1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: More On the V-berth Closet

With three of the four V-berth closet door opening pieces fitted, now I know where the leading edge of the plywood panel needs to be. Time to cut the panel.

First, make a template of the V-berth head wall angle

I used a hot glue gun to hold sticks together so I can replicate the angle Mr. Good-but-slow built into the V-berth wall. Then I moved the template to the other side of the cabinet and capture the angles of the overhead attachment point and curvy V-berth walls.

Corner bracing holds the stick template’s shape

1/2″ mahogany plywood cut to the template shape

That’s one more sheet of plywood pulled from the stack! When the stack is gone, the project should be over!

Not bad!

Surprisingly nice fit to the curvy wall panel

Need to adjust a bit to close this gap

I’ll attach a 1 x 1 mahogany cleat along the back side as an attachment point

Next, I fitted the upper closet door opening piece

Need to cut miters on both pieces


Next I need to cut the framing for the back wall of the closet, then take it all apart and varnish everything in preparation for epoxying it all together.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Still More On the V-berth Closet

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The V-berth Closet

With the curvy V-berth walls and the bed foundation installed, next I’ve got to build the closet/hanging locker on the starboard side. This is way more complicated that it needs to be because I once trusted a guy who had a good reputation as a woodworker–I call him Mr. Good-but-slow since that’s how he described himself. Turns out the slow part was right but the good part…not so much. As I explained when I was installing the lower V-berth cabinet, ol’ Good-but-slow had installed the face of the V-berth head wall panel square to the floor, but the leading edge was ~4° out of square…it leans in at the top. That error wasn’t visually apparent until I tried to install the cabinet. It’s too late to fix it now, so I spend a lot of time hiding it. For the closet, instead of being able to make the solid mahogany pieces nice and square, I’ve got to cut miters that match the out-of-square that Good-but-slow built into that wall. This adds a lot of tedious tinkering to a project that’s already complicated enough.

Pocket screws hold the new corner piece in place

Miters scare me

I have to be really careful when cutting miters. I leave each stick a bit too long, then fiddle around with the angles until I get them dialed in. I also had to joint the bottom of the lower cabinet door opening piece to match Mr. Good-but-slow’s custom ~86° angle on the okume wall.  Once all the angles are right, I cut off bit by bit and back the miter in until it just fits.

Oh, and if anybody’s wondering, I’ll be putting nice mahogany moldings and fiddles on all of the exposed plywood edges eventually. That’s detail work that’s not mission critical right now.

Getting close…need to adjust the miter a couple of degrees

Not too shabby

I’ll knock off the little tip that sticks out at the bottom when all of the pieces have been fitted together.

It’s a good idea to protect the pretty wood with corrugated paper

I added a 1/2″ plywood strip to the overhead frame

The overhead frame wasn’t quite in the right spot to attach the mahogany closet panel I’ll be cutting soon. So I added some strips of 1/2″ marine plywood that will make the panel square. Next, I fitted the solid mahogany corner piece that will attach to the leading edge of the mahogany panel I haven’t made yet.

Machining a 1/2″ groove in the corner piece

Nice fit to the 1/2″ mahogany plywood

Looking good!

One challenge is that it’s so hot in the tent, even with 20″ box fans blasting away on high at each work station, sweat runs down my arms and onto the wood I’m working with. Once it gets that hot, it’s time to go home. I spent the whole weekend making these three little pieces. Granted, they weren’t straightforward, and the fit is nice…I guess that makes me the real Mr. Good-but-slow. 😉

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: More On the V-berth Closet

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Insulating and Final Install of the V-berth Bed Foundation

With all of the V-berth bed foundation plywood panels cut and fitted, next I edge sealed them, insulated the undersides, installed, and then coated the top with white-tinted epoxy.

Cutting the R3 Buffalo Batt non-woven insulation

As I’ve said before, insulating the backside of each panel that faces the hull envelop adds a lot of time to the process, but I think in the end it will be worth it.

Port panel insulation is cut and ready for epoxy

Starboard panel insulation is cut

Might as well insulate the mahogany cabinet panel at the same time

The transformer hatch

Insulation pressed onto the epoxy-coated plywood

Saturate with epoxy, lay out the insulation, press any edges that lift off the epoxy, and go home

It was well over 100°F in the tent by the time I was done. The epoxy kicks fast! But it’s a horrible environment to work in.

