I pre-finished the African mahogany plywood panels with ICA basecoat clear, which is very tough stuff. But still, I use moving blankets even on relatively soft surfaces, like cardboard boxes, to protect the basecoat from unnecessary scratches. I bought a whole carton of 24 moving blankets, and I’m using every single one! Once a wall is installed, I’ve been using a roll of single face cardboard (B flute) for more permanent protection, which you can see partially covering a wall in the pic above. I ran out while covering the other aft stateroom walls, but another roll is on order.
I used 1/4″ luan plywood when I made the pattern for this center-line wall. Needless to say, 1/4″ luan has some flexibility that 3/4″ ply doesn’t. So I had to do a bit of trimming along the top of the wall panel and on the edge that attaches to the main bulkhead to get a proper fit.
I drilled pocket holes every 6″. Then I used a grinder to lightly rough up the glue line on the wall, the overhead, and the floor. Next I wetted out the edges of the plywood and glue line with epoxy, and then mixed another batch of epoxy thickened with wood flour and applied it to all of the contact areas. This is easily the most time consuming part of the whole installation process. If I wasn’t gluing, I could toss up several panels in a day instead of just one. The plywood edges, in particular, drink up a LOT of epoxy, but then…that’s where the strength comes from. Finally, with all of the glue line ready for bonding, the missus and I did some panel tai chi with this big ol’ sticky wall and got it into position, then I screwed it all down using stainless Kreg pocket screws. Unfortunately, there are no pix of this work because we were sort of focused on other things. 😉
When I install the next segment of this wall, I’ll use 1×1 mahogany cleats in the spots where the panel didn’t match up to overhead butt blocks. This will solidly connect the wall panel not just to the frames but also to the overhead plywood.
I decided to do this wall in two parts, rather than stitching them together and then installing, because it’s a long wall and the overhead is very complicated. It would take somebody with a double black belt in panel tai chi to fit and install the panel if it was all assembled, and I’m no better than a yellow belt. But before I can install the next segment of this wall, I need to make a mahogany molding that will fill the gap and cover the joint between the two panels. Since I’ve never done anything like that before, I’m a bit concerned about how it will turn out.
Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Making Molding