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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5/19/2010 - Tidying up

Some time ago, we revamped the under-sink cabinet in the head to make it easier to access what was underneath. It was originally equipped with 2 sliding doors. Without removing the doors we could only access half of the space at a time. The trouble was, in order to turn the seacocks (valves separating the briny deep from the inside of our boat) on or off, the whole space had to be open in order to be have enough room to get into the proper boat yoga pose (thanks for reminding me of that phrase, Livia) and get enough leverage to turn the valves. The doors were easy enough to remove but the whole set-up just seemed kind of clunky to me.

Normally I strive for some fancy woodworking fix that usually doesn't work in the first few iterations. I generally end up with a relatively simple fix that does work. This time, I looked for the simple fix first. I'm not quite sure what made me think of a fabric fix (maybe it was the fact that it meant that I didn't have to do the work), but I did and, when I suggested it to Lulu she was enthusiastic. Out came the ginormous Sailrite machine. Within a very short time we had our fix in place:

The cover is made of Sunbrella and the corners are fastened with common sense fasteners (that's really what they're called). More on that further down the page. This fix has worked really well. It's easy to get into the space if needed and, if something off the top shelf is needed and you know about where it is, you only need to unfasten one corner.

On with the story...

From where Lulu sits in the evenings, this is what she sees:

Even though this is pretty much what the kitchen in our house looked like, it was a bit larger than the boat and so, didn't look near so jumbled. One day she was saying that she would really like to find a way to make the place look tidier. I suspect a big part of the impetus for this thought was our visit to another boat, a Union 36, that is owned by the folks who bought our Sailrite sewing machine. Their boat was big enough that everything was able to be stowed behind a closed door. It was all very neat and shipshape.

Our galley did originally have sliding doors:

But when I remodeled I opted to leave them out, because it seemed like they just made things hard to find. Well, that and they're hard to make if your cabinet face frame isn't perfectly square, which mine definitely wasn't. I did put provisions for putting a restraining bar across the openings to keep things where they were supposed to be when the boat is heeled over 15-20 degrees from vertical. But, frankly, looking at it later, it was pretty clear that a lot of items could probably slip under the bars.

So, what to do about the messy look and the need for restraints? No longer having a shop, I don't automatically go for the woodworker's solution any more. Buying a bigger boat seemed like kind of an overkill solution. We needed to think of something else.

And then it hit me. Why not do the same thing we did in the head? Lulu liked the idea and got to work with the design. Out came the Singer Featherweight (the Sailrite machine was no longer our shipmate) and a roll of Sunbrella fabric. This morning we tried the first one on for size.



And, if it gets really rough:

The corners were fastened with the aforementioned "common sense fasteners":

There you have it. A simple fix that lends an air of tidyness to the ol' saloon.

BTW, if you ever come across this tool while you're out an about, buy it.

It's a pilot hole maker by Stanley. I've never seen another one and don't remember where I bought this one. It rode in our camper toolbox for years. If you've got the right size screw and the wood isn't too hard, you can make threaded pilot holes with this little gem a lot quicker, and with less mess, than you can pull out your cordless drill. And it can get you into some spots that the drill won't fit. There, my "tool tip" of the day.


Anonymous said...

If you have a moisture problem behind the material I bet Lulu could sew a center panel of Phiffertex (sp). I think Sail Rite carries it or a small piece from a canvas shop might be cheaper. It's really strong. We had a boat cover made to cover Satori. Blocks 80 or 90% of the sun but allowed the heat to rise away.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I have never seen that thing before. Is it tapered like a file or threaded like a screw? It sure does look handy. From the amount of great remodeling you have done on the boat, it must be terrif. You DO seem to make every job look easy and the outcome great. Dad.

Steve & Lulu said...

The tip is threaded like a screw. Click on the picture and a bigger picture will open up letting you see the tip better. Thanks for the compliment. It's easy to make the jobs look easy when I wait until they're all done before I post just the highlights.

Steve & Lulu said...

Ken, is Phiffertex some kind of breathable fabric? I'll check the Sailrite catalog. Thanks for the tip.