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Removing cabin walls from cabin roof - help

paddlingctdoc

Junior Member
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. 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
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
You can scrape away at the cabin house veneer without damaging the fiberglass. I like a multimaster tool with a door jam blade (flat) for that, and a pull-scraper, sharp chisel, eventually a sander.

The frame for the fixed portlights--it's mostly decorative. The portlight is held in the house wall by the exterior flange and its caulking. If it leaks it needs to be removed and rebedded with caulk. If the glass in the frame leaks, that's a separate issue.

The interior portlight frame should pop off when the screws are out--maybe it's being restrained by some caulk. Be gentle, it's just thin aluminum and easy to dent or bend. It can be painted later.

Hope this applies. Do post some photos, many folks here have done variations of your project and will recognize your issues. Many options for the headliner.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
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. 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
Hi Mike,

Here is Craig's post on his panel headliner: https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/ubs/overhead-panels-installed.781/

There is also a Youtube couple that replaced their headliner with paneling. Search for 'Sailing Alma'

As to your disintegrating cabin.house wood veneer, I don't have any first hand experience, though I have very early versions of the same problem. The wood is just a cosmetic veneer, I believe, and only makes your boat prettier, not stronger. I might try a router set at a very shallow depth to clear out the wet/damaged spots first. Maybe a chisel applied with care and gentle taps.

You could then "fair" it (fill in the low spots with putty stuff) and then glue on another layer of cosmetic wood, or just paint the faired walls a lighter color to brighten your cabin. I am getting ready to do painting that with my boat.

Your windows are sealed on the outside with either a caulk or butyl tape or something similar. You want to:

1. Unscrew the interior frames.
2. Run a putty knife along under the exterior window frame to free the outside lens and exterior frame.

Here is my blog about rebedding a window. There are many similar notes on the site:

If you haven't torn apart your headliner, you may want to think carefully about doing that. I thought I would do the same thing, but was steered away from it. I just finished re-doing my 'sideliners.' https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/ubs/replacing-sideliners.828/

For material, the Ottertex Marine Vinyl I found on Amazon is quite a good match to the original Ericson off-white.

Of all the things you mentioned, I expect that replacing the V-Berth bulkhead, which I am guessing is as structural piece, bears the most attention. The headliner etc. are just cosmetic issues. If you need to replace a rotted bulkhead, there are lots of theads here:



-Tom
 

clayton

Member III
On my boat, same issue with cabin trunk sides, leaking portlights trashed the plywood. It's 1/4" teak, adhered with most likely boatyard grade polyester resin. I found that a couple of chisels or even a thin flat bar with a chisel end worked fine for removal. A thin layer of veneer will likely remain which can be sanded off, I used a vacuum sander to keep dust level down. I'm going to check out the Ottertex that Tom just posted as a replacement option, otherwise I'll use 1/4" teak ply again. Might seem intimidating at first, but once you make the decision you're going in its much easier. If your vberth bulkhead is like mine it's likely screwed in place, with trim pieces screwed in over top.
 

clayton

Member III
Oops, I misunderstood the Ottertex, I see it was used for headliner replacement. I believe Pacific Seacraft used off white formica/wilsonart laminate over plywood for the cabin trunk sides.
 

Tin Kicker

Sustaining Member
Moderator
I went through removing the paneling last year and yes it is a messy affair. First the porthole frames had to come out. Then then trim boards along the top and bottom which are held by screws, exposing the headliner staples.

I used the Multimax to score the paneling into sections to peel off. You'll find resistance to the multimax where the paneling is adhered and large areas where there is just an open void behind the paneling. Grab with gloved hands, peel back, and it'll look like this:


Use the multimax to lift off as much of the remaining wood, then repeat for the next couple of feet.

Time to put on a GOOD respirator, not a cheap dust mask because of the resin dust that will be created. As long as you are just sanding the resin there's no problem with getting the "itches" because you won't be sanding the glass fibers.

Once you've done everything possible with the multimax, the last of the paneling comes off with a belt sander and an 80 grit belt so it looks like this. The photo also shows how little of the paneling is actually attached to the fiberglass.




I didn't want to put more wood back up so went with Acacia luxury vinyl floor planks from home Depot and there are so many variations on wood color in the cabin that it fit right in.

What didn't work well enough - I first tried making a tracing, gluing the planks together and installing as a single piece, just as if I were cutting a big piece of plywood paneling. Due to the compound curves of the sidewalls, nothing lined up well enough to satisfy me so the templates and assembled planks were thrown away.


I just put up the planks like you would do a floor. They are attached with the tubes of Gorilla Glue Industrial adhesive in the photo above. Note the straight pen line below for the plank edge to follow. This worked great.



There was a slight gap between a few planks due to my goof in not making sure an edge was straight enough. These were filled with an oil-based paint (iirc ochre color)



It doesn't show unless you know to look for it and you can see below how well the color matched.





Portholes have been in and this has been finished for a while, I just don't have any recent photos.
 

paddlingctdoc

Junior Member
Thanks. I have one side down to the bare fiberglass and am waiting for shrink wrapping to take the windows out - bezels off already. I have scarfed a piece of plywood to use as a replacement. Slow going but basically took the approach you mentioned with a multitool. Found an abrasive disc attachment for the drill that was amazing at erasing all remaining wood from the fiberglass.

Still debating the headliner replacement.
 
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