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Project Log:  Friday, March 7, 2014

The construction of the head compartment, like all other areas of the boat, was a dynamic design and conceptual thing, with a general idea in mind but no fancy "designs" or indelible plans for execution, which meant the plan and execution was constantly evolving with each new piece of the puzzle.  This is how I work, and it works for me.

My original thought for the two transverse bulkheads was to install an angled kickout at the bottom, above the shower pan, to bring the wall covering out beyond the edge of the shower pan and provide a clean seam that wouldn't collect water, but now that I looked at the space, with the platform and riser in place, there was a problem with this:  it would trap the tight-fitting vertical panel in place, a panel I'd ostensibly made to be removable for access and service to the plumbing behind.  Just the thickness of the Formica alone would make removal of the other panel impossible unless I made changes.

I could obviate this problem by removing the panel and cutting it shorter, risking damage to the completed panel and otherwise unsavory for various reasons (I hate to remove anything that's "done").  I could have made the panel shorter to begin with and installed it after the adjacent surfaces were complete, but obviously I didn't.  I could ignore the issue and deal with it if that panel ever had to be removed, but that didn't seem right. 

Instead, I came up with a new plan that, given all the factors at hand, actually turned out better in the end, at least to my way of thinking (which of course was the only one that really mattered).  I thought I'd build two separate sections of the bulkhead, covering the area up to the level of the head platform, and then install a kickout just above, extending onto the head platform itself. 

This mockup shows the general idea.  Originally, my thought had been to use 1/4" (6mm) plywood for the lower sections, but I didn't have any scraps on hand suitable for the job, so I used 9mm instead.

I ended up liking this plan because it was simple to execute and solved my immediate problem, but also had the added benefits of creating a nicer, more water-resistant seam between the vertical bulkhead and horizontal head platform, and would also make installing the Formica on the bulkheads (to be done within the confines of the space, of course) easier since the pieces to be installed would have simpler shapes and be smaller overall, good qualities when working with sheet goods and contact cement in a small space with only one chance to get things right.

From scrap mahogany, I milled two kickout pieces, each cut to the proper length for the two bulkheads respectively, and just a bit thicker than the 9mm panels that would go beneath so there'd be a slight overhang.


I cut plywood panels to fit the rectangular spaces beneath, and after a test-fit I prepared them for, and installed, Formica before temporarily installing them once more so I could fit the kickouts above.



In the final installation, I'd pattern the bulkheads down to the edge of the kickout, and run the Formica right over the angle, so water running down would have an easy path to the shower pan, its ultimate goal.  If ever access was needed to the vertical panel beneath the head, then one or both of the small pieces beneath the kickout could be removed to release it, all without disturbing the main bulkhead covering.

I normally avoided exposed screws in interiors whenever possible, but in a space that was so purely and unabashedly utilitarian, I found that once I went down that "function and utility first" path, suddenly exposed screws not only weren't offensive, but actually added to the overall all-business appearance of the space.  Go whole hog.

With the panels and kickouts properly fitted, I removed them and coated the backs and edges  of the panels and kickouts with epoxy.


Total Time Today:  2.75 hours

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