Next day…ready to install

First, clamp, glue (epoxy), and screw the mahogany cabinet panel in place

Next, glue and screw all of the bed foundation panels in place


The white-tinted epoxy is somewhat translucent, so colors from the wood surface come through. But overall I like the look. The most important thing is that, being fully encapsulated in epoxy, it binds and seals all of the veneer fibers while providing a durable finish that will preserve and protect the panels for as long as I have the boat…and beyond.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The V-berth Closet

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Wrapping Up the V-berth Bed Foundation

It’s been brutally hot recently, but I’m still making fair progress in the V-berth. The bed foundation frames are done, so the next step is to cut and fit the plywood the mattress will lie on. That same plywood will also provide the base for the cabinetry that ties the foundation to the curvy V-berth side walls. But when it’s 89°F outside with 50% humidity and 123° inside the tent, it takes longer to complete every step.

Rough fit of the port bed foundation

I made the port panel out of a half-sheet that was left over from years ago when I modified the bow seat. It roughly fits the bed foundation, but the original aluminum attachment points aren’t level. The port side is higher than the starboard, so I had to make some room on the under side of the panel so it would lie flat on the foundation frames.

Routed out a notch to fit the aluminum hull framing

As I was routing the panel, I was surprised at the quality of the plywood top veneer.

Ugly Douglas fir

I’m not a professional woodworker, and I don’t have years of experience working with plywood, but the top veneer on this marine grade Douglas fir ply is really poor quality. It looks like the wooden veneer itself has been coming apart. I’ll be epoxy sealing the whole thing and insulating the underside, and the epoxy should bind all of these fibers back together. But if anybody knows what causes this sort of thing, please post a comment.

New plywood panel looks different

I ran out of 1/2″ marine grade Doug fir plywood, so I went to the local lumber supplier and got another sheet. The glue, veneer thickness, and veneer count are all consistent with other marine ply I’ve seen. But the wood sure looks different. On the up-side, the surface veneer looks much better than on the older panel.

I was initially planning to just use two panels for the mattress foundation, but I decided to make a removable hatch for access to the shore power isolation transformer. It’s unlikely I’ll ever need to access it, but making a hatch now is easier than having to cut one after everything is assembled and done.

Looking good!

In case anybody is wondering…yes, as soon as the three panels were fitted, I laid down on it to check it out. LOL

There’s plenty of room lengthwise for a person up to 6′ tall or so, but if there’s a significant other she better be petite! Since this will primarily be used as an office/computer room, I’m more interested in a generous desk than a big bed.

Final touch

After drilling and countersinking all of the screw holes, I figured I might as well leave a clue about what’s under the hatch. My freehand router writing skills are about the same as the rest of the stuff I do: not perfect, but not too bad either

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Insulating and Final Install of the V-berth Bed Foundation

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Fix vs Replace

I discovered recently that Photobucket, which I used to store pix for the first couple years of this refit, has changed policies and now requires payment before it will permit pictures to be displayed on 3rd party hosts. My blog is on wordpress, where I host all of my pix now, and I’m not keen on paying Photobucket to show my own pictures. Many of the early articles just show Photobucket error messages instead of the actual picture. So I have to download all of the pictures from Photobucket (which is a super tedious, advertizing-saturated process), upload them to wordpress, then update all of the articles with new picture links so they show up again. It’s tedious and takes time that I would have spent writing the next article on the refit. So instead I thought I’d write a short ditty and pose a question about fixing vs replacing things when they break. The topic came to mind when a fan went out on a scorching hot day in the tent recently.

Lack of lubrication locks up the fan armature

These box fans cost ~$18 or so. They last for a couple years and then lock up. The failure point is always the same: lack of lubrication in the bushings. It takes 20 minutes or so to tear the fans down, clean up the shaft, lubricate, and reassemble.

Hot spots in the bushing

There’s no way to access the bushings without disassembling the motor. It’s not hard. Cordless bit drivers make it very easy. But it does consume time.

20 minutes later, reassembled and running fine

When I do the math, using prevailing labor rates x the time it takes for me to fix these fans, it turns out to be a money-losing proposition. I’d be better off just throwing out the fan and replacing it with a new one. But I don’t throw them out. I fix them. It’s in my nature.

Do you fix or replace stuff like this? Feel free to comment below.

I’ll get back to my usual Roamer refit topics next week. When I’m not fixing box fans, I’m making tangible progress in the V-berth!

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Wrapping Up the V-berth Bed Foundation Frames

Through yet another brutally hot summer in Tent Model XXX, I’m making fairly good progress on the V-berth bed foundation.

Midway framing will support the side cabinet top

I’ll make one more frame to support the back edge of the cabinet top panel.

Center beam needs some trimming

The length is just a bit too long, and it can’t pivot into place with square corners.

Angled cuts on the end will allow the center beam to pivot into place


That’s the last of the bed foundation frame pieces. Everything fits very nicely. Next I disassembled all of the frames, drilled pocket screw holes, and got ready to glue and screw it together permanently.

Pocket screws will hold each of the frames in place while the epoxy cures

That little Kreg pocket hole jig has paid for itself many times over.

