July 22, 2017: Breaking News: The Stove Is IN!

Mark this day on your calendar:  our brand new, sexy-as-hell Dickinson Mediterranean 3-burner stove is installed! It only took us two days, which was a welcome surprise.

Normally I wouldn’t devote an entire post to one project, but this one is instructive on why boat projects take so long.  In this case, we had a simple-sounding task:  remove the old stove and install the new stove.  This is how it actually went.

Background:  Our old stove was gimballed, meaning that the stove essentially hangs on two metal pegs from the sides.  When the stove is unlocked, it can swing easily when the boat is moving, thus keeping it level.  Our new stove has the same setup.  There is one propane supply hose that runs from the back of the stove, through the salon and galley cabinetry, up through the deck, into the propane locker set into the deck, and attaches to the propane tank.  There is a hose set in the floor of the propane locker that runs through deck, through the salon and galley cabinetry, and out to an exterior through-hull; this hose allows any water or propane gas that gets in the propane locker to run out of the boat.

Step 1:  We detached the propane supply hose from the old stove.  Because our galley is L-shaped and we couldn’t both lift the stove, the Captain had to lift the stove up off of the gimbal mounts by himself.  The stove weighs 80 pounds.  Ugh.  We lifted it up the companionway steps and painstakingly inched it through the newly-finished companionway trim (with no damage!).  We carried it along the deck, and then I got on the dock.  The Captain again lifted the stove by himself and hoisted it to me on the dock.  Then we both took it to the yard’s garage, where it is currently sitting, hopefully to be sold to another boater.

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Here’s where the stove normally goes on the starboard side of the boat.  The propane supply hose is hanging down.  The pantry is to the left, under the microwave; the fridge/freezer is to the right.

Step 2:  While the stove was out, we decided to replace the propane supply hose and propane locker drain hose.  We had no idea how old they were, but they are inexpensive to replace and a critically important couple of parts.  As in most things on a boat, the interior of the boat was built around the “ugly” parts of the boat, and there was no way to access the propane locker drain hose’s exterior through hull.  We needed this access because we’d be removing the cockpit locker drain hose attached to it.  So the Captain cut a hole in the galley cabinetry and installed an inspection port.  This is a round plastic hatch with a removable door.  Now we can access that through hull and area under the cabinetry whenever necessary.

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The new inspection port is 6″ in diameter and gives us plenty of room to see and reach inside the cabinetry.  The black box is a propane sensor and alarm if we have any leaks.

Step 3:  The propane supply hose goes through three sections of salon and galley cabinetry.  The middle section is completely sealed, and there was just a small hole running through each end of that section.  We didn’t want to install yet another inspection port.  So to install the new supply line, the Captain taped a reaving line to the old hose.  I pulled the old hose out through the propane locker end, and we took the old hose off of the tank.  Then we attached the reaving line to the new hose and gently pulled it through all of the cabinetry.

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Inside the salon cabinetry, looking aft toward the pantry.  The green reaving line is coming out of the small hole through which the propane supply hose runs.  The supply hose goes upward, in the same direction as the drain hose pictured above, to the propane locker.  

Step 4:  The cockpit locker drain hose was a pain with a capital P.  It had molded itself into a bunch of curves because it was too long (whoever installed it was apparently too lazy to cut it to the proper length).  Getting the cockpit locker end off is a nightmare as you have to stuff your upper body through a 16” x 10” hole in the salon cabinetry, then work upward about three feet through another small opening.   I am smaller and fit better in the hole, but I didn’t have the strength to get the old, corroded hose off, so the Captain had to do it.  Getting the hull through hull end off was equally awful, and we were ready to set that damn hose on fire once the Captain finally got it off.

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Here is the new cockpit locker drain hose running to an exterior through hull on the starboard side.  As you can see, the inspection port is perfectly located.  The Captain drew lines on the fiberglass with a dry-erase marker; if the hose or through hull are leaking, water will smudge the lines.

Step 5:  Once the drain hose was removed, we removed the cockpit locker through hull.  It was a cheap nylon, and we didn’t trust it.  We bedded a new through hull and then attached the new drain hose, ran it through the various cabinets, and attached it to the exterior through hull.  Propane is heavier than air, so we were careful to ensure that the hose ran smoothly downward to the exterior through hull, with no kinks or areas where a water trap could block the sinking gas.

Step 6:  Finally time to work on the new stove.  We got the new stove out of the garage and got it on the boat using the reverse of the process outlined in step 1.

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The stove sitting in the salon, awaiting installation.

Step 7:  The gimbal pegs on the sides of the stove mount into metal “stirrups” that are screwed to wooden spacer pads; these wooden pads are attached to the cabinetry.  Careful measurement showed that the new stove’s gimbal mounts were in the same location as the old stove’s.  This meant that all we needed to do was remove the old stove’s “stirrups” and mount the new ones to the wooden pads.  Ah, but wait! The old “stirrups” were through-bolted.  This was fine on the left side of the stove, as the nuts were inside the pantry.  On the right side, however, the nuts were unreachably located in the cabinetry that holds the refrigerator.  The Captain cut the heads off of the bolts and trimmed them down flush with the wooden pad, and then we mounted the new metal “stirrups” to the wooden pads.

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On the left above are the bolts that the Captain sheared down.  On the right is the wooden pad inserted onto the bolts and additionally secured with the screws in the new gimbal “stirrup.”

Step 7:  Now that the gimbal mounts were in place, the Captain had to hoist the stove onto them by himself again.  The last bit of fabrication was the gimbal lock.  The stove has a small arm that can be shot out into a hole in a wooden pad to keep the stove from rocking in the gimbal.  The new stove needed a thicker pad in a different location.  We took off the old wooden pad and created a new pad from three layers of black starboard, trimmed it down with the band saw, drilled the lock hole with the drill press, and mounted the pad.

Step 8:  We attached the propane supply hose and tested the stove, which ran flawlessly.

Without further ado, I give you . . . stove porn.

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