Once the thickened epoxy gets applied to all contact surfaces, everything is a sticky mess and no pictures can be taken. Once the panel is positioned, clamped, and secured with fasteners, I wipe up the sticky mess with alcohol on rags…lots and lots of rags. The secret is not to smear the stuff around. Get some epoxy on the rag, fold it over, get more on, fold again, and when there’s no more clean parts of the rag, throw it out and get a new one. I keep wiping and wiping until all of the sticky residue is gone, which I confirm by holding a flashlight at an angle to the panel. I check and re-check with the flashlight about a half-dozen times, because sometimes more epoxy oozes out and other sticky bits just get missed. Finally, once it’s all wiped up, off come the gloves and it’s time to call it a day.
In the forward-most upper corner, I had to use two sticks as a lever to push the panel into place. There’s no way to get a clamp or screws in there, but with plenty of epoxy on the backside it’ll be nice and solid by tomorrow.
The panel orientation at the porthole opening is critical, since misalignment can throw off the fit of the porthole itself. The original porthole installer at Chris Craft did a poor job aligning it. The porthole was inset quite a ways from the frames, so I had to do a lot of grinding when I was preparing to fit the panels to bring the frame in close enough for the plywood panel to conform. With lots of screws and the clamp, it looks like this will work out well.
Keen-eyed observers will note what appears to be (and, in fact, is) an upside-down run in the pic above. These panels only got the first of four coats of ICA base clear applied, and the painter lays it on heavy. We do that because epoxy can be wiped off of finished wood, but it soaks into unfinished wood and discolors it. We’ll sand the whole V-berth, eliminating all the runs and surface imperfections, then hit it with another four coats of base, then sand again before applying two coats of semi-matte topcoat.
I know, I know…the veneers don’t line up between the two panels. You know what? I don’t care! 🙂
That’s a wrap for the port side V-berth panel.
Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: My Life WAS An Old-School Country Western Song