Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Changing of a Hanging Locker

All of us have boats with storage compartments wedged into any void space in the design. Not all of these spaces provided by the designer are useful to our particular needs. Dana on s/v Rubigale, tackles this issue head-on...
Hanging Locker
Empty Locker Before

I was frustrated with the inability to store much of anything in the two hanging lockers that I had, and the lack of storage in general on the boat.  The shape of a hanging locker doesn’t lend itself to any item of clothing I can think of other than perhaps a miniskirt or skinny jeans, and I doubt that is what most people want to store in them.  I decided to convert the locker in my V-berth to shelves instead and see if I could recover some of that space.


Hanging Locker
Supports Installed

The first challenge was that with the curvature of the hull, nothing looked straight.  I ended up measuring down from the top and then using a level to draw lines on the walls where the shelf supports would go.  Never would I have thought that those lines were straight due to the visual tricks of the curvature and I had to trust the level.  Each of those lines were measured for the supports which were cut 1” short of the back wall and angled at 45 degrees due to the slant of the wall.  These were predrilled with a small countersink.  Once this was done they were coated in polyurethane and screwed onto the side walls where the marks had been made and the holes filled with wood filler.


Logan Helps With Patterns
Logan Helps With Patterns

The second challenge was that the back wall is the hull of the boat and curved not only top to bottom, but from forward to aft.  After starting, I discovered that one of my two “straight” walls was not straight.  Not being a geometry genius, I had to come up with something that would allow me to cut shelves with as few tries as possible.  I took a piece of scrap trim and drilled a hole the size of a pencil at one end. I used a thin piece of balsa wood about 4 inches wide as a temporary shelf, put brown wrapping paper over it and placed it on the supports. I then used my pencil “protractor” to trace the hull shape onto the paper.

Once I had the side measurements and the shape of the back, I cut the shelves. I left a one inch gap at the back for air flow. I used 1/2’ plywood for the shelves – anything thinner wasn’t going to be strong enough and thicker just took up room I could use for storage.


Hanging Locker Shelves
Cut Shelves With Rail

After a few coats of polyurethane, a small fiddle-rail, stained to match the outside of the locker was attached to the end with small brads.  The shelves sit on the supports unattached. The fit is snug enough that there’s no movement, but they can still be easily removed.  The fiddle-rail keeps containers from sliding into the door when the boat heels.


Hanging Locker Shelves
Finished Shelves

A relatively large amount of storage was gained by changing a traditional hanging locker to shelving.  This solution works well for me since I don’t really have clothes that need to be hanged.  I plan to convert the only other hanging locker as well, but will use L brackets instead of wood supports to save some steps and time.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool modification! Thanks for sharing!

    Mike
    www.FillingTheSails.com

    ReplyDelete

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