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

With the V-berth bed foundation and closet pretty much done, next I cut and fitted the panels that go around the V and tie the bed foundation to the curvy side walls.

Recycling the original V-berth bed foundation panels

I’ve had the two original V-berth bed foundation panels stored in my shed since we disassembled the Roamer interior in 2008. I figured the 1/2″ plywood would come in handy somewhere, and it turns out they’re the perfect size for two panels that will connect the current bed foundation to the side walls.

First, I used my track saw to square up the panels

Measure twice, cut once

Looking good!

Next I cut the port-side panel

I use a hot glue gun and sticks to make patterns of complex areas

Trace the pattern shape to the new plywood and cut

 

I used a router to remove some material where the boat framing protruded a bit

Cutting bevels on the forward and aft edges

My EZ-One track saw table is really handy for guiding my router and beater Skilsaw for beveled cuts. I leave out the anti-chip inserts, bring the bridge down to clamp the panel in place, and just run the tool along the perfectly straight aluminum extrusion.

This is looking pretty good!

Cutting the port panel to size

Rough cut but looking good!

My plan is to pad and upholster these three panels with the Whisper Walls ostrich (off white) material I’ll use for the headliner. The panels that will attach the top of these panels to the mahogany side walls will be topped with the same ribbon-striped mahogany.

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

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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: Aft Stateroom Porthole Surround Panels IV

The pile of African mahogany panels I’ll use for porthole surround panels continues to grow while my painter and I try to coordinate schedules. It’s at the point that I think it might make more sense for me to build a sort of spray booth outside of the tent to expedite things. In the meantime, I continued cutting and fitting new panels to connect the port side of the transom cabinetry to the  starboard side.

The overhead panel on the left needs to be cut square

The overhead panel on the left needs to be cut square

The sawsall I used to cut out the cabinets back when the refit began didn’t cut square. The wood is solid and it’s already the right width, so I’ll just remove it and square it up.

48 year-old marine plywoood, ,meet my EZ-One tracksaw

48 year-old marine plywoood, meet my EZ-One tracksaw

Good lookin' plywood

Good lookin’ plywood

They don’t make it like that anymore…

Nicely squared panel

Nicely squared panel

Original fascia panel was unfortunately painted white

Original fascia panel was unfortunately painted white

The fascia panel over the porthole opening is original Chris Craft-grade mahogany, but it was unfortunately painted white from the factory. I’ll run it through a surface planer eventually and see if the wood looks good enough to clear coat. If it doesn’t clean up, I’ll probably just cut new pieces. I’ve got plenty of long mahogany stock, so I may just cut one piece to go all the way across the transom.

Transom vent chute

Transom vent chute

There are polished stainless vent covers that go on the outside of the boat, but inside the boat the 1/4″ pressboard panel that Chris Craft used to enclose the vent chute had rotted away. I’ll use 1/4″ marine plywoood for the chute and coat everything with epoxy to seal it up.

Port side vent chute is done

Port side vent chute is rough fitted

Next, I marked the line for the chute panel, which takes a bit of a curve, along the backside of the new porthole panel.

Next, install cleats for the vent chute

Next, install cleats for the vent chute

I reused cleats we saved when we dismantled the boat.

Starboard side is done...now on to the port

Port side is done

...now on to the port

…now on to the port

Back into the plywood stack

Back into the plywood stack

Tracing the old vertical pattern piece

Tracing the old vertical pattern piece

Nice fit

Nice fit

Mini cleats secure the panel to the framing

Mini cleats secure the panel to the framing

Port transom vent chute is rough fitted

Port transom vent chute is rough fitted

Attach cleats to the marked line

Attach cleats to the marked line

Pretty much done

Pretty much done

Port transom vent chute is ready for coating

Port transom vent chute is ready for coating

Squaring up and fastening the starboard vertical transom panel set the foundation for all of the other panels that I’ll make for the aft stateroom cabinetry. With the corresponding port side panel now locked in place, I can cut and fit the port side transom porthole surround panels.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Aft Stateroom Porthole Surround Panels V

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Throne Room Door Opening

It’s absurdly hot and dripping humidity in the Mid-Atlantic. Summers are soooo much better west of the Rockies. But work on the V-berth head (AKA The Throne Room) is progressing nonetheless.

Laying out the door opening

Laying out the door opening

The wall panel on the left side has been ready to install for months, but for now it’s just dry fitted. I’ll screw the 1″ x 1″ mahogany cleat to the floor as a guide so the base panel won’t move when I glue and screw it home.

Solid mahogany narrow wall section will hold door hinge screws

Solid mahogany narrow wall section will hold door hinge screws

The bulkhead doesn’t provide a perfectly straight line for the door to hinge off of or close against, so I needed to add a narrow wall section to square up the door. Putting screws into plywood end grain doesn’t work for long, so I cut off a strip of solid mahogany that will do the job.

