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Old 07-09-2015, 07:51   #1
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Replacing the cabin cabinetry

I scanned through a few pages in this section and didn't see this topic but if it's been covered before i apologize.

In the next 2 years or so I will be buying a used boat in the 30 - 35 foot range for Great Lakes sailing. One of the characteristics I dislike most about older boats is the typically poor condition and darkness of the interior cabinetry. Early in my career I became a Journeyman cabinetmaker and made a living doing that for a few years. Building cabinets to fit into the space and shape of the interior is not an issue. Acquiring the proper materials is simply a matter of researching suppliers and marine appropriate materials online. My biggest concern is the balance of a boat in terms of the weight distribution of cabinets if I were to change the existing interior layout. I am making an assumption that calculations were made in the initial design of the cabinetry to ensure that the weight distribution was correct fore and aft (accounting for the weight of an inboard engine) and port and starboard. Essentially I have 2 questions...

1. Is there a way to find out what weights of cabinetry and its distribution are best for various boats?

2. Has anyone gone through this and have advise?

Thanks
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Old 07-09-2015, 08:26   #2
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

I suspect you'd have to make some pretty big cabinets if they affected the trim of the boat. The rule of thumb is to keep weight out of the ends and correct any list by redistribution of cargo or ballast.

As someone who's just ripped a bunch of "after market" cupboards oup of our boat, I have made the following observations.

1. Cupboards based on house style designs are inefficient wasters of space on a boat.
2. Open shelves, if contents can be suitably restrained, offer advantages in terms of locating and accessing stuff without the need to hunt through dark enclosed spaces albeit at the expense of a neat appearance overall.

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Old 07-09-2015, 08:26   #3
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Jaguar001

Weight distribution is more important on multihulls or light displacement monohulls. I am sure the designer takes the weight of furniture into the project but if you are worried about a berth here or a locker there, I don't think it matters.

I also dislike a dark interior, and my preference is for white bulkheads and varnished solid wood. Most boats have plywood as the the structure and solid wood faces, trim and doors/drawers.
I have built one boat and I am currently restoring an older one now. I will make some changes such as adding a sit down chart table, but mostly, I am just bringing the wood (teak) back to its original state by sanding and repainting the underlying plywood.
Because the bulkheads are structural and cannot be moved on a fiberglass boat, rebuild or restore is possible, but there is very little you could re-arrange.
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Old 07-09-2015, 08:53   #4
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Whatever you do, do not neglect the galley! Nothing is worse than hanging upside down, playing tetris in a locker just to find ingredients for dinner. Drawers are more useful than shelving. Small compartments are better than large. And don't forget trash storage!
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:10   #5
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Unless you are really keep to do the project, what about just painting bulkheads white and varnishing doors. This will do wonders to brighten up the interior of a boat and means you can spend your time sailing rather than working.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:44   #6
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

It's not the cabinets but what goes in them that will affect the boat's trim. Keep things that are heavy like batteries and tanks low, centered, and out of the ends if possible.

On my boat, best place to add storage area is stbd and out board that was a pilot berth in the original plan. Since storage id needed more than a pilot, converted it to open space storage in plastic bins. Plans are to head north so have a diesel cabin heater. Adding a 14 gallon tank for the heater and additional engine fuel, if needed, is going aft of the galley bulkhead on the port side to try and balance things out. Even without the tank, the pilot berth storage hasn't thrown the boat out of trim, still sits pretty much level.
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Old 07-09-2015, 12:54   #7
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

As to the question of how replacing a cabinet door or facing may affect the trim of a boat? I think it is unlikely to make a big difference.

As said by Peter and others, the contents of the storage lockers is more likely to make a bigger difference in trim.

As to the issue of "dark" cabinets and the desire to replace that look?

I too suggest a simple paint job on the doors/covers/facing of the cabinets can make a HUGE difference in how the furniture/cabinets look.

I too prefer the "white paint" look as I think it obviously lightens up the spaces and looks "clean" IF it is kept clean. I think it is very practical for other reasons which may not be intuitive.

So, if I bought or inherited a "dark wood" boat, I would consider painting the cabinets and bulkheads to WHITE or something close to that in tone (darkness).

But, light colors can be used too, and they can also brighten up a space and make a big different in the atmosphere of the space.

I will post a few photos from the net to show you what I mean.

The colorful Before/After photos are of an old sailboat that was renovated by a young creative couple (members of CF) and their blog shows the extensive work they did to make their boat (I think it was ah old 1960's Alberg 30) look nice. I think they did an outstanding job on the interior (and the exterior paint looks great too). Sorry, but I don't have handy a link to their site/blog that details this, but perhaps they will see this post and add a link to their page/blog for us.
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Old 07-09-2015, 13:09   #8
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Been there, done that !. A few times,in fact. Forget you square, level, and any other normal cabinetry tools. AND anything that resembles a planned schedule.
Rule of thumb is 2 1/2 times what it takes in shore based cabinetwork.
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:01   #9
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Actually, our 17 ton boat leaned to port when we bought her due to the insanely heavy galley. It looks lovely, laminated timber benches, over an inch thick, but way too heavy. So cabinetry weight can even matter on a monohull, but ours is an extreme case and unlikely to be a problem you face.

