1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Wrapping Up the Bow Hatch Installation

With the first attempt at installing the bow hatch ending in having to remove a bunch of rotten plywood from around the hatch opening, the next step was to rebuild what nature had destroyed.

First, smooth off the hatch opening, remove all corrosion, then coat with Devoe epoxy primer

First, smooth off the hatch opening, remove all corrosion, then coat with Devoe Bar-Rust 233H epoxy primer

The Devoe Bar-Rust is great stuff, but I was using the remainder of a can I opened when we sandblasted and primed the hull several years ago. Over time, the catalyst changes color to red (as does West System), which turns the white Bar-Rust pink! Fortunately, according to the company, it doesn’t affect the durability or cure of the finished coating. And since this will be out of sight, it will also be out of mind…our little secret. 😉

Zero exposed aluminum

Zero exposed aluminum

Chris craft left these edges uncoated, which allows aluminum oxide to start at the edge and work under the primer and fairing compound, popping them loose. By fully encapsulating the aluminum, as well as the silicon bronze screw heads that I mentioned in the last article, I hope to never have problems with the paint on the foredeck.

Oi vey

Oy vey

The OE hatch plywood substructure(?) is complicated

How many plies???

So, what I see going on here is: 1) no coating on the edges, which permits water into the grain; 2) doug fir marine ply, which tends to get cracks in the grain over time (and that permits even greater ingress of water); and 3) several layers of plywood of varying thicknesses bonded together to make up the full height. But for the life of me I can’t tell what sizes of ply they are. There’s at least one 3/4″ (and maybe two) but then I also see maybe a 3/8″ and 1/2″…or is that two 3/8″???

Either way, the important thing is to get the final piece I make to be the right height regardless of the combination I use.

Good thing I had some BS1088 Lloyds-rated okume lying around

Good thing I had some BS1088 Lloyds-rated okume lying around

Cut One using my Eureka Zone track saw

Rip off a piece of ply with my Eureka Zone track saw

Cut Two to fit the opening between the frames

Cut Two to fit the opening between the frames

The water stains are just surface imperfections. This panel has been dry for 10+ years.

Nice test fit

Nice test fit

Mark the opening from above

Mark the opening from above

Makita jigsaw finishes off the hole nicely

Makita jigsaw finishes off the hole nicely

After cutting two panels out of the okume ply, it became clear I couldn’t make the whole structure out of okume because it’s not as thick as 3/4″ doug fir. I wasn’t getting the thickness I need.

3/4" doug fir marine ply makes up the final height

3/4″ doug fir marine ply makes up the final height

I’d been saving some of these plywood scraps for years, wondering if I’d ever use them. Turns out they came in very handy.

Out with the old, in with the new

Out with the old, in with the new

I glued, clamped, and then screwed the new panels together, then wetted out the still-tacky Devoe primer on the hatch opening with epoxy. Next, I mixed up some epoxy thickened with wood flour and cabosil and applied it generously to the mating surface of the new plywood, then clamped it to the underside of the deck.

Clamped in place overnight

Clamped in place overnight

Good fit, and a solid epoxy bond all the way around.

Good fit, and a solid epoxy bond all the way around.

Next, dry fit and drill holes

Next, dry fit the hatch and mark and drill holes

The holes are drilled oversized

The holes are drilled oversized

After drilling the screw holes, I taped the bottom of each hole and filled the holes with epoxy mixed with the slowest hardener. Overnight, the epoxy wicked into the plywood around each hole and the hole in the aluminum was also coated. This effectively encapsulates the wood and aluminum, isolating it from exposure to air or any water that might one day seep past the sealant I’ll use.

316 stainless machine screws instead of silicon bronze wood screws

316 stainless machine screws and locknuts  instead of the original silicon bronze wood screws

Next morning, countersink the under-side before the remaining epoxy completely hardened,

Next morning, I countersunk the under-side so the nuts will be inset

I also re-drilled the holes to clear out excess epoxy. The holes are 0.004″ larger than the #10-24 machine screws.

Sikaflex 295LOT seals the hatch to the deck

Sikaflex 295LOT seals the hatch to the deck

Thread in the machine screws all around before putting the nuts on below

Thread in the machine screws all around before putting the nuts on below

Nut time

Nut time

Sikaflex on the epoxy coated ply will be covered by flashing later

Sikaflex on the epoxy-coated ply will be covered by flashing later

Boom

Done

Done

I’ll install the hatch glass later. We’re going with tinted glass all around, and I will be ordering all of it at the same time. But I need to get the new windshield frame installed before I know what shape to make the helm station side glass. It’s a process…

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Transforming the Tent (once again)

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2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Wrapping Up the Bow Hatch Installation

  1. Q you are doing an amazing job man! WOW. I’m beginning to have a love hate thing with your blog… I love watching the progress and admiring your work but your work ethic results in my self abasement for being such a slug!

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Thanks Bill! It’s a slog. Sometimes I hate it, like when I have another crappy contractor who I have to fire. Other times, it’s great…which has been the case quite a bit recently.
      Cheers,
      Q

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