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Re-bedding the porthole

Click on thumbnails to view pictures.

In our quest to eliminate leaks it was time to tackle the galley porthole.  For you non-sailors, a porthole is a window that can be opened.  A portlight is a window that cannot be opened.

The originals were replaced by the previous owner with polished stainless steel portholes from ABI.

After removing the porthole we found that there was only a half inch of plywood and fiberglass between the frames.  This had made it necessary to use half inch #12 screws to hold them in place.  The leak had caused an area of the plywood to soften and some of the screws would not hold tight.  After giving it a lot of thought and checking other boats it was decided that the solution was to build a frame to build up the area to have a thicker base to seat longer screws.


My first idea was to use a solid board and cut out the opening and then trim and shape the edges to match the porthole shape.  It was decided to use mahogany instead of teak due to price.  Mahogany is three times cheaper then teak.  I bought two pieces of 13X24X1 inch to allow for problems and I will also have to do the aft cabin porthole later.


After a bit of cutting, sanding and varnishing it was ready to be installed.  Unfortunately it didn't work.  By using a solid piece of wood the grain was all running in the same direction.  Unfortunately when I installed the screws on the sides they split the frame.  That one went into the trash and there was a lot of caulk to clean up.

Time to start over.

The second try was to to cut four pieces and build a frame.


After a bit of cutting, gluing, shaping, sanding and varnishing I had another frame ready to install.  This time the installation went a lot smoother.  The added thickness allowed the use of one inch screws and I was able to get good purchase when seating the screws.