The requirements of a shelf, to be a shelf, are fairly simple. It needs to be big enough to hold the intended items and sturdy enough to stay up, but the shelf in the photo really isn’t a shelf.
For me, like the boat itself, the shelf is the physical manifestation of my dreams, personality and aspirations. A bathroom towel shelf on a cold winter’s night is less about orderly towel storage, but about making the boat into a floating home, one that we will live on and hopefully take to warmer climes, have adventures, and watch our children discover some of the wonders of the world. This shelf is about providing the best summer home for my young children to make memories in and keeping my wife happy with a nice bathroom (my idea not hers). It’s about having clean dry clean towels to wrap ourselves in after a cold swim. It is about dreaming of sailing down to the Bahamas. It is about making the boat better then new, putting my stamp on it, doing it better than the designers. It is also a great justification for having a shop full of tools and ferreting around boat yard dumpsters.
A shelf that loaded better be strong.
On the Hunter 340 , above the toilet and below the shower nozzle (before I moved it), there is a shelf that is perfect for beach towels, bathing suits and sweats but but it’s too tall. Piling-up towels guarantees said pile falls down onto/into the toilet once underway. Not the stuff of dreams. So a shelf is indeed needed.
This was a perfect scavengers project. The shelf itself was cut from a sheet of 3/4″ ply that was left over from the gas main installers. The white Formica was left over from a friend’s kitchen reno. Salvaged teak companion way sliders were milled down for the front panel and supports. I was so cheap I reused the screw-holes, aligning them to centre on the shelf face after filling the screw holes with epoxy as they had been over tightened. Actually it was because the filled epoxy looked like dark circles, you can see a halo around some of the screws. I finished the front off with ten to fifteen coats of teak oil rubbed with steel wool. The teak went very dark, like dark chocolate in colour instead of a warm honey brown that I was expecting. Not sure if this was because of the oil, wood or both?
I created a template attempting to capture the many curves of the bathroom wall, cut the ply, added the Formica and routed it trim. The finishing touch will be some thin bungee cords to keep everything on the two shelves when the boat heels, but I’ll figure that out in situ.
But then again, maybe sometimes a shelf is just a shelf.