1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Stateroom Porthole Surround Panels III

My painter’s schedule still isn’t aligning with mine, so the stack of mahogany plywood panels that need to be clear coated keeps growing–the V-berth bulkhead, the aft stateroom head and closet/locker porthole surround panels. This boat also has porthole openings on the transom, but Chris Craft used fixed panes of glass there. I want to do things differently, by installing the same Bomar portholes as Chris Craft used on the ones that open. Chris Craft also painted the aft stateroom white on these boats, but we’re going with clear coated Mahogany everywhere outside of the bathroom.

Port transom porthole opening

Port transom porthole opening

The remains of two original panels can still be seen on the left side of the pic above. I used a sawsall here during the demolition phase years ago, so the cut edges aren’t straight. But the vertical panel will make a good pattern and the horizontal panel can still be used, I just need to remove it and square up the cut. In the linked demolition page, you can see that Chris Craft left the original fuel pipes exposed. I plan to box in the fuel inlets I made behind African mahogany panels, and provide a removable panel for maintenance access to the hose.

Remove the overhead horizontal panel

Remove the overhead horizontal panel

Then remove the vertical panel

And remove the vertical panel

The porthole flange is wider than the original fixed window frame

The porthole flange is wider than the original fixed window frame

Because the porthole flange is wider than the available space, I’m going to make more space by using 1/2″ plywood here instead of the 3/4″ that Chris Craft used. I’ll add 1/4″ spacer to all of the attachment points so the side of the new panel that faces the flange is inboard of where the original panel was. If that doesn’t make sense, hopefully the pix will tell the story.

A pretty piece of 1/2" African mahogany plywood is just the right size

A pretty piece of 1/2″ African mahogany plywood is just the right size

Tracing from the old pattern piece

Tracing the filthy old pattern piece

The EZ-One tracksaw really shines on angled cuts

The EZ-One tracksaw really shines on angled cuts

There’s only one 90° corner on this piece. All the rest are different angles. I have no idea how you could easily make these cuts on a traditional table saw, but with the tracksaw it’s a breeze. You put the panel on the wooden raised top. Drop the track bridge onto the panel, line up the marks on either end, turn on the vacuum and make the cut. Rotate the panel and repeat. The panel doesn’t move, the saw does, so it’s great in tight spaces like my boat salon. And even a complex panel like this is cut with perfectly straight lines in ~5 minutes.

BTW, I don’t get a commission for my tool reviews. When something works (or doesn’t) I like to share my experience.

The final 4' cut

The final 4′ cut

A jigsaw finishes the stringer cutouts

A jigsaw finishes the stringer cutouts

Plenty of room for the flange and for the porthole to swing open

Plenty of room for the flange and for the porthole to swing open

Drill the panel mounting holes, then use Tefgel with self-tapping screws

Pre-drill the panel mounting holes, then use Tefgel with self-tapping screws

A leftover scrap of plywood is just the right size

On the fuel inlet side, a leftover scrap of plywood is just the right size

It’s always a difficult decision when to keep or throw away wood scraps. Turns out the decision to keep this one was a good choice. There was enough to split it into two panels, one for each side of the boat.

Spray foam insulation is in the way

Spray foam insulation is in the way

Cut back the spray foam insulation with a razor

Cut back the spray foam insulation with a razor

After cutting to fit, drill pocket screw holes with my Kreg jig

After cutting to fit, drill pocket screw holes with my Kreg jig

Next, cut the 1/4" porthole surround panel

Next, cut the 1/4″ porthole surround panel

Not too bad

Not too bad

I clamped a square to the overhead beam then clamped the long leg of the square to the inboard panel to keep it in place. If I do all of the fitting right, all of the other panels that are attached to that panel will be square, too.

One more panel to hold it all together

One more panel with four angled cuts to hold it all together

Nice!

Nice!

Cut a 1/4" rabbet for the surround panel to slide into

Two passes with the tracksaw makes a 1/4″ rabbet for the surround panel

Half-depth cut

Half-depth cut

Perfect!

Perfect!

Nice joints, eh!?

Nice joints, eh!?

I think I won’t even need quarter round moldings to hide the joints. 🙂

Not bad for a weekend woodworkin' warrior, if I do say so myself

Not bad for a weekend woodworkin’ warrior, if I do say so myself

That’s three more panels on the “to be painted” pile.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Stateroom Porthole Surround Panels IV

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8 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Stateroom Porthole Surround Panels III

  1. Kent Sassen says:

    Is that a Trim Tab Motor I see? If so– Have you put any Voltage to it to see if it works?

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      It is, I have, and it does! In both directions! I changed the grease in the gearbox, and it works great.
      Cheers,
      Q

      • Kent Sassen says:

        Cool– They don’t build’em like that anymore!! If they didn’t work– I’m sure you would rebuild them..
        I’m sure you don’t plain on using them much though– I’m sure you will open the “Throats” up on your Diamonds from time to time and Tabs as you know will help her get out of the “Hole”.. They helped my 1967 ’45 Connie get up & Go– It was a rare occasion when I did drop to Tabs..

        Play Safe– Kent..

  2. Peter Hitchcock says:

    Hi, With all the skills you have shown in doing this amazing refit you certainly have the ability to, so why not paint these panels yourself? it’s pretty easy to get the hang of and if you mess them up you just wait for it to dry, sand them and have another go… At least then you’re not relying on others to get the job done…..

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hi Peter, and thanks so much for the compliment.
      I actually have been thinking of taking up painting, but since I can only work weekends, everything I do ultimately takes more time than if I have others do it. In some cases, incompetence by pros has been the inspiration that led me to learn a new skill. But at this point, there are so many panels I need to cut and fit that taking the time to paint them would just slow down the woodworking stuff. If push comes to shove, though, I will be picking up the spray gun and laying it on.
      Stay tuned and wish me luck either way.
      Cheers,
      Q

  3. chrisgraeser says:

    Definitely. Maybe they can play at the boat warming party? Keep up the posts, I look forward to each update.

  4. Marty Molloy says:

    NIce work with all of those weird angles! The “Swinging Portholes” would be a good name for a band. ;0)

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