1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Stateroom Head Walls

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.

Expensive little pile of materials

Expensive little pile of materials

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.

This AlexSeal product is the only fairing compound to use in showers

This AlexSeal product is the only fairing compound to use in showers

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.

Roamer bathroom w/jet bath > Weaver multimillion dollar boat w/shower

Roamer bathroom w/jet bath > Weaver multimillion dollar boat w/shower 🙂

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.

First layer of 1810 fabric applied at the top

Sanded with 36 grit and ready for epoxy and 1810 biaxial fabric

First layer of 1810 fabric applied at the top

First layer of 1810 fabric applied at the top

Second band of 1810 applied down to the floor

Second band of 1810 applied down to the floor

Looks like a good place for a fillet

Looks like a good place for fillets

I’m a big fan of fillets.

Skim coat of fairing compound

Skim coat of fairing compound

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.

Bulkhead wall coated in fiberglass, epoxy, and fairing compound

Bulkhead wall coated in fiberglass, epoxy, and fairing compound

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:

Sand walls
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

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2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Stateroom Head Walls

  1. Q,
    As always impressive and inspiring not to mention informative. I’ve been following your saga for a year or so. One thing you are contemplating with the foam insulation that I posted on the Chris Craft Commander Forum, drew interest but also a commercial architect cautioned in his profession that type of product would require weighing the VOC aspect as well as flamability. Not trying to rain on your parade, just passing that along for closer consideration.
    Skol!
    Craig

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hi Craig, and thanks for the compliments.
      I’m guessing the commercial architect doesn’t have much experience with metal boats, since spray foam is pretty much the standard for metal hulls. I figure if the USCG uses it and ABYC is silent on it, spray foam can’t be all that bad. It also sounds like maybe he or she hasn’t been keeping up on the advances in spray foam chemistry over the last couple of decades. The VOCs of concern (e.g. formaldehyde) have been phased out, near as I can tell, and self-extinguishing properties are common now. Then again, I’ve seen fiberglass boats burn to the waterline and the smoke from burning FRP is nasty stuff. Yet people don’t seem to worry themselves to death about traveling about on such dangerous material. 😉
      I’m reasonably certain my spray foam will be just fine. Thanks for bringing it up though.
      Cheers,
      Q

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