So, what to do? Well, the good news is that if you are doing a complete refit you'll have opportunities to shift weight around by modifying your designs a little, and maybe doing something elsewhere in the boat, like I have done when I moved the batteries to starboard to offset the galley weight. As you make up your materials list you can keep a pretty good tally of what each unit is likely to weigh and make changes early before buying materials.

Whatever you buy, have a look at other examples for sale to see if they offer suggestions of what is possible. Look at similar size and construction boats, if you are planning on a complete or major interior refit you may have a chance to borrow better ideas than the original design. My interior revamp is shaping up as a combination of a HC38, a SouthCoast 36 and a Westerly Sealord 39, all of which had much better design elements than the humble old Swanson 42.


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Old 08-09-2015, 09:18   #10
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

I am adding some cabinets to my old Irwin. As a carpenter I have chosen some old cedar I acquired from a remodel for it's light weight and water resistance. Plus it was free!...always on the cheap. lol
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:34   #11
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Most boats don't have a huge amount of cabinetry, so I doubt the weight is an issue. Cabinets in boats are not like home cabinets. The boat cab is glassed to the hull, the hull inside is most often the back of the cabinet. You are probably best served by refacing what you don't like in the boat you buy.
Also, if the bulkheads and other larger areas of trim in the boat are dark and you want to make the boat less "cave-ish" then consider refacing those rather than the cabinets.
Just because you have great skill at making cabinets doesn't mean that's what you should do to your boat... anymore than if you were a race car engine builder you shouldn't put a blown 455 in your boat!
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:38   #12
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaguar001 View Post
I scanned through a few pages in this section and didn't see this topic but if it's been covered before i apologize.

In the next 2 years or so I will be buying a used boat in the 30 - 35 foot range for Great Lakes sailing. One of the characteristics I dislike most about older boats is the typically poor condition and darkness of the interior cabinetry. Early in my career I became a Journeyman cabinetmaker and made a living doing that for a few years. Building cabinets to fit into the space and shape of the interior is not an issue. Acquiring the proper materials is simply a matter of researching suppliers and marine appropriate materials online. My biggest concern is the balance of a boat in terms of the weight distribution of cabinets if I were to change the existing interior layout. I am making an assumption that calculations were made in the initial design of the cabinetry to ensure that the weight distribution was correct fore and aft (accounting for the weight of an inboard engine) and port and starboard. Essentially I have 2 questions...

1. Is there a way to find out what weights of cabinetry and its distribution are best for various boats?

2. Has anyone gone through this and have advise?

Thanks
I did something similar in a Catalina 42 and I found a simple solution. I laid all the cabinetry on the floating boat on its deck in the approximate relative positions they would be inside the boat. I had to change some things based on the weight anomalies with the boat healing to starboard. The finished work success no healing.
Ernie
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:54   #13
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

When the "Admiral" declared that Skylark's cabin was too dark, I did some research and was surprised to learn that light green is a color that is the least inducible to causing seasickness.l

Skylark needed a new hull liner when she came to me and when that project rose high enough on the "to-do" list, I decided to reline the interior of the cabins with Miranti wood and then painted it ivory.

The overall look is quite nautical and the ivory color makes the cabin even more cosy.

I followed Dan Spurr's guide to installing strips of wood to reline a hull and used bronze screws and finish washers. The whole project upgraded the look of the interior. I even painted the "Pearson teak" formica ivory and it all came out to match the fiberglass of the overhead and sole.
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:15   #14
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Quote:
Originally Posted by George DuBose View Post
When the "Admiral" declared that Skylark's cabin was too dark, I did some research and was surprised to learn that light green is a color that is the least inducible to causing seasickness.l

Skylark needed a new hull liner when she came to me and when that project rose high enough on the "to-do" list, I decided to reline the interior of the cabins with Miranti wood and then painted it ivory.

The overall look is quite nautical and the ivory color makes the cabin even more cosy.

I followed Dan Spurr's guide to installing strips of wood to reline a hull and used bronze screws and finish washers. The whole project upgraded the look of the interior. I even painted the "Pearson teak" formica ivory and it all came out to match the fiberglass of the overhead and sole.
Sounds like a good improvement.

Any photos you can share? I like to see things like your example.
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:16   #15
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Re: Replacing the cabin cabinetry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Most boats don't have a huge amount of cabinetry, so I doubt the weight is an issue. Cabinets in boats are not like home cabinets. The boat cab is glassed to the hull, the hull inside is most often the back of the cabinet. You are probably best served by refacing what you don't like in the boat you buy.
Also, if the bulkheads and other larger areas of trim in the boat are dark and you want to make the boat less "cave-ish" then consider refacing those rather than the cabinets.
Just because you have great skill at making cabinets doesn't mean that's what you should do to your boat... anymore than if you were a race car engine builder you shouldn't put a blown 455 in your boat!
Good points!
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