I installed the aft stateroom bulkhead and main walls back in March and April, which was one of many big things that must happen if we’re going to splash the Roamer in the fall of 2015. The windshield saga may put a hitch in that plan, but I’m going full steam ahead on other things while I work on a resolution for the windshield problems.
After getting the aft stateroom walls installed, my Boatamalan painter asked why I don’t make the aft head into a giant shower: basically, fiberglass and fair the walls and ceiling, then bond the ceiling to the overhead frames and fillet the corners. Then, prime and paint with Awlgrip. You end up with a monolithic room with no cracks or seams for water vapor to hide in and support mold. They do this on the showers in the multimillion dollar sportfishermen that the Boatamalan makes at Weaver Boatworks (his day job), though their showers are much smaller than my aft head. I figure what’s good enough for a multimillion dollar Weaver boat ought to be OK for a Chris Craft Roamer refit.
1810 biaxial fiberglass, a roll of Floor Guard (the blue corrugated plastic), four rolls of masking film, a bucket of wood flour, a gallon or two of epoxy resin, hardner, and some fancy-schmancy filler…$1800. A small price to pay for a bathroom that’ll make the missus happy. By the time we add in the Awlquik, 545 primer, and Awlgrip top coat (in an off-white eggshell color), reducer, and catalyst, materials for the aft head total $2500.
The Boatamalan says other fillers–even Awlfair–can end up having problems years down the road in a shower application. The Alexseal product, while eye-poppingly expensive, is worth every penny since we’ll never have to do it again.
The challenge is, we have to fiberglass, fair, prime, and paint in a small boat bathroom (relative to your average house bathroom) while the jet bathtub is in the space. Taping off the tub with Floor Guard and setting it up on end out of the way, the Boatamalan hit the bulkhead and walls with the sander. In retrospect, if we’d thought of this approach earlier, we should not have beautifully finished the interior walls of the head with ICA base coat clear. It all got turned to some very expensive dust in preparation for fiberglassing the walls.
I’m a big fan of fillets.
Once the epoxy was tacky, we hot-coated it with home-made fairing compound using the same epoxy and a 70/30 mix of microballoons and cabosil to a stiff, whipped cream consistency. We did this when fairing the exterior as well, since it puts a layer of fairing compound between the sand paper and the glass fibers in the FRP matrix when the fairing process begins. The strength of FRP is in the fibers, so not breaking them makes for a stronger finished product.
That’s a wrap for Step One in the aft stateroom bathroom. I’ve described before the complex order of operations for this refit, where seemingly unrelated and even trivial stuff has to get done before a bigger thing can get done. The order of operations as of right this second is:
Apply Alexseal fairing compound (wait to cure)
Make ceiling panels (1/4″ marine ply, FRP & fair inside surface)
Insulate ceiling between frames (spray foam)
Sand Alexseal fairing compound smooth on walls
Install wiring for overhead lights
Epoxy back-side of ceiling panels and install (glue and screw to overhead frames, fiberglass joints, and fair)
Sand joints and make fillets
Sand & apply Awlquik
Sand Awlquik and apply 545 primer
Final sand 545 and spray Awlgrip topcoat in eggshell white
Since I’ll be spraying insulation to get the bathroom ready, I might as well do the rest of the boat, too. I’d like to have all of this done by July 1, when I plan to start on mechanical and get the engines finally installed. Busy, busy, busy…I need to quit my day job! 🙂
Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Stateroom Head Walls II