1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing the Bow Seat Window Mahogany Panels

Back in May 2015, I made the bow seat window interior panels. But they sat gathering dust as other priorities got done, like installing the port and starboard engines, installing the helm windshield frame, painting the aft head. staining and varnishing the salon…it’s been a busy year. But I’ve got to get the exterior weatherproof, so it’s time to install those bow seat interior panels and get the windows in.

Panels cut and beveled in May 2015…ready for ICA clear coat

Mahogany panels coated with ICA in the spray booth

Mahogany panels coated with ICA in the spray booth

Ribbon stripe is very pronounced in new mahogany

Ribbon stripe is very pronounced in new mahogany under the bright spray booth lights

Motion Windows are too big for the hole, so I had to grind into the paint

“Paint adjustment” to accommodate Motion Windows oversizing 2/3 of the window frames

Another paint adjustment

Another “paint adjustment” for Motion’s oversized window and some spray foam insulation had to be trimmed

I had to take a grinder to two of the window openings because Motion Windows tends to make their frames too big. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I send them dimensions in text form, drawings, or even templates of the window holes cut from 1/4″ luan plywood with explicit instructions to NOT make the frame bigger than the template…Motion Windows STILL makes 2 out of 3 frames too big. But enough of that nonsense. It’s time to get the panels installed!

Step 1: wet out the backside of the panel and the panel around the window opening itself

Step 1: wet out the backside of the mahogany panel with West System epoxy

I wetted out the panel around the window opening itself, too, so there’s plenty of epoxy soaked into the wood. Since I’m using screwless construction here, the epoxy bond has to be very strong.

Wood flour and cabosil thickened epoxy will fill the gaps

70% wood flour and 30% cabosil used to thicken the epoxy that will fill the gaps

Slather the thickened epoxy on both panels

Slather the thickened epoxy on both panels

Clamp in place

Clamp in place…good squeeze out at the top

Need some creativity when clamping the corners

Need some creativity when clamping the corners

I used a long mahogany board pulled from the pile to push the long edge of the panel up tight to the side panel.

Let it sit overnight

Let it sit overnight

Looking good!

Looking good!

Cut edges will wick water if the windows ever leak

Cut edges will wick water and start to rot if the windows ever leak

The shot above shows the joint between the new panel and the painted bow seat window opening. If the caulk that seals the window ever leaks, water might be able to wick into the unsealed plywood edge and start rotting out the panel.

Fully saturate cut edges with epoxy so water can never get into the panel

I fully saturated the cut edges with epoxy so water can never get into the panel

Saturating the edge and the joint with epoxy might be overkill, but I never want to have to deal with rotten plywood again. The down-side to this approach is that once the epoxy is applied, I have to wait until the next day for it to cure. Fortunately, there’s lots of other stuff to do on the boat. The following day, I installed the window.

Tape off window frame

Tape off window frame in preparation for Sikaflex 291 LOT caulk

Tape around the window frame when it's installed in the hole

Tape around the window frame catches most of the squeezed out caulk

Use a squeegee to remove most of the caulk

Use a squeegee to remove most of the caulk, then pull the tape and clean up

Done!

Done!

I can’t wait to get all of the windows in so I can wash the boat. All of the wood and sanding dust makes the brand new paint look like hell.

Center panel, repeat the process

Center panel, repeat the process

Clamp and come back the next day

Clamp and come back the next day

Looking good!

Looking good!

Good epoxy squeeze-out means the panel is fully bonded to the substrate. The following day, I sealed the cut edges with epoxy, and the day after that I installed the window.

Next day, tape off the window

Tape off the center window for caulk

Running a heavy bead around the window flange

After wiping the flange with alcohol, I’m ready to run a heavy bead of caulk

A nice, heavy bead of Sikaflex 291 LOT

A nice, heavy bead of Sikaflex 291 LOT

Good squeeze-out all around means 100% contact

Good squeeze-out all around means 100% contact

Use a squeegee to clean up most of the caulk

Use a squeegee to clean up most of the caulk

Pull the tape and wipe down with kerosene to remove Sikaflex residue

Pull the tape and wipe down with kerosene to remove Sikaflex residue

Done!

Done!

The up-side to this approach is that I believe I will never again have to deal with rotten plywood around these windows. The down-side is that it’s very time consuming. Installing two panels and two windows consumed three days. I’ll have to wrap up the last window in the next go-round.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Completing the Bow Seat Window Installation

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6 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing the Bow Seat Window Mahogany Panels

  1. Kent says:

    Yes– You can never have to many clamps for use..

    Please remind me– Why did you put the “Shiny” To the her before many other projects were done?? I would think this project should of been starting on the inside and put the “Shiny” on once the majority of the inside work is done..

    I do hope one day I get down your way to see her “Insert Name Here”– Pandora?? That was a large box you opened up when you acquired her “Insert Name Here”..

    Thanks for sharing– I hope Santa brings you lots of Elves to help you..

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      There are lots of reasons for doing the paint first–opportunity (the painter and his crew were available and hungry); once the propulsion and paint are done, the boat could be splashed and moved a lot closer to home; and the paint job was easily the messiest job…all it would take is one piece of loose tape and the interior would have gotten dusted with sticky overspray.

      Elves would have been very helpful seven years ago! lol

      Cheers,
      Q

  2. Ben Z. says:

    Hi. Not a boat owner, but I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years. Read every update. If you are ever in need of some physical labor some weekend, let me know – would love to check out your boat in person! Awesome work!

    Oh yeah, I share your frustration with the general state of “craftsmen” in the US. I’ve only found a few; glad your painters are really good!

    -Ben Z. (Richmond, VA)

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Thanks, Ben!
      If you’re ever have plans to swing by the Deale area, let me know. Most of the work going forward shouldn’t be too labor intensive (your timing is perfect!! 😉 ), but I’d be happy to show you the boat.
      Cheers,
      Q

  3. William B. Kelleher says:

    Did you ever consider using an compressed air caulking gun ?

    Easier on the hand.

    Bill Kelleher

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hi Bill. I hadn’t thought about getting a powered caulking gun. Thus far I haven’t had to do so much caulking to make my hands tired. I’d have to consider if it was worth the time setting up the hose so it doesn’t scratch the paint. I could see using cordless electric if I was doing a lot of caulking, but I don’t have so much caulking to justify the price for the cordless ones. But now that you’ve got me thinking about it…and Christmas is coming… 🙂
      Cheers,
      Q

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