If you have a boat and are considering renovating or adding a kitchen, or galley, then you might be wondering where to start. To help you out with this special project, we put together a quick introduction. We will discuss material options, some terms you will need to be familiar with, and some concerns that come with boat cabinets.
As you begin planning your project, be sure to consult a shipwright who can give expert advice on codes and safety. Even if you have experience in construction and cabinetry on land, installing cabinets on a boat comes with unique challenges that make it a completely different undertaking.
When you start browsing materials for your boat cabinets, you will notice a lot of specialized language. Even if you have some knowledge as a builder, the terms used and the concerns for boat cabinets are vastly different. To help out, we put together a quick list of some terms that would be helpful to know as you start your project.
StarBoard is a popular choice for boat construction as it does not rot, splinter, swell, or delaminate. Also called marine lumber, it is a polyethylene polymer sheet product made specifically for boats. StarBoard can be machined and cut just like wood but is on the more expensive side compared to exterior plywoods. Another important note is that you cannot use glue with this material. All joining must be done with mechanical fasteners or heated welding.
Like marine lumber, marine plywood is made specifically for boats. It is composed of veneer piles with durable faces covering them. The core and piles are bonded with a special water-resistant glue and will be marked BS 1088. BS 1088 refers to the British standard specification for marine plywood produced using untreated tropical hardwood veneers that are fungal resistant and bonded with Weather Boil-Proof (WBP) glue.
The “piles” are thin sheets of veneer that are either sliced or rotary peeled from the log. The “core” is the center pile of the sheet. Between the faces, or outside layers, are the crossbands. The “crossbands” are the intermediate piles, which can be laid parallel to the core or perpendicular. If you need to bend the plywood, then parallel piles are preferred, but for a stiffer piece, perpendicular piles are the better choice.
The “faces” refer to the outside layers, and the front face will typically have a better, or more attractive, finish than the back. And finally, “voids” refer to gaps in the piles, which should be avoided as they can lead to issues with water penetration. Voids can also lead to “checks” or “checking” which is when your surfaces split or become cracked.
The most notable difference, which could go without mentioning, between building at home and on a boat is the water. For boats on saltwater, or in rougher waters, you will have to take extra measures to ensure the longevity of your cabinets. The high levels of moisture and salt in the air can even cause your hardware to rust and corrode. You will need to keep this in mind and select durable metals for your hardware.
In addition to hardware concerns, you will also have to contend with the movement of the boat in the water. To prevent your cabinets from flying open and spilling their contents, you will need latches on all cabinet doors and drawers. Another option for your drawers is to install them to be lifted up and then pulled out.
For your countertops, you should look for designs that feature an upward lip on the edge. This will prevent items from rolling off and can help keep spills on the countertop instead of the floor.
In addition to dealing with the environment, another big concern for boat construction is sizing. It can be extremely difficult to find the correct sizes for all the doors, drawers, and cabinet boxes you will need for your project. At Unlimited Marine we offer custom sizing for your cabinetry needs. We can construct your cabinet doors to the sixteenth of an inch, so getting the perfect fit will not be an issue. Plus, we have several high Quality Aluminums available that, when properly sealed, hold up perfect against moisture.
In addition to selecting the proper materials, you will also need to pick finishes that will hold up to the harsh elements. As you might have guessed, there are products made specifically for this task. Marine powder coatings are highly resistant to water and are easy to keep clean. However, these extreme marine coatings products do last a lifetime with proper care. more then any oil based or non-oil-based paints. Ensuring the powder , or custom color , you select is te ultimate in marine use. Our powders will not be intimidated with moisture or expansion. Our Aluminum Cabinets are the best in the industry.
Regardless of the Powder you select we provide extreme marine Primers on all our cabinets before the top coat.
In terms of hardware, your biggest concerns will be rust and corrosion. To avoid these issues, you will need to select materials that are resistant to these natural processes. Chrome-plated zinc and stainless steel are good choices for this job, as they are resistant to the rust that plagues other metals.
ALUMINUM CABINETS AND DRAWERS
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