Sunday, 2 May 2010

the (sky)light fantastic

On the front deck, which forms the roof of the bathroom, there was a fairly rubbish skylight, which was ugly, leaked, and was too small.

So we got ace metal fabricator Brian Helmcamp to work up our ideas for what we wanted to replace it with into a workable design

and then come over and start building it. We took the existing frame, which was just wood glued onto the deck with mastic

and levered it off with a pry bar, revealing the hole in the deck itself. This was quite rough edged, looking like it had been cut with an oxy-acetylene torch.

Then Brian began tidying up the edges with a 9" grinder, taking the edge of the hole back to the edge of the rib underneath the deck.

He then cut off the old legs of the generator, which were in the way (and took out the 'mushroom' that covered the vent for the extractor fan)

before marking out the line we were going to cut to enlarge the hole

and then cutting out the two triangles of deck.

The line that we had marked out happened to cut directly through a bolt and a rivet, and it was interesting to see a scientific cross section style illustration of the inside of a nut and bolt and the structure of the deck.

The next stage was to fit a lip into the hole, to stop water running into the hole, to create a 'socket' to fit the actual structure of the skylight over, and to provide structural strength in the deck itself, as the skylight cuts through one of the main ribs supporting the deck that runs across the width of the boat. Brian spent a long time measuring and trimming the sheet steel (this is why having him do it is so much better than us doing it, the level of perfectionism and care was great to see) and then spot welded the lip in place

and added in two little plates to connect it to the back wall

before i made a wooden jig for him to take away that matched the exact shape of the lip so that he could build the skylight back at the workshop.

I covered the hole with a sheet of celotex, and sat back to wait for the main skylight to structure to be built...

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