V-Berth, Alcove Box, Trim, Part 3: Installation

The alcove box trim, installed
Satisfied with the appearance of the mahogany trim that I had created for the alcove boxes in the V-berth of Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, I set aside this trim for a considerable amount of time while I worked on more pressing projects. So pressed was I by these other projects, that I never bothered to take this trim out to the boat to see if what I had constructed would actually fit properly in the space for which it had been designed. When at last the time became available to me to fit these trim pieces into place, I was disheartened to discover that, despite my best efforts at creating an accurate cardboard mock-up, this pattern that I had created was not as accurate as it should have been. I had no choice, therefore, but to correct this problem. In this posting, the third and final one in my article on the creation of this alcove box trim, I describe how I did the fine-tuning that was necessary to make this trim fit well in this space.
The primary problem that I discovered, when dry-fitting the trim pieces into place, was that the cut-outs in the center of the trim were too narrow. You'll recall in the previous posting that, in making the cardboard mock-up, I was concerned about the size of these holes. If I made them too wide, then the fiberglass would be exposed. If I made them too narrow, then access to the storage area within the alcove boxes would be hindered. I had erred by making the cutouts in the mahogany too small. Sure the mahogany was beautiful and it covered the fiberglass well, but the openings were just a little too tight. Now was the time to address this problem.
One of the trim pieces with the original, narrow cut-outs
After making careful measurements, while the trim pieces were clamped into place within the V-berth, I determined that I could remove approximately 1/2 inch of material from each side of the cut-out. This would still allow the remaining mahogany to conceal the white fiberglass underneath it. To make the cuts, I made sure to load my jigsaw with a new blade, specifically a Bosch T101BR, reverse-cut blade. These are the same type of blades that I always use to cut mahogany and also fiberglass. For more on the benefits of these blades, refer to the Bosch T101BR label, i.e., tag on the homepage of this website.
Below we see the results of the first two cuts I made in the first cut-out of the first trim piece. You can see how much more spacious this new cut-out is when compared to the more narrow cut-out behind it, in the background of this picture.
The next two cuts in the second cut-out are seen below. Notice the burn marks in the curve of the cut-out. These I would soon remove with a Dremel that I had fitted with a sanding drum.
After I had finished enlarging the cut-outs on this first trim piece, I took the trim piece into the boat and dry-fit it into place with clamps. I thought it fit very well, and it provided much better access to the space within the alcove box.

Then I returned to the cut-table and worked on the second trim piece.
This one also fit well, and it did not reveal any of the glossy white fiberglass that stood behind it.

Satisfied with fit of both of these trim pieces, I began to focus on the necessary finishing touches. First I cleaned up all the burn marks with the Dremel.
Then I broke out the router, installed a round-over bit, and softened-up all the edges, not only those edges on the cut-outs, but also those on the outer side of the trim pieces themselves.
I also softened-up the corners of the trim pieces by rounding them with the jigsaw.
The rounded corners after I had cleaned them up with the Dremel.
The fully-routed trim piece.
One last thing I did with the router involved the backside. I thought it would be nice to round-over the edges on the cut-outs on this side. This would make the cut-outs smoother on the hands, i.e., the hands that would be reaching inside of the alcove boxes.
The trim pieces as the appeared prior to my drilling of the screw holes that would enable me to mount them into their new homes.
After performing yet another dry-fit, I determined where exactly I should drill the mounting holes. In the picture below I have just finished drilling the holes. I did not bother with countersinking the holes, because I planned to use stainless steel finish-washers.
If you look closely in the picture below, you can see the finish-washers. Ericson had used finish-washers when installing the original trim elsewhere in the boat. I decided to mimic this approach, so that this new trim would correspond as closely as possible to the original.

These new trim pieces still needed some varnish, but even in their unfinished state, they added a lot of character and warmth to what was originally a cold and uninviting space. Moreover, they now provided me with a foundation of sorts for the storage shelf that I would now build for the forward half of the V-berth. For more on this related project, see my article, "V-Berth Clothing Storage Shelf."
This ends this three-part article on how I created mahogany trim pieces for the alcove boxes in the V-berth of Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.