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Discussion Starter #1
Related to my seacock replacement, I have another problem.

The hose runs under the floor of the head through a bulkhead. The hole in the bulkhead is too tight to pull the hose through! This bulkhead hole is about 3' away under the floor and the access from the other side is very limited. No way to reach it.
Seems like I'll need to cut a hole in the floor of the head. This is a fiberglass liner. I could buy a hatch to put in the hole but that would stick up about a 1/4" and I don't like that. I could then cover the whole floor with teak grate but would rather not.

I'm thinking of using a router or roto-zip and cutting a clean hole in the floor. Then re-use the cutout as the lid for the hole. I can add stringers under the floor to support the lid along with a lip all around. The cut out groove needs covering and I'm thinking of T-moulding. This is the weak part of my idea.

Any other ideas?
 

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Unless you have room to use a template guide do not use a rotocutter.. they are near impossible to guide by hand without an edge to work against, and they are so torquey(?) that they can take off on you and leave a mess behind.

A large holesaw as suggested above will work better. Also the fittings pointed out by Thumbs should look alright, probably better than trying to hide a cutout any other way, and it's reusable at a later date.

What's on the other side of the bulkhead? Can you cut out there in a less noticeable area (such as a settee top or inside a cabinet)?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The hose runs horizontally under the floor of the head. 2 feet in from the access panel in the salon is where the stringer is with a cut-out for the hose to pass through. I cannot reach in there (remember the pix of the seacock with no room to access the seacock?). I could not get any sort of 2 foot extension through the existing access hole in the salon floor, but even if I could, I'd still have to remove the hose first and the hose is stuck in the stringer cutout! Which I cannot reach.
There is access from the other end but it's just as bad, maybe worse.

So I need closer access to the stringer cutout under the floor. That means cutting a hole in the floor of the head next to the stringer.

My issue is with finishing that hole after I cut it out. This access hole will be about 8" or bigger so I can reach in there to work on cutting up the hose and then enlarging the cut-out in the stringer.
A Deck plate was my first thought but I don't want to use the deck plate because they stick up about a 1/4" off the floor. I want a flush or nearly flush finish to the hatch.

I will use a guide for the router. I have a router and am familiar with the way they can jump around. Now I have to figure how to temporarily fasten the router guide to the floor. I'm thinking I might caulk it to the floor. Tape will probably not hold. Small amount of chipping will be covered by the T-moulding. I can get 1" wide T-moulding and glue it to the new hatch so it lifts up with the hatch if I decide to make the hatch removable. I might just caulk the T-moulding down when I'm done as I doubt I'll need to get in there for 10 years. Except it would make a nice storage place for about a case of beer!
 

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Thanks Courtney.
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Ed- In your case I would recommend a really big circular saw. When in doubt, get a bigger hammer/saw/explosive/etc.... What the hell you probably wanted to remodel the head anyway, right?

Oh, and just cut the hole, I'm sure you can figure out how to fix it later!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Jim
Big help you are!
Can you stop by that 'other' boat and pick up some parts for me? It's still available.
 

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"how to temporarily fasten "
Hot wax glue gun, used sparingly. Usually a good twist will pop it off afterwards and if that doesn't do, you can hit it with a heat gun to remelt the wax/glue and release it.

Sounds like a large inspection plate would be a good idea, and give you access to that extra beer stowage area forever after.<G>
 

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Discussion Starter #11
hs
couldn't figure what you were referring to at first...hot glue is a great idea for the router guide on fiberglass. Thanks

The large inspection plate is a good idea except it's not flush on the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
If I was going to have to be cuttin' on our boat, I think I'd want a Fein Multimaster. Kinda spendy, but I've heard nothing but Good Things about these tools.

Jim
HMMMM, are you trying to make an excuse for me to buy one of these?

An amazing set of accessories. They do show the small circular saw doing exactly what I want to do. I'll definately open the wallet to see if there is more than dust in there.


