Date: 11 October 2015. When it's
Not Square (how to fix)
I have been doing a galley overhaul. A new refrigerator has already
been tucked into the corner by the door to my cockpit. Next, I wanted a countertop above the
reefer. Of course she is a boat, right? Nothing is square or even on
Seaweed. Here is how I resolved that problem. With one cut my shelf
fits flush against the back bulkhead.
She is a boat,
so of course there will be issues in any project. This time
I was stymied for a while because stuff simply isn't square on my
out what is wrong with that corner of the galley would take longer than I
shall live. I am sure others
might want to make it all perfect. My goal was to fix it so it would
look okay, serve the purpose, and be Good Enough.
Perfection is the
enemy of Good Enough.
When I lined up the wood
(square, from Home Depot) along the hinge side, the countertop
You can see the back edge
starts out wide and gets narrower, the further aft (to the
right) you look.
RED ARROW is one end of my locker support. The
BLUE ARROW (bottom left corner of
picture) is the other end. And that piece of trim (the rope
like wood) is the "straight line" I need to work with. Argh.
She is a
boat and I wish to make her look nice.
The next step in the project
was to measure and mark the wood where it is wrong/not square. This is
how I did it: Remember how in the previous picture the wood that
looks like rope is the straight line I need to match? Well, I evened
up the shelf wood making it look square on the left and back sides.
Then I took my pen and marked
the outside edge of the hinge. I knew that would be a straight
line when I moved the wood further aft. Next, I cut the wood on the
edge that will butt up against the back bulkhead of Seaweed's
I am not the best at
cutting wood. This time was no exception. There is a jagged
bit where I went astray. It will be hidden and I only
show it because, well, this is my real life.
I could have tried to cut
it again. Sawing off another 1/8" an inch arrow straight, and it would
be perfect. However I am as demonstrated not the best at cutting.
Thus I will
simply sandwich this between the backing plate and the hinge.
Nobody will ever see it again.
this is Good Enough.
was time to attach the new counter to the hinge on the right side.
First I slid the wood right up against the bulkhead. Then I used a
magic marker to mark where to drill the holes. It was easy to draw a
circle where the holes are in the hinge.
bought myself a new $12 Harbor Freight drill. It is working just
fine. My old one finally gave up the ghost. I had repaired it more
than one time. If you are interested in the details, the
DeWalt Drill Fix
article is a how-to make a rechargeable drill function when it
stops doing so.
HOLES, WOOD I REMOVED to square up
BOLTS THAT GO THROUGH THE BULKHEAD
and outside backing plate..
You can see THREE
HOLES that I drilled through the aft bulkhead. Those go
through the hinge, the inside backing plate, bulkhead and then the
outside backing plate. Whew!
In the photo above you
may have noticed the window frame sticks out about 1/4" from
the aft bulkhead. With the addition of the cutting board
behind the hinge, my shelf will fold up flush against that
That is the reason the hinge that
holds the shelf is above the wood. This is not pretty. That said, now the hinge will fold up
flat without the wooden shelf stopping it.
And yes, there are fancy
hinges that can accommodate this issue. I do not own them.
Instead I opted to use what I had. It is good enough.
important of all to me: this works.
I also added another piece of the cutting board under the shelf. It
extends out a couple of inches from the bulkhead. My theory was that
I wanted more than just the one inch hinge supporting the wood. The
additional support piece below should provide a bit more strength at
As I started to put the bolts
through the bulkhead I added a touch of
Boat Life Lifeseal to the hole.
Ditto, outside. When I slid on the fender washer I added some Life
Seal there as well. Even in a driving rain, water should not enter
Where I used
in the cockpit is under the overhand. There is
a bit of protection
from the elements by virtue of the cockpit's design.
of Screws is Important
Another thing to note is
that I opted to use screws in the HOLES
THAT ARE NOT DIRECTLY ACROSS from those holding the
shelf to the bulkhead.
Previously I had filled in
every hole on both sides. What happened was the heads of the
screws interfered with the folding process. They bumped
stuff would not lay flat when folded.
And I had to show off that
STRIP OF WOOD that previously
had made my shelf look skewed. With it removed, the shelf
appears just right.
reiterate, the trick is simple:
First, I aligned the left and back side so it is
flush and even on those two sides. I know the shelf wood selected is
a-okay and square.
Next I slid
the wood forward (toward the bow of the boat) about one inch to take
into account the width of the hinge.
marking on the edge of the hinge I knew what had to be removed to
make the shelf fit flush against that back bulkhead.
cut away the part that made it look crooked and called it Good
There is more in this project. Like all things Boat, some degree of
Job Creep occurred. I added a microwave. The next step will be in
securing said unit to the shelf. But that is a project for another day.
I am not an expert, my shelf looks square and even now. It is not
perfect. It is Good Enough.
I am so
pleased to have a refrigerator that fits a cantaloupe. And there is
a light on the inside too. My too small old reefer did not have a
light. I tell you, the miracles of modern living are simply amazing.
meantime, I am enjoying ice cubes in my tea. Having a reefer filled
with produce is a real treat. Down here there are lots of choices at
the grocery store. I am having a blast eating cantaloupe every
day. This is decadence.
To you and
yours I wish much happiness and plenty of decadence afloat too.
Is there a better way to even up crooked stuff on a boat?
Have you used BoatLIFE products? I used LifeSeal on a scupper drip, and it
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In the Bilges,
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