1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Cabin Floors

Winter 2014 has been brutalizing my schedule.

But with the Chris Craft Roamer Cruise Control trim tab patterns off to the fabricator and me not being in the mood to mess with the hateful helm windshield frames just yet, I started putting floors on either side of the center-line fuel tank in the aft cabin. I’m sick of walking on the framing and hull, and it’s a bit of a hazard. Plus, there’s nothing that gets done quicker and with more apparent signs of progress than interior work. Unlike the evil helm windshield that’s been dry fitted a dozen times or more over the winter but still isn’t done, plywood that’s cut, fitted and ready for sealer is undeniably [almost] done. Like many things on this job, though, the floors weren’t easy.

Yet another 6" dump of snow

Yet another 6″ dump of snow

On the one hand, I’m very happy that Tent Model X is holding up so well to all of the storms we’ve had this year.

On the other hand, enough with all of the freakin’ snow storms and subfreezing temps, eh! It’s almost April already!

The fundamental problem: 11° deadrise is excellent in rough seas but complicates flat floors

1969 Roamer 46s came with “Ozzy & Harriet” bunks on either side of the aft cabin, with fuel tanks underneath that sat on 6061 aluminum extrusions that were welded onto the hull framing. You can see the original configuration of the aft cabin in the Refit Begins article for this boat. By building new fuel tanks and moving them centerline, we’ll be able to have a queen-size bed in the captain’s quarters. But the hull framing comes up at an angle to match the deadrise of the hull, making it impossible to have the floors on either side of the bed the same level as the rest of the cabin. Angled floors were out of the question and I do not want to cut into the framing, so instead we’ll have a step up.

First, cut out a section of the 6061 angle that supported the old tank

First, cut out a section of the 6061 angle that supported the old tank

One really neat thing about aluminum is that it can be cut with carbide bladed woodworking tools. My beater Skil circular saw and Harbor Freight Sawzall ripped through this in no time. Then I used the Skil saw to cut parallel to the frame plating to remove the remaining weldment. The carbide teeth last lots longer than grinding disks.

Reused angle will support the leading edge of the floor

Reused angle will support the leading edge of the floor

I’ll need to make longitudinal supports for the floor panels, too, but I’ll hold off on that until I have a “welding day” since I’ll use 6061 angle for the the additional framing.

EZ track saw makes nice, straight cuts on the sub-floor

Eureka Zone track saw system makes nice, straight cuts on the sub-floor panels

This track saw is far better than any table saw I’ve ever used, and is so much lighter than lugging around a portable table saw.

Floor section dry fit

Floor section dry fit

It’s amazing how just a little thing like a floor where before there was framing and the hull can make the day seem productive.

Test fitting the step up

Test fitting the step up

I’m going to route out the underside of the step up floor panel so it fits lower over the frame members. This should drop the level of the sub-floor ~1″ or so and yield 6′ 1″  overall height. The hull framing protrudes on the outboard side of the sub-floor, but it will eventually be hidden behind drawers and other cabinetry.

Interior Concept drawings show cabinetry will hide the protruding frames

I may have to adjust the height or orientation of the drawers when I build out the aft stateroom cabinetry, but that will be a relatively simple thing for another day.

Applying the lessons learned on the stbd side

Applying the lessons learned on the stbd side

It took far longer than I anticipated getting the floor level on the starboard side. So on the port side I first cut the aluminum extrusions to get them out of the way and then clamped in temporary braces to support the aft end of the floor panel that were level both laterally and longitudinally. Normally, you wouldn’t use a level on a boat (especially one that was floating), but over the long winter I leveled the Roamer in preparation for just this sort of interior work.

Rough cuts with a long sawsall blade to fit over the frames

Rough cuts with a long sawsall blade to fit over the frames

Nice fit aft

Nice fit aft

I made sure there was adequate room to access the rudder spud nut with a long wrench.

Et voila!

None of the floor pieces aft are screwed down yet. I plan to follow Chris Craft’s old paint schedule and coat all six sides of each panel before I do the final assembly and screw everything down. Between now and then, I also need to install the fuel and steering hydraulic lines…don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: New Bits & Pieces Back From the Fabricator


5 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Cabin Floors

  1. Conall says:

    Are you going to insulate? I used closed cell spray foam above the water line, and it’s worked out great. Along with a good R value, the closed cell is the vapor barrier so one could then add fiberglass.


    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hi Conall!
      Spray foam insulation is definitely on the list of things to do. I tried to comment on your Foam thread, but it wouldn’t accept my login. My question was, how much coverage did you get out of your 600bf insulation kit? It looks like you sprayed in March, so I was curious if the hull was up to the temperature specified on the kit? I’ve read that if the substrate is too cold, the mix doesn’t foam up right.

      • Conall says:

        I sprayed the lower hull myself and paid a contractor to do the super structure. The yield on the 600 bf kits is much lower than advertised. I kept the material heated for a day prior to using and had the inside of the shop @ 70 F when I sprayed. I was happy with my results, but disappointed in yield. Given that, I hired a contractor for the super structure, and paid less than what I could buy the material for. Contractors heat the material so all you have to worry about is your sheathing.

        Hold your framing at 5/16 – 3/8 proud of the metal frames so when you trim the foam you have the metal totally covered in foam, with only wood showing. Any place metal and wood is flush, you’ll get condensation. Insulating paints do work to keep condensation at bay, but will not take place of foam. I have minimum 2″ foam.

        Having gone through a bitter cold winter, and seeing foam perform , I for sure would not insulate any other way than closed cell foam. Once foam is in place you can fill any remaining voids with fiberglass as the foam will not allow condensate to arise. I fiberglass insulated my ceilings as I installed them.



  2. Eric Vardek says:

    Inclined at first to say how “floored” this episode left me, but held back (just).
    Like the “doggy” step up to the bed, but wish you’d show us at least one or two of the “smugglers” compartments you’re adding.
    Spring has sprung!

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