the forward bulkhead through which I'd run the discharge line from the treatment unit.


Total Time Today:  6.25 hours

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