Chain Locker Bulkhead (Page 2)

This page was last updated on 3 March 2002

Once the glued up chain locker door had cured overnight, I removed the clamps and prepared for a variety of milling operations.  The first thing to do was to sand off the epoxy that had squeezed out on the back side.  Next, I  milled a 3/8" x 3'8" rabbet on the back side all the way around.  This lets the door overlap the cutout in the bulkhead for a clean installation.  I used a stacked dado head in my table saw for this cut.  When that was complete, I replaced the dado with the regular table saw blade and, in two passes around the perimeter, milled an 11/64" wide by  3/16" deep groove all the way around for the reed spline that is used to hold the caning in place in the center.


sandedpieces.JPG (160259 bytes)My final milling operation was to cut 1/4" roundovers (with a router table) on all outside edges of the door, as well as on the face side of the space in the middle.  Then, I spent some time sanding the hole frame smooth to 220 grit.  Then, adding the door to a collection of small mahogany pieces--and the new mahogany bulkhead--I prepared to apply several coats of tung oil.  This is the same finish I used on other mahogany trim on the boat, and it works extremely well.  I just wipe it on, and can do several coats in a short time.  5-6 coats provides a hard, soft-gloss finish that looks great.

When the finish was complete, I proceeded with the caning.  The process is described step-by-step below.

First, I cut a piece of pre-woven cane to overlap the opening by a couple inches on all sides.  Then, I submerged it in a bucket of warm water to soak for a while.  (15-30 minutes).  The reason for doing this is that the caning will expand when wet, and when it's tightly splined in place on the door, it will shrink as it dries, leaving a drum-tight surface.

canepressedingroove.JPG (135069 bytes)Next, I prepared for installation by cutting four pieces of reed spline to approximately the right length for each of the four sides.  The two long sides can extend beyond the groove during installation, but the short sides' reed had to be cut to fit between.  Once this was done, and the caning had soaked long enough, I shook the extra water off the caning, and went to work.  Laying it out over the door, I used my custom caning-insertion tool (a cheap plastic schoolboy protractor) to press the damp caning into the four grooves, ensuring that the weave remained straight and tight as I did so.  A small amount of looseness is OK, as it will shrink up as it dries--but the caning should be as tight as possible at this stage.

splinecloseup.JPG (165092 bytes)Next, one edge at a time, I ran a bead of yellow glue in each groove, and inserted the reed spline, hammering it into place as necessary with my rubber mallet.  I did this for each edge in succession.

To help hold the corners of the splines in place (they tend to want to pop out), I clamped each corner with a spring clamp to hold things in place.  I let the glue dry for several hours at least before continuing.

After I let the glue dry, I trimmed the excess caning and spline with a sharp utility knife, cutting just outside the spline all around.  This completed the construction of the door.  Next, I installed two brass 3/8" overlay cabinet hinges on one side, and a brass knob on the other side to match the rest of the doors in the boat.  Then, I installed the door on the new bulkhead (still in the shop), along with a brass door catch.

Bringing the whole assembly up to the boat, I installed the previously test-fit bulkhead permanently in place.  It serves no structural purpose, so I attached it to the existing partial bulkhead and new overhead plywood beam with a series of screws from the back (chain locker) side.  

With Door Open (Sorry--Blurry!)

chainlockerdooropen.JPG (177695 bytes)

With cushions and new bookshelf installed


Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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