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Advice on cabin interior wall replacement project

Jan 21, 2018
26
Ericson 30+ Milford
I have an '86 Ericson 30+ that is in need of some interior work.

Both inside wood walls for the cabin dome have severe water damage and delamination - from an undetermined leak. On the starboard side, thing we bad enough that the headliner is falling down. The wood can't easily be repaired. Also have some damage from water intrusion around the forward end of the V-berth with similar problems including a rotted bulkhead just behind the anchor chain locker.

I've started what is becoming a bigger project than I anticipated - working to replace the cabin walls, the headliner, and the V-berth bulkhead. The plan is to cut out the wood wall panes from the mid-ships bulkhead back to where the chart table and galley is. I've bought 1/4" marine ply and am working on the scarf joints to have the 10ft pieces necessary. I'll butt joint them to the pieces that are in front along the V-berth. Plan is to replace the headliner with a FRP or plastic panel held up with velcro or screws in furring strips that I'll put into place with adhesive. While the headliner is down, I'll rebed all of the deck hardware with butyl tape to try and prevent the water intrusion.

Now the question/problem: The ply side walls seem to be attached to the inside fiberglass with some sort of adhesive. Where things are delaminated, all just flakes away except the outer-most ply which is staying adherent. Where the wood is in better shape, I can't get it off at all without damaging things. I'm looking for advice about the best way to deal with this now that I am a bit over my head. Have thought about a head gun? some sort of solvent? sanding/grinding it out? Looking for advice. Also looking for thoughts about how to deal with the frame for the windows which seem to have their fastening from the inside. The outside is just bare aluminum - no screws. The screws are all on the inside and the frame doesn't seem to want to come off easily.

Last, any advice about what material to use for the headliner?

Hoping that someone has done this kind of re-fit before and might be able to provide some advice.

Thanks,

Mike
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,827
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Gotta love boat projects. They take on a life of their own and seem to procreate.

On the aluminum port frames, if these are the standard frames used by many builders in the 70s and 80s they are held in place by the screws on the inside with sealant on the frames on the outside. To remove them, remove all the screws on the inside and the trim ring. Then use a stiff putty knife or a stiff scraper blade on an oscillating tool to slice through the sealant between the frame and the cabin side. Now gradually and gently pry the frame out of the cabin side. Go gently so the frame is not bent. Mark the frames and their positions, what appears to be the same is seldom the same on a boat. The instructions for the early Sabres is here:


Replacement parts are available through Catalina Direct.
 
Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
As dlochner says, the oscillating tool is useful in so many situations. Flush cuts, small kerf width, removing adhesives and caulk, and cutting in difficult to reach places. If you do not have one you should buy one because you will find so many uses for it. The scraper blade will astound you with its ability to remove adhesives without ruining things. Good luck with your project, and don't hesitate to include pictures!
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,911
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
It would help to have some photos, particularly of the “walls”. It is important to know if those walls are supporting chainplates, act as a compression post or anything else structural. When you say “cabin dome”, you might mean the top finishing around the interior of the cabin roof...where the ports are mounted...and that is probably not structural. Same with the front “wall“ of the v-berth...probably not structural. But without photos of the areas you are talking about, hard to say for sure.

also, what is the headliner material now? Wood? vinyl?

pictures are worth thousands of words in these instances.

On my O’Day 322, the interior “wall” where the ports are mounted is a molded fiberglass liner, as is my headliner.
B641ECC4-B067-44A1-AB0F-1458ACBA7E3F.jpeg

Greg
 
Jan 21, 2018
26
Ericson 30+ Milford
Appreciate the advice thus far. Spent 3 hrs this AM doing demolition. Used an oscillating tool to cut the bow end at the midships bulkhead and pulled off as much as the plywood as I could. Started to remove the interior frames of the windows but they are pretty stuck and I am going to need to find another way to remove. Returning tomorrow with a different set of utility knives, an old guitar wire guitar string, and a smaller blade for the oscillating tool as well as a scraper blade for the tool. I've attached some pictures that show the demo at various stages. Made a template with brown builders paper before I did the demo.

I think the leak problem that led to the plywood falling apart was from the windows. The outermost ply of the plywood was soaked above and between the windows. I still plan to rebed the deck hardware with butyl tape while everything is opened up but I don't think that the fittings are the culprit.

As I look at the project thus far, I may try to salvage the headliner. If I get new ply up, I may be able to reattach it reasonably well.

Few questions have come up as I move through this phase:
1. How critical is it to remove every last bit of original plywood? If I get things down to the last adherent ply, might it be reasonable to just leave it and attach the replacement piece over it. Leaves a reasonably fair surface and I doubt the original epoxy adhesive is going anywhere.
2. What recommendations do people have for adhesive to put on the new wall? I am assuming it would be something in a tube that can be applied with a caulking gun.

IMG_0812.jpg
IMG_0807.jpg
IMG_0806.jpg
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,827
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
The photos are helpful.

