Companionway Rebuild Continued, Solar Panel Bracket, Interior Woodwork

The companionway rebuild project continues. It’s going to take several more sessions so I’ve stopped naming the parts. Like the engine rebuild project, I reckon I’ll post a full series of pics showing the process once it’s completed. For now though, here’s the latest update. I’ve gotten as far as shaping all the wood, and can finally properly close and lock the companionway. It’s pretty much water tight too, for the first time since I got the boat.

Now it’s just a matter of building up layer after layer of fiberglass to strengthen and shape it, fill it all smooth, prime, and paint. Then move the traveler here, build a companionway ladder, etc., etc. A few more weekends of work to go yet.

In between glassing/sander recharging sessions, I started tackling the interior woodwork. All the wood has several layers of old, dark, sloppily applied varnish permeated with 40 years of diesel fumes, which do a fine job of contributing to the old boat smell and atmosphere inside. I’m looking forward to scraping and sanding all this off then oiling the wood. Should brighten the interior up a bit. I started with the worst offender, the cabin sole. The sole in Watari is fashioned from a single piece of teak overlayed with 2 inch teak boards. It was underwater in the bilge for years and has been thoroughly saturated with diesel and engine oil to the point of being almost black.

After scraping off the first layer and doing some sanding it’s starting to look better already. A bit more sanding, cleaning, and oiling and it should look presentable.

I also made time to build a proper bracket for the new 50 watt solar panel. I found some U-clamps the previous owner had left on the boat and drilled holes in the solar panel frame for them to bolt into. Then I cut a length of aluminum tube left over from another project, drilled a hole in the outboard edge of the frame, and ran a bolt through this and the end of the pipe which I cut at about a 60 degree angle. The inboard end of the pipe is lashed to a stanchion until I can get a stainless steel clamp for it. This turned out to be a sturdy install and I’m quite happy with it.

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