For the very latest activity, click here: From a Bare Hull

Friday, January 15, 2016

More Ice Box

I finally fit the first layer of foam to the ice box cabinet. However, I am pausing here for the moment. A bit more research has suggested that, despite some extra cost, using vacuum insulation panels for the inner main box will not only improve insulation, but also simplify construction (compared to what I had originally planned). More later as I get more information.

In the meantime, the cabinet is temporarily closed up and I have regained work surface area.
First layer of foam fitted

Plywood top

Temporary MDF countertops 
Now, on to other things...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ice Box "Cabinet" Install

Well, I was hoping to get further this weekend, but when the outside temperature is in the 30s, EVERYTHING must wait for epoxy cure, even when using "fast" catalyst.

So the ice box cabinet is "in", that is, "secured in place". Final permanent installation of the foam insulation will come later this week. Anyway, here is what happened...

Final foam fitment.
At this point there is 3.5 inches of foam insulation in the outer layer of the cabinet, which is an R-value of about 18.

Cabinet Base
The cabinet base sits between the bottom of the cabinet and the galley floor. It provides for a three inch kick space for all sides that face the interior.

Ice Box floor "section". Holes are ventilation. Starboard water tank underneath.
A "corner" of the floor was cut and secured to where the ice box will sit.  The base mentioned above will rest on this piece. It was cut about a quarter inch shy on the perimeter which allows the final galley floorboard to "joint in" underneath the ice box base for a nice flush secure fit. Floor boards can be removed without messing with the ice box.
Underneath the base: drain plumbing (left), lower securing bracket (right)
Plumbed underneath the ice box bottom, inside the base, is the plumbing for the ice box drain, which is 1/2 inch PVC. A fiberglass angle bracket secures the bottom of the cabinet to the 1-1/2 inch coosa board floor supports, using 5/16 bolts. Otherwise would be exposed plywood is painted (Bilgekote white) to get some sort of sealed coating on it (not for looking 'nice').
Final assembly inside the boat. Not much room to work with!
The plywood panels were lined with radiant reflective mylar in the shop (I just cut up some of those cheap emergency heat blankets). I then moved them into the boat where they were "glued and screwed" in the final assembly.
Cabinet secured in place
In addition to the angle bracket underneath, the cabinet is secured to the boat by way of five 5/16 inch bolts through the 1-1/2 inch coosa board bulkhead immediately forward of the box. The bolts are recessed in a counterbore from the forward side of the bulkhead into tee nuts previously set into the cabinet panel during construction.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Ice Box Dry Assembly

The ice box cabinet is assembled for the most part. Some foam still needs fitting. The "top" will be fitted when the galley countertops are installed. The side face will be fitted with whatever hardwood ply is decided. Dis-assembly and reassembly for permanent installation in the boat will begin later this week. Inner box and liner will be constructed/installed after this base cabinet is in.

Things came together like this...

Bottom and Back panel pieces

Reinforcing "ribs" add strength and help things keep shape while under construction

Cutting and fitting rigid foam insulation

Starboard side panels, this is the side that faces the hull

more cutting and fitting of foam

Still more foam

Friday, January 01, 2016

Ice Box Design

What better activity for a freezing new years day...

After revisiting some of my older thoughts on ice box features, I have made some changes, most in the interest of reducing complication, cost and build time.

One or Two?

At one point, as the ice box cabinet would have such large capacity, the plan was one half would be a separate icebox, the other half a side opening all-in-one refrigeration unit. Two separate units would provide redundancy. The new plan is to have one large ice box with adjustable internal dividers.  At least one evaporative plate on one side for refrigeration, and a freezer holding plate on the other. The freezer plate provides redundancy should the other fail, and vice-versa. Compressor units would be located in a nearby separate locker.

Insulation Materials/Construction

Past research has discovered many high-tech insulation materials such as vacuum panels, various foams, etc. If one really wanted to push the envelope on R-value and maximize volume, these materials would do it. But they also maximize cost and complicates construction. Therefore, after browsing other boater's DIY ice box construction (even recommendations from the Gougeon/West System people), I have settled for "keep it simple" and "good enough".

Construction will be a plywood carcase with the insides layered, from out to in:

  • Mylar radiant reflective sheeting
  • 2 inch foam insulation (like the blue stuff you get at home improvement stores)
  • 1 inch foam insulation (similar, optional depending on final volume)
  • half inch plywood, the "internal" box
  • quarter inch food grade UHMW or PVC liner with welded joints 
  • drain port with hose into bilge

Now, the assembled cabinet cannot fit though the companionway, therefore, it must be cut and "dry fitted" in the shop, disassembled, with final construction performed in the boat "in situ".

General sketch of the ice box

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Westsail Project Christmas

Many thanks to the admiral who jump started the Westsail project with a few new tools.

A digital thickness planer gauge! A bit more accurate than the scale supplied with the DeWalt thickness planer, it should eliminate the need to check plank thinkness with the digital calipers.

Honing tools! These are used to sharpen hand plane blades and chisels. Made by Veritas which are the bees knees when it comes to woodworking tools.