May 21, 2012

The Galley Hatch - Skinning and Trim

With the galley hatch all framed up, I proceeded to work out how to skin the frame.  Since we did the interior of the trailer, we learned a few tricks to make our lives easier.

#1 - wet the plywood down, I cannot stress this enough!
#2 - have plenty of straps to help hold the skin in place and bend it SLOWLY, the ratcheting type works best as you can slowly bring the skin down into shape.
#3 - have lots of clamps and/or weights to keep everything in place as the plywood starts to dry.
#4 - have everything ready to screw the plywood down as it will tend to spring back after it dries.

I started out by cutting a sheet a bit longer than needed to accommodate for any modifications that might be needed after bending it into its final shape.  I aligned the top edge of the plywood with what would be the top of the galley hatch and secured it with clamps.  After this I wrapped three straps around the frame and plywood and tightened them down without actually bending the plywood.  Then we took everything outside and wet it down completely.  Finally we slowly ratcheted the straps down until the skin was almost tight to the frame.

After the skin plywood dried a bit, I centered the skin a bit more carefully on the frame and screwed everything down.  I didn't fully countersink the screws yet as we were still unsure how the wiring would go and what the final finish would be.  But the skin was secure enough to work and when everything dried out I removed the ratchet straps and it was done!

I next started working on attaching the hinge permanently to the hatch as this would aid in holding the skin as well as give me a better idea of how I'm going to work out the final trim.  I first cut a strip of aluminum wide enough to fit under the hinge and then bend over the exposed plywood frame.  This trim piece protects the frame and will give the hatch a more finished look.  I attached the aluminum with a few finish nails and then screwed the hinge in place.  This is mostly how we're thinking of doing all of the trim on the hatch.

I called it a day after this and put the hatch back onto the trailer.  We are liking the ability we have of being able to take the hatch on and off - this is something to think about when we get to the wiring.

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