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

With the port side V-berth wall panel installed, doing the Starboard side was relatively easy. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so I had to use my phone to take most of these pictures. Even with much higher resolution, the phone camera pictures always end up grainier and fuzzier than my old Fujifilm digital camera.

Good fit!

I”m using three clamps to hold the panel in place, but two of those just support it vertically. Only one clamp–the one at the porthole opening–is actually clamping the panel to the boat. And that’s all it takes to get good contact along the leading edge, where it meets the forward bulkhead.

Add another cleat to support the back edge

Final fit checks out…time to cut the porthole opening

Marked from the outside and ready to cut

Not a bad fit

The panel is flush with the porthole opening at the top, but it’s proud of the opening at the bottom. This creates a situation where the porthole potentially won’t have a good seal. It’s supposed to meet up flush with the aluminum porthole opening. Instead, I’ll have to rely on sealant and an epoxy saturated panel edge to keep water from ever coming through here.

The problem: poor fit from Chris Craft

The plywood backing panels aren’t square to the porthole opening. Instead, they’re angled to (sort of) meet up with the hull ribs. It looks like the carpenters at Chris Craft tried to compensate for a poor porthole install. If the welder had done a better job squaring up the 6″ pipe they use for these porthole openings, it would have made things a lot better and easier for everyone.

Remove even more aluminum rib material below the porthole

I’ve removed about 3/8″ of rib depth just below the porthole opening to smooth out the transition from the porthole opening plywood surrounds to the mahogany cleat attached to the rib. With that much material removed, I’m finally getting good contact between the new mahogany panel and the original porthole plywood surround. But, in retrospect, the best approach would have been to  cut out the porthole opening back when the hull was sandblasted and reposition it. My hindsight remains absolutely perfect!!

Rib contact points are marked

Time for insulation

That Buffalo Batt material is very nice to work with. Once I had the insulation fitted, I removed it and wetted out the back of the panel with epoxy, then reinstalled the insulation and pressed it to the panel with scraps of plywood. The next day, it was ready to install.

Ready for installation

I wetted out the edges and contact points with epoxy

All of the mahogany cleats get saturated with epoxy, too

Epoxy thickened with wood flour and cabosil in a 7:3 ratio makes strong glue

Screws around the porthole hold everything in place

Remove the epoxy that squeezes out with alcohol on a rag

Next day, time for the clamps to come off!


With the curved walls finally done, I can finally get going on the cabinetry.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Fitting the V-berth Cabinets


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

  1. 1969roamer46 says:

    Thanks Bill!

    How’s bow and arrow sales going?

  2. frontierhermit says:

    She is coming along nicely Q and looking awesome!

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