1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Awl Craft 2000 Matterhorn White on the Cabin top

It’s been a long, hard road to get to this point, but it’s done: last Saturday we put in a 14-hour day and got the cabin top and side decks painted with “the shiny,” as my chief painter/Boatamalan* puts it. The scorching 90° heat of prior weeks settled down to the low to mid-80s and fresh breezes helped keep air flowing through the tent, even with filters in place.

* Boatamalan: Noun. Joking portmanteau referring to the Central American origin of the fairing crew (boat + Guatamalan). In fact, the Boatamalans are from Honduras, but Boatduras doesn’t roll off the tongue like Boatamalan does. 🙂

First, I pulled off the dirty old tape on the toe rail.

We put another layer of heavy protective plastic over the toe rail and taped it down along the line that separates the bright mahogany from the white Awl Grip 545 final primer.

Next, we wrapped up the sanding on the side decks.

We did most of the final sanding on the cabin top and fillets two weeks ago. Wrapping up the last few areas only took a couple of hours.

The cabin top is ready for paint.

It’s come a long way since we started closing up the salon hatch hole in January 2013.

The bow seat and window openings are vastly improved over the originals.

The last step was a search and destroy mission for pinholes.

Using black rattle can paint as a guide coat makes it much easier to find pinholes and small blemishes in the final 545 prime coat after it’s been sanded smooth with 320 grit: just look for any black spots that remain.

The sanding is done and the dust blown off.

The next step involved breaking out the hose and sponges so we could wash the whole boat and inside of the tent. There was a torrent of tan water cascading down the inside walls of the tent when I hit it with the water jet! After the washing was done, we used chamois cloths to dry the boat and then set about taping it off. We’re going through lots of 20′ wide Shark Skin masking film, 3M 233+ tape and several different widths of 3M hand masking plastic films. The last step was to install the filters on the vents to keep the incoming air clean and different filters on the exhaust fan openings to catch any overspray before it leaves the tent.  With the vents open on the front of the tent and six fans on the aft end, it’s not as good as the downdraft spray booth I used in a previous life, but this setup actually moves a lot of clean air through the space.

Once the taping was done, we suited up, turned on the fresh air machines and exhaust fans and the chief Boatamalan started laying on “the Shiny.” And here’s what it looked like when it was finished:

These pix are grainy because it was getting dark outside by the time I was going home.

Note the window frames installed in the aft enclosure; another project I wrapped up this week.

There was enough light to see the highly reflective surface of the cabin top.

That put a smile on my face. 🙂

I’m diggin’ the fillets on the bow seat!

Design C won the poll for the non-skid design.

We slightly modified the design of the non-skid map, but I think we ended up with a nice balance of shiny aesthetics and safety. Thanks to all who participated in the poll.

It was hard to pull myself away, but after a 14-hour day I had to call it quits and let the Awl Craft 2000 finish curing. I went back the following afternoon to remove the tape and plastic. It’s inspiring to compare the “before” condition of the cabin top and bow seat in as-found condition to what it looks like now.

July 25, 2013

The areas that will be sprayed with non-skid have square corners now, but they’ll be nicely rounded when we tape if off for the non-skid.

Nice gloss on a very fair cabin top.

Even in the gloomy tent, the gloss looks pretty darned good.

The helm door openings turned out very nicely.

Especially when compared to what we started with!

Little details matter

Incorporating the helm door and new window openings into the original hard top was challenging, but I think it turned out well.

Nice lines!

Mirror smooth!

That Boatamalan sure knows how to lay on the paint!


Again, fillets are soooo much nicer than the mahogany quarter-round Chris Craft used originally. to cover the cabin top-to-deck joint.

With the cabin top painted, the next step is to finish up some final fairing work on the bow around the hatch and on the aft enclosure, then prime those areas. Hopefully, we’ll be painting them all shortly.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Refinishing the Mahogany Safety Rail


6 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Awl Craft 2000 Matterhorn White on the Cabin top

  1. Looking so sweet Q! So if you knew then what you know now… would you have started on this “free” project? 😉

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      If I knew then what I know now, I would have bought certain stocks and sold others and the cost of the “free” project (it actually cost $1!) would be irrelevant because I’d be even richer than you, Bill! Seriously, though, the one thing I would absolutely do differently is not hire 90% of the guys who have worked on the boat. The cost of fixing the work of highly paid (and credentialed and recommended) contractors has become significant. It really is tough to find good help.

  2. Holy moses!
    The whole damn top needs a GIA certificate.
    No longer a diamond in the rough, itz brilliant VS1 or better.
    Dick Avery would be proud.

  3. Marty Molloy - Seattle says:

    Hey, I’m telling you…Get your Boatamalans to start working on your Z when the boat is completed! They could probably finish it in a day. What the heck, they could probably even put a boat tail on it for you! ;0)

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