I had already decided on a size and position for the shaving cabinet, and cut out the opening from the D panel it will sit in. The panel closes off the foredeck of the boat from the ensuite, but has plumbing and electric wiring go through it and therefore I felt it necessary to ensure that I could get to them should I ever have a wiring or plumbing issue in future. My plan is the build the shaving cabinet to exactly fit the cut out and slide into place and screw into the core of the panel to hold it in place. I will use 25mm white plastic 90 degree flashing to cover the unevenness of the joins. It will be visible whenever the mirrored doors are opened and no matter how careful I am I wont be able to make as neat a join as the flashing will provide.

shaving cabinet dry fitlshaving cabinet shell

So using the cut out as a template, I cut sides, top, bottom and a back and dry fit it all together. I had previously edge filled the edges of the panel with glass rope, I used double bias instead of uni, I wont ever make that mistake again. It does not roll up anywhere as well as uni and as a result I made a bit of a mess of it. I fixed that mess with filler and in the end it looked ok but will all be hidden by the flashing. I used glass for 2 reasons, first the panel I had cut the shave cabinet out of is semi structural so I wanted the strength put back, but also so the screws will have something solid to grip into and cant crack the filler because of the glass.

shave cabinet panelshave cabinet push through stop

To finish the shaving cabinet mounting set up I made three guides (2 bottom 1 top) that also act as stops so the cabinet cannot be pushed through. If the cabinet could be pushed through it could be most frustrating to get it out again once the panel is glassed into the boat. The guides also act as feet to support the weight of the cabinet. They are just offcuts of polycore with the edges backfilled. I decided on a slightly off center shelf to accommodate taller items on the bottom shelf, shorter items on the top shelf. I also ummed and ahhed about whether to have sliding mirror doors but in the end decided hinged mirrored doors would be easier. I used my usual method of white epoxy inside the cabinet, but I may give it a sand and a second coat to make it just that better finished as being at eye level it will be more noticeable.

Shit happens.

Before I bolted all of the plumbing back into the boat I wanted to test it. That is, connect the cistern to a water supply, connect the cistern to the toilet and connect the pumps and black holding tank, in roughly the positions they would be in the boat and fire it up. Just water no waste, but otherwise just checking the flushing cycles and the ability to pump to the holding tank height. You know, all the things you should know is working before you commit it all to installation. All went pretty well, I had some leaking issues and for some reason the hand pump was far more effective at lifting water to the holding tank than the electric pump, both so far so good. As I said the only issue I had was keeping the water source constant because as soon as the tank filled the hose would explode off at the tap outside because the hose fittings I had were cheap and nasty or the pressure is too high, either way. Then when the hose came off one time to many, I moved to go turn the tap off and tripped over one of the hoses pulling it all over and……

shit happens

To say I was annoyed would be a bit of an understatement. It took me 15 minutes on the day to calm down enough to get back to work. But I could not concentrate much for the rest of the day. That night at home I started to think a bit about what I could do to make a good thing out of a bad situation. I started to wonder why, besides the fact that they have been done this way for so long, that a toilet needs to made out of heavy, fragile porcelain. There is not much too a toilet bowl, even a vacuum one like this. Its just a water intake rim with multiple angles water jet holes, with a rim that can seal with the lids and a bowl that has the correctly shaped exit to enable the vacuum to do its work and evacuate the waste. I spoke to a friend about making a mold from the 2 halves of the toilet I now have, and whilst he said it could be done, it would be expensive and perhaps no cheaper than buying another 2 (1 replacement and the 1 for the main toilet). Making the actual toilets is actually cheap in terms of material, but the mold would be extremely labor intensive and expensive in labor terms, and the toilets would also be labor intensive, because most of the work is fairing and finishing. Perhaps I could make one without a mold, or even 2. I am going to make some enquiries to see if a toilet out of glass or carbon. They would be much lighter and nowhere near as fragile, so cheaper or not, perhaps I will go down this path. I will post more on this if and when I do more about it. If I make molds I might talk to the importer about whether they would have any interest in them, but I imagine the porcelain ones are made in China (no pun intended) for a fraction of the cost of a glass resin one..

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Paul