1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Sanding the Salon

Installing the starboard engine took longer than expected but, having finally resolved all kinds of problems with the Globe Drivesavers, the propeller is finally connected to the engine and gear. Now that I’ve worked out the process and pitfalls, and I have all of the hardware on hand, I anticipate getting the port engine installed  over the course of four days or so. I’d hoped to get both engines installed over the summer, but then the boat next to mine blew up and made life…complicated. But then–great news!–a gap opened up in my Boatamalan* painter’s schedule, so we’re shifting gears to get the salon refinishing knocked out.

* Boatamalan: portmanteau indicating highly skilled boat workers of Central American origin. They’re actually from Honduras, but Boatamalan rolls off the tongue better. ;-)

A quick refresher on what we started with…this is from Day One in 2007

The original Chris Craft mahogany had been stained red. As in, red stain was wiped over the top of the original finish sometime back in the 1970s or early ’80s, then it got a coat of some sort of varnish to seal it up. Where the wood wasn’t rotten from leaking bow seat windows, the leaking teak side decks, or the leaking salon roof hatch, it was in surprisingly good condition.

Look past the junk that filled the salon back in 2007 to see the beautiful wood

And how about that gold veined mirror on the wall? Pretty groovy, eh?

See the potential?

The steps into the salon in the picture above are the original stained color. I’ve never been fond of it.

Fast forward to 2015…

First sanding with 120 grit

First sanding with 120 grit

The wall panel in the pic above had been stained and varnished by Chris Craft, then covered with gold vein mirror back in 1969. The old varnish and stain practically fell off by itself, and the wood underneath is beautiful. If all of the wood turned out like this, I wouldn’t even bother with stain, just coat with ICA base coat clear then top coat.

Salon shelf sands pretty well

Salon shelf sands pretty well

While sanding the shelf, I found that the fiddle isn’t glued in place. It’s a bit loose, so I’ll take it off and pull all of the other trim pieces to refinish them separately.

Bad 1970s refinish job just didn't hold up

Bad 1970s refinish job just didn’t hold up

I wonder what this looked like back in the day…

Salon shelf looking better and better

The salon shelf is looking better and better

The lower shelf in the picture above was also covered with gold veined mirror. Both it and the wall behind it are turning out very nice.

Then there's the Dust Deputy

My Dust Deputy cyclone separator is an essential tool with this much sanding going on

The Dust Deputy keeps most dust from getting to my shop vac. I haven’t had to even clean my shop vac filter since last winter.

Back to the wood

Back to the wood with 120 grit

Island counter back to wood

Island counter back to wood

Once we did a lap of the salon and galley with 120 grit, we switched up to 220 grit and made another trip around. We’ve tried 3M, Indasa, no-name brand, and Mirka Autonet sandpapers, and my two-thumbs up rating has to go to Mirka. Their net products cut better, sand cleaner, and last longer than all of the rest.

Sanded with 220 grit

Sanded with 220 grit, the salon looks like a dust storm came through

By the time we wrapped up with the 220 grit sanding, it was clear that we’ll have to use stain. The difference in color between the original Chris Craft panels is surprising. I’d assumed they would have selected panels with similar grain, color, ribbon striping, etc. I guess that explains why they used stain from the factory. There are also some dark patches from where the varnish had long-since fallen off, allowing the wood to oxidize deep, deep into the veneer. The old veneer is thick, but we don’t want to sand through it trying to get rid of stains. So, we’re going with Pettit 1095P standard mahogany stain. But first, I need to cut some new plywood to replace rotten stuff we threw out in 2008.

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Cutting New Salon Cabinet Panels


3 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Sanding the Salon

  1. Q – Is Chris Craft aware of this epic rebuild? When you get it finished they might offer you $M for her… that way you might get a small return on your free bateau! Happy thanks giving buddy! She is looking good!

  2. alloyed2sea says:

    As Schumpeter always said, everyone can use a little “creative destruction” in their lives. Waiting with baited breath to see how you approach the side windows.
    – Eric

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