One of the jobs that I was keen to get done was to replace the tired washboards with bifold doors. I chose the bifold arrangement so as not to obscure the instruments to be fitted on the port and starboard bulkheads.
They weren’t leaking but going in and out when the weather is wet the hatch has to be opened and as they slide up and the wood swells pushing up from inside they would often stick. Also the original ventilator was missing, replaced by gaffer tape and the original marine ply was starting to delaminate.
When inside with the washboards in place and the hatch slid closed, ventilating the boat and letting some light in would mean sliding the hatch back letting any rain into the main cabin then there is storage of washboards when not in the hatchway. All in all not optimum.
I decided to make the new doors out of 15mm marine ply with Utile facings and make them fit within the existing sliders as the hatch itself only slides so far and is designed to minimise water entry while the washboards are in situ.
Also without adding extra depth to the outside Teak surround the hinges would have to be face mounted but with the doors inside the slide area if the doors are locked even if the hinges are removed the doors cannot be opened.
Using the old washboards as a template I cut out a thin ply shape then did a final fit before committing the 15mm marine ply to the saw. Three vertical lines to give four sections were cut using a bandsaw, one of the best tools to buy when getting a workshop together.
Then the hinges were fitted on the inside to test the fit.
In this image the outside rain stoppers are in place covering the joins which are cut on a 35% angle away from the direction or water ingress and the barrel locks are in place which fix into the sliding canopy. These can be operated from outside and inside, important for security.
All this is so much like software design in that one tries to cover all the angles in the most elegant way and if there is existing infrastructure, use this as much as possible where it benefits the finished project.
Next the covering strips of Utile where added and the whole thing given a sealing coat of epoxy resin and five coats of exterior varnish.
Ventilators of stainless steel with a wire mesh insert to stop insects where added along with internal bottom bolts. You can probably see the small indentations added to accommodate the ventilator handles and bolt sliders so the doors would fold almost flat.
Sometimes working with existing constraints ( the thickness of the marine ply having to match the original wash board sliders) these compromises are required.
The doors can be opened nearly all the way with the canopy in place, just as I’d hoped and with the canopy slid back a few inches more they fold completely out of the way.
The finished doors haven’t let a drop of rain in even during what seemed like our own tropical rain storms that overwhelmed our gutters at home which with the doors facing west is a good test.
So next: How to steam bend a new ceiling.