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Old 03-12-2014, 07:39   #1
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Question Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

Dear all - first post, so... yeah:

I just purchased a very nice, used, rugged hatch for my Fantasia 35. It was advertised to fit an opening just the size I needed and it was a deal (bah!). Alas, it's about 1 inch too small. It was measured from the outside of the flange, not the actual cutout. But, it does sit on the cutout without falling in the cabin - if just barely, which gives me hope.

I'm gonna try to make it fit. No question. I have to try.
It seems there are two options:
1) Try to glass in the cutout to fit.
2) Retrofit a piece that can be tabbed/glued/fastened inside the cutout to decrease its size.

Question: If (1) would work, how would you recommend doing it? If (2), what material (aluminum, FRP, wood)? If neither, are there any other ideas?

My view of the limitations:
For (1): I either need to make a nice mold or I risk it being brutally ugly. Also, it could be brittle.
For (2): I really comes down to fit and choice of material. I have good tools, though.

In any case, all feedback is appreciated. Thanks, y'all.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:16   #2
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

Here's what I did for someone last year. I had a situation where the only available hatch was flat, and didn't match the opening size. The pics show the issue. So, I fabricated a corrective ring of layers of 1/4" plywood to match the curve of the cabintop, and made the hatch opening to match the new unit. Then I epoxied the correction ring to the cabintop, did some cosmetic magic and painted the entire cabintop and cabinsides (because they wanted to replace the fixed and opening portlights, as well). It came out pretty nice. I believe it was an Islander from the eighties or so. Please forgive the number of pics, as the details are hard to describe in few words.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:23   #3
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

Oh man! This is far more than I'd expected in a reply! Thanks!
This is like a step-by-step for my problem +/- a few tweaks.

I'll give it a try and, for what it's worth, post the result.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:30   #4
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

1. welcome.

2. way to go for using 'alas'

3. without pictures this is speculative...

I would cut cut out enough of exiting cutout as necessary to get to a material I could bond to and then bed in foam core (like corecell) with epoxy, glass, fair, prime and roll on color matching paint.

A faster solution would be to build a ring with teak, screw down & 5200 the teak ring to the deck and install the hatch to the teak ring.

Personally, if it were me, I would buy another boat with the correct size cutout.

If you have some pics, more ideas may come to mind.

gl.

-steve
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:17   #5
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

Quote:
Originally Posted by LekiM View Post
...I just purchased a very nice, used, rugged hatch for my Fantasia 35...
it's about 1 inch too small...
Then it's too small. Find one the correct size.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:23   #6
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Then it's too small. Find one the correct size.
What? Then I'd be paying to NOT have the fun of making it fit! Then I'd be out of cash and not having fun. No way.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:27   #7
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

It can be done... but is the tail wagging the dog? is saving $100 (?) on a used hatch vs a new one worth it? However, sometimes the appropriate size is not available in New anyway. Numerous times I have bought "bargains" for boat building, but seldom does it work out well when I try to use them.
If the hatch surface is flat (and no trough like the one shown in RoyM's great photos), then yes you can make the opening smaller using wood. Teak, mahoghany etc would be nice. With Teak, you wont have to finish any of it. Or you could use Starboard , but It doesn't glue that well.
Fit all 4 pieces so they interlock nicely on the corners. Screw them into place dry. Once everything is perfect you can permanently attach them with the screws and 3M 5200, or other type of adhesive, including Plexus or filled Epoxy etc. I like to use Flat head machine screws for this type of thing, I drill and then tap the holes... just like into metal.
To make it nice you will need to think through how to trim it in the areas not covered by the hatch flange. Probably inside only is my guess.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:39   #8
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

Nice work Roy M, looks great!
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:56   #9
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
is the tail wagging the dog? is saving $100 (?) on a used hatch vs a new one worth it? However, sometimes the appropriate size is not available in New anyway.
Well, I paid $250 and new it's $1250 (Bomar, 100 series cast), so if the tail is wagging the dog, it ain't a big tail. I also can't find an appropriate size that's as strong as these.

