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Old 15-01-2006, 12:32   #1
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More nontraditional wood questions:

Hi Everyone,

I have been nose-down working to finish the boat for spring, so I didn't want to pipe in here with meaningless, rushed comments.

I do have a question or two regarding cabin soles:

First, remember... we are creating a very unique look inside this boat. It is not traditional at all. It is like the W hotel.

With that in mind, we are trying to find a suitable material to do the cabin soles with. I measure them as 5/8" thickness as they are right now. I am looking to find a "marbled" type wood or wood simulattion flooring, in a very dark brown with black flecks. I need this to be of the highest gloss.

Any ideas on how to accomplish this? So far I am thinking:

1) Get plain teak veneer marine grade ply, stain it, and apply a gazillion coats of varnish. This would result in no "marbled" wood look, and would be a PITA.

2) Get some prefinished flooring somehow that's 5/8, but will be able to handle the structural load of a cabin sole and not dlam from moisture.

Any better ideas out there? (Keeping in mind we need to have a certain style?)

Thanks
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Old 15-01-2006, 12:51   #2
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You might consider some sort of burl. The only concern I would have with something this high gloss is it will be slippery.
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Old 15-01-2006, 13:17   #3
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That's a very good thought, Kai Nui. I hadn't even considered that, but now I will.

I am not looking to "out shine" a normal teak and holly cabin sole, but have the same level of gloss.

So are you saying that possibly the pre-fab/prefinished flooring might be a lot more slippery than a true varnish applied the traditional way (millions of coats)?

Maybe that eliminates the prefinished woods alltogether.
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Old 15-01-2006, 13:27   #4
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Although I am comparing apples to oranges, consider the floor in any home. Spill some water, and it becomes very slipperey. A cabin sole, even well finished, tends to have a certain amount of non skid characteristic to it. Of course, most homes have the floors waxed to maintain the gloss. Varnish is not nearly as slippery. The other issue with laminates is their ability to resist moisture. If they were not designed for the marine environment, they will probably delaminate in time. I am currently dealing with a similar quandry, as I need to put counter tops on the trimaran. Corian is too pricy, and marble is too heavy. Laminate counter tops are prone to delam.
I installed oak flooring on Kittiwake's counter tops, but that is not the look I want on the tri.
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Old 15-01-2006, 14:46   #5
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brainstorming

Sean,

Just throwing some ideas out there and see if any of it can be used. A lot of laminate flooring is water-resistant, but you have to be sure you seal the edges with a good laminate-flooring glue. That said I'm not sure you will be able to find laminate that has the strength you need and is 5/8" thick.
I would probably go the route of laminating something to marine ply. Some ideas are:
cork flooring (sheet rather than laminate) glued to ply. You will get the marble-look, brown with black flecks and the natural give in the material will provide better traction, even if you finish it with gloss urethane. I really love the look of cork floors and think they have a nice up-market look and warmth that complements wood without making a space too woody;
linoleum or vinyl flooring glued to ply. The colours and looks are endless, durability and gloss are good and it should hold up well in a marine environment. Plus lino is making a comeback fashion-wise;
wood veneer laminated to ply - you already suggested teak, but you may want to visit a specialty woodshop and take a look at their selection of veneers. You could stain bird's eye maple brown, for instance. The PITA factor would still be high; and
really thinking off the wall, you could use melamine on ply - you could easily and cheaply find the colour/marbling you like in a durable glossy finish, but the downside is that once it starts to look worn, the only thing you can do is replace it.
Hope this helps you come up with a solution - let's us know how it's going.

