1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Still More V-berth Cabinetry

The V-berth is coming along pretty well. I’ve pretty much got the final shape of the cabinetry worked out and the major panels surrounding the bed foundation are rough cut and fitted. Next I need to make and install a bunch of 1″ x 1″ mahogany cleats to tie it all together, then cut the top panels that will tie the bed foundation to the curvy mahogany upper walls. There are lots of compound curves going on up here in the V-berth, which really complicates the joinery for a rookie like me.

Remove the wing panels and start installing cleats

On the right side of the above picture, you can see the first of several mahogany cleats that the upright panels will attach to. That one runs from the closet wall to the front of the bed foundation. Only a couple of miter cuts, so those are easy.

New Makita angle drill helps in tight spots

I generally like Makita power tools. My track saw is a Makita, and I’m a big fan of their 18v cordless drills. This angle drill is only 12v, but it packs plenty of oomph. What I didn’t realize when I bought it is that there’s no clutch like on the bigger 18v cordless models. For drilling that’s fine, but it’s not as good as a bit driver.

Upper cleats are a bit more complicated

There’s Miter Cut No. 1, which is easy

The compound miters are the tricky ones

Compound miter cuts along all three axes

Like that!

I wrote the angles for each cut on the cleat. Once I got all of the cleats cut, I went back and cut the top panels using the same angles.

I find the metric system better for doing cabinetry

I took measurements from the top of the upright panel to the curvy mahogany upper wall every 10cm. Then I marked off those measurements on the top panel. Getting the curvature right is really hard, but I like the cleaner look of a well-fitted panel to joinery that’s covered by moldings. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but this isn’t one of those cases. It just takes time…measure twice, cut once.

Nice fit!

More cleats for the front-most top panel

Track saw extrusion lets me make straight angled cuts even with my beater Skilsaw

Two top panels down, one to go!

Cleats installed and port-side upper panel drilled and counterbored

Once I get this all built-out, I’ll disassemble the whole thing, coat the pretty mahogany panels with ICA base coat clear, seal the panel edges, insulate the backsides, and glue and screw it all together. I’ve used this approach everywhere else. It’s time consuming, but I think it will make the boat much more durable and comfortable in the long run.

I also have been spending a bit of time thinking about mechanical/electrical stuff. For example, I need to plumb ducting, electric, and water lines for the air conditioning in the V-berth. As the concept gets turned into reality, I’m finding that some of my original ideas for AC ducting won’t work. So I’m adjusting plans on the fly. The same is true for electrical (both 12vdc and 120vac), and relatively trivial things like radio and speaker placement. Now’s the time to cut holes and install wires. I also have a Webasto 12v diesel boiler and I’d like to use it for hydronic heat…which means even more forethought is needed so I don’t paint myself into any corners.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Even More V-berth Cabinetry

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