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Cabin Formica Remediation

2011/08/27 - For many years I have been less than enamored with the faux wood Formica interior of the boat. Fortunately, laminated surfaces all tend to be very flat, so they make a good candidate to have some real wood veneer glued onto them. I thought I would try this out on the companionway panel to see how it turned out. The first step was to scuff up the Formica with a 24-grit disc to provide a rough surface for the adhesive.

Next a piece of mahogany veneer was trimmed slightly oversized and then slathered up with contact cement. Two coats were eventually needed because of the slightly porous (paper) backing on the wood. The boat panel was also coated with contact cement but only required one coat.

After the contact cement had dried to the touch, the two pieces were aligned and pressed together with a tool provided by the veneer supplier. Everything worked the first time and I was very pleased that there were no bubbles of air trapped under the veneer.

A small strip about an inch wide was needed cover the last bit of the panel and then the veneer was trimmed to size with a utility knife. The surface was lightly scuffed by hand with some sandpaper prior to receiving three coats of varnish. The result was quite spectacular and I can't wait to start gluing veneer in the main saloon!

2011/08/30 - Reassembled the companionway ladder this evening. Can't wait to see what it looks like inside the boat. Only thing remaining to do is to put some non-skid on the step treads, but this can be done at any time.

NOTE to Tomfoolery's Crew: Be reassured that the bottle opener has been restored to its original positon on the top starboard side of the ladder! However, this means you will have to take care not to spill much beer when opening bottles. Not only does it waste beer, but it will also degrade the finish on the wood over time.

2011/08/31 - Spent just a short time aboard today and started to look at the cabinetry around the engine compartment so that I could start planning how to apply veneer to this are. Decided to start with the area immediately to the left (starboard) of the ladder because it is a relatively flat space and any mistakes will be hidden by the ladder itself.

Started by looking at the moulding to see if it could be removed to make edging the veneer a bit easier. The toe rail was simply nailed in place, so it came out easily. The quarter round between the drawers and the half-bulkhead (left side of photo) seems to be a bit more stubborn. I'll have to look at it when I have more daylight available.

2011/09/05 - Because it wasn't much of a day to work outdoors, the first section of the main saloon received its coat of veneer. Based on the experience today, some additional moulding may have to be installed in strategic places to help cover up small trimming errors and to help keep the edges from catching on things and getting pulled up.

2011/09/10 - As other activity for the day wound down, some more veneer work was done below. Today work moved to the port side of the companionway ladder. The ladder support was removed and veneered. While the support was out, the galley area was cleared of hardware and the stove, its brackets and heat shields were removed. The moulding along the floor needs to be removed, the laminate sanded, and then the veneering can begin.

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