Now that’s using your head

Back before we moved aboard, one of the things we did was rip out the countertops in the galley and install new Corian.  The old ones were laminated butcher block and they were in pretty sad shape, as was the counter in the head.

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A couple years ago I fabricated and installed new Corian tops for the galley and they turned out pretty nice, but ran short on material before I could finish the head.  During the “bathroom remodel” I removed the old countertop in order to access and replace all the freshwater and waste plumbing, and install the Mark V pump for the Lavac toilet.  As with the galley, next to the head sink was a drop-in waste basket; the key word being “waste” [of space].  We abandoned the “waste [of space] basket” concept and I built a shelf below to gain a few extra cubic feet of storage.  I made up a “temporary” plywood top with a lid (without the sink) just so Jeni would have a flat surface to use while getting ready for work in the morning.  And there it sat, “temporarily” for nearly two years.

The funny thing about Corian suppliers is that they won’t usually sell material to the the general public.  The manufacturer DuPont wants you to use their “factory trained and licensed” fabricators and installers, as if it’s some kind of Dark Magic or something.  I mean, c’mon man.  It’s not like we’re landing on the Moon, or splitting the atom here.  If you know how to use a few simple woodworking tools, you can probably manage your way through a sheet of Corian with decent results.  A couple weeks ago I found a local shop that was kind enough to provide me the needed material to finally finish the head, and they even had the same color material I used in the galley.  A perfect match to the scraps I already had sitting down in the work shop, and they even provided me the matching 2-part acrylic adhesive for those “invisible joints” for which Corian is famous.

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I made up a couple of templates from 1/2″ MDF, and after some creative cutting, routing, and sanding, had me a new countertop for the head.  The sink we purchased is under-mount (as was the galley sink) and that works perfect with Corian.  It requires some mounting studs to be glued to the under side, and then the sink is set in a bead of silicone, clamped up tight, and wiped clean.

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For the storage lid, I had to rip down narrow strips and glue them to the underside, overhanging 1/2″ into the opening as a strike surface for the lid.  Because of the way you have to cut and machine Corian, the lid actually came from a different piece of material (which is why I ran short from the galley project on the first go-round).  Luckily, I had some extra stock from the prior project and it all worked out with some material to spare.  The lid hinges and ring-pull were routed and recessed flush with the surface, and I installed a gas-lift strut to hold the lid open when we’re digging around inside.  The entire surface was then polished with a random orbital sander starting with 220 grit, and progressively working my way up to 4000.  Yeah, that’s right.  Four Thousand Grit.  What a pain in the ass, but you can almost see your reflection in the shine.

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Hot and cold water are finally connected, as is the drain to the existing thru-hull fitting.  I even had a little left over material to make a round sink filler piece for some added counter top surface.  I’m in the process of varnishing the teak trim strips that i need to install around the three sides of the top for a back splash, but at least now, we’re no longer brushing our teeth in the galley sink…

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Got clamps? (bowsprit part 1)
Miscellaneous Projects
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