How about this: Amazon.com: Rockwell RK5102K Sonicrafter Deluxe 72-pc Kit: Home Improvement

Less than half the price. Looks like I'll head down to Lowes to put a hand on these...
 

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a fein is great for crosscutting, making short cuts, or working in corners, but for cutting a simple access hatch, a good jigsaw will do just fine, and be easier to control than a fein. Hatches are easy to make, and make look good. if you want to get fancy, mark your access hatch opening on the cabin sole, then calculate the width of your saw shoe, and screw down some scrap boardstock that same width outside of your desired cut to act as a fence for your saw. drill a 1/2" or so hole to act as a start point for your saw, and that hole can be filled with a plug or used as a handle to pull your new hatch plate in the future. epoxy/screw some cleats to the underside of the sole to support your new hatch, and you are good to go.
 

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try counter sinking around the rim of the hole a 1/4 to make the profile flush for the inspection hatch i did this aswell so the lip will not pertrude.
 

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btw, now that fein's patent has run out, the competitors have launched their own oscillating saws. dremel makes a good one, for less than half the price of a fein. it may not last as long as a fein on the jobsite, but for the average user, it should be just fine. if, like me, you never need much of an excuse to buy another tool.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
BL
I don't want to screw my guide into the floor and leave screw holes. The hot glue idea is the replacement for that idea.
How is the jig saw easier to control than a fein. i don't know the fein. I'm under the impression I can get some good blades for the fein, the jig saw will tear & chip the fiberglass. I've cut fiberglass with my jig saw with a blade for fiberglass, it sucked.

rappity
the recess idea is interesting. The hatches are rounded on the edges & corners, how did you get the edges to fit flush to the floor?

Dremel is in my sights now...
 

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oscillating tools are essentially a development of an angle grinder- they work great when making horizontal and vertical cuts on a horizontal axis ( like cutting holes in drywall, tile walls, or cutting off pipe), and work great making horizontal flush cuts when rested (like cutting door jambs at floor level where the tool is able to rest on the floor) in these cases, torque steer is not an issue, as your wrist can and will compensate. making a vertical cut in a floor, because of the wrist angles, is definitely tougher, and it is difficult to steer an osscillating tool when you are working downwards.

Instead of a fiberglass blade in a jigsaw, use a metal blade, a lower speed, and lube the blade before cutting.
 

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Jig saw blades

They also have blades that cut on the down stroke. Works great on Laminate surfaces for little or no chip. Good luck.
 

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If you want access to that area how about removing the head? Otherwise if you don't want repeated access just cut any hole and reglass it. Pain in the .... isn't it.
 

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If you are going to use a jigsaw to cut a round hole make sure you have the clearance as the back end of the saw swings wide. If you do end up using it, lay strips of painters tape over the whole surface the bottom of the saw will travel so you won't scratch it. It is very difficult to lay the tip of a moving saw blade into fiberglass without the saw bouncing wildly so start the cut by drilling several holes very close together in a row using a drill bit with the diameter of the side to side width of the blade (to avoid a large hole from a drill bit with the front to back width of the blade). Then while the saw power is off work the blade down into the opening, press the saw firmly to the surface. Keep a constant pressure on top of the saw as it will want to buck a bit as you make the cut. Be sure to adjust the jigsaw blade advance lever to neutral or its lowest foward advance setting before you start. Go slow and do not push the blade to forcefully as you cut, it will take a while but if you rush it you will chip out the surface. Use a down-cutting laminate blade with ten teeth per inch or a blade like the Bosch 101AO 3-Inch 20 Tooth per inch straight tooth blade which can more easily handle curves. You might want to practice on a piece of plywood first to get a feel for it. If you want to cut a square hole remember its very difficult to make small radius turns in fiberglass and you may crack the blade or chip-out alot of gelcoat at the corners unless you cut each side seperatly by drilling four sets of holes. Also important is to be sure you do not cut anything you don't want to under the surface.
 
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