Galley, Sink Cabinet, Part 10: Installing the Large Shelf and Partition

The large shelf, secured with epoxy and cloth
Having completed the pre-painting of the galley sink cabinet in Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, it was now time for me to install the large shelf and also the large partition (that would close off the original access point to this space). As I explained in the fifth part of this twelve-part article, initially I had planned to install the shelf and the partition with removable cleats, so that I could, if necessary, remove the shelf and the partition themselves. As I also earlier explained, I eventually decided that this approach was impractical. It also would have resulted in a storage space (for plates and bowls) that was not fully sealed off from the bilge. For these reasons, I had decided that I would install this shelf and this partition permanently, with epoxy and cloth.

My first step was to countersink the holes on the topside of the shelf.
Then, I dry-fit the shelf into place with screws, and I cut the cloth that I would use to secure the shelf to the hull.
I cut two pieces of six ounce fiberglass cloth for this area.
I did the same for the surrounding area.
I limited the cloth to the areas you see pictured below. I did not want to extend the cloth beyond this point. Recall that I had earlier constructed a multi-sectioned partition for the storage of the plates and bowls. This partition would be situated in this large open space. I did not want to run the risk of not being able to install this multi-sectioned partition on account of the cloth.
I also cut two pieces of six ounce cloth for each of the two sides of the large partition. This large partition was the one that would seal off the old access point to this cabinet.
When everything was all laid out and ready to go, I wiped down the entire work area and all the pieces of wood with acetone for the purpose of removing any impurities.
As with so many other jobs on this boat, I would use RAKA epoxy and colloidal silica as a thickening agent.
I began by wetting out the appropriate areas with neat epoxy. Not only did the large partition get epoxy, but also the fiberglass on the inside of the cabinet. The bare spot on the partition is the spot that would be exposed to view after the partition was in place. Since it would be exposed and thus not glued, there was no need for it to receive any epoxy.
I also wet the edges of the large shelf. These edges, of course, would be glued to the cleats. Did I also wet out the cleats with neat epoxy? Yes I did.
The work area, all wet out and ready for the glue-up.
The large shelf with the first of several stainless steel screws installed.
To install these stainless steel screws, I had to call upon my Milwaukee Tools right-angle drill attachment. Such a useful tool in the refitting of a boat.
After I had screwed the shelf into place, I thickened-up the remaining epoxy with colloidal silica, and I packed all the loose joints on either side of the shelf with this thick mixture.
Next, I focused on the large partition. Having spread thickened epoxy all over the surface of the fiberglass, I pushed the partition into place, thus gluing it to the fiberglass surface. Knowing that it would take 20-30 minutes for the epoxy to kick, in other words, to become extremely viscous and sticky, I decided to prop a board against the partition and take a break.
While I ate lunch, the board held the partition in place.
After lunch, I came back and laid up all the pieces of cloth on the outboard side of the cabinet. It's difficult to see these pieces of cloth in the picture below, but they are all there.
After I had laid-up the cloth, I filled the weave as much as possible with thickened epoxy.
The next day, I returned to this project to do the final steps in the epoxy work.
First, I needed to fill the weave of the cloth more thoroughly with thickened epoxy. This was especially the case in the area at the end of the shelf. Here the cloth had sagged on account of the half-inch gap between the hull and the wood. This gap I filled with epoxy, so that there was a smooth, rounded transition from the hull to the wood. Essentially what I created was a large fillet.
I also, on this day, applied epoxy and cloth to the joints on either side of the large partition. I had not applied this cloth on the previous day, because I did not want to disturb the glue-up of the partition to the fiberglass.
One or two days later, after the epoxy had cured, I returned to the boat and sanded all of this epoxy work in order to make the cabinet as smooth as possible.
The sanded joint.
A well sanded transition, nice and smooth, and now ready for paint.
This ends this posting on how I installed the large shelf and partition in Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

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