With the last V-berth cabinet panels cut and dry-fitted, the next step was to apply mahogany veneer to the panels. I tried 3M 90 contact cement to bond the veneer panel to the galley-side of the V-berth door opening, but I don’t care for the way it works. So I’m trying epoxy as the veneer adhesive in the V-berth. But I was a bit concerned that the epoxy would wick through the veneer and show up as a stain on the mahogany face, so I did a test run on a piece of veneer scrap. Good news: in the test, the epoxy didn’t print through!
This is my last sheet of veneer and I’ve got several panels to cover, so I cut the piece very close to the actual size. I don’t want to run out of veneer, and I’d prefer not to have to buy another sheet.
I used Douglas fir marine plywood for this panel, which in retrospect may have been a mistake. Doug fir marine plywood isn’t flat, and there’s no way to make it flat with hand tools. The lighter bands of wood are much softer than the dark bands, so sanding with hand-held tools just makes the height difference worse. I applied a very thin coat of wood flour-thickened epoxy hoping that it will level out the panel and leave the veneer flat.
I really need a big, flat table to do this work right. Over at Weaver Boatworks, they have a table with a 1″ thick aluminum plate top and a vacuum bag system that they use for veneer work. I have to make due with what I’ve got.
Dang it! There’s this one spot where the Doug fir grain didn’t get filled with thickened epoxy. I didn’t even see it until I lightly sanded the mahogany and the low spot became visible. Fortunately, it’ll vanish with a little hand sanding. Lesson learned: don’t use Doug fir plywood for panels that will be veneered.
I really like the original mahogany Chris Craft used, but the more I’m around it in the V-berth the less fond I am of the modern ribbon-stripe with the V shape where the separate veneer edges come together. I think I prefer the rotary cut panel on the left. That panel goes inside the last V-berth cabinet. Since it’s inside a cabinet, I finished it with a few brushed coats of Minwax polyurethane. It looks great! The irregularity of the grain appeals to me more than the stripes. Good thing the rest of the boat will be done in the rotary cut plywood from the stack in the salon!