Fridge Box Construction

We’re back down at the boat for another weekend of work, and the clock is ticking ’til the condo lease expires in August and we move on full-time.  I’m a little stressed to say the least.   Finding the laminated glass (within our budget) for the port lights we removed last week is becoming a bit of a challenge.  Other Tayana owners have reported anywhere between $10-$20/ea.  Best price quote I’ve received so far is $40 for all 11 ports, but I still have two other shops to which I need to drop off my little paper patterns for a quote.

But this post is about the refer box I’ve been working on, so here goes…..

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After extensive research on sailboat refrigeration, both written and internet-based I think I’ve come up with a plan:  1 inch of air space all the way around, followed by a layer of the Prodex reflective closed-cell foam we used in the cabin top (1/4″ thick, all seams sealed with reflective tape), and subsequent layers of 2″ extruded polystyrene sheet (henceforth referred to as XPS).  To make the 1″ airspace I utilized some scraps of 1/2″ mahogany plywood we salvaged from previous demolition ripped down into 1″ wide strips and glassed to the inside of the hull.  Hey, re-use, re-cycle, regurgitate, blah blah blah, right?  Using 3/4″ screws I secured 2 layers of the 1/2″ strips to the insides of the cabinetry surrounding the box, but screwing them to the inside of the fiberglass hull required some pre-drilling into the side of the boat before the screws would go in all the way.

“Don’t drill through the hull and sink our boat” says the more practical half of this couple.

“No worries” says the idiot with the power tools, “This boat is laid up THICK.”

So Jeni leaves for the day, and I continue to pre-drill the shallow holes into the side of our boat and fasten the plywood strips.

“Aw SHIT!!”  Apparently the hull isn’t quite as thick above the waterline as it is below.  Thankfully I didn’t sink our boat, and just happen to have some leftover G-Flex epoxy, thickener, and a syringe for a quick repair.

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As for glassing over the plywood strips, I suppose I should have read the nearly 100 page PDF “Fiberglass Boat Repair” on the West Systems website before I started but I went ahead and jumped right in with both feet.  Woven glass cloth isn’t quite as easy to work with as I assumed and it loves to unravel at the worst possible time.  Now I’ve done quite a bit of epoxy work in my day building spearguns and what not, but since I’ve never used West Systems brand I probably should have mixed up a test batch just to see how it behaves.  15 minutes into wetting out the glass cloth with the first batch of 105/206 resin & hardener I notice that the plastic cup is getting warm.  Then I notice smoke emanating from the mixture.  One more dip of the brush into the

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cup and the whole batch morphed into a gelatinous ball of smoldering resin and the cup slowly melted away right in my hands!!  Guess I either mixed it too long or screwed up on the resin to hardener ratio but subsequent, smaller batches turned out o.k.  My first attempt at fiberglass work was anything but pretty, but since it’s buried inside the icebox I’m not too concerned.

The next morning I finished lining the box with Prodex and sealing all the seams with reflective tape.  Now begins the adventure of cutting the styrofoam sheet to fit inside and since the box has no right-angles, this should be a real trick.  To be continued…..

More boat show goodies
Sometimes she has her moments
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