Friday 24 January 2020

Cockpit Deck | Dry Fit

While waiting for the footwell sole to cure I decided to make good use of time by dry fitting the cockpit deck.

I laid both panels in place and fastened them down with the two temporary screws previously used when trimming them to fit, so they could not move.

Then I used a sharp bradawl to mark the position of each screw hole on the deck frame and centre board case underneath both panels. At six inch intervals there are a lot of temporary screws - sixty in each panel!

After removing the panels I drilled all the pilot holes with a sharp twist drill bit.

The starboard panel was then refitted and fastened down with 3.5 x 25mm general purpose screws, each with a thin plywood washer to stop it digging into the deck.

I chose 3.5mm screws because 4mm is too big for the quite slender deck framing, and 3mm is too small and flimsy.

In the process I found that I had missed a couple of pilot holes so marked their position with  pieces of tape. And a couple more screws and pilot holes were needed in one place to hold the deck down fully against the frame. I marked them with bits of tape too, so I would know exactly where to drill the holes.

Here is the starboard deck panel, dry fitted in place. You can just make out the bits of tape.

Then I laid the port panel in place, and held that in place with the two previously deployed temporary screws, like this.

When satisfied that the alignment was correct I removed all the screws in the starboard panel, drilled the missing screw and pilot holes, and refitted the panel with a few screws to keep it in place.

This is the deck panel dry fitting kit - drill driver, tub of screws and 'washers', and a stiff piece of wire to check the alignment of screws with pilot holes. 

Then the whole process was repeated to install the port cockpit deck panel. This is what it looked like when fitted.

I was pleased with the outcome. If I had not carried out a full dry test fit the small problems found at this stage would have become significant dramas during the glued fitting.

Both panels were then taken out and set aside pending their final installation.

The whole thing took an entire day, but it was a lot of fun!

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