Kevin
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Old 15-01-2006, 15:28   #6
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Sean, have you considered tradional methods, with non traditional materials? A holly sole with purple heart inlays, or maybe cocoboa? I am not sure what is available in your area, but I know there are several sources out here that specialize in hardwoods. Some are for home and cabinet use, but they have some of the more exotic woods available in workable dimensions. A varnished oak or holly with cocoboa strips in between might fit your motif. If you have the tools to do it, you could do some more intricate inlays, such as a compass rose in the middle of a holly sole.
As a side note, cork really does look upscale when done properly.
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Old 15-01-2006, 17:21   #7
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Re: brainstorming

Quote:
Lodesman once whispered in the wind:

I would probably go the route of laminating something to marine ply. Some ideas are:
cork flooring (sheet rather than laminate) glued to ply. You will get the marble-look, brown with black flecks and the natural give in the material will provide better traction, even if you finish it with gloss urethane. I really love the look of cork floors and think they have a nice up-market look and warmth that complements wood without making a space too woody;

Kevin
Kevin,

This is about the coolest looking stuff I have ever seen. It is *exactly* what I was trying to do. Thanks so much for suggesting it. Looking at one website, I found that it comes pre-finished as well, which would greatly reduce the PITA and time to install factors. If you don't mind, I have a couple more follow up questions:

1) My current floor seems to be teak and holly laminated as the top layer of marine plywood. It is delaminating in some spots where two boards meet each other. This stress on the edges will continue to happen, I'm sure. If cork is as soft as I'm imagining, will it tend to rip off where it meets another piece of the cabin sole?

2) What sort of marine grade adhesive would you suggest I use to attach the cork to the marine plywood?

3) How does one go about gluing the cork to the plywood? Do you need a special shop to ensure no air in the glue and a good, even bonding?

Thanks in advance. The look of this stuff is perfect. I'm not quite sure how to adapt it to marine use.

Thanks!
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Old 15-01-2006, 18:31   #8
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Sean - you can check out www.oshkoshfloors.com/ for some ideas on different things you could do, including using some decorative features inlayed into existing floor.
Beware that prefinished often means water based and cork is soft. You may do bettter adding some sizzle with feature strips or medallions. Also you can add (router in) medallions in various metals including bronze. High end tiles places suce as www.tileshowcase.com have a variety of options.

As a builder, I usually advise customers not to go too crazy on the floor, because it pulls the eye from all the other beautiful detail in the room. We still do a lot of it. $$ Know when to say when.

Larry
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Old 15-01-2006, 19:34   #9
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Thanks for the links, Larry. I will visit those. I agree with you in not going too crazy with the floor. We want it to be just slightly interesting, but not a centerpiece. It should look mostly uniform at first glance, then reveal some grainy structure upon close examination.

Incidentally, I have been looking at the cork for a while this evening. The first link I found made some interesting claims. It said the floor could withstand 10,000 people per day (airport traffic) without any trouble. It also mentioned that they infuse the cork with special coatings which make it more resillent than hardwood or vinyl. These were their claims.

If those claims are true, it seems like it would be fairly indestructible. However, I did see that the 4 coat finish is water-based. Does this mean it would not hold up well to standing water? Then there is the issue of my marine ply to cork adhesive. I'm thinking this is actually the weakest link.

I'll check your links out and continue evaluating. Thanks for the help.

Sean
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Old 15-01-2006, 21:48   #10
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cork

quote:

1) My current floor seems to be teak and holly laminated as the top layer of marine plywood. It is delaminating in some spots where two boards meet each other. This stress on the edges will continue to happen, I'm sure. If cork is as soft as I'm imagining, will it tend to rip off where it meets another piece of the cabin sole?

2) What sort of marine grade adhesive would you suggest I use to attach the cork to the marine plywood?

3) How does one go about gluing the cork to the plywood? Do you need a special shop to ensure no air in the glue and a good, even bonding?

endquote

Sean,

I'm glad you like the cork - I used cork laminate in our kitchen reno and love it. I've not used this in a boat so I can't give you definitive advice, but maybe someone else can or you can be the guinea-pig. Anyway I'll give you my 2 cents on each of your questions.