Thanks for the help, too, btw.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:00   #10
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

I did the same thing on my Hans Christian 38 on the forward hatch. I did it in St Martin. The old hatch was all teak, I found a brand new large Goiot Hatch at the local chandlery for about $300. Fortunately it fit the hole better than yours does. But I had to do some adapting for sure. It was nice when complete though.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:40   #11
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

If the deck has a lot of camber, I'd do the same as Roy did, except out of Coosa board.

If the opening is on a flat spot of deck, and you don't mind a little learning curve, you can build and shape a mold in place to lay it up out of fiberglass without having to do much grinding work at all...

I use adhesive back sheet wax: FMSC - PS165 Regular Sheet Wax 12" x 24" / 305mm x 610mm (Adhesive back)

Grind a bevel around the existing opening, then put the grinder in a locked cabinet.

Build a platform under the existing opening that is flat. Stack the wax up until you've got the height you want the flange to be, and trim to fit the hatch.

Basically, take hatch, smush into wax, mark the line over a 1/4 so you have room for the fiberglass you will be laying up into place.

Once you are pleased with the fit, put mylar packing tape over the wax to improve the finish.

Lay up a few layers of cloth, say 6 layers of 17 ounce biax... and a layer of mat, and finish cloth.

To do the layup, if you don't mind wasting materials in pursuit of an easier completed job with better finish... Cut out full width sheets of glass, and wet it out 3-4 inches into the waste. No laps, no seams, and a consistent thickness the whole way around. You'll use 2-3 yards of cloth and a bit more resin than you would otherwise, but you won't have to pick up a grinder.

After the layup is wet out, take a piece of melamine faced MDF that is 1 to 2 inches thick and wax it. Make sure it extends just to the finished edge of the cloth, and use a square edge the whole way around, beveled if it needs to be to follow the contour so you can squeegee up the excess. Leave a finger fillet if you want...

Butter up the cloth face with thickened epoxy, or gelcoat if you used polyester. Screw it down to the table you made to hold the wax. You can either free-float it if you are good with layups and don't have any laps, only butted seams... Or you can use set-up blocks in between, to hold the top mold evenly spaced. Dry fit it with the cloth in place, so you get your thickness right.

Where there is a low spot after layup, won't be in contact... Where it is good, will be. More thickened epoxy or thickened gelcoat, the smoother the surface. Try to get good "squeeze out."

When it kicks, destroy the form. You'll end up with a slick shiny inside finish from the mylar tape, and a flat surface on the top that requires very little sanding because you made a female mold for the top surface with the MDF backer.


Sand and fill only the low spots, first, using the good surrounding area as a guide. Overfill slightly and use a hard wood block 16 inches long, with adhesive backed air inline paper to sand... Take the shine off with 80-120 grit, and lightly finger sand the slick surfaces and pull the entire opening with a finishing putty... If polyester, gelcoat it again. Sand out smooth.

It is a lot less work, if you don't do a raised surface, at the flange, as that doesn't require a finger fillet to blend between the cabintop and the surrounding surface, and can keep all the glass work directly below the flange.

Just don't touch it with 40 grit, or put a grinder on it and the work will go fast. Take the nibs and sharp points off, and then bring the lows up to level and paint.

If you want a down-turned flange inside, I would use polyester and mat. Lay up the flange, below the level you want it to be... starting lower than the ground in bevel to the existing deck. Lay that area up as a flat section over the top. I favor using finish cloth to even out the surface texture of the mat, even if it means using a layer of veil mat... Then use a 6 ounce cloth off 2-4 inch rolls and very delicately air roll it out with a 1/4 inch air roller.

Getting mat a consistent thickness is tougher than cloth, but cloth doesn't like to torture into place. Tear the mat, and put reinforcement across the corners on the vertical face and leave the top surface without any laps or bumps.

If you need to make the opening slightly large, a guide for a router works well. Cut opening wider, throw away router bit...

Back yard, press molding...
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:03   #12
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Re: Fitting a hatch to a cutout that's just BARELY too big

Nice job with pictures, Roy!
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