Friday, July 12, 2013

Updating a Columbia 43 Galley: Some Projects

By Brandon

I finished several projects in the galley: I insulated and covered with thin plywood the hull behind the stove and counter top, put drawers in the peninsula, made a knife rack and installed the counter top.

I dread anything where I have to mix up epoxy so this is one project I'm glad to have over. I also wasn't sure if I could make the thin plywood work in this application because plywood will only bend one way. After checking the hull in this part of the boat it seemed to me that plywood would work.


I braced the wood frame against the hull while the epoxy set. The bend in the hull was only slight. I also epoxied 6-ounce glass over all the wooden framing. It's not going anywhere.
Virginia wanted something behind the stove and sink that would be easy to keep clean and repaint when the time came. That ruled out the wood ceiling like we put in the rest of the boat. We thought about Formica or some kind of plastic and decided that 1/4-inch plywood painted with white enamel would be the best solution.

I epoxied 3/4-inch thick mahogany strips to the hull and covered them with 6-ounce fiberglass cloth set in epoxy. The strips will give me enough clearance for 3/4-inch thick closed-cell foam insulation and will provide a place to secure the plywood.


I cut the foam to fit each of the cells. I then measured and cut the plywood. I was a little nervous because this looked like it could be tricky. Bless Jason's (the previous owner) heart, everything was square and I cut a perfect fit on the first try. I screwed the piece on using finish washers.The screws and washers will show, unfortunately, but once painted, they didn't look too bad.
I painted over the screws and finish washers and they are hardly noticeable.

I found a set of three drawers in Ikea that looked like they would fit in the peninsula of the galley. Sure enough, with a little shimming and a little trimming they fit great. I thought Jason was familiar with the Ikea drawers and built the peninsula so they would fit, but he swears he wasn't. 
The door will be the prototype for all the other doors in the boat. 
I made the door from African mahogany and used 1 1/2-inch honched tenons that I then pinned with a maple dowel. This door will stay together forever.
Virginia found the cool containers at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Another project was a knife rack cut into the trim piece against the hull behind the counter top. This was an idea that Virginia liked from Lin and Larry Pardey. We saw it on one of their videos and they had more information in a book and on their web site. Called Taleisin's simple, in-counter knife rack, it's simply a slot made by a saw kerf long enough to accommodate all you knives with short pieces of dowel glued into the kerf to separate the knives. It was simple to do and looks to be very handy.
The knife rack before I put the pieces of dowel between them.

But the most dramatic change to the galley came when we installed the counter top. I cut the plywood to size an then my good friend, Bob, glued the laminate on the top. Bob is one of the best craftsman I know and has done this hundreds of times when he worked as a cabinetmaker. I was really glad to have the help: Contact cement and one-shot chances gives me hives.
Bob had me use the J-roller one more time before he let me take it from his shop.

In place.

I still need to put in three, rounded mahogany corners, wood trim and fiddles, but it sure makes a difference. The pattern and colors of the laminate are beautiful. They pick up the colors in our upholstery fabric perfectly.