1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Recycling the Original Mahogany Toe Rails

While waiting for my painter’s schedule to synch with mine so we can clear coat the pile of mahogany plywood panels that have been sitting since March 2017, I’ve been working on other stuff. One of the most frustrating things is that I seem to have lost one of the standpipes for the raw water cooling intakes for my Cummins 6CTA engines. I’ve been turning my garage upside down and rooting through the boat and tent but haven’t had any luck finding it. While digging through the mahogany lumber pile, I decided it was time to do something with the original mahogany toe rails. I saved them when we first disassembled the boat so they could be used as patterns for the new toe rails., but that work has been done for a while. Now they’re just taking up space and getting in my way. Time to fire up the saw and make some cleats.

EZ-One track saw will cut a perfectly straight line on the curved mahogany

Line the track up to minimize waste

Trued up edge is ready for the table saw

One section of toe rail repurposed into cleats

Repurposed 50-year old mahogany toe rails

I’ll use these cleats to secure the new wall panels and cabinets as I build out the interior. In fact, I used one of them when I installed the back wall in the laundry closet.

Old “Chris Craft grade” mahogany is still pretty stuff.

Ever seen cracks like this in old toe rails?

Ever wonder how deep the cracks go?

Turns out it’s pretty deep.

Amazingly enough, even with a crack going all the way through the board the mahogany was pretty rock-solid. In other spots, especially around the stanchion bases, where water can pool in the pocket under the base, the wood was punky. That’s why I completely epoxy sealed all of the stanchion base holes in the new toe rail. It’s time consuming doing it this way, but hopefully I’ll never have to deal with rot.

One coat of Zinzer primer/sealer on two edges

Most of the cabinetry I’m doing involves gluing joints with epoxy thickened with wood flour or gluing and screwing. All of those joints will tend to be 90° angles, so I only sealed the two edges of the cleats that won’t be sealed by epoxy. Around the time the primer dried on the cleats, I got a message from my painter: he finally got a break in his schedule and can come over and spray. Time to get the origami spray booth set up again.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Spraying Mahogany Panels with ICA Base Coat Clear

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