1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Swim Platform

When we first got the boat back in 2007, the swim platform looked pretty ragged. It hadn’t been refinished in years and was loaded down with junk. Tossing out the junk, we found moss growing on the teak. I unbolted it from the boat, and the platform has been sitting out in front of my garage ever since, awaiting an opportunity to be disassembled, cleaned, sanded, refinished, and reassembled. All that has to be done before the boat can splash, since the mounting bolts go through the hull below the waterline. During the fall of 2013, I finally got around to disassembling the platform and cleaning the teak, then I moved the wooden bits inside a storage room in my house so it could completely dry out over the winter. In April I sanded it and ordered some 3/4″ teak bungs to replace ones that had fallen out or were sanded too thin. Then the boat got burglarized, and my sanders and West System resin and 207 special clear hardener, which I’d taken back to the boat to do some interior work, were stolen. I finally got around to replacing the stolen tools and epoxy, and last weekend I laid a bunch of West System on the platform. I think it turned out pretty good, especially when I remember what it looked like originally.

How it all started…

It’s been a while since I saw that pic. Every time I see it now, I wonder what the hell I was thinking!

Ahhh, the moss….

But then, fast forward five long years and the moss finally started coming off.

After sitting outside for another five years...not so different

After sitting outside for another five years…not so different

All the bits and pieces came off rather easily

All the bits and pieces came off rather easily

In the picture above, though, check out the nasty broken bits on the end of the teak strips.

Aluminum wood screws!

Aluminum wood screws!

What were they thinking??? I mean, aluminum is great stuff, but used as screws to hold hardware onto a swim platform???

Some pieces came off in...pieces

Some pieces came off in…pieces

Those white pins sticking out of the trailing edge of the platform in the above pic are aluminum screws with the heads snapped off. I’m not sure what broke the rub rail, but it’s a ragged break. There’s no evidence of crash damage though… Ah well, these things can be welded back together.

No sealant = badly corroded aluminum

No sealant = badly corroded aluminum

Any water that wicked between the rub rail and the teak just sat there eating the aluminum and feeding the moss and mold. We’ll do it differently when it all goes back together.

Fasteners & Hardware

Fasteners & Hardware

This pic makes a strong case for never, ever using aluminum wood screws on a swim platform. The stainless nuts and washers, by comparison, are only stained a bit.

Hardware's gone. Time to start scrubbing.

Hardware’s gone. Time to start scrubbing.

Let the scrubbing begin!

Gak…what a mess

I could have sworn I took pix along the way as I washed off the teak then hit it with 2-part teak cleaner, but I can’t find them anywhere. After letting the platform sit clean but unsanded in a storage room in my house over the winter, I brought it out and sanded it from 120 grit through 320, then I coated the entire underside with West System epoxy resin and 207 Special Clear hardener. It was amazing how much epoxy the teak soaked up. After coating the bottom of the platform, I installed the mounting bracket fasteners and bungs.

Drips of West System epoxy from when I coated the bottom side

New 3/4″ bungs & drips of West System epoxy from when I coated the bottom side

I don’t know what the black glue was they used to assemble the platform, but the glue line had failed in many places. Hopefully, the West System that flowed through the joints will have soaked into the wood. Either way, a monolithic coating of epoxy should help hold it together for a few more decades.

Bungs trimmed and the entire top surface sanded and ready for epoxy coating

Bungs trimmed and the entire top surface sanded and ready for epoxy coating

Couple of repairs in the corners

Couple of repairs in the corners

For small repairs and to seal up the ends of the teak, I first saturated the area with West, then I applied a mixture of epoxy and wood flour. The wood flour doesn’t look anything at all like teak, but the alternative is to spend days fashioning teak chips to fit each broken end.  I’m not going to be that picky with this old platform.

In addition to positively closing the pores in the end of each teak strip, the thickened epoxy acts like a dam to hold the epoxy clear coat in the joints. I used the same approach on all of the open sections of the platform, first saturating with clear epoxy then coating the ends of each strip of teak with wood flour-thickened West.

Another repair, this time with real teak

Another repair, this time with real teak

It ain’t perfect, but all things considered it will be much better than before.

More repairs on the underside of the platform

More repairs on the underside of the platform where there used to be nasty missing bits

I’ll trim these blocks down when I sand the bottom and give it the final epoxy coating. For now, I’m just trying to get a good base coat on all sides.

All screw holes are filled with dowels

All rub rail screw holes are filled with dowels

I wetted out the holes and the dowels with West, then coated the dowels with epoxy thickened with wood flour before driving them home with a mallet.

