1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Cabin-top, dashboard & Hardtop Details

Since October 2012, shortly after we resolved the paperwork SNAFU and resumed the project, we’ve been pushing hard every weekend trying to get the Roamer ready for paint. Our target has been to have her painted by the end of May 2013, and we’re close to meeting that deadline.

Making the cabin-top bulletproof was a huge step toward the goal, not only of getting her painted but also making this Roamer better than anything that came out of Chris Craft’s production lines. There was a slight set back when we found the previous repair under the windshield while working on the dashboard area, but it was better to find it then and fix it than to have cracks reappear months or years after she was painted. The helm station door openings to the deck were also challenging, but I was very pleased to see the woodworker and fiberglass crew turn my concept into reality. Fillets on all of the hard inside corners were the last big job in preparation for primer. All that remained was some detail work, and she’s ready for spraying!

The dashboard fillets and original gelcoat are nicely sanded and ready for primer.

With FRP tape covering the seam between these two components and a nice fillet over that, I think this both looks and will function better than the original dirt-collecting seam.

Final FRP at the top of the door openings.

We had to close the gaps between the original fiberglass hardtop and the new sliding door openings. After grinding down the surfaces to be joined, we wetted out 1708 bi-axial cloth with US Composites 635 epoxy, then used clamps to hold some precisely cut scraps of phenolic-faced plywood wrapped in shrink wrap tape and push the fiberglass into exactly the shape we wanted.

A few hours later, the fiberglass was ready to be trimmed and sanded smooth.

No fairing compound is needed when you use this approach. Epoxy doesn’t stick well to the phenolic-faced plywood and shrink wrap tape, so they just pop right off and you’re pretty much ready to go.

Upright-to-hardtop joint is faired

Fillets & rounded corners really help to integrate the new helm door opening to the original Chris Craft lines.

The window drain and channel turned out very nice.

More fillets and rounded corners at the helm doors.

I think the door openings look like something that might have been original to the boat, but then that’s just my opinion. Please comment! I’d rather hear that something looks goofy now than when it’s all in primer! 😉

Fillets and rounds at the base of the helm door opening

Nice transition from the upright bits to the deck, and should be a vast improvement on the original Chris Craft approach that used 1″ quarter-round painted mahogany screwed in place over the seam, with bedding compound to keep the water out.

Fillet material transitions from Awl Fair to epoxy + 3M microballoons + cabosil

Slider door track and pocket

Ready for primer!

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Priming the cabin top!

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4 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Cabin-top, dashboard & Hardtop Details

  1. Door opening looks exactly correct – which of course causes me to wonder iffin’ you mite be able to extend the “look” around back. A little late to the party, but always want caviar.
    Cheers!
    -Eric

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Thanks! That’s good to hear!

      “A little late to the party, but always want caviar.”
      HA! That’s a good one. Never seen that before, but I like it! lol

      Talk to me about how you would extend the look around back. I’m not sure I follow ya.
      Cheers,
      Q

  2. John Ulrich says:

    Looks great!
    You attention to details is refreshing.

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