The plywood is probably cosmetic and not structural. Scrape and peal it down as much as you can and then attack with a sander and aggressive paper, maybe 40 or 60 grit. That should clean off the reset of it. The last layer of veneer will be thin, probably less than 1/16" about the same thickness as the exposed layer.

The Ports are basically the same as the ones Sabre used back in the day, different shape, but similar structure. The channel is a generic channel that has been bent into shape for the boat's design. You can probably still buy the channel at a place like C. R. Laurence. They supply a lot of glazing products.
 
Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Your pictures take 20 years off my age! Thanks for sharing. Your interior at this point looks just about like the interior of an Irwin 31 Citation that we bought in 2001. After 9 months in our front yard the boat was hauled to the Chesapeake Bay where we sailed her as our first cruising boat. She sailed like a spanked Spaniel! But I digress.....

Those elongated ports are difficult to remove. Within the depths of the cabin side you might find a pink (or other color) very hard adhesive. It might be the dreaded 5200 or similar material. Work slowly and carefully. After you have removed the Aluminum trim ring you should be able to see that adhesive. There might not be very much bonding surface for the port lite to attach to the cabin side. To insure a more water tight seal I built trim rings of wood for the outside of the port and through bolted them using the Aluminum ring on the inside. I also used a pressure treated plywood ring on the inside of the thin plywood paneling that you are struggling with.

Save the headliner. Use some removable marker to locate the places where the liner touches easily identifiable parts of your interior. It should be removable by pulling out about 10,000 staples. Do that carefully with a thin blade screw driver and a pliers (either regular or needle nose whichever you find works better). Rebed, as you mentioned, everything that protrudes through the deck. When you replace the headliner use the marks to align the material then put in a few staples on each edge. Then work toward the corners keeping the headliner as smooth as possible. It might not end perfectly, but you will be the one who most often notices it.

Those rods in the second and third pictures are likely the rigging supports that attach to a lower part of the hull. That is a good thing. That means it is unlikely that your rigging is attached to any of the bulkheads you are working on. Still, use caution when removing internal parts. The water pressure on the outside of the hull (if you are in the water) or the jack stand pressure (if you are on land) might do unpleasant things to your boat's hull and that at least would make it difficult to put the interior back in place.

Take pictures for your own records and to aid your memory when you are replacing things.

Suggestion: Your pictures suggest your boat is in the water as you work. If that is true remember that most boat parts and none of your tools can swim! Be inventive in your efforts to prevent things falling overboard.

Best wishes, 31seahorse
 
Jan 21, 2018
26
Ericson 30+ Milford
Thanks for the advice. Not sure if a spanked spaniel is a good thing for a boat or not.

I am going to try to save the headliner. I've pulled all the staples on that side of the boat. Given how complicated things are already, I'm inclined to hold off on replacing the headliner too.

I think the po already tried rebedding the portlights based on what I was able to see. Lots of white silicon in place. Going after it tomorrow with an oscillating tool. The bulkhead on the port side does have the front chain plate attached to it but the starboard size uses the rods for both chain plates. Given the complexity of the starboard side, I may hold off on the port side which is not anywhere near as bad and fill the one soft spot with some penetrating epoxy. We'll see how many days I end up having into the first side.

Boat is still in the water but only for another day or so. The plan was to do this on the hard. The only internal part that I am worried about being structural is the bow bulkhead that needs replacing. I may make some sort of cross brace to be there while I swap out the rotted bulkhead.
 
Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Hello michaelapk,

The metaphor was a weird one, I agree. The Irwin sailed very fast once it heeled to its best angle.

I meant to say reinstall the headliner rather than replace it. That was the reason for making removable marks on the headliner and the area to which it fits. After starting in the middle of a straight length of vinyl work out to the corners going a few staples in each direction and maintaining a consistent pull on the material to avoid wrinkles.

You might consider using the oscillating tool to remove a layer or more or the plywood of the rotted bulkhead section that you plan to fill with penetrating epoxy. Then you could cut a piece of plywood to fit in the area you removed. A layer of epoxy on each surface and a clamp to hold the repair in place should make a strong bond. If you are unsure of the strength of the repair you could put a mending plate across the original wood and the repair. Choose the side of the repair that is least visible if possible.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,827
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Why save the vinyl? The foam behind the vinyl is already deteriorating, see the piece hanging down? Fresh vinyl will brighten the appearance of the boat.
 
Jan 21, 2018
26
Ericson 30+ Milford
Replacing the vinyl with all of the zippers to deal with wires and deck hardware backing plates seems like an awfully big job. If it was just a matter of stretching the vinyl across the top, I'd replace it. Original plan was to replace with a hard surface like FRP sheets and hold that in place with velcro or small screws. May still do that but it is slow going so far.

On the brighter side, figured out a scarfing jig for the router an have made the first half of the first joint. Slow going for sure. Should have a 10 ft piece of plywood by tomorrow.
 
