Back when we started this refit in late 2007, one of the things that got me hooked on this Roamer was the fact that most all the original bits and pieces were there. The boat had been on the hard since the mid-1980s, which meant it only had about 15 years or less of actual use. Unlike many Chris Crafts, which came with vinyl-coated stainless safety lines on the side decks, this one came with mahogany hand rails all the way forward. Of course, the mahogany wasn’t cared for the entire time it was in the boatyard, and the varnish had long-since gone away. But the rails themselves were in very good condition. The grain had opened up a bit and the surface had oxidized to grey, but otherwise they were in good shape. Fast forward to August 2013, and we finally made them pretty again.
The mahogany mast and safety rails got a good sanding before we ran them over to a nearby shop. The mahogany is rock hard, old stock. It took quite a bit of sanding but eventually cleaned up well.
The grain had opened up a lot, and some of the cracks were pretty deep. To bind it all together again and give a smooth surface for the final top coat — Imron MS1 high gloss clear — we mixed up some West System 105 epoxy and 207 Special Clear Hardener. The natural color of the wood is very nice, so we didn’t use any stains.
Filling all of the cracks took three heavy coats of West. We’ll sand it flat later and spray two coats of the high gloss clear. Even with just West System on it, the wood is beautiful. It cleaned up really well.
Some folks might prefer brand new wood everywhere, since that’s what we did for the mahogany toe rail, but I like the character of this old wood. Compared to what we started with, they’ve come back quite nicely, I think.