Finishing the Interior Renovation (Part 1)

Projects & Maintenance

Having completed the install of the new headliner, mahogany cabin sides and under-deck paneling a few months ago, it was time to finish the interior renovation with the final trim moulding to bring it all together. While taking a break from the interior, I had a chance to look at what had been done and ruminate upon the possibilities of final completed job. If time and money were of no concern, I could easily make this thing look like a gothic church, but those two constraints will help keep the design aspects tastefully unfussy. There were some minor challenges, but I was excited to get started.

Here's an overhead stringer where it abuts the cabin-sides. We need to make that look pretty.

Here’s an overhead stringer where it abuts the cabin-sides. We need to make that look pretty.

My first task was to create some yolk/fiddle pieces to be placed at the ends of the overhead stringers. These would not only cover the gaps between the cabin-sides and the stringers but add some character to otherwise plain lateral transitions. A quick cardboard template was made and transferred to some 1/2″ ply and cut out with the bandsaw. I smoothed the curves with a belt sander and confirmed a good fit over the stringers.

1/2

1/2″ ply template cut and sanded.

With the 1/2″ ply template, I grabbed the 3/4″ teak piece leftover from the original drop-down table leg and used some double-sided tape to secure the template to the underside of the teak. Then, with a 1/2″ flush cutting bit in the router I carefully trimmed out each of the final pieces. The router made quick work of it! I had just enough teak from the table leg to get the 8 pieces required. Although will no longer be a table leg, it will remain as part of the boat in a new form. There’s gotta be some good Mojo in that, right?

Too easy!

Too easy! 7 more to go…

After cutting all 8 of the stringer yolks I switched out the flush-cut bit for a 3/8″ round-over bit and carved off the outside facing edge of each piece. The final step was to kiss them with a belt sander to remove the old varnish. The blonde teak grain smiled back at me as if to say, “Nicely done, Sport!”

Voila! I'm getting pretty damn good at this woodworking stuff.

Voila! I’m getting pretty damn good at this woodworking stuff.

Back at the boat I test fitted a few pieces with great anticipation. They were nice and tight! I’ll need to customize each piece a bit depending on the dimensions and angles of each stringer end as planned, but the radii of the inside edges that will hug the stringers are perfect! Maybe watching all those episodes of This Old House as a kid is paying off?

Oooh-La-la!

Oooh-La-la!

After confirming each of the pieces fit well, and sanding a few spots here and there I began to round of the tops to better match up with the oak battens. I also trimmed the teak stringer faces to allow clearance for the new yolk fiddle pieces.

Final test fit - Rounded off tops and trimmed the teak stringer faces.

Final test fit – Rounded off tops and trimmed the teak stringer faces.

Moving right along, I coated the new fiddle pieces with some Epifanes varnish and installed them. For the time being, I decided not to affix them with screws or glue until the trim moulding is in place. As they are now, the stringer planks press tightly against them to secure them to the cabin sides – they don’t budge. Also, if i need to make adjustments when the time comes to install the moulding, I’m not married to the current placement.

All the pieces are fitting together nicely - Gestalt!

All the pieces are fitting together nicely – Gestalt!

In addition to the fiddle pieces for the overhead stringers, I fashioned some fiddles for the area where the cabin top drops. Not only will they add some boaty panache, but they will also cover a few boo-boos – much like the fiddles for the overhead stringers achieved. I penciled a nice Bézier curve and used the ban saw at the work to make it happen.

Fiddles for the drop in the cabin top made from 3/4

Fiddles for the drop in the cabin top made from 3/4″ red oak board scrap.

Nearly there, once I determined the proper angles I cut the tops of fiddles so they would fit snuggly in place. Then, using the router I rounded off the the edges and used the belt sander to shave some material off the backs to dial in the correct bias. With everything looking good, it was just a matter of drilling, affixing screws and applying some bungs. I’ll hold off on applying varnish until all the moulding is up.

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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.