1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Painting the Stripes

With winter rapidly approaching, we’re in a race with Mother Nature to get the paint work done. We painted Awlcraft 2000 on the cabin top, decks, and aft enclosure during the summer, and the hull got “the shiny” as autumn 2013 settled into the area.  The only exterior paint work left to do are the accent stripes on the hull and the final coats of Imron MS1 High Gloss Clear on the mahogany toe rail. Last weekend, we got the blue stripes done.

The pictures we took when we first got the Roamer back in late 2007 were not especially helpful as a guide to what the stripes should look like now because the boat had been completely repainted some time in the early 1980s. The lines on the upper stripe, in particular, went up and down over the length of the boat and didn’t widen at the bow the way they should. We also looked at other Roamer 46 pictures, but it’s difficult to know where the proper lines should be since all of the boats seem to be slightly different.

I asked the stripe guru from Weaver Boatworks to come over, but the perfectly straight lines they use at Weaver didn’t work. The Weaver boats have no portholes in the hulls that they have to follow, so they can make their lines perfectly straight along any orientation the owners want. We have to make our stripe wide enough to cover all  of the portholes along the hull sides and the engine vents, too. But none of the rectangular porthole openings are perfectly aligned, and the ER vents and the forward round portholes are a different height than the rectangular ones. When the striping guru made perfectly straight lines that just covered the aft stateroom windows and ER vents, which is what all of the pictures of Roamer 46s look like, the lower lines went through the middle of the round port holes at the front of the boat. And when he made them wide enough to cover the round ports forward and rectangular ones all along the hull sides, the stripes were ridiculously wide aft!

So much for using perfectly straight lines on an old aluminum Chris Craft production boat…

After ripping down the fine-line tape twice(!), the stripe guru focused on the boot stripe while I eyeballed the upper stripe and just got ‘er done.

Taping off the stripes

Taping off the stripes

Once the stripes were taped off, we machine sanded the large areas using Mirka Abranet 320, taking care to avoid corners and the fine line tape. Then we went back and hand sanded all of the shiny spots right up to the tape line.

Taping the ER vents from the inside

Taping the ER vents from the inside

Hand masking film goes on next

Hand masking film goes on next to protect the new Alwcraft 2000 Matterhorn White

These boats originally had a “shadow box” paint layout for the stern, with the inset part of the transom and portholes the same color as the accent and boot stripe. Because this is an aluminum boat and there is no lazarette separating the transom from the aft stateroom, I felt a large area of dark painted exterior would add too much unwanted heat to the interior of the boat. So we’re only putting color on the transom at the boot stripe.

With the Matterhorn White protected, next we turned Tent Model IX (the best tent ever!) into a spray booth again.

Taped off, wiped down, tacked off, and ready to spray

Taped off, wiped down, tacked off, and ready to spray

This boat originally had dark green stripes, but we prefer blue. So we mixed up some Awlcraft 2000 Navy Blue, fired up the compressor and refrigerated air drier and suited up. The results were freakin’ outstanding, if I do say so myself.

Props to the Boatamalan painter!

Props to the Boatamalan* painter!

*Boatamalan: portmanteau indicating highly skilled boat workers of Central American origin. They’re actually from Honduras, but boat + [Guat]amalan has a nicer ring to it. ;-)

Talk about nice flow!

Talk about nice flow!

The fuzzy, spotty reflection is actually a mirror-like reflection of the translucent hand masking film covering the tent frames and very dirty exterior tent material.

No runs, even at the ER hatch gills.

No runs, even at the ER vent gills.

The blue line widens at the bow

The blue line widens at the bow and covers both porthole openings

Pix don't capture the shiny as well as the eye can

Pix don’t capture the shiny as well as the eye can, but this stuff is like a mirror!

Man, am I glad the exterior tent isn’t see-through. When I was walking around taking the pix, I was doin’ a happy dance all around the scaffolding! 🙂



I stopped dead with the happy dance though, when I turned toward the bow and saw the reflection in the pic below.

You can read the small print on the Sharkskin label in the reflection!

You can read the small print on the Sharkskin label in the reflection!

The picture doesn’t capture it entirely, but I hope you get the idea…seriously, the chief Boatamalan has absolutely mad skills when it comes to flowing out Awlgrip paint. And once again, he said the job is much cleaner than what they normally get on paint jobs at Weaver Boatworks, where the whole shop is full of flying dust and they can’t stop working for a day so the floating particles can settle out before spraying.

We’ll leave the plastic up for a week so we don’t have to re-tape when we spray the final coats of MS1 on the toe rail. Then that’s a wrap for the big paint work.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing the Propeller Shafts


2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Painting the Stripes

  1. John says:

    In the collector car world this would be considered a Concours Restoration!!!!

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Thanks, John! And just like collector cars, when I’m done with it, the boat will be worth far less than I invested!
      But it’s still cheaper than a shrink and a health club membership!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s