1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Wrapping Up the Galley Storage Cabinet

While building the last cabinet in the V-berth, I realized that I have to finish the galley storage cabinet so I can finish the galley bulkhead installation, then apply pretty veneers to either side of the bulkhead so I can cap the edges of the plywood around the V-berth door opening with mahogany moldings…so THEN I can finally wrap up the V-berth.

It’s all connected

I started by finishing the mahogany cleats that the cabinet panels will attach to.

Cutting cleats

Spray foam insulation cleaned up, and cleats dry fitted

Cleats are all fitted

Leftover ribbon-stripe mahogany panels are just the right size

I’ve written before about the hard choice when it comes to keeping plywood scraps in the hope that one day they’ll be useful versus space constraints that favor throwing out scraps. Turns out it was a good choice to keep these long and skinny pieces of 1/4″ mahogany plywood.

Mark the cut points with a fine-point Sharpie

Use my EZ-One track saw to cut off the excess

Awesome little time saver

I use a shop vac attached to a Dust Deputy vortex separator for dust collection when working my saw and other power tools. Having to walk over and turn the shop vac on and off was inconvenient, so I use this indoor/outdoor remote control switch instead.

$13 on Amazon

Nice fit

Two down, one to go

Last one looks good

Dry fit is done…time to glue up

Getting creative with clamping devices (AKA sticks)

Next day, trim and final fit the back panel


Insulating the back panel with Buffalo Batt nonwoven fabric

Wet out the edges with epoxy and get ready to install

Epoxy thickened with wood flour and cabosil is the glue

More creative uses of ‘clamping devices’

That’s a wrap for the galley storage cabinet interior

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Wrapping Up the Galley Bulkhead


1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: More Work On The V-berth ‘Desk-like Structure’

The V-berth is coming along slowly, but it’s looking pretty good so far. I just got a call from Flagship Marine, and they say my air conditioners will be on the way soon. So I need to get the HVAC space in the V-berth ready. Since there will be plumbing going to and from the unit, unlike most other panels on the boat, I need to make sure that the panels in the HVAC space are solidly attached but can also be removed if I have to do maintenance, like hose replacement.

The V-berth concept drawings didn’t have a lot of detail

What I called the ‘desk-like structure’ is turning out to be more of a decorative HVAC cabinet and step-up to climb into the bunk.

The air conditioner base frames are glued and screwed in place

Insert (or remove) the base panel by rotating it diagonally

Slide the base panel under the two cleats on either side, then rotate it to square it up with the sides.

Squared up…then push back

Nice fit…with a coat of epoxy on all the edges, it should be just slightly snug

Final test fit for the back panel

The back panel must be removed in order to remove the base panel. Because the HVAC unit draws room air from within this space (after it goes through a return grill with a filter), there can be no leaks to the bilge or hull envelope. So every joint has a cleat backing it up or is otherwise tight to adjacent panels. The fit looks good, so now I’ll seal up all faces and edges.

A heavy coat of epoxy seals up the wood

I’m not worried about making this panel pretty. It’s a 1″ thick piece of 1969-era plywood that was originally part of a bulkhead on the boat. I removed the latex paint that somebody rolled on, but since it’s inside a mechanical space that’ll rarely be seen, that’s as clean as it’s going to get.

The marine grade Douglas fir back panel gets white-tinted epoxy

Cutting the final panel

This panel will have the HVAC filtered return air grill in it

Flagship is a dealer for Marine Systems, Inc., a company that makes HVAC grills and ducting parts for marine and RV applications. I considered making my own grills, but some things are just better off left to specialists. And I like the fact that their ducting parts are plastic. Metal duct parts would have been a lot cheaper and readily available locally, but then I’d be dealing with rust eventually.

The side to side fit is looking good

Need to lop a bit off the top

EZ-One track saw makes straight cuts a breeze

Next, I glued and screwed the top and rotated the base in place

Not bad!

That turned out OK

Looks better with the step hatch in place

Ribbon-stripe mahogany panel tops the whole thing

I was tempted to epoxy the 1/4″ mahogany  top panel in place and call the ‘desk-like structure’ a wrap, but it occurred to me that the back edge of this panel will hide the corner joint for the panels that go to the left of it. So I’m holding off on finishing this until I get the porthole window surround panel and the base panels below it done.

Oh! And if you’re looking for 12v LED overhead lights, an online buddy alerted me to these Quick brand marine overhead lights on ebay for $25 a pop. They put out a lot of uniform light for only 6 watts. I bought ten for the salon!

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Cutting More V-berth Cabinet Panels

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Back to the V-berth Cabinetry

After an unfortunate week lost to adding more coats of Imron MS1 to the toe rail, some of which will have to be sanded off to respray because of professional painter incompetence, I went back into the V-berth and made more progress toward wrapping up the ‘desk-like structure.’

Flat sawn mahogany plywood wetted out with epoxy

For the V-berth cabinetry, I used 1/4″ ribbon-stripe mahogany plywood that I was able to buy at a bargain price because it was leftover from a big sportfisher build at a local custom boat manufacturer. While the flat sawn mahogany plywood I’m using elsewhere on the boat is attractive, it looks quite different from the quarter sawn ribbon-stripe. I used a sheet of the flat sawn for this one panel on the ‘desk-like structure,’ and I have some small pieces of the ribbon-stripe leftover, so I used one to cover this panel and make it all consistent.

Lots of clamps press the panels together

A little peek at the ribbon-stripe

Next day…looks great!

The last ribbon-stripe panel, back from the paint shop

The “desk-like structure” corner molding is also coated with ICA base

Wetted out with epoxy and clamped in place

The step-up for the ‘desk-like structure” is glued, screwed, and clamped in place

Next day…looks good!

