1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Turning Sheets of Aluminum Into a Chris Craft Roamer Aft Enclosure

While having a completely open aft deck can be nice, it can also be very impractical if you have screwed down teak decks with plywood underlayment. Since the remainder of our original teak deck–the parts we didn’t cut out and replace with aluminum–was in excellent condition, it made sense to protect it from the elements. Wood or fiberglass enclosures aren’t bad, but the seam between that material and the aluminum cap rail would never be durable. And we had seen the damage that can happen when water gets into a teak deck seam. The best solution was to keep the welder running from the side deck job and make the entire enclosure out of 1/4″ 5052 aluminum sheet.

It was August, 2008, and we’d been at it for nine months.

First, I mocked up the enclosure with corrugated plastic sheets

With lots of window area and lines that match the original helm window height, the enclosure should look tons better than the wooden structure it replaces.

The next step was to start hanging aluminum.

The next step was to start hanging aluminum.

First one panel, then the next...

First one panel, then the next…

This is much better than the wooden structure that was there when we found her 11 months ago.

This is much better than the wooden structure that was there when we found her 11 months ago.

More cutting and fitting, but since things were fitting pretty good, I fired up the Miller Trailblazer 280 NT and heated up the place using a Spoolmatic 30 spoolgun.

More cutting and fitting…and welding

The stern section of the aft enclosure was the most difficult part.

The deck has a crown to it, which means the fabricator had to cut a nice curve on the bottom of the panel to fit. But the deck also has an arc along the back edge. AND, to help shed rain, I also wanted the aft-most panel to be tilted slightly inboard at the top.

Talk about complex curves in 3 axes!!

Everything worked out fine except for one thing: the deck is more than 8′ wide, which is the length of the aluminum sheets we have to work with. So, to span the entire deck width the welder stitched two panels together. He welded the first one in, then stitched the other panel to it. What he should have done is stitch them together flat then bend the whole panel to the arc of the deck, which would have created a smooth arc. Instead, the boat ended up with a hard line at the seam because he was unable to bend the one short panel enough to match the arc of the longer panel that was already welded in.

Ah well…hindsight is always 20/20. I guess that’s why they make fairing compound. 😉

We'll still be able to use all of the original Chris Craft vents and bollards. The aft deck shelf here is 18" wide or so--plenty for line handling.

The outboard shelf here is 18″ wide or so–plenty for line handling.

We’ll still be able to use all of the original Chris Craft vents and bollards.

And with that I put a check mark in the box entitled Build Aft Deck Enclosure.

And with that I put a check mark in the box entitled Build Aft Deck Enclosure.

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This shot also shows the additional 125 and 98 and 75 gallon fuel tanks on the bow deck that will go in through the salon hatch shortly.

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Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Painting the Bilge!

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One comment on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Turning Sheets of Aluminum Into a Chris Craft Roamer Aft Enclosure

  1. Wow! Excellent job! It’s looks great!

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