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Project Log:  Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I unclamped the laminated head platform, and after a quick brush with a sander, returned it to the boat for a final test fit.

Outboard of and above the platform, I needed a vertical bulkhead, mainly to support and hide the head pump and related plumbing.  To locate this bulkhead, I started with the head back on the platform, adjusted to where I thought it should go.  I wanted the bulkhead far enough back so that the lid of the head could lean back enough to remain stable on its own when lifted, and also far enough away to ensure good access and clearance for the toilet's hose connections on the back side.  I also wanted the bulkhead to land outside of the cabin trunk, beneath the sidedeck.  I used the level as a straightedge to transfer this rough position to one of the transverse bulkheads, and traced around the toilet base for future reference.


The mark was roughly 35" from the inboard bulkhead separating the head from the passageway, so I adjusted for the new bulkhead panel thickness (9mm or 3/8") and made a corresponding mark on the other side, so the new bulkhead would be parallel to the boat's centerline.  Then, I cut and installed hardwood support cleats for each side.


Armed with rough measurements, I prepared a basic cardboard template of the space, which I used to accurately scribe the contours of the space.


I transferred the templated shape to a pair of plywood offcuts.  I didn't have a single piece large enough for the job, and did not want to purchase a new piece for this bulkhead, so I'd splice the smaller pieces together as needed.  After a couple minor tweaks, the blank fit in place nicely, and I cut a splice cleat for the back side of the seam, and glued and screwed it in place to make a single panel.  I planned to cover this bulkhead (and other areas of the head) with high-pressure laminate panels, so the seam would be invisible.



The Lavac required a large manual diaphragm pump, which in this case was a flush-mount (or behind-bulkhead mount), support of which was one of the main purposes of the new bulkhead.  I also wanted an access hatch, both for inspection and pump maintenance purposes and also for possible storage access.  How large a hatch I could use would depend on the pump placement, so I made that my first priority. 

With a template, I eventually determined the location for the pump, at the upper left (aft) side of the bulkhead, and cut out a slot for the pump handle and drilled mounting holes for the pump itself.  Then, working from known dimensions of off-the-shelf plastic inspection hatches, my choice for the bulkhead access in this utilitarian, water-resistant space, I selected a hatch that would work in the remaining space, and laid out its cutout.  Towards the bottom corner of the bulkhead, I laid out for a round inspection port so there'd be no inaccessible spaces behind. 

Then, I cut according to my layout lines, checking the bulkhead fit in place before committing to the planned location of the lower round hatch and double-checking the position and function (well, simulated function) of the toilet itself.   



Afterwards, I made the cut for the round hatch, then laid out and cut similar openings in the head platform, one on each side of the toilet, to provide ready and regular access to the seacocks beneath.  I'd once thought of putting these in the vertical bulkhead, but this would have made access awkward and inconvenient, and I thought the top access would be much more favorable.  6" inspection ports would fit in these openings.


I finished up work for the day by coating all the back sides and edges of the new plywood pieces with epoxy, and painting out the newly-defined locker area behind the head, after first preparing another hose access hole from the space into the utility area beneath the v-berth.




Total Time Today:  8 hours

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