Looks even better with the hatch in place

Next, I glued and screwed the air conditioner base frames in place

With sticky epoxy in the way and the weekend clock run out, that was a wrap. I’ll be covering all of the exposed plywood edges with mahogany moldings, but that can be done at any time.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: More Work On The V-berth ‘Desk-like Structure’

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

The V-berth closet is coming together pretty well. I just have to cut the 1/4″ ribbon striped mahogany plywood exterior panel so it will match the rest of the panels in this room. I’ve also been spending lots of time in the evening updating many early articles, since pictures I’d originally stored on Photobucket are no longer viewable. All it would show is an error picture saying you had to upgrade for 3rd party hosting or something. So I had to go back, figure out which pictures went where, download them from Photobucket, then upload to WordPress, and update  the URLs. Downloading from Photobucket was extremely tedious, since they’ve gone to an obnoxious popup and video ad model that crowds out its own navigation. The ‘download album’ feature doesn’t work. So I had to download each picture individually, and there were lots of them. gak

Anyway, that’s all fixed now and the V-berth is starting to look like I envisioned it years ago.

The V-berth concept

I made the concept drawings during the dark times of the paperwork SNAFU. It’s cool to see it becoming reality.

Pocket screws will secure the mahogany door opening parts

Glued and screwed in place

I wetted out all of the joints with epoxy, then mixed in some wood flour and cabosil and slathered it on all of the joints before assembling the parts. After wiping up the epoxy that squeezed out, I left it overnight to cure.

Looks pretty close to the concept!

I used the ugliest sheet of 1/2″ mahogany plywood in the stack for the forward closet panel, so next I need to cut the last ribbon-striped 1/4″ panel to cover up the ugly. That way, the outside of the closet will match the grain and color of the rest of the V-berth panels.

Marking and cutting the last ribbon-striped panel

Before installing the ugly closet panel, I had used it as a pattern for the pretty ribbon stripe.

Not a bad fit. Needs some trimming

A bit long on the bottom, too

Beveling the back edge to match the side panel should help the fit all around

I needed to knock more off the bottom than the top to match the curvy angles of the V-berth side wall. These are very complex pieces to make for a rookie like me. I take off a bit of the back edge, check the fit, mark where more material needs to come off, then take the panel down again, remove a bit more material, check the fit and repeat. You wouldn’t believe how much time it takes me to cut and fit just one panel!

BINGO! It just fits inside the rabbet in the closet door opening

Still a bit proud on the bottom

There’s a 5″ gap between the bottom of the ribbon-striped panel and the bed foundation. I plan to fill that gap with some pretty mahogany solid stock I’ve got, which will also cap all of the exposed plywood edges along the bed foundation top.

A little hand planing back to the pencil line does the job


Friction fit holds the panel in place

I’ll have my painter spray ICA base coat clear on this panel after I’ve built out the rest of the V-berth cabinetry. Once it’s all cut and fitted, I’ll disassemble the whole thing, seal the edges and insulate the backsides, then I’ll bond the ribbon-striped panel to the closet panel with epoxy as I assemble the whole thing. In theory, I’ll have the V-berth done by the end of August.

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

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

It’s still hot as can be in the tent, but I’m making good progress on the V-berth cabinetry.

Harbor Freight featherboard is worth the price: $7

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a pro. When I started this refit, I had a fairly garden-variety set of mechanic’s tools, a really awful Craftsman jigsaw, and a Skilsaw circular saw. Since then, I’ve acquired a bunch of new tools, but when it came to woodworking mostly I was only working with plywood panels. My EZ-One track saw table has been a very good investment and it’s great for breaking down plywood, but recently I acquired a Craftsman table saw since it was clear I’d need it to make moldings. I have a Shopsmith table saw, but the table is too small and for angled cuts it wasn’t quite enough. Since I’ve been using the table saw, I have been very wary of getting my fingers in the blade. I’d heard about featherboards and decided to order one when I was stocking up recently on chip brushes, acid shop brushes, and nitrile gloves from Harbor Freight. I’m happy to report that this is a terrific upgrade to the table saw. I think I’ll order more of them for vertical positioning, too, before and after the cut.

Push stick + featherboard = nice, consistent cuts with greater safety

V-berth closet panel needs reinforcement

Mahogany cleat is recycled from the original toe rail

Utility access at the back of the closet

I want to be able to access all of the wiring, so I made a little hatch here.

Hatch panel in place

Framing out the closet back panel

A vertical mahogany panel at the back of the closet will be held in place with some visible screws. Once that panel comes off, the hatch panel comes out with a twist and a tug.

Like magic!

More framing

I plan to put a self-contained 6kBTU marine air conditioning unit on a shelf at the top of the closet. The air intake will be through the closet wall.

Back wall framing is done…time for varnish

After sanding all surfaces with 220 grit, I blew off the panels and broke out the varnish brush.

I thought I’d try a new (to me) kind of varnish inside the closet

That does not look like “gloss”

I thought maybe it wasn’t glossy because it was only the first coat. So I sanded with 220 again and applied another coat.

Funky Varathane goes on milky

I don’t like this stuff. Low odor and easy, soap and water cleanup are nice, but this stuff just doesn’t flow out like regular varnish.

Sanded and ready for another coat

Next day…this definitely isn’t “gloss”

It’s more like semi-gloss

The Varithane product doesn’t flow at all. It dries clear, which is nice, but I think I’ll just stick with spar varnish for closet and drawer interiors when I’m not having the painter spray ICA.

The solid mahogany door openings turned out OK

I apply varnish before final assembly because that allows me to wipe up any epoxy without staining the wood.

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

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