Good fit at the top

Good fit at the top

Bottom panel fits very nicely

Bottom panel fits very nicely, and the outline is marked with a pencil

Kreg Jr. pocket screw jig was worth the investment

Kreg Jr. pocket screw jig was worth the investment

A minute later, pocket screw holes are drilled

A minute later, pocket screw holes are drilled

Wood flour and epoxy...ready to glue and screw

Wood flour and epoxy…ready to glue and screw

First, wet out the wall pieces

First, wet out the wall pieces with epoxy

Next, wet out the bulkhead and floor along the glue line

Next, wet out the bulkhead and floor along the glue line

Once the glue lines are all wetted out with straight epoxy, I mixed up some wood flour-thickened epoxy and applied it to the wetted out areas.

Glue and screw before the epoxy kicks!

Glue and screw before the epoxy kicks!

Nice glue line to the corner piece

Nice glue line to the solid mahogany corner piece

Stubby hinge-side wall piece looks good

Stubby hinge-side wall piece looks good

Surprisingly nice pocket screwed and glued butt joint

Nearly invisible pocket screwed and glued butt joint

Looks exactly like the plan!

Looks almost exactly like the plan!

The Plan

Next step: fiberglass!

Next step: fiberglass!

There are few things that come to mind that are as nasty sounding as doing fiberglass work in the middle of a sticky, hot summer. Nonetheless, it’s gotta happen.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Fiberglassing the “Throne Room”

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The V-berth “Throne Room” Plumbing

My first attempt at cabinetmaking is taking longer than expected, but it should be over soon. The V-berth “throne room” side cabinet is now fully insulated and ready for some final adjustments. But first I’ve got to get the sink plumbing laid out. I also have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing sink plumbing so I can finish the V-berth head so I can put in portholes so the boat can splash later this year.

Throne room side cabinet

Throne room side cabinet is pretty much done

Once the epoxy cured on the cabinet inside panels, I used my plunge saw to cut the openings for the toilet paper storage and the TP holder.

Fully insulated on the backside

Fully insulated on the backside

Shopsmith bandsaw trims the throne dais flush

Shopsmith bandsaw trims the throne dais flush

Sink drain pipe needs to be installed

Sink drain pipe needs to be installed

Sink effluent will flow downhill

Sink effluent will flow downhill

90° fitting points the pipe in the wrong direction

90° fitting points the pipe in the wrong direction

Heat gun permanently redirects the pipe

Heat gun permanently redirects the pipe

Good enough fit

Good enough fit

One pipe cutout goes here

Good thing I waited to cut this hole

Good thing I waited to cut this hole

I initially marked where I thought the pipe would be. But after putting the actual pipe in place and checking it with a level, it ended up quite a bit lower than I first thought. The challenge here was that the end of the pipe near the sink has to be lower than the drain, but the welded in thru-hull for the sink drain is pretty high…just a few inches lower than the sink drain height. Anyway, it all looks like it’ll work out.

Side cabinet final fitting is done

Side cabinet final fitting is done

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Kitchen Storage

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The V-berth “Throne Room” III

When last I wrote about the V-berth head (AKA the “throne room”), the throne area was pretty well roughed out and epoxy was curing on the last panel I attached to the side cabinet. The side cabinet will serve two purposes: it acts as the “chase” through which wiring, water, and the sink drain pipe will pass out of sight. The second, and more readily apparent, purpose will be that it’s where the toilet paper will be stored, behind two 1/4″ mahogany plywood bypass sliding doors. The next thing I need to do is to make the cabinet interior, glue it all together, insulate the outside of the cabinet interior panels (we don’t want condensation dripping on toilet paper in winter 😉 ), then cut the cabinet face panel opening. Since, like many things on this refit, I’ve never made cabinets before, this should be interesting.

Clamps off; the side cabinet carcass is glued and screwed together

Clamps off; the side cabinet carcass is glued and screwed together

More scraps put to good use!

More scraps put to good use!

When I cut out the porthole openings in the 1/4″ African mahogany plywood for the aft stateroom, the ICA-coated wood looked so nice and the scraps were big enough that I hung onto them. They just happened to be the right dimensions for the toilet paper storage inside the throne side cabinet.

Line up the pencil mark with the edge of my Eureka Zone circular saw track

Line up the pencil mark with the edge of my Eureka Zone circular saw track

These track saws are really cool. They work like a panel saw in that the panel doesn’t move, only the saw does, but they’re lightweight, portable, and extremely accurate. The saw will cut right to the edge of the plastic track, so as long as my eyes hold up I can set it to cut on either edge of the pencil line or straight through the middle of it.

Cut off right on the mark

Next, I routed a slot in the 1/2" mahogany ply base of the cabinet interior

Next, I routed a slot in the 1/2″ mahogany ply base of the cabinet interior

This piece of plywood was a scrap, too. Booyah 🙂

Starting to feel like a cabinetmaker

Varnish the 1/2" mahogany ply base panel

I varnished the visible portion of the 1/2″ mahogany ply base panel

The whole time I was cutting these panels, I had an idea of how the panels would all fit together, and how the back panels (which I’ll make later) would eventually fit inside the cabinet and seal up the space. But as more of the top, side, and bottom pieces got done, I realized I probably shouldn’t have used the 1/4″ ply for the sides and top. There need to be slots in each of those panels, too–to match the bottom slot–so the back panels have something to slide into and form a seal.

