Oh my readers…  A long and sordid tale.

Of all the challenges the engine room refit has brought, perhaps the most seemingly innocuous has become one of the most arduous.   It is the new engine panel.  The engine panel is the “dashboard” of the boat motor.  And clearly we’d have to have a new one.  The problem came in the form of shapes and sizes.  The old exterior cover for the panel would not match the new.  And thus the project began to manifest itself. 
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I used the old board to make a new board into which I would mount the new panel.
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I made a template for the new cutout in the new board.
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I cut the new board.  Poorly I may add.  I have no table saw and my circular saw had a bent blade so here I am merrily cutting with a reciprocating saw that likes to bend in unnatural ways if I cut any sort of curve.
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And here is a new mock up of the whole thing.  Notice how poorly squared it is.  I am ashamed.  Let your mockery fall on me.
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The plot grew thicker when we painted this board.  Two coats of epoxy, then a layer of paint.  The clown at WestMarine told us that he called West Systems and they said that the interlux top side paint could go straight onto the epoxy if it was sanded.  Dani painted it that way and it just wiped right off.

So we sanded it all off and then we primed it with some Rustolium primer.  We painted it a second time.  By the way, all of this took hours of Dani’s effort, bless her.

Having painted the jagged edged board we put the recessed panel box into it to assure a fit and then I made a template on the back of the plastic box.  You’d have thought that the 130 dollar plastic box would have come with the proper cut out for the panel, but you would have thought wrong.  It is the one accessory I regret purchasing from Beta Marine.

So the template was made to cut out. 
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Using a Dremel tool I made the hole.
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And then things really got bad.  We went to the boat to install all of this and realized that the board we had made poorly could not easily be drilled.  From the back I could not see where to put the holes correctly.  As we worked, I dropped a marking pen on the board which left a mark on the new paint.  We rubbed it off with some goof off that ruined the paint.   Dani held it together despite my ruination of her hard labor.

She then held the board in place and I drilled the holes which lined up very poorly.  Probably my fault since I was rushing things.  I had one hole way too close to a corner.  More fussing with it and we accidentally gouged the paint further with a screw driver.  Dani was in tears.  I was in a rage.  I tossed the God damned thing off my boat and we had a fight born of frustration.   Dani noted it earlier in our blog.
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After regrouping I told Dani we’d do this thing differently.  We’d make up the board, drill it out first, then epoxy it and fit it in.  After we did all that if we liked it we’d bother with paint.

And so a new poorly cut board was born! 
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We retraced our steps and this time drilled first and then epoxied and then drilled again the epoxied holes.
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To install the board I put a gasket around it.
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Dani who insists on taking photos anytime Butyl tape is used slipped this beaut in.
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And so finally the board was bolted into place.  This time instead of a fight we had a long make out session in the cockpit.  A real love fest.
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We tried gasket on the recessed panel.  It has a strange u shape to the lip around that I tried to fit the gasket into but this did not seal well.  So instead I just filled it with more Butyl tape.   Dani was practically in a comma of joy with all the magic butyl going everywhere.   I suspect this will leak out in the heat, but until I have a better solution I’ll just go with it.
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To join the panel itself to the recessed box I used a poly-sulfide silicone compound.
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And thus it was bolted into place.
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And from the outside.
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The panel closed.  It looks nasty because there is a protective plastic sheet still in place over it.
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And finally, we were able to laugh about this ordeal.
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Its not all sunshine all the time in boat refit land.  But, by God, we do have a good time.