About Me

My photo

Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Making Hatch Boards Com-Pac 23


Select the right kind of plywood
ACQUIRE THE RIGHT WOOD- ITS THE $$$ ONE

On the HideAway our hatch boards have several uses.  They are our dining room table, chart desk, part bunk when sleeping on deck and solution to any problem that needs a flat thing.  Our hatch boards need to be strong, able to handle considerable abuse and weather a tropical climate.  And not so pretty that a gouge would bring a wet eye.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider about making hatch boards is your choice of wood or some variety of plastic.   If you choose Plexiglas, smoked or non, to add more light below consider making the bottom panel a solid color to maintain a level of privacy. (Don’t ask)   

 I Prefer Wood -

at least until someone invents a suitable wood-colored plastic. Unless you enjoy woodworking enough to redo the project every couple of years, Exterior Grade hardwood plywood with no voids is required.  3/8” plywood or the metric equivalent works fine.  Any thinner and it will warp - thicker will jam.   A little side to side play is good.

The Project Is Pretty Straight Forward

Dog Ears keep most flying beasts at bay
THE DOG EARS WILL INCONVENIENCE FLYING STINGERS
 I added a dog ear to both sides the top piece to inconvenience our mud wasp community.   It is not a tight seal but it is effective.   Trial and error is the order of the day.   I left a bit of room for my solar collector cord to pass on the starboard side

HOW I MARK THE LINE

Place your boards together and trace your old boards onto the new one.  It is a more precise project than it looks.

  Be careful to ensure your pencil marks are really 90 degrees from the wood.


Drawing the line
LOOKING DOWN ON THE WOOD THIS WILL LOOK OK- IT'S NOT 
 It’s easy to add an eighth inch to each side without realizing.  An error you won’t discover until the first fitting.

toe the line the right way
KEEP THE LEAD TO THE WOOD INSTEAD OF THE PENCIL

Wood Working Tools
I do not have access to a band saw or a table saw so my wood working arsenal consisted of an electric, hand guided jig saw, my mostly plastic circular saw, metal drywall guide, spring clamps, angle finder, sander, bits of plywood, a deep breath and a straight arm.   

set your saw and cut a few samples
A TABLE SAW WOULD BE MUCH EASIER BUT LESS DRAMA
The original boards had a 22 degree bevel between the upper and lower pieces to guide rain water away.  Most of the information I found on the web used a 45 degree angle.  I did a practice cut of both and decided the advantage of the 22 was less exposed plywood layers and less likelihood of damage.  Some weeks later I noticed the top board had the same bevel.  This would make closing the sliding hatch cover easier, but I’m not likely to make the change soon.   All that epoxy and such....

use a lever clamp to keep  spring clamps away from saw
LEVER CLAMPS!
 Fit and Finish:  
Make Sure Everything Fits Before You Finish It.

After the boards were sanded, cut and fitted I covered all, and I mean all, plywood edges with epoxy.  The interior panels are stained, followed by multiple coats of spar varnish.  The exterior sides received Cetol Natural Teak finish.  Consider making the lower panel interior side a darker color than the exterior for easier identification.   

Mighty fine wouldn't you say!
CAN YOU SEE THE BEVEL CUT OR THE FINISH?  MAGIC