Et voila! Base-coated with epoxy

Et voila! Base-coated with epoxy

Pretty good looking old teak

Rising bubbles

The repair area on top…not perfect, but not bad, either

My nemesis: bubbles

My nemesis: bubbles

I realized too late that I didn’t intend to reuse the ladder that was attached at the screw holes in the picture above. My only course of action was to fill the holes with resin. Every time I thought I had it filled up, a bubble would rise from the depths. It took about two hours of tipping with a brush and dripping resin to finally burp the last of the air out.

Finally, done and ready for sanding

Finally, done and ready for sanding

I’ll let the epoxy cure for a week, then sand the top and bottom flat. I still have to recoat the bottom and edge seal the whole shebang. Then, depending on how it looks, I may give the top-side one more epoxy coating. But if there’s plenty of epoxy remaining after it’s sanded smooth, I’ll turn it over to the Boatamalan at that point for coating with DuPont MS1, the same super coating we used on the toe rail.

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Hydraulic Steering

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18 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Swim Platform

  1. Doug says:

    Q,
    Your blog host website is removing all the pictures from your older posts. If you don’t have it already, get those pages and pictures on Microsoft Word or some other common word processor program. That way, you can save it for posterity or even make it into a hardcover picture book, which is what i did with my blog about cruising America’s Great Loop Route. Would be a nice coffee table book for the boat or your home. There are places where you can send a blog or Word document with pictures on the pages like a blog and they send you back excellent hardcover picture books in 81/2 X 11 size.
    Doug

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hi Doug. I checked a few older pages but didn’t see any that have lost content. I’m still a long ways from maxing out my storage here. Can you give me the URLs of pages where pix have gone missing.
      Either way, good idea about backing up the posts to another location. Thanks!
      Q

  2. boatnut23 says:

    What a beautiful Chris Craft! Thank you for taking the time to write all of these articles. Can’t wait to read more about it. Mike

  3. gratefultwo says:

    Sir,

    This is the most unbelievable remake of a classic. It is not a restoration but a significant upgrade.

    I love the progress – admire your skill and determination….

    My re-do of a Marinette 39 attached is good by all accounts who see it – your effort is great.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Rushton

    Marinette Business Solutions

    mrushton@bell.net

    Cell 416-420-5479

    http://marinetteconsulting.com/

    http://ca.linkedin.com/in/michaeldrushton

  4. alloyed2sea says:

    Gorgeous woodwork as always.
    See that you West (epoxy) everything before coating with MS1.
    Can I do same, but use a “lesser” finish like a spar urethane do you think?
    Just wonder about what becomes of the epoxy in 2 or 3 years.
    Inquisitively,
    -Eric

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hi Eric.
      Sure, you can use spar urethane. Get whatever has good UV blockers. You just need to keep up on the recoat schedule the same as you would without the epoxy. If you let the UV protection go away, you’re back to square one and have to sand off the epoxy when it starts to break down. I went the West route for a couple of reasons–the platform glue joints had let go in spots, and epoxy backfills joints pretty weel; I wanted to encapsulate the whole shebang; and sanding the wood to the point that it was smooth top and bottom would have removed about 3/16″ of expensive teak. Better to fill the valleys with (relatively speaking) cheap epoxy.

  5. Bill Tozer says:

    Glad to see that you are back at it!

  6. Erik finn says:

    Hello!
    What work you put ner.det is so much fun and follow your projekt.jag restore a 37 feet rivera but not everyone’s so much work on it.
    Erik Finni
    Sweden

  7. Doug says:

    Great to see good work being done again! Teak looks great, but will it be slippery when stepped on wet?

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Thanks, Doug.
      The teak will, indeed, be slippery when wet. I’ve had platforms that I oiled. They’re always beautiful for the first week, then they look worse and worse. I’ve also let a platform go grey, which offer great traction, but they look like hell (especially since we’ll moor the boat in the Washington DC channel, where the helicopter and jet exhaust slowly covers everything with oily goo). And then there’s the fact that it’s down to 7/8″ thickness, so it won’t tolerate too much more sanding. So, the lowest maintenance, best looking trade-off is to coat it with monolithic epoxy and MS1. Fortunately, the handrail goes all the way around, so it should be safe though slippery.
      Cheers,
      Q

  8. Marty Molloy says:

    Damn fine work there. for a Portuguese dude. ;0)

  9. Kenny King says:

    Q, Glad to see you are back in the “GROOVE”!!!!! Ken

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