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Old 08-15-2020, 02:40 PM   #1
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Building New Pilothouse Doors for a Bluewater Trawler

Time to build new doors for the Pilothouse. This is a continuation of my "Bluewater 40 Pilothouse Replacement" thread. I felt a new thread would be easier to follow.

Picture 1 shows the crack on the port door. The door is constructed out of 3/4" plywood of questionable Chinese origin, sheathed in fiberglass cloth with polyester resin. Water leaked past the window seals and saturated the plywood core.

The leaking window and the wet core were pointed out by Matt Harris during a pre purchase survey in 2000. Sales price was reduced to cover replacement.
There were other issues with higher priority that needed attention first so I did a temporary repair after drying the core. The repair lasted 20 years! The plywood eventually delaminated and swelled creating cracks in the door skin.

Picture 2 and 3 shows the dry delaminated core.

Picture 4 and 5 shows the interior side of the door after the window was removed. I will be replacing the windows with new glass.

I will be building a new starboard door also. The starboard door is not delaminating but starting to warp.
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Old 08-15-2020, 03:30 PM   #2
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I made a sliding door for a previous boat out of 1” starboard. Zero maintenance.
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Old 08-15-2020, 03:32 PM   #3
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Picture 1. Traced the old window opening to MDO, cleaned up the straight lines and curves. Cut out center with jig saw and sanded the MDO to the line to create an accurate, smooth pattern for routing openings in new doors.

Picture 2 shows the pattern being checked for accuracy. There is a cleat on the right side to index the pattern to the door edge.

Picture 3 shows the pattern for window glass being sawn. Using the pattern created above, traced a line 5/8" larger than the opening.

Picture 4. Will ship the pattern out to have tempered glass made.

Will be buying two sheets of 3/4" mahogany marine plywood next week to build the doors. Will compare Aquatek and Sande/Virola plywood and select the one which is flattest.

Will build doors in similar fashion to the old doors with a few improvements. The window openings and glass landing will be epoxied prior to window installation to mitigate water incursion. The bottom of the door where it rides on the track will be improved with HDPE.

The plywood doors will be sheathed with glass cloth and epoxy.

I looked at several other door building methods:

A foam cored door. Wood framing with 1/8" Okoume plywood on either side, polyurethane foam coring, encapsulated in glass and epoxy. Too much work.

A door made out of Starboard. Difficult to glue, the white doesn't match boat paint, paint will not stick, hard to repair or hide mistakes, too much expansion with hot weather. I don't enjoy working with plastic as much as I enjoy working with wood.
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Old 08-15-2020, 03:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
I made a sliding door for a previous boat out of 1” starboard. Zero maintenance.
I seriously considered making the doors out of Starboard after reading a previous post of yours last year or so. It seems like the ideal material.

I looked at a boat that had 3/4" Starboard sliding doors last summer. The owner complained that when it got hot, the door would warp slightly and make opening and closing difficult. 1" like you suggested would be more stiff but the tracks on Sandpiper is made for a 3/4" thick door. I even looked at shaving 1/4" off the top and bottom to make the door fit but other reasons had me look at other methods.

Fiberglass encapsulated doors will be 0 maintenance too.

I listed the reasons for not using it on the next thread.
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:29 PM   #5
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Purchased two sheets of 3/4" Marine Sande plywood which is mahogany.

Plywood ripped to correct width in picture 1.

Sawing bottom and top of doors at proper angle with a saw guide. Pic 2

Cleaning up the cut with a router using a straightedge for a guide. Pic 3
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:38 PM   #6
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The opening for windows traced with pattern, rough sawn with Jig saw.

Picture 1 shows opening being trimmed using a router with pattern.

Edge rounded with trim router. Pic 2

Finished exterior of window opening with radiused edge. Pic 3
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:51 PM   #7
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Using the window opening pattern to create another pattern 7/8" larger all around for the glass landing. Pic 1

Routing the glass landing on the back side of door using the pattern created above. Pic 2

Finished glass landing recess. Pic 3

Trial fit of glass landing using the glass template. Pic 4

View from the outside. Pic 5
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Old 09-24-2020, 05:32 PM   #8
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Both sides of the door precoated with epoxy and allowed to dry. Nicks and low spots filled with System Three Quickfair and sanded lightly after drying.

Applied 5.6 oz fiberglass cloth to exterior of doors with System Three Silvertip Epoxy.

The cloth was draped over the doors, epoxy poured on and spread with a squeegee. Excess epoxy squeegeed off and the fabric pressed down with an aluminum finned bubble roller and squeegeed again to remove excess epoxy.

The fiberglass is for sheathing only, not adding strength. The 5.6 oz glass fabric will insure uniform epoxy thickness and provide impact and puncture resistance. The glass/epoxy surface provides a hard smooth surface for paint.

The interior side will be glassed tomorrow..
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