1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: More Salon Plywood Panels

After the beating that Nor-easter gave Tent Model XXX and my brand new Awlgrip paint job, I’ve been trying to get estimates on repairs. Since the tent is protected by a security system, I’ll have to be there when the estimators show up. So instead of getting more plywood panels installed, I’ll be doing  the tedious work of putting together an insurance claim. Fortunately, Heritage Marine Insurance (lynn@heritagemarineinsurance.com) and Chubb have treated me very well. I highly recommend both.

But before all the damage happened, I got some more panels in the salon cut and fitted.

Next, I dug into this corner of the salon

After moving the stairs out of the way, I removed the lower mahogany panel.

There’s another bilge vent hole in the mahogany toerail and aluminum deck above this corner

The big 1/4″ Doug fir marine ply panel to the right in the pic above covers the ‘shark gill’ hull vents that are the main air source for the engine room. The panel is fully epoxy sealed on all sides, but the backside of this panel isn’t insulated, since insulation would take up space and impede air flow. I cut the panel the exact same size as the fiberboard that Chris Craft used, which had warped and deteriorated from water exposure through the gill vents. But I’ve decided I need to modify the panel by extending the lower edge six inches so it goes past the engine room ceiling. I also want to add hatches so I can put panels up against the back-side of the hull gill vents during winter to keep out the cold air. More on that later.

I need to build another waterproof vent duct in the corner

Sticks and a glue gun are a big help when making complex patterns

Transfer the pattern to 3/4″ Douglas fir marine ply

Perfect fit on the first try!

I’ll attach a 1″ x 1″ mahogany cleat to this bilge vent duct panel to give the face panel screws something to bite into. I also need to cut a piece of solid stock for the right side face panel to attach to next to the big engine room duct panel.

The engine room vent panel attaches to these mahogany frames

I need to cut a piece of mahogany solid stock and attach it on the near side of this aluminum hull frame. I need to keep it on the same plane as the ER vent frames so the panels line up when they’re all installed. Rather than drilling more holes in the aluminum frame to attach the new piece of mahogany, I’ll cut it so it butts up against the existing ER vent frame, then use epoxy thickened with wood flour and screws to bond them together. As you can see in the pic above, there’s only about 1/8″ of mahogany frame sticking out proud of the aluminum hull frame.

Down at the bottom, the mahogany frame sticks out 9/16″

Good thing I have a track saw

I repurposed a mahogany stick from the OE cabinetry for this panel cleat. I have to cut a 5/16″ rabbet to span the aluminum hull frame, with the depth of the rabbet decreasing from 9/16″ at the bottom to 1/8″ at the top to match the ER vent frame. I don’t have any idea how a pro would do this, but my EZ-One track saw table made it pretty easy.

One tapered cut down, one decreasing depth cut to go

That’s a fancy rabbet: 1/8″ at the top…

9/16″ at the bottom

It’s ready to install, so next I cut the 1/4″ Doug fir plywood panel that will attach to it.

The back-side of the new plywood panel gets wetted out with epoxy

Buffalo Batt insulation goes over the wet epoxy

Lots of plywood panels wetted out with epoxy

I also cut and fitted the bilge vent chute panel, which you can see is fully saturated with epoxy in the pic above. Any water that comes through the vent will hit that shiny epoxy and head straight into the bilge. That should hold up a lot better than the plain fiberboard that Chris Craft used.

Last, I added two extensions to the ER vent panel

There are 1/4″ Doug fir plywood batten panels backing the joints for the extensions on the ER vent panel. It’s all glued and screwed together. With sticky epoxy curing on many panels in the work space, I called it a weekend and left. This was a couple of weeks ago, when winter was still in full effect and the epoxy just wasn’t curing from Saturday to Sunday. But when I arrived the following weekend, it had finally cured. That’s a good thing because it was getting very difficult to move around and get things done with so many sticky panels around.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing More Salon Plywood Panels

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