1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Making Molding

There are lots of things going on with our Roamer project right now. So many, in fact, that a honey-do list with check boxes would make more sense than writing up individual articles. 🙂 That said, I recently made the molding I’ll use to join two African mahogany panels in the aft stateroom, the first part of which I already installed.

Chris Craft joined panels using butt joints

Chris Craft joined panels using butt joints

When the varnish is new and the panels are aligned nicely, butt joints are fine. But eventually varnish starts chipping at the joint and if you let it go for, say, 25 years, like our boat when we first found her, butt joints can look kind of scrappy.

I was over at Weaver Boatworks checking out one of their new builds and noticed that they used a modified butt joint, with a thin piece of dark teak separating the two panels. On a 3/4″ panel, the teak is cut to 5/8″ and glued in so, when looking at the front of the panel, it’s inset 1/8″. I liked the idea of breaking up the butt joint, but I’d rather see wood than a dark void. Having never done anything like this before, I figured it was best to test the idea first and see if I’ve got the tools and skills to make the filler molding.

Panel molding plan

Panel molding plan

Freud 1/8" radius half round router bit

Freud 1/8″ radius half-round router bit

Scrap wood clamped and ready for routing

Scrap wood clamped and ready for routing

Actually, my Shopsmith would be the best tool for this job. But it was 20 degrees outside, and the space where I keep the Shopsmith isn’t heated. It’s also not set up for working long pieces of material right now. So, instead, I used my Bosch laminate router on my EurekaZone EZ-One table in the nicely heated salon.

Not bad, but depth control is a problem.

Not bad, but depth control is a problem

This router bit doesn’t have a bearing on the end to control depth, so I have to free-hand.

After a few practice runs, I've got the hang of it

After a few practice runs, I’ve got the hang of it

Slice off the molding

Slicing off the molding using my EurekaZone track saw

Needs a little bit more depth of cut so it just meets the cut from the half-round router

Scrap molding looks pretty good!

Scrap molding looks pretty good!

Fits good, too! The plan works!

Fits good, too! The plan works!

Time to get serious.

African mahogany molding from a craigslist find

African mahogany molding from a craigslist find

I bought a stack of these 13″x 1-1/8″ moldings that were leftovers from a golf club remodel. This is the shortest one, at 88″; the longest is 12 feet, and I paid $1/ft for them. The wood has been sitting since 2008 just waiting for…today!

Setting up the track saw

Setting up the track saw

I forgot to snap a pic of the finished routed edge, but it turned out very nice.

Setting the extremely important depth of cut

Setting the extremely important depth of cut

Getting closer

Getting closer

Gotta love this Eurekazone track saw. It’s pretty easy to set up, and the accuracy and trueness of the cut is outstanding.

Cut, sanded and varnished

Cut, sanded and varnished

I’m using the same pre-finished approach here that I did with the other aft stateroom walls.

Two coats of varnish need to dry overnight

Two coats of varnish need to dry overnight

I’m sure a pro in a proper woodshop could have whipped out that molding in an hour or two. Being a noob in the very confined space of a Chris Craft Roamer 46 motor yacht in the middle of winter, it took me a whole day. That’s OK though…the plan worked, the molding looks great, and I can continue installing the aft stateroom walls now.

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing Aft Stateroom Walls V

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