1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Refinishing the Mahogany Safety Rail

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.

40 year-old Chris Craft mahogany

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.

After sanding, we generously applied West System epoxy.

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.

Brush-applied West System is very shiny.

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.

12:1 scarf joints and very deep cracks in the grain.

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.

Circa December 2007

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit:  Final Awl Grip 545 Primer on the Aft Enclosure

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4 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Refinishing the Mahogany Safety Rail

  1. Thanks for posting this project. Boats were certainly better looking in those days. Please show us more pics of the interior. Best to you on this project.

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hi Walt. The interior is on hold for now, though I’m spending a bunch of time thinking about it. Basically, it’s gutted. But with the paint job wrapping up relatively soon, the interior is coming soon…after the glass.

  2. Awesome.
    Finally a great solution for my toe rails/cockpit railings.
    How long do you think the Imron will last?
    Keep up good work.
    CHeers!
    -Eric
    (wepaintedfinalhullcoatfourlastmondaywetsandingaswespeak)

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Thanks, E!
      The Boatamalans claim that every five years they see Weaver boats come back for regular toe rail maintenance. Most of the boats are in the Florida sun between service, which is a pretty harsh environment. Recoating every five years sounds pretty good to me.
      Congrats on the hull paint!
      Q

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