That´s a small but nevertheless defining detail in the course of the refit of my King´s Cruiser´s refit program: The veneers covering the areas where the bulkheads of the boat are laminated to the inner GRP-shell. This is an area of approximately 10 cm width and naturally, like all bare GRP-laminates, it doesn´t look that appealing.

This is where the bulkhead is laminated to the inner shell and ceiling. I need new veneers here.

As with the original configuration of my boat these parts would have been covered by the roofing panels. But during the refit I did remove all of the old panels and their sub-construction. The new substruction will be much narrower thus bringing these areas to the eye of the beholder. I now must make veneers which will hide them away again.

Making plywood veneers and … a mistake

I took measurements and decided that a 7.5 centimetres wide veneers would cover sufficiently the bare GRP-areas as well as making for a nice look. The material of choice in this case is plywood of 4 millimetres thickness because that´s more than enough for this mere cosmetic task. Making gauge models first, transferring them onto the plywood sheets and cutting them to size was a no brainer, although all these rounded edges demand a certain level of craftsmanship.

The veneers are ready to be stained.

In the end I´ve prepared the veneers for the saloon, navigation station and galley. Fore cabin and head will be done later. Plywood – in my case Birch tree – is a very soft and above all light material. It won´t match the Teak made interior fittings of the saloon. So the one way to “turn” plywood into Teak is to apply stain. Which I did. I went for an organic product because I don´t want to add much chemicals to the already chemical-laden boat. When I was finished, the work done was looking a bit odd: That´s definitely not the colour of Teak!

Oh my … I confused Mahogany with Teak.

Mahogany vs. Teak stain

So it was sanding again – which works very well by the way. The colour of the stain won´t penetrate too deep into the plywood, contrary to what I supposed. It took me some 15 minutes to sand off the Mahogany-colour. Which by the way was in a way beneficial to the whole project as it was this second thorough sanding that provided me with a perfect smooth surface of the veneers and nicely shaped edges.

Oh nooooooos … Mahogany-red instead of Teak-colour!

Now it was for the real Teak stain which I applied in a matter of minutes. I must say, that I cannot see any difference in the tone of the colours between Mahogany and Teak and I hope it will be solved when glossy paint will arrive. Nevertheless, it´s much better to have the raw plywood stained than having the original light pale colour interrupting the colour-concept of the boat.

Next Steps

When the veneers have been thoroughly dried through I