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Old 18-08-2014, 10:19   #1
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Removing the Interior?

First of all I want to thank all the supporters of this site, I've found it to be a wealth of information, that would otherwise take me years to accumulate.

I plan on purchasing a sailboat (between 27 - 34) that I will restore. Since my budget is limited this will require me to purchase an order model. I've seen several boats within my price range up and down the Chesapeake.

I plan on purchasing a boat, then removing the entire interior, then working my way from there. I've seen threads on plumbing, electrical, painting, etc. I have yet to find one on the actual stripping on the interior.

My question is, is whether or not the interior fiberglass is bolted, screwed, or simply fibered in? If I were to strip the boat to the bare-bones inside, start from scratch, would the interior wall simply unscrew out, or would the have to be cut out? I'm assuming the floors would be nailed down?

As you can see, I'm lost on this part. If you could chime in with some helpful hints, or directed to a thread where this has been covered before, that would greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 18-08-2014, 10:32   #2
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Re: Removing the Interior?

Whoa!!! There Stevo!

Welcome to CF!

Now that that's settled... I confidently say that any boat that requires a complete interior strip down will end up costing you 2X-5X of finding a boat that needs "some" or little refitting....

To answer your question, every boat is completely different in interior cabinetry construction... What you won't find on any are nails...

Are you already looking a boat that needs this?

Do you have plans of sailing in the next decade? If so... Maybe a new plan is in order...
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Old 18-08-2014, 10:46   #3
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Re: Removing the Interior?

Maybe my plans are a bit too ambitious? I don't know if the boat will require a complete refitting, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes. I figure since I plan on replacing the wiring and plumbing, it may be easier just to strip the interior, am I wrong?
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Old 18-08-2014, 10:59   #4
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Re: Removing the Interior?

At the risk of sounding like a naysayer.... The interior cabinetry may add structural rigidity to the hull. The full and partial bulkheads definitely do. If you remove the wrong thing and do not put it back correctly, you could weaken the boat.
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Old 18-08-2014, 11:18   #5
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Re: Removing the Interior?

I did a fairly complete interior rebuild of a Bristol 24 (Sailstar). They had interiors made of plywood with formica laminate, except for the main bulkheads which were marine teak veneer ply. The main bulkheads were in good shape but I am thinking that the formica laminated stuff must have been a lesser grade of plywood because it was all in fairly bad shape. I enjoyed the process but (and I think this is the key) I did not try and do any extensive modifications to the design. My main objective was to rebuild it basically the way it was but with good quality materials and some improvements for storage.

I very painstakingly disassembled every piece taking many pictures as I went and then making notes on the original parts as much as I needed to so that I knew exactly where that piece belonged, and what it was attached to. I was careful when taking everything apart not to damage the pieces I was taking out so that the original parts were in good enough condition to serve as templates to cut the replacements. Then, using a router, I cut exact duplicates of the pieces I removed. I replaced all that crappy stuff with nice teak faced ply on the surfaces that were visible. All of the original solid teak trim was reused.

The only modifications I made was to add some teak locker access doors, shelves in cabinets, and backs for the main salon settees that had storage behind. Everything was carefully tabbed back in. Note that it is important to make marks on the hull as well before you remove things so you know exactly where they need to line up when you put them back. If you tab one piece in at the wrong location nothing else will line up after that.

The interior was gorgeous and I thought it was a very fun project. Most of those 60's and early 70's boats with a plywood interior would be a good candidate for this type of rebuild.

You say it may be overly ambitious, but I say that depends on your ambition level and how much you enjoy this type of project.

Good luck and have fun with it.
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Old 18-08-2014, 11:32   #6
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Re: Removing the Interior?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
...any boat that requires a complete interior strip down will end up costing you 2X-5X of finding a boat that needs "some" or little refitting...
This.

When you don't know what you're doing, anything is possible.

Seriously, even if you were highly skilled in all boat building trades, and had all the required tools already at your disposal, you would be very foolish, indeed, to attempt what you have described.

Let your budget establish the size and age of boat to buy.
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Old 18-08-2014, 11:33   #7
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Re: Removing the Interior?

Don't do it. The interior and finishing is the hardest and most lengthy part of finishing a sailboat. Don't do it even if the boat is FREE. Believe me, find a boat that you can use and you will have plenty to do after that. Ripping out the interior is a NUMBSKULL idea. (sorry no offense intended)
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Old 18-08-2014, 11:50   #8
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Re: Removing the Interior?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Don't do it. The interior and finishing is the hardest and most lengthy part of finishing a sailboat. Don't do it even if the boat is FREE. Believe me, find a boat that you can use and you will have plenty to do after that. Ripping out the interior is a NUMBSKULL idea. (sorry no offense intended)
And it takes a crapload of storage AND work space... The boat is completely unusable in the meantime... ANYBODY you bring down to see the boat in process will think you've seriously lost your mind...

BUT... it's doable for sure
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Old 18-08-2014, 13:07   #9
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Re: Removing the Interior?