Hmmm…there’s more to this cabinetmaking thing than I guessed. After scratching my head over that one for a bit, I ran a couple of solid mahogany pieces from some old cleats through my ShopSmith table saw and made some parts that should work.

So I ripped off a couple of solid mahogany pieces from some old cleats more scraps!)

More scraps put to good use

And epoxied them to the back side of the 1/4" mahogany panels

New “slots” epoxied to the back side of the 1/4″ mahogany panels

The back of the cabinet interior will be made of two panels that slide home into those slots on either side and the bottom. A solid stock trim piece will seal the joint between the two panels.

More varnish on the 1/2" interior base panel

More varnish on the 1/2″ interior base panel

Then insulate the inside of the side cabinet carcass before calling it a day

Then insulate the inside of the side cabinet carcass before calling it a day

Same as before, I cut the Buffalo Batt (r3) insulation to fit, then wet out the inner surfaces of the cabinet with epoxy and apply the batts. I use scraps of wood, gravity, and clamps to lightly hold the insulation in place while the epoxy cures overnight. The processes I’m using for the interior panels–coating all of the backsides instead of just leaving them bare, gluing and screwing instead of just screwing, and especially insulating the back of each panel–takes a lot more time than just cutting panels and screwing everything together. Sometimes it’s frustratingly slow, but in the end I think we’ll be glad I took the time to do it this way. With wet varnish and epoxy everywhere, that’s a wrap for today.

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: New Toys Tools and Fuel Inlet Pipes

1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The V-berth “Throne Room” II

There are a whole lot of different things going on at the same time, which is slowing my progress on the V-berth head (AKA the throne room). But it’s moving forward and should be painted and done during April (crossing fingers). In my last post, I described cutting and fitting the floor, then sealing and insulating the underside of the panel with Buffalo Batts. In this post, the reason I’ve started calling it the throne room should become clear.

Under-side of the throne room floor is epoxy sealed and insulated

Under-side of the throne room floor is epoxy sealed and insulated

Side cabinet face and top are glued and screwed together

Side cabinet face and top are glued and screwed together

Almost ready to install

Almost ready to install

All framing contact surfaces get sanded, then wetted out with epoxy

After the epoxy has a few minutes to soak in, I slather on some epoxy thickened with wood flour and cabosil. Then the whole thing gets put together with wood screws.

Side cabinet rough fit

Side cabinet slid right into place, but that aluminum hull frame is a 3-1/2″ high problem

TMC Marine Medium Electric Toilet on the throne base

TMC Marine Medium Electric Toilet on the throne base

I’ve used these same toilets in all of the big boats I’ve had. They look good, work great, and the price is excellent: $310 on ebay. The only difference between the medium and large units is the height and the price. I decided to use up some scrap plywood that’s been laying around for years to make a base that follows the outline of the toilet and raises the toilet up just to the right height. It also brings the toilet up so it clears the hull frame.

The plywood base clears the aluminum hull frames

The plywood base clears the aluminum hull frames

1" x 1" mahogany cleats frame out the throne back panel

1″ x 1″ mahogany cleats frame out the throne back panel

Pocket screws temporarily secure the side cabinet to the wall

Pocket screws temporarily secure the side cabinet to the wall

The back panel is repurposed original mahogany ply

The back panel is repurposed original mahogany ply

If you look closely at the back panel, it’s got discoloration running diagonally from the upper right corner to the lower left. That panel used to be in the salon, behind the steps. Here’s the blog article where I made a new panel. The discoloration is just oxidized mahogany, from where the original varnish deteriorated. It was rotted out in a corner from where the original teak side decking joint failed. But once I cut the rot away the rest of the panel was very solid, and it was just the right size.

Cutting a cleat for the curved hull wall

Cutting a cleat for the curved hull wall

Laying out the throne back cabinet top

Laying out the throne back cabinet top

The front and sides of the back cabinet top are square, but the back edge follows the curved panel that’s up against the hull. That panel comes down at an angle that matches the flare of the hull, so the cut will be angled, too. I’m sure it’d be a breeze for a pro, but it took me a while to work through this and get it cut.

Not bad!

Not bad!

A couple of temporary screws hold everything together tight

A couple of temporary screws hold everything tightly together

I give you...the Throne Room!

I give you…the Throne Room!

The last panel for the side cabinet is dry-fitted here.

It's looking like the plan

It’s looking like the plan

After squaring up the panel, it's glued, clamped, and screwed overnight

After squaring up the panel, it’s glued, clamped, and screwed overnight

On the back panel and in the side cabinet, there will be removable panels that will give me access to the electrical, water, and waste lines that run through that space Before I permanently install the side cabinet and back panel, I need to make and install the inner cabinetry. But there’s only so much I can do when there’s wet epoxy waiting to cure.

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The V-berth “Throne Room” III