Next, I insulated the top of the center cabinet

The sides, bottom, top, and back of each cabinet box are insulated with Buffalo Batt nonwoven fabric, which provides 3R insulation value and should eliminate condensation and otherwise keep heated or cooled air inside the boat. Insulating the back of every panel that faces the hull envelope adds a lot of time to the process, but I think it will be worth it in the end.


With sticky epoxy everywhere and 115°F temps in the salon (but only 85° outside), I decided to bail out at this point. I’m ready to cut the marine plywood panels that the mattress will rest on, which will also be the base for the side cabinetry that will tie the bed foundation to those beautiful and very difficult to install mahogany V-berth side walls.

The concept is coming together! Note: Sorry about the dead pix at the linked concept article. Unfortunately, I saved the pictures in some early articles on this blog on Photobucket, which has apparently updated it’s user policies to the point that pictures are no longer viewable unless visitors agree to open their computers up to a bunch of 3rd party pop-up ads. So the pix on the linked page are currently not loading. I’m working on downloading all of the pix and saving them at WordPress (which I think I’d like to cut ties to, as well, since they do the pop-up ads, too). Anyway, the pix should be available shortly.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Wrapping Up the V-berth Bed Foundation

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The V-berth Bed Foundation Frames

The V-berth is coming together nicely, though it is taking more time than I expected. The heat and humidity in the tent is a major contributing factor. I tend to head home once I reach a good stopping point on one project even though there are plenty of other things I could do. It’s just too hot in there. Stepping outside on a 90° day with typical east coast humidity, it feels cool compared to inside. But enough of the whining. I’m getting close to having the V-berth bed foundation done. But along the way, I discovered a problem with my Eureka Zone track saw that took a half-day to figure out and resolve.

The trouble all started with my Shopsmith jointer

I used the jointer to true some mahogany boards that will become the cabinet corners for the V-berth closet. But while making those pieces I discovered a problem with the jointer fence.

When the leading edge of the jointer fence is square…

…it’s out of square at the knives

When I square the fence at the knives…

It’s out of square at the leading edge

This twist in the fence explains a really frustrating problem I had getting the cabinet corner angles right. Word has it Shopsmith may machine these cast iron fences when the castings are still ‘green’, and twist in them is reportedly fairly common. The company considers 0.015″ twist to be within spec, but that strikes me as pretty sloppy for such an expensive machine.

Jointed pine board is square

The trick I’ve learned is to set the fence square at the knives and press the material against the fence there. But since I had the square out, I was curious how square my saws were.

Tracksaw blade is perfectly square

But one pass down the jointed pine board shows it doesn’t cut square

This problem with the tracksaw completely threw me for a loop. How can the blade be square but the cuts not be???

It turns out that the anti-chip edge on the track and the tracksaw base on the saw were the problem. Earlier versions of the anti-chip edges were less rigid and they’d just compress down on the wood when the saw was pushed along. But the current version of the anti-chip edges are very rigid, so when the saw base engages with it the base rides up on the anti-chip edge, lifting that side of the saw. When one side of the saw lifts up, it throws the blade out of square to the track and the wood it’s sitting on.

The white plastic part is the anti-chip edge insert

How far off is the cut?

I measured the top and bottom of the strip I cut off the jointed pine board. The top measured 0.132″.

The bottom measured 0.107″

0.025″ off of square over 1-1/2″ is a long bloody ways out of square. I hadn’t mentioned some problems I was having getting panels to fit square, but this explains why that was happening. The whole time, I thought it was just me being a rookie!

I suppose another way to look at it is that it is a rookie move not to have figured this out sooner. 😉

Anyway, I spent the better part of an hour making tiny adjustments to the saw tilt and cutting off pieces from the pine board until I finally got the angle just right.

An hour later the blade was finally adjusted right

Top and bottom of the cut are within 0.001″

The tracksaw now cuts perfectly square

Unfortunately, this means that all of those 1″ x 1″ mahogany cleats I made out of the old to rail are out of square! Attaching panels to them without re-sawing or jointing them will put the panels out of square. I guess it’s better to figure this out now than to wrestle with poorly fitting panels later. Still, it’s frustrating to have an expensive tool betray me like this. (I know…rookies blame the tool. lol)

With my saws and jointers all square, I finally got around to cutting the frames for the bed foundation.

Time to add some framing

Swapped out the jointer for the bandsaw

6′ ruler helps ensure all the frames are on the same plane

End of a long day

I’ve got most of the bed foundation support frames cut, and the two longitudinal plywood pieces glued and screwed in place. I’ll finish cutting the rest of them over the weekend, then epoxy them all in place.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Wrapping Up the V-berth Bed Foundation Frames