Its a ****-ton of work, but as you see, it can be done. I have a 60 foot barn for the boat, a 1500 sq ft shop next to it with every tool I could possibly need, and 3 days a week to work on it. Im 4 years in and can finally start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. (also you will spend a lot of money)
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Old 18-08-2014, 13:09   #10
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Re: Removing the Interior?

When I first got my 29ft steel classic, a wooden rail on the cabin roof was broken, the interior needed some spit and polish, but wasn't in too horrible a shape. By the time we had removed all necessary parts to get to the wooden rail from the inside of the roof to undo it, it became clear that redoing the whole interior wouldn't be THAT much more effort then to just patch it back together.

I ended up being quite the project, and as mentioned, the whole boat is completely unusable during this time. Even worse is that we had to take advantage of the summer weather to do some of the big outside projects we couldn't tackle during winter, causing the interior work to take even longer.

In the end we learned a load about the boat, it looks nice and I'm happy we did it. It didn't cost a fortune either, but keep in mind we just took it apart and replaced everything that needed replacing with the same thing or with a more modern alternative.

BUT... We took a boat we sailed 200miles home on its own keel, and turned it into a floating constructionsite with no hope of sailing for about two years. Frustratingly enough, the end seems so near sometimes you can almost smell it, but you know you won't be able to sail at all until you button everything up.
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Old 18-08-2014, 13:21   #11
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Re: Removing the Interior?

If you are on a budget then buying a boat that requires stripping the interior is NOT the thing to do. Find a boat that is structurally sound and but needs a lot of cosmetics and go from there. Many, many options in the 27-34' range.

FYI the main "walls" or bulkheads in a boat, in particular the ones that go across the boat and not lengthwise, are structural and are attached to the inside of the hull by fiberglass. But this has to be done correctly or you create problems so unless you know what you're doing best to leave that alone.
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Old 18-08-2014, 13:32   #12
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Re: Removing the Interior?

all ^ guys suck!

have at it!!!!!!!

you should plan on everything being glassed in and will need to be cut out.

you will need a circular saw with a high count tooth blade, a sawzall and some version of a multi tool.

whoever mentioned structural integrity was making a great point... and you really need to pay close attention to what bulkheads (walls) you remove so you are sure to replace them.

go slow.

dont do too much at once.

know where you want to finsih before you start

start | finish | repeat

here is the important stuff...

think about how yo want to use your boat when u finally start sailing because that will lead to questions you need answers to NOW.

do you need a windlass and, if yes, are you using a separate battery and, if yes, how are you charging that battery?

will you need a lectrasan and, if yes, where will you be able to use it so you know how big of a holding tank you need and where to position the Y valve?

what about lights? LEDs? 2 wire or 3 wire? will you walk from the v-bert to companionway to turn on / off lights?

how you charge your house bank will determine where you place the bank, how you wire it and what leads you need to run today so you dont have a headache tomorrow.

what about gauges? you dont want to buy them today as they will be obsolete by the time you are ready to splash, but you do what to know what and where so you can run the proper lines (or wire runs) before you start putting the cabin back together.

heat?

pex or sweating copper (dude... USE PEX)

when plumbing, where do ball valves make sense? what areas you might want to isolate?

i have to stop here cuz i only have 2.5 hours left in the office and if i dont stop i will never stop...

trust me and everyone else on here when we tell you that however long you think this will take and however much you think this will cost... you are wrong and you will should start brushing up on your multiplication tables now.

last bit of advice... make your list with a 'required, really (really REALLY) want and nice to have' approach.

this sounds really fun to me.

have a blast!

gl.

-steve
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Old 18-08-2014, 14:17   #13
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Re: Removing the Interior?

I did this to Bluestocking, a Rhodes Reliant 41. Even with 30 + years of boatbuilding experience in wood, solid glass, and Airex core experience, it was quite a job. I would not do it again. BTW, it took 4 1/2 years to the empty hull, and back.
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Old 18-08-2014, 14:48   #14
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Re: Removing the Interior?

Read this thread to see how one of our members is replacing his interior:

Share Your Interior <27 Feet

And welcome aboard!

2 good books to get before you start are:

Fix It And Sail by Brian Gilbert
and
This Old Boat by Don Casey

Small boats are easy. Don't pay attention to the naysayers with their big boats!
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Old 18-08-2014, 15:06   #15
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Re: Removing the Interior?

The single biggest mistake anyone can make on a project boat is to gut the interior. 8 out 10 never get put back together and once the demolition is done the boat is worthless. If you are not a good marine carpenter the interior will likely end up looking amateur. Even good home carpenters and cabinet makers do not always do a boat right and it ends up looking like it was home made which drives the value way down. Yes I know there are those that have done it with great success but sadly those folks are the minority. Ebay is full of gutted boats for sale and they do not get much. A better approach if you really must change things is to do it one cabin at a time and try to follow the original construction style. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen the dashed hopes and for sale signs. It is not as easy to put back together as some think and I know those that have done it will back me up on that. Seriously think twice before getting out the saws-all!
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