Side-deck Paneling

Projects & Maintenance

Still euphoric from the new headliner results, I immediately started making cardboard templates for the panels under the side-deck/ breezeway. The cardboard & Gorilla Tape method I’ve adopted for template-making has served me well, keeping dimensions and corners adjustable on the fly but robust enough to hold the shape. After making templates for the headliner in the same fashion, I anticipated asymmetry in all the curves and I knew better than to expect any straight lines. The difference in the port and starboard side were different enough to require variant shapes, because it would be too easy if they were mirror images of one another! All the templates were cut and double-checked in a 3 evenings after work. Ready to transfer to wood!

Cardboard and gorilla tape template for the pilot berth/Nav table sections

Cardboard and gorilla tape template for the pilot berth/Nav table sections

I opted to use some 1/4″ mahogany for the panels. With the templates traced out onto the wood I went to work cutting the giant puzzle pieces. I had all the shapes cut with a jigsaw in one evening! The following day I slathered on two coats of Epifanes clear varnish.

Mahogany panels cut and varnished with 2 coats of Epifanes clear varnish.

Mahogany panels cut and varnished with 2 coats of Epifanes clear varnish.

I was rewarded for my diligence in precise template making when it came time to put the panels in later that evening. There was only one small piece that need trimming, and that was easily remedied with a utility knife and straight edge. I screwed them in place temporarily until I could rip some 1″ African Mahogany battens.

The following day I went to Austin Hardwoods bright and early, and scored a nice piece of 5/4 African Mahogany and ripped 10 strips 1/4″ thick to serve as battens to secure the side deck panels in place and add some structural detail too. I got about halfway done with cutting the various lengths and the rough installation before I came to the conclusion that it would be better to wait until the final drip-rail moulding was installed – to alleviate any short cuts or misalignment.

V-berth and Head side deck panlels with battens.

V-berth and Head side deck panlels with battens.

So with that on hold, I switched gears and got to work on installing the salon cabinetry. The first step was installing the framework flush with the settee backrests. With those ostensibly level, I made a few templates for the angled pieces I needed to cut to marry the top of the cabinet frames to the bottom of the deck and paneling. Luckily, I had an ample piece of 1/2″ marine Mahogany ply waiting in the back of the truck for just such an occasion.

After a few coats of varnish on the angled pieces everything came together pretty quickly. With the side deck panels and cabinetry in it’s starting to look like a home again, and not and endless project. It’s hard not to notice that we’re nearing the end of the project, and the final stages of trimming it all together are what I’ve been looking forward to the most. I could very easily make the inside of this boat look like a gothic church if I’m not careful!

This is clearly a feline signal to stop work for the day.

This is clearly a feline signal to stop work for the day.

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