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chuck53 09-26-2010 08:38 PM

Companionway doors
I hate slats and since I'm way to cheap to spend upwards of $1000 on new doors as I've seen them advertised, I thought I'd make my own.

Certainly not the work of a craftsman, but decent and anything is better than slats.

I used lift off hinges so I can remove than anytime I want and I still use the slats when away from the boat.

Faster 09-26-2010 09:05 PM

Should do the trick, is that Oak?

Suggestion: now that you have the pattern, make another set with screened cutouts for summer nights. Then after you've done that, spend a few hundred on some teak boards and make yourself a nicely louvered set out of teak.

You'll still have spent a lot less than the $1000 specials you mentioned!

DwayneSpeer 09-26-2010 09:24 PM

Looks nice but you've lost the needed ventilation. Worry about that a bit unless you have alternative ventilation to keep the mold down.

chuck53 09-27-2010 05:04 AM

Yes, it's just an oak vaneer plywood that I picked up at my local HD.
As far as building another set of doors out of better wood...yes it would look better and maybe someday but not high on my list of priorities. I just wanted something that looked halfway decent and get rid of the slats.

Regarding the lack of ventilation, the reason I built them is to use mostly when at dock and the AC is running. We're in and out of the boat a lot, and putting in and taking out the slats numerous times is a real pain in the butt. So ventilation is not what I wanted.

Sabreman 09-27-2010 09:33 AM

Since the oak is veneered, you will want to minimize the exposure to weather unless it's exterior ply, which I doubt. Even though it's varnished, moisture may/will find it's way under the plys and will eventually ruin your nice job.

Actually, teak planking is not that expensive if you buy anywhere other than WM or other than finished boards. An internet search will yield rough cut lumber that while comparatively pricey, isn't that bad. Find a friend, local wood shop, or school with a wood shop can mill it and you'll save a lot. If you can, find plantation teak because it's a sustainable resource.

Another trick that we use when running the A/C is to take a large beach towel, fold it in half, and hang it over the companionway hatch like a thick curtain. I lay 6" of towel on the top of the hatch under a hatchboard to keep it in place. Keeps the A/C in place and makes entry/exit easy.

chuck53 09-27-2010 10:49 AM

Yes, I know the dangers of weather exposure with plywood. It is well sealed with spar varnish and we only use it on weekends when we are actually on the boat. I expect it to last a very long time considering how few hours it is exposed.
Tried the towel approach and didn't like it. The doors work great.

Yes guys, I get your hint that it doesn't look so hot but it works for me and the wife is happy - not just happy, but extremely happy. As long as she is happy, life is good.

blt2ski 09-27-2010 11:07 AM


I'll try to remeber to take a photo of the doors I have on my boat. I may even have a web able photo............ i know where that is at, I'll modify this post if it is where I think it is. Mine are smoke plexiglass. They would have a bit more ventilation than you have, but reality is, those will work.

My slats are teak plywood veneer, they need varish yearly. I'm going to try and build the new ones of solid teak or iron wook my sons had left over from building a dock.


Found it, not the best photo, but will work, bottom right of page 2 of link, or page 14 of the actual magazine article. I'll get a better one if it looks appealing for version 2 if you ever get that far........
Arcadia 30

Sabreman 09-27-2010 11:25 AM

chuck - The doors look fine to me, especially for your intended purpose. I agree that the towel thing can be a bit annoying because it's constantly being pulled from under the hatchboard slat. But I'm lazy and not energetic enough to make doors like yours! :laugher

Just pointing out possible issues. You already have them addressed, so it's good.

BoxedUp 09-27-2010 11:41 AM


Originally Posted by chuck53 (Post 648271)
Certainly not the work of a craftsman, but decent and anything is better than slats.

Looks like a well planned project and good execution. Nice job!

IslanderGuy 09-27-2010 12:04 PM

Thanks for posting Chuck! I have been considering making some doors like that for a few years now, but have always had more pressing projects on the list. Hopefully this winter I will get to it. It's great to see your example.


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