1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing the Port V-berth Mahogany Wall Panel

With the V-berth mahogany panels clear coated and insulated, the next step is installation.

Base coated, insulated, and edge sealed

Edges fully wetted out with epoxy

Mahogany cleats get wetted out with epoxy, too

Epoxy thickened with wood flour goes on next

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.

Glued, screwed, and clamped

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.

Give me a long enough lever, and I can make a stubborn plywood panel conform to a complex curve!

Very nice fit on the back edge–no clamps or screws required

The panel is clamped, glued, and screwed at the porthole opening

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.

Next day, the clamps come off

I know, I know…the veneers don’t line up between the two panels. You know what? I don’t care! 🙂

Not a bad joint

I think I’ll use 1/4 round mahogany trim to cover the joint and bungs

Behind the panel it’s very nicely insulated

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

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2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing the Port V-berth Mahogany Wall Panel

  1. stingrayl82 says:

    Q, I know it’s a bit late now, but would putting Frog Tape on the mahogany panels work to protect them from the oozing epoxy, thus requiring fewer/no rags for cleanup?

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      If you mean putting tape on an unfinished mahogany panel, I’m pretty sure the epoxy would wick under the tape along the grain. If you mean putting it on finished panels, I’m not sure if it’d be faster or better than just using the squeegee then wiping it with an alcohol-soaked rag.

      You try it and let me know how it goes! 🙂

      Cheers,
      Q

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