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Old 11-12-2011, 19:17   #1
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Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

We are refitting our 43' Gulfstar MKIi and I wanted to see what the rest of you would suggest for the following scenario.
When we did the owners stateroom, we removed the wood panels along the cabin trunk (along the ports) as well as the curved decorative walls on the side of the bunk. These are not structural and appeared to be a 1/4 inch or so laminated surface before. Over years of leaking ports and just flat out failure of the laminate, they were all needing to be replaced.
We removed them and cut the replacements out of standard birch 1/4 inch plywood, stained them dark to match the mahogany bulkheads, installed them and then finished with 6 coats of spar varnish.

They look really good however I started to worry that if I have a leak in the future this standard plywood may delaminate.

So now for the remainder of the boat, I am considering the following. I found Honduran mahogany veneered plywood and I am considering cutting the panels, dry fitting them, then taking them back to my garage and coating both sides and edges with a single layer of MAS epoxy (west systems was considered as a second choice). After cured, I was going to install them and then put coats of varnish as I had before. My thinking is that this will give this plywood a water proof characteristic and as a bonus the epoxy will act as a nice starting point for varnish build up.

Has anyone tried this, and if so, what was your results or what should I watch out for as a "gotcha"?
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Old 11-12-2011, 19:30   #2
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Re: Refinishing interior cabin trunk panels - what wood and finish

Stay away from the birch plywood, unless made for exterior use it will come apart. Most is furniture grade and will De-laminate easily.

Coating will help but only if the wood has a good quality glue. Get the good stuff, this is a bad place to cut corners as it is a lot of work to replace.

Why not use teak plywood as original? When you start changing woods like that it effects the resale value of the boat.
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Old 11-12-2011, 19:45   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailvayu
Stay away from the birch plywood, unless made for exterior use it will come apart. Most is furniture grade and will De-laminate easily.

Coating will help but only if the wood has a good quality glue. Get the good stuff, this is a bad place to cut corners as it is a lot of work to replace.

Why not use teak plywood as original? When you start changing woods like that it effects the resale value of the boat.
When I looked at the teak laminated plywood, it appeared to be a chip type composite with a thin veneer of teak on one side and some other veneer on the back. The whole thing is only 1/4 inch so I am guessing that the veneers were only about 1/32nd of an inch and the center was tha tcheap looking stuff. The Honduran mahogany appeared to be 3 equal sized plys.
When you say the good stuff, how would I know it is, what do I look for specifically?
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Old 11-12-2011, 20:19   #4
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Re: Refinishing interior cabin trunk panels - what wood and finish

Marine grade plywood! Quite a bit spendier, but it's all about the glue used.
Epoxy coating is also the best practice. You can use a thinner mix and roll it on.
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Old 11-12-2011, 22:32   #5
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

WEST is much better than MAS IMHO, and I've used a great deal of both. Swore off MAS forever, for an epoxy that claims to have no blush it's got the worst amine blush problems I've ever seen in any epoxy. For this I'd use WEST with slow hardener and MEK reduced to water thin.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:46   #6
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

Ask the seller of the plywood what type it is. You want a 5 ply with exterior glue. If the seller cannot tell you what it is then I would not buy from them.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:49   #7
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

FWIW my boat has veneer faced wood panelling around the windows / ports. Judging by the water staining the windows did leak - but the PO fixed them (and 5 years later are still good ).......Plan A is an agressive sand, and then if I blow through - a re-veneer of the existing panels (it's on my to do list somewhere around 2015!).

But the purpose of my post is to say that the panneling is only 1/8 inch - and simply 3 band ply, with an unfinished back (front has varnished veneer).......and apart from the staining is still in tip top condition - after 40 years. The key I suspect is that the window leaks were fixed (within a year or so?) and she doesn't leak anywhere else. Certainly not in the last 5 years.......a long winded way of saying I don't think epoxying is neccessary - if you stop the source of the original problem. and even if epoxying damp / wet has a habit of creeping in somehow / somewhere.

For interior varnish, from past experiance, a rub down every 5 years or so and a coat of varnish is more than enough maintanence wise (apart from high traffic / wear areas).
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:46   #8
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

This may be a stupid question, but why use veneered plywood at all? My interior teak plywood is delaminating also so I'm considering solid wood to avoid delamination issues altogether. Other than cost is there a downside to using natural wood?
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:13   #9
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

Quote:
Originally Posted by virginia boy View Post
This may be a stupid question, but why use veneered plywood at all? My interior teak plywood is delaminating also so I'm considering solid wood to avoid delamination issues altogether. Other than cost is there a downside to using natural wood?
Cost and likely quicker to fit (booboos in cutting less expensive), plus maybe weight (all considerations to the original builder - not neccesarily generating the best answer over the very long term). Also possibly less likelihood of distortion.

Fix the source(s) of the delamination and the problem simply goes away.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:13   #10
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

Plywood is stronger and more stable than dimensional lumber when used in a vertical application, i.e. Bulkheads, cabinets etc.

There are grading standards for plywood, read up on them and always use marine grade in marine applications. It's all about the glue and number of ply's

Dimensional lumber is best in compression and trim situations.

I'm of the opinion that epoxy coating of wood in marine environments is never wrong and is easy to do. Pay special attention to end grain application.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:47   #11
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

this is coming from someone who loves dark teak cave interiors...

paint it (white/cream perhaps?) and never worry about it again...
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:48   #12
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

Thank you for all the great responses. I did see the question about using solid teak rather than plywood. In my boat there would be so much it would be very cost prohibitive not to mention you would have to edge glue it as I have never found solid teak in anything more than 12" wide slats.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:14   #13
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
FWIW my boat has veneer faced wood panelling around the windows / ports. Judging by the water staining the windows did leak - but the PO fixed them (and 5 years later are still good ).......Plan A is an agressive sand, and then if I blow through - a re-veneer of the existing panels (it's on my to do list somewhere around 2015!).

But the purpose of my post is to say that the panneling is only 1/8 inch - and simply 3 band ply, with an unfinished back (front has varnished veneer).......and apart from the staining is still in tip top condition - after 40 years. The key I suspect is that the window leaks were fixed (within a year or so?) and she doesn't leak anywhere else. Certainly not in the last 5 years.......a long winded way of saying I don't think epoxying is neccessary - if you stop the source of the original problem. and even if epoxying damp / wet has a habit of creeping in somehow / somewhere.

For interior varnish, from past experiance, a rub down every 5 years or so and a coat of varnish is more than enough maintanence wise (apart from high traffic / wear areas).
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:26   #14
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Re: Refinishing Interior Cabin Trunk Panels - What Wood and Finish

I havent read all responses, but you should have ply with exterior glue. I would especially coat the cutouts for the ports with epoxy.... especially the edges. I wouldnt coat the whole piece as it will not look very good. Just coat where the water could intrude and swell the wood.
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