1) Cork is very forgiving and tends to compress and bounce back, so it may just handle this problem. Small nicks and minor damage don't show due to the natural texture and colour of the material. I think one of the problems with ply is that the edges get somewhat neglected when the piece is finished. The edge of your soles would tend to be less resistant to water ingress than the surface is. As moisture gets into the material, the adhesives start to break down. As well the edges are rougher, so there is increased friction between the two adjacent pieces which exacerbates the damage. I would round the edge of the cork with a router - this won't catch like a flat edge will, so it won't tend to rip. Also, seal the edges of the ply with epoxy - I would recommend this for any plywood sole.

2,3) I would talk to a flooring store that sells that type of cork to see what they use. I imagine you could use contact cement and a j-roller to apply it, but there are probably any number of adhesives that would be suitable. I don't think a special shop is required as they lay this in houses right onto the sub-floor.

I wouldn't worry about the water-based finish. I would guess it's a urethane, and I know that once the water-based urethanes are cured (that can take several days) they are as waterproof as their oil-based counterparts. The added advantages are that the water-based finishes tend to stay clear, where the oil finishes have an amber hue, and you can refinish your soles in place without stinking up the boat.

Sorry I couldn't give you more first-hand advice, but I think you should probably get the answers you need if you ask at a couple of flooring stores. Cork is getting used more and more in bathrooms and kitchens and foyers, so it handles moisture and heavy use. I have no doubt it will look awesome on your boat.

Kevin
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Old 15-01-2006, 23:31   #11
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Hi Sean, I would recommend routing out the existing joins in the floor and filling with epoxy (as wet as possible). If there is any movement in these joints it will show through onto the cork tiles. About the only other option I know of is to completely cover the floor with thin hardboard glued & stapled in place before placing tiles.
Regarding marine ply. In NZ marine ply is not treated but gains its "marine" rating by now having any gaps in the sheets, i.e. joins, knot holes. After advice from wooden boat builders and repairers in the past I now go for treated ply and hand pick the sheets myself. Better and cheaper, not often something you hear in relation to boats.
Having said all that, I prefer to be able to weld whatever I work with, my woodworking skills are cr%#.
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Old 16-01-2006, 02:22   #12
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A true Marine grade has a No. stamped on it. BS1088. I use Maranti. I can get 18mm sheets with no stamp for $80.00 a sheet (cheaper than pine) and the exact same stuff with the No. stamped on for over $200.00 sheet. I love using Maranti as it is very straight and stable. Just watch the splinters.
Hey Pete, I sent you an Email, but may have done it wrong. Did you get it??
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Old 16-01-2006, 03:02   #13
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Alan, I've PM'd you my address
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Old 16-01-2006, 18:30   #14
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Quote:
pwederell once whispered in the wind:
Hi Sean, I would recommend routing out the existing joins in the floor and filling with epoxy (as wet as possible). If there is any movement in these joints it will show through onto the cork tiles. About the only other option I know of is to completely cover the floor with thin hardboard glued & stapled in place before placing tiles.
Regarding marine ply. In NZ marine ply is not treated but gains its "marine" rating by now having any gaps in the sheets, i.e. joins, knot holes. After advice from wooden boat builders and repairers in the past I now go for treated ply and hand pick the sheets myself. Better and cheaper, not often something you hear in relation to boats.
Having said all that, I prefer to be able to weld whatever I work with, my woodworking skills are cr%#.
This is another great idea. Thanks. I was thinking I would have to purchase all new plywood, but this may not be the case at all. I like this method of fixing the existing floor and then just replcing the 2 boards that have some flex to them.

Ahhh... I share your woodworking illiteracy. Hence, so many basic questions on my part.

If any of you know the Simpsons and can picture the episode where Homer tries building a doghouse, a spice rack, etc... you have seen my woodworking skills... ha ha ha.

Thank god all I'm doing are dummy jobs like sanding and laying down new flooring. It's in the building that I fail so miserably.
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