V-Berth, Clothing Storage Shelf, Part 2: Construction

The shelf, after it had been cut, drilled, epoxy-coated, and sanded
Having constructed a satisfactory mock-up for the clothing storage shelf that I planned to add to the V-berth of Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, it was now time for me to transfer the pattern to a piece of plywood for the construction of the actual shelf. I opted for 1/2 inch, exterior grade plywood. This was the same size and grade of plywood that I had used for the other shelves I had constructed for the boat.
After I made the diagonal cuts on the port and starboard sides of the shelf, I smoothed out the irregularities of the cuts by sanding the edges with a long sanding block. I had originally constructed this sanding block to assist me in the fairing of a new centerboard that I had constructed for the boat. After I completed that project, I found myself using the sanding block for many other boat-related projects. The block is simply a scrap piece of a 2x4 with a piece of hardwood-floor sandpaper stapled onto it.
I cut the shelf a little longer than the mock-up, just in case I had made an error when cutting the mock-up. I then dry-fit the shelf to see if I needed that extra inch. As it turned out, I did, so I was glad that I had cut myself a little extra.
Next, I drew a grid on the shelf, using my drywall square (pictured left) to make all the lines straight.
Using the grid as a guide, I drilled 1/2 inch holes every 2 inches. I followed the same or similar procedure for the other shelves that I constructed for other areas of the boat. The holes would reduce the weight of the shelf, and they would help with ventilation.
Note that in the picture below I have drilled almost all of the holes only to the half-way point. The paddle-bit has a pointed tap. I drilled until the tap penetrated the other side of the board.
Then I flipped the board, inserted the pointed tap into the small holes, and drilled each one of them the rest of the way through the board. I've demonstrated this technique in other articles on this website. The benefit of this approach is that it reduces tear-out and thus usually results in nice, clean holes.

I probably spent two hours drilling all of these holes. Was it worth the time and effort? Is doing it the right way worth it? Yes.
When I was finished drilling the holes, I stepped back and took a look. The symmetrical layout of the holes was pleasing, just as the many symmetrical lines of the boat itself are pleasing.
Next, I sanded both sides of the shelf to remove the small splinters that were protruding here and there from the holes.
After wiping the board down with acetone, I applied two coats of neat epoxy (several hours apart) to the first side.
The next day, I did the flip side. In addition to the two coats of epoxy, I filled, with thickened epoxy, the areas on the plywood that had been damaged by steel straps, obviously during the shipping process. Evidently, this piece had been on the top or the bottom of the stack. So why did I select this piece and not another piece of plywood? Because, other than these problem areas, this sheet of plywood was straighter than all the others, and it had the fewest number of flaws.
About two days later, I returned to this project and sanded the epoxy down to an even consistency.
The flip side of the shelf, now that its flaws had been filled with thickened epoxy and now that it had been fully sanded, looked quite good.
This ends this posting on how I constructed the clothing storage shelf for the V-berth of Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25. In my next posting, I describe how I constructed the fiddles for this shelf.

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