Sunday, January 27, 2013

Installing a wood ceiling

The new African mahogany ceiling in the forepeak of Oceanus.
There is nothing that improves the looks and comfort of an old fiberglass sailboat than a properly insulated wood ceiling.

Wood frames fiberglassed to the inside of the hull.
Pink foam insulation.
Jason, the previous owner, did the nasty work of fiberglassing the frames to the inside of the hull. My wife and I insulated between the frames with 3/4-inch thick pink foam board. Then we covered the entire section with Refletex, which is bubblewrap covered on both sides with foil. Then we covered that with a 1/16-inch thick white plastic sheet and sealed the edges with white duck tape. Then we could install the wood slats that make up the ceiling.
Stripping the the forepeak.


We were able to get some African mahogany at $3.50 a board foot. The boards were cupped and had a lot of checks in them, but once I milled it down to strips that were 1 1/2-inches wide by about 3/8-inch thick it looked great. It is just thick enough that I could countersink the screws deep enough that my wife could plug the screw holes. Since I made the plugs from the scraps of the left over wood, they matched perfectly. I also milled the trim from the same wood.
The burn marks from the saw blade sanded out easily.

It turned out better than we hoped. Each finished section has at least a couple of coats of my home-made varnish oil mixture. Eventually it will also have a couple coats of thinned spar varnish as well.

The ceiling in the main saloon.