Building a Galley Box for Arwen – Part Two

By Steve Parke - Plymouth, England -UK

So, to the construction. Firstly dimensions. My galley box is 395mm across front and back, 335mm along the sides and 300mm high. The cooking compartment is slightly wider than the base diameter of my stove, so it is 200mm square. Three pieces of wooden corner moulding hold the stove base firmly in place. The extra 35mm gap all round is for heat dispersal. This compartment’s wall and floor are lined with the thin aluminium sheeting, a further heat protection approach.  Beneath this compartment is a space for the crockery, the same dimensions as the cooking compartment but only 100mm high.

The top left-hand side draw only has its bottom piece in place on the picture above. It will be a lift out tray that exposes the second draw below. The third space on the floor won’t have a draw. It is basically a storage cuddy area, as is the space below the cooking compartment.

Assembly was done by gluing and clamping. No screws were used to keep weight as low as possible.

The first stage was to cut and sand the floor panel and add the protective corner mouldings along the front and back of this panel. The rear panel was then added. It had the rear vertical uprights and the bottom supporting piece already glued in place beforehand. Then I added each side. Each of these had their forward upright post, tray or cooking compartment floor supports and base support pieces pre-glued on before assembly as well. Then the left-hand wall of the cooking compartment with an upright glued on it at each end was stuck in and finally the rear wall of the cooking compartment was then added. When all walls were in, aligned and glued securely, corner moulding strips were added to protect all corner edges except along the front side.

Shots part way through construction

Aluminium thin sheeting was then cut and stuck to the stove compartment walls and floors using a heat resistant contact cement. Here in the UK I used an evo-stick based glue recommended by a number of colleagues. Not as much heat is given off from a Trangia as one might first think. The heat is retained within the windshield area and along with the 35mm gap between wall and shield, well it should be no problem. Retaining strips were added to the stove compartment floor which will help keep the Trangia base from moving around.

Returning to the front side, strips of ply were cut and added in such a way to form recesses into which flat door panels will sit. These will be held in place at the base by the corner moulding, at the sides by brass turn buttons and at the top by the lip of the box lid. Tests show it is a pretty tight and secure fit. I may add very thin strips of neoprene to help waterproof the box further.

With regard to the lid it has to take my upper body weight when I lie on it at night; it has to fit snuggly around the box. I made the lid 11mm thick. It has a lip made up of an inner piece and then an outer piece. The lip is thus 8mm and it rests on the up rights and the four corner piece moulding bits.

Final additions included two chunky side handles.

Paint wise, the box has had three coats of aluminium flake based primer, two coats of International Pre-Kote and two coats of International Toplac. The paint is a ‘workman like’ finish…my way of saying ‘rough’ in places but it will do.

There is a little tidying up to do on the paint work. Odd dribbles on the heat shields and odd runs or sags on the sides.

The lid will be held on with two straps that will go all the way around the box and which will clip together

I have yet to test out the galley box whilst on Arwen. Winter weather has set in and we have had the end of Hurricane Ophelia and then storm ‘Brian’ with its 60 mph gusts. But as soon as I can I will test the galley box out and post a video on my YouTube channel.

In reality, did I need a galley box? Probably not, I have managed thus far without one. Was it a good project to build in the first three weeks of retirement to occupy the void left by absent colleagues and school students? Yep, absolutely. Is it a professional craftsman finish? Er no! I live in a house where no shelf is straight and I sail a boat which is a testament to my inabilities as a woodworker. Did I have fun building it – yep sure did. Did I encounter problems? Not enough long clamps to cover the width of the box; dust falling off the ceiling above as family bound around – ruined the paint job (not that it was particularly brilliant anyway). Botched up the draw compartment measurements slightly (see postscript too). But hey, that’s all par for the course when I build something. I never had any woodwork experiences at school and Dad worked in metal. I’m self-taught. Maybe one day I’ll go on a joinery course at the local university. I have the time now!


I measured the darn thing several times. I checked the dimensions of that space at least eight times. When I measured the wood, I walked away, came back, had several cups of tea and measured each piece at least several times more. And guess what! The height is out by 5mm. That sooooo bugs me at a level I cannot begin to describe!

And I forgot I needed to fit two floor runners to lift it off the cockpit floor slightly.  Ggrr! That really, really bugs me!

Where the doors fitted; well after painting they fitted somewhat ‘tightly’. They need some paint scrapping back as do the slots into which they fit. A little paint flowed down and gathered in the bottom corners of the slots and this will need carefully picking out to get a better fit.  The turn button work well but over time they will scrap the paint surface so I need to give further thought on how to protect these areas.

The silicon heat proof matting I planned on sticking on the inside of the lid? Well it didn’t stick. Nothing would stick it and the mat itself shrivelled up. Consequently, I have to rethink that one. Maybe some thin cork matting. Now I wonder if the Missus would miss one of the cork dining table mats?

Postscript 2 Update


I have posted a short video of the galley box and its first test boil of water at the above website. A full test will be done on board Arwen in spring time after she comes out of winter refit hibernation.

Part OnePart Two


  1. One thing I’d maybe do is attach the straps for the lid to the bottom of the box such that they can’t get lost. I could very easily see myself setting it up on a beach, cooking lunch, then carrying the open box to the boat to allow the stove too cool while I wandered off for a walk. Without the straps attached, I could very easily see myself forgetting them on the beach and when I come back from my walk having to search for them.

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