With the V-berth cabinet boxes varnished and glued up, the next steps were to insulate them with Buffalo Batt non-woven fabric and get them installed. This being a metal boat, I’ve spray foamed the hull to keep outside temps from infringing too much inside. But I also put this hydrophobic Buffalo Batt insulation on the outside of every panel that faces the hull. The combination of spray foam + r3 insulation on the backside of each panel should make the living spaces much more comfortable year-round. It’ll also virtually eliminate condensation inside of cabinets and closets, which can be a big problem on fiberglass and metal boats.
It takes a while for the Buffalo Batt to unravel and fluff up to its full 1-1/2″ thickness. But it’s sooo much easier to work with than, say, fiberglass or mineral wool. The nasty part is sealing up the back of each panel with sticky epoxy, then pressing an clamping the pieces in place without touching the glue.
I’ve been using this process of insulating panels then installing them for a while. But this is the first time I’ve worked with large three dimensional objects that have to go into relatively tight spaces. There was a lot of cussing going on while I was wetting out the various attachment points with epoxy, then adding a slathering of epoxy thickened with wood flour and cabosil as the final glue. The cussing stopped while I did the panel gymnastics to get everything in place…I was holding my breath most of the time! But I got everything in and clamped and screwed together.
I end up using some crazy combinations of clamps, push sticks, and levers to get the panel joints to close up tightly. Then I went through with alcohol and a bunch of cut up t-shirt material to wipe off the epoxy that squeezes out. It turned out pretty nicely.