The repair of the side entrance door has finally come to the top of the to-do list. It has been something that has needed to be done since we bought the boat and every time we come and go it reminds us that we need to get it done. I can't take credit for the idea, it was suggested to me by another member of the Marine Trawler Owners Association. I had ask the members for a source to find the rollers on the bottom of the doors that had worn out some time ago. This made sliding the door difficult and it was noisy when it rattled around when opening and closing it, plus the latches to lock the door open and shut would not line up and was a pain to lock. Another MTOA member suggested that the track and rollers be replaced with UHMW plastic instead of trying to replace or rebuild the rollers. This type of plastic is very durable, easy to cut to shape and most importantly will slide very easily against itself with very little friction. We found the plastic here, and ordered it on line. The product was very inexpensive and arrived only a few days after we ordered it.
The original track is a brass strip screwed into the frame at the bottom of the door and there are two recess holes cut into the groove in the bottom of the door itself with brass rollers screwed in place. The brass strip was fine but the rollers were not .
Once the door was removed I used some blue masking tape to mark the edges of the brass track to act as a guide for the new plastic strips which are not as rigid. Using the brass track as a pattern, the new plastic track was cut and fashioned on a table saw. Once it was cut to size the original brass track was taped on top of the plastic track and the holes were drilled into the plastic using the brass as a guide. With the holes drilled the two tracks are separated and the plastic track needs to have all of the screw holes countersunk so the screw heads won't hit and chip the new inserts in the bottom of the door. Once it is fashioned a dry fit will confirm that it works and fits the same as the original brass.
With these two steps completed the actual fitting and re-installation was next. Using the blue masking tape we left down alongside the position of the old track, the new plastic was screwed in place. Once it was down we found the flexibility of the plastic compared to the brass required twice the number of screws to keep everything aligned. With the door in place and the new track screwed down we are delighted as to how well the door now slides and we really have to be careful not to push as hard or as fast as we did with the old worn set up. The entire process only took a few hours and works better than our expectations. Only time will tell how well and for how long the new system will hold up but we have faith it will last quite a while. This is not the only repair process for these sliding doors but it is one that is working well for us now and can be used to make repairs to interior or exterior doors.
The teak, as usual is still ongoing and this week we spent a good deal of time rebuilding and repairing the hatch at the exterior entrance to the aft cabin. we are confident that it will no longer leak and a couple of rain storms the last few days have given us hope that this project too is completed. But then there is all of the other projects on the list. Now a new one comes to the top.