Galley Cabinetry

The existing galley cabinetry was slated to come out for a variety of reasons detailed below.

In order to replace the fridge, the cabinetry had to be removed. As we were planning to not only replace the cabinets but also extend them with a pony wall as well as install an integral double sink (to replace a pair of single sinks) it became apparent that it was time to scrap the old cabinetry and countertops and install new ones.

We had noticed a sister boat on the internet which had had a “pony wall” (a counter extension running directly forwards) added to the counter. There are a number of advantages gained by this alteration:

  • extra storage is created
  • extra countertop (i.e. work surface) is created
  • the position when working in the galley is now more secure as there is a solid support behind
  • there is a solid surface to the side of the companionway ladder
  • what was somewhat wasted space is now permanently utilised

We made models of our extensions using carboard and items like storage boxes. Then we left them in place for some time to see how they suited their purpose. The picture below shows the old galley we replaced along with an early mockup of where the pony wall would sit:


At the same time we went through various configuration ideas using a variety of different computer tools:

The drawing for the new galley countertop (with “pony wall”) was this: ig41_countertopFromAppleWorks The diagram was produced with the drawing tools in AppleWorks which proved to meet most of our early diagraming and drawing requirements. In fact, had Apple not discontinued AppleWorks, we probably would have stayed with that package.
After Apple discontinued AppleWorks we bought a package called EazyDraw. ig41_countertopsFromEazyDraw EazyDraw is very powerful and could read in the legacy files from AppleWorks. It was used to produce this diagram and easily met all of our diagramming and drawing requirements. We later found out that EazyDraw had some abilities to exchange DXF files with CAD packages (such as FreeCAD mentioned below).
We did consider using a CAD package and made a bit of a trial with Google’s SketchUp. ig41_countertopFromSketchup If this static drawing was in Google’s SketchUp then it could be fully revolved in 3D. This did prove interesting but so much time was required to get the drawings accurate enough that it proved prohibitive. One major “problem” was getting edges to join as opposed to simply touch each other. In the end it wasn’t worth the effort required and for the tolerances we were working to in this project it didn’t seem that the extra time required to get up to speed delivered anything we needed.
After we finished the project we discovered FreeCAD. ig41_countertopFromFreeCad When this drawing is in FreeCAD it can be rotated in 3D, surfaces and objects removed to view behind them. As with any CAD system there is a steep learning curve in learning how to approach the problem. But unlike the early version of SketchUp the return on the time taken to learn the system was very quick and we now use FreeCAD for 3D documentation of our systems.

Once the planning was over and we had decided on dimensions and materials it was time to remove the old galley. Most of the material was not reuseable but we did take note of how separate pieces were fastened to each other. We eventually got back to the bare floors and stringers which were glassed onto the top of the encapsulated water tank. We made extensions using iroko wood and glassed them in place. This provides the foundation (so to speak) for the cabinetry above it:


In parallel we were cutting and shaping the countertop. We had paid a woodworking shop to laminate the Formica Riga pattern onto a sheet 12mm marine plywood. We then cut the shapes out which we would need for the galley, chart table and walkthrough countertops from the full sheets. We made these cuts with a router so as to get perfect edges and avoid chipping of the Formica:


To make thing easier we used masking tape on the countertop to mark where the fittings below were. The cardboard is the markup for the sink. We delayed cutting the sink and fridge holes until the last moment as they weaken the structure and make it more delicate to handle.

This is the countertop in place, finished except for the sink cutout. The lower rail for the sliding doors which run behind the stove was put in place for this picture only,  the countertop could not be lifted out if it was fixed in place:


The electrical panel above the countertop was to be moved to the nav station, the white panel below the countertop is the repair on the hole that had been cut for the oversized engine. We filled and soundproofed the access hole but left it removeable in case it is needed in the future. Also the floor below the white panel is one we restored as the original had been cut out to facilitate the previous engine.

