Engine Compartment and Companion Way Construction Complete

I had a lot of time for this project today, and finished the construction phase.  Actually, with some time spent over the last several days, I managed to design and install the turn buttons, and locate and install the ladder hardware.  Here is a photo – which doesn’t really do justice to the amount of time that went into the these two little accomplishments:

You will have to click to enlarge in order to see the turn buttons on the corners and the hooks mounted just under that counter top.

You will have to click and enlarge in order to see the turn buttons on the corners and the hooks mounted just under the counter top.

I ended up using some hook-and-eye hardware that my boat neighbor gave me as it was more heavy-duty and of “marine” grade.  I mostly used it because of the heavier gauge material of its construction. The turn buttons were made of some teak decking scrap left over from another project.  It took a bit of fiddling to get the spacers right between the facing surround and the turn buttons.  Without the spacers, the buttons wouldn’t ride up onto the compartment cover.

Hook attached to a pad-eye.

Hook attached to a pad-eye.

Spacer between facing surround and turn button.

Spacer between facing surround and turn button.

The next step was to install the eyes to secure the ladder, but first I had to fix the holes through which the clevis pins were passed in the old system.  Here are a few photos of the holes being bunged and hardware installed.

There were four bung like this because the plugs weren't long enough to fill the two holes front-to-back.

There were four bungs like this because the plugs weren’t long enough to fill the two holes front-to-back.

The bung is trim and sanded flush, and the eye installed on the ladder.

The bung is trimmed and sanded flush, and the eye installed on the ladder.

With the holes bunged and the hardware located on the ladder, it was time to refinish it.  I sanded it all smooth and removed all the old varnish.  I also trimmed the top of the ladder uprights even with the counter top.  Having them extend above the level of the counter looked like a trip hazard to me.

Ladder trimmed and sanded smooth.

Ladder trimmed and sanded smooth.

I trimmed about four inches off the top of each upright.

I trimmed about four inches off the top of each upright.

I also repaired the top step that was mounted on the counter top.  The wood split out when I removed the old bungs.  I repaired it with epoxy, bunged the old mounting holes, and sanded it smooth.

Bunged.

Bunged.

Repaired and bunged.

Repaired and bunged.

Clean and ready for varnish.  Sorry about the shadows.

Clean and ready for varnish (sorry about the shadows).

Compartment cover and ladder in place - before trimming the ladder tops.

Compartment cover and ladder in place.  This is before trimming the ladder tops.

I spent the rest of the afternoon sanding and varnishing with a sealer coat.  I also sanded and sealed the teak trim around the counter top.  It was in terrible shape and has bothered me for years.  This is finally the right time to clean it up.

Tomorrow I will begin building up the varnish layers and begin the finish work on the cockpit sole and permanently mounting the rudder bracket.

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7 comments
  1. Anonymous said:

    looks good..will do mine a liitle different..had a friend with a wood shop construct a teak frame and door..will use a door button and take apart hinges to mount..also will require some modification of the ladder as well.

    • Thanks. Having done it this way, I would also choose a different construction, were I to do it again! I recently saw a friend’s boat (same guy who gave me the ladder mounting hardware) with the engine compartment cover hinged on port and starboard and a center support dividing the opening in half. The doors latch securely to the center support, can lift off their hinges when needed, and the center support is removable! So he has instant access for routine checks and maintenance, and can open up the entire face of the compartment when needed. Wish I’d thought of that before I built my access cover. Also, his two separate doors and center support are all a manageable size, unlike my ungainly huge panel behind the ladder. I may yet do that. . . but not this year.

  2. David said:

    If you don’t mind me asking. Why did you mount your latter up side down?

    • Funny question, David. . . Why did you assume that I mounted it upside down? I suppose the proportions look upside down with the uprights extending beyond the countertop.

      Look at the photos closely – see the tread marks cut into the surface of the steps?

  3. David said:

    Because the notched part on mine is on the bottom and is notched to fit over the small board on the cabin sole. This gives mine a slight angle and not straight up and down.

    • Ahh. I understand now. You have a Watkins . . . ? I wonder if they simply weren’t consistent in the manufacturing. Each boat was built to some degree by hand. I suppose the crew could have simply inverted one of the ladders – mine or yours?

      Anyway, the notch on mine matches the contour necessary for countertop. How is your ladder different at the top?

      • David said:

        Mine has a radius at the top and is about a inch or so below the counter top. I have a 1978 Watkins 27,

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