Jan 21, 2018
26
Ericson 30+ Milford
Hello michaelapk,

The metaphor was a weird one, I agree. The Irwin sailed very fast once it heeled to its best angle.

I meant to say reinstall the headliner rather than replace it. That was the reason for making removable marks on the headliner and the area to which it fits. After starting in the middle of a straight length of vinyl work out to the corners going a few staples in each direction and maintaining a consistent pull on the material to avoid wrinkles.

You might consider using the oscillating tool to remove a layer or more or the plywood of the rotted bulkhead section that you plan to fill with penetrating epoxy. Then you could cut a piece of plywood to fit in the area you removed. A layer of epoxy on each surface and a clamp to hold the repair in place should make a strong bond. If you are unsure of the strength of the repair you could put a mending plate across the original wood and the repair. Choose the side of the repair that is least visible if possible.
I like the idea of repair with a mending plate rather than replacing all together. The good news is that this particular piece isn't visible. It's behind a decorative piece of wood that defines the bow end of the V berth.

Thanks for the suggestion. Will make the project a lot easier if it turns out to be feasible.
 

CarlN

.
Jan 4, 2009
577
Ketch 55 Bristol, RI
For the headliner, find white frp or plastic panels that are smooth with grooves like they are planks. Screw to furring strips then screw 1" or 1 1/2" teak 1/4" battens over the seams. Varnish the teak strips for a "Herreshoff" look. Goes up surprisingly easily and looks great.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,827
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Do you just glue the firring strips up or do you end up epoying/glassing?
Use thickened epoxy, no need for glass as it is not a structural member. West System SixTen or Total Boat Thixio is a good product for this application. These are thickened epoxy in a cartridge, use a good caulking gun to apply. Simple, easy, and minimal clean up.
 
Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Note: I too like the Six-10 epoxy and use it often. My arguments against it are these: The tubes do not contain a full amount of material; The tip for automatically mixing the parts will hold back a bit more material that can not be used; The tube is difficult to squeeze using a caulk gun when the tip is attached. When I use Six-10, which is regularly, I remove the tip, squeeze the two part chemicals onto a smooth, nonabsorbent surface, use the tip to mix the material thoroughly, then apply it to the surfaces I want to connect using a putty knife. If you keep the small cap clean and observe which side fits into the individual tube ends you can reseal the tube for later use. To reinsert that cap it is useful to scoop out the chemical in each tip using separate small sticks.

Does all that sound ridiculous? Maybe, but I do like to get my money's worth of that useful epoxy!
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,827
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Note: I too like the Six-10 epoxy and use it often. My arguments against it are these: The tubes do not contain a full amount of material; The tip for automatically mixing the parts will hold back a bit more material that can not be used; The tube is difficult to squeeze using a caulk gun when the tip is attached. When I use Six-10, which is regularly, I remove the tip, squeeze the two part chemicals onto a smooth, nonabsorbent surface, use the tip to mix the material thoroughly, then apply it to the surfaces I want to connect using a putty knife. If you keep the small cap clean and observe which side fits into the individual tube ends you can reseal the tube for later use. To reinsert that cap it is useful to scoop out the chemical in each tip using separate small sticks.

Does all that sound ridiculous? Maybe, but I do like to get my money's worth of that useful epoxy!
Cheap caulking guns do not work well, it is best to spring for the $10 guns with a ratchet. Depending on the project I too will just squeeze some out on a piece of cardboard and mix by hand. The caulking tube is a clever design that actually contains 2 sections, one for the resin, one for hardener, the containers necessarily take up some volume in the tube.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,911
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Note: I too like the Six-10 epoxy and use it often. My arguments against it are these: The tubes do not contain a full amount of material; The tip for automatically mixing the parts will hold back a bit more material that can not be used; The tube is difficult to squeeze using a caulk gun when the tip is attached. When I use Six-10, which is regularly, I remove the tip, squeeze the two part chemicals onto a smooth, nonabsorbent surface, use the tip to mix the material thoroughly, then apply it to the surfaces I want to connect using a putty knife. If you keep the small cap clean and observe which side fits into the individual tube ends you can reseal the tube for later use. To reinsert that cap it is useful to scoop out the chemical in each tip using separate small sticks.

Does all that sound ridiculous? Maybe, but I do like to get my money's worth of that useful epoxy!
Plus, the tip only works once. You need a new mixing tip each time you want to use it.

I bought a tube of Six10 this summer for a few projects. Used the mixing tip the first time, and it works ok, but you do need a good, sturdy caulking gun. The stuff is hard to push out, especially through the mixing tip.

after that, I squeezed the 2 parts out on a throw away piece off board, and hand mixed it with a spatula.

i was pleasantly surprised to find I could still squeeze it out of the tube a month after I first opened the tube. The end cap seals the tube pretty well, and since the components are not mixed in the tube, it doesn’t harden too quickly.

Greg
 
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