The dead space under the sink had gone almost 50 years without ever being used. This space existed but was just out of reach! The only thing that did fall into this space was a former trashcan setup where the trashcan was built into the galley counter top.
I never used this trashcan for a few reasons:
1. The smell gets kind of funky when you open the lid.
2. The lid can swell and get stuck when the air becomes more humid.
3. It was really cumbersome to empty the trashcan once it got full.
4. A plastic grocery bag hanging from the galley counter was so much easier to do and use!
Needless to say, this space went completely unused and the lack of use was all due to the lack of proper access.
While refitting the galley, one of the main goals of the project is to create a system that better utilizes that dead space!
I decided that the best way to gain access would be to cut a hole in the bulkhead and let us reach directly into this void from the salon. This would let us store our pots and pans, as well as our mason jars in this area without creating any disturbance in the galley. Best of all, reaching the bottom won’t be a chore because the door is mounted low on the side of the void, so everything will be in easy reach!
Now, how do you cut a hole in the bulkhead without destroying everything? The answer is: “Carefully”
I first marked out a section that seemed proper on the salon side of the bulkhead. Once I measured and remeasured, I found that a door 30cm wide x 40cm tall would be ideal. It would allow for us to fit our largest pots and pans through the door with ease without disturbing all the structural parts that happen in this area.
Once i figured out where the door would go, I then drilled 7/64” pilot holes through the bulkhead and marked on the plywood where the drill bit emerged. This would be my guide to cut the door out from inside the locker and not risk damaging the interior woodwork of the boat.
With the door clearly marked, I set the depth of cut on my skill saw to 3/4”, the thickness of the plywood bulkhead. I then cut along the lines and fully severed the door plywood from the bulkhead without harming the pine strips that make up the interior furniture. I want the door to fit right back in, so that means I need to have the grain perfectly match up with the planks that are there.
I labeled the planks with numbers and a series of lines, and with the descriptors of outboard and inboard so that I could then reassemble them properly once the door is cut out.
The pine planks are 3/4” thick as well, so I set the depth of cut to be just shy of 3/4” that way the saw would not harm the finish of the wood.
After almost cutting the planks, I then set the depth of cut to the full 3/4” and cut just the middle section so that the blade would pop out into the salon. From the salon, I inserted a handsaw into the kerf of the skill saw and cut the last little bit by hand. This kept the wood from splintering or getting damaged too much during the cutting phase.
The plywood got cut beyond the ends of the door because it was cut entirely with the circular saw. The pine planks were not cut in this manner because they are furniture and I cut them squarely with a handsaw.
Now we have proper access to the void of dead space and can properly use it as a locker for the pots and pans that need a new home (The new oven is going to occupy their old storage location).