A view of the pony wall in place showing the cleats on the bulkhead which support the countertop:


A view over the top of the sump towards the fridge which is now placed in position, and the aft side of the pony wall (also in position), the drain for the sink and the two hoses for the pressurised water are visible:


This is the countertop in place with the joinery below finished, the pony wall is now permanently in place:


  • The fridge lid is in place but not on hinges yet
  • The hole for the sink has not been cut yet, nor for the taps.
  • None of the fiddles have been fitted
  • The little black unit in the far corner is the control panel for the Isotherm fridge
  • The sepele mahogany panel under the companionway at the extreme right of the picture is the one we replaced as the original had been badly chewed up by previous owners – the electrical panels from the previous picture have been relocated.

One thing to note is that this picture was taken without flash and the all lighting came from the LED lightstrips fitted under the valences.

This is the final galley with the ladder in place:



It is not possible to get a taller picture as the saloon is not big enough to move the camera far enough away. Just barely visible in the picture are the bottom of the spice rack built beside the companionway and the bottom of the cupboard built above the sink and fridge. Once again the lighting for the picture is from the LEDs installed under the valence above the counters.

Galley Cabinetry

We disassembled the cupboards behind the stove bay as part of rebuilding the galley but reassembled them as they were – we couldn’t come up with a better way to utilise the space. We wired in 240 VAC outlets on either side of the galley at the upper corner of the cupboards – there were no factory supplied outlets in this area.


The drawers on the forward side of the stove bay were left in place – we couldn’t come up with a better use for this space. We did take out all the drawers, strip them and revarnish them. For 30 years the drawers have been sliding with wood on wood and the runners and sliders were worn to say the least.

We removed the runners and replaced them with milled iroko pieces then we planed off the sliders on the bottom of the drawers and epoxied iroko strips on. It is still wood on wood but the iroko is harder and longer lasting than the sepele mahogany it replaced. Presumably it should last more than 30 years this time.

We put in new cupboards under the pony wall countertop extension:


The above is an example of a camera angle we couldn’t take a picture from due to the stove being in the way, so the wonders of FreeCad let us show “an artist’s conception” of what the pony wall looks like from inside either the stove or the drawers.

Where there was a shelf over the sink/fridge area we put in a full cupboard. The cupboard gives us more storage space and less wasted space, also we put a spice rack in the empty space next to the companionway:


The constructions are actually square although they look “bent” in the picture due to the numerous non-vertical edges around them. The stereo speaker were mounted in the empty space behind the bulkhead – there is one in the matching position on the other side. A small magnetic board was placed to hold various small pieces of papers – one is located in the mirror position on the port side.

The junction of all systems on the boat seems to be in the space under the sink, where there is a corner for the engine room and a corner for the cockpit locker. This area is dense with pipes, hoses, wires – all of which are critical to some functioning system. Doing all the galley refurbishment in this area meant that very few things were simple and straight forward – there was always some trade-off to be considered. This greatly impacted the amount of time required to complete the work.

We have been very pleased with the results of our project. The pony wall makes the galley a safer place to work in in moving seaways and the combination of the pony wall and the new cupboard over the fridge and sink give more storage space. About the spice rack, numerous visitors have made the comment “I wish I had one of those on my boat.” The extension of the countertop across the whole aft side of the saloon, from the fridge to the end facing the nav station, gives a lot more surface area. Previously the area under the companionway was used for stepping up and down but with the dedicated ladder this are became useable countertop area.

As this page is about the cabinetry, the original HR41 galley is made with sepele mahogany. We located a timber merchant who dealt in hardwoods, they had both veneer and solid pieces. We travelled for a day to go out and match their veneer with our exisiting joinery – we took a couple of cupboard doors to match colour and grain. Once we selected the veneer sheets that best matched we had them apply it to marine plywood as they had the commercial presses to do that. We bought lengths of sepele and had it milled to our profiles on a CNC machine.

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