Under Galley, Head, & Dinette Storage

There are several areas in a Catalina 22 as well as other sailboats that can be used as extra storage but there is no way to get at it.  One such place is under the Starboard Bench/Slide-out Galley area.  So what is needed is a simple access door. 
I built such a door in the V-berth area where we keep the portable head on the Christopher.  Opening this door reveals a roll of toilet paper and a shelf with a bottle of hand cleaner aw well as access to some additional storage.
You can buy pre-built door units for the V-berth area and the Starboard Bench/Slide-out Gallley area from Catalina Direct, www.catalinadirect.com or you can build your own.
To build my Storage Access Doors I recycled hardwood flooring.  I used a power plane
to remove the grooves on the bottom of the flooring and to take it down to 1/2 inch.  You can just as easily avoid the planning and buy 1/2 in oak at Lowes, www.lowes.com or any good lumber center.  By making the doors myself I was able to custom size them to my specifications.
If you chose to build your own then following are a couple of neat tricks to help you along.
As you can see in the first photo you first build a frame and then a door to go over it.  If the door is larger than the lumber available to you simply biscuit join several pieces together.  Since I was using scrap flooring, that's what I did.  The only other
thing you need to do here is to put a bevel on the door edge so you don't have to have a handle.
Next you'll want to build the frame.  You should do that by using a Kreg pocket screw tool, which I also purchased at Lowes, www.lowes.com .  It's very easy to use and with a little practice you will be making pocket screw holes like a pro.
The only expensive part of this project is the cabinet hinges.  They should be good quality brass hinges with springs to keep the door closed.  I purchased mine from West Marine, www.westmarine.com
The Finish
I finished the Door Unit with Epifanes Varnish.  Epifanes produces a beautiful finish.  I purchased the varnish and thinner from Jamestown Distributors.
It generally takes 7 coates.
Coat 1: 50-50 mix of Epifanes Varnish to Epifanes Thinner.
Coat 2: 85-15 mix.
Coat 3: 95-5 mix.
Coats 4-7: Just varnish.
I know this sounds like a lot of coats but you will not believe the finish that it creates and Epifanes is a very easy varnish to work with.  5 Stars to you, Epifanes for creating such a fine product.
Make sure to use Epifanes Thinner for the mixes.  To save expenses I use a generic mineral spirits for the cleanup.
Do a light rub down between coats with 0000 steel wool and then wipe down with a tack cloth or paper towel with a splash of mineral spirits on it.
I'll trace the inside opening of the Door Unit onto the lower galley wall and the make it bigger by about half the width of the Door Frame.  Next I'll drill some mounting holes in the fiber glass, placing the holes between the cut edge and the outter edge of the door frame.  You then hold the Door Unit up to the hole in the galley lower wall and reach through the Door Unit and mark the holes with a Sharpie through the fiber glass.
Finally drill at the marks on the Door Unit being careful not to drill through the door frame.  Mount the Door Unit using pan head stainless steel screws with washers.  You'll probably want at the least 2 mounting holes per side.
Set the frame on the front side of the starboard bench being careful to avoid the structural support under the bench.  Then, with the storage door open trace around the opening.
Next drill a 1/4 inch hole outside each of the 4 corners.
Using a straight edge draw 4 lines connecting the outside edge of each 1/4 inch hole.  This second set of lines, shown in red are the cutting lines.  This will make the opening slightly larger than the opening in the door frame.
Now cut out the opening.
It is surprizing how much space you will gain.
You can see the support that you want to avoid.  You can also see the galley drain funnel.
I suggest that you do not do what I did at this point.  I wanted to hide the screws so I predrilled the fiberglass with 8 holes.
 I then held the door frame up to the opening and drilled pilot holes into the frame from inside the storage space.  I then screwed the frame into place from inside the storage space.  It was extreamly hard.  It would have been easier to drill through the frame and nut and bolt it in place.  All though the final product does look nice.
Another area where you can gain storage in under the "V" birth where the head is stored.
Here is what I did:
 The door holds a roll of TP and the little shelf holds a bottle of hand sanitizer.
Behind Dinette Storage
I also added a door behind the aft dinette seat behind the cushon. 
This door gives easy access to the Port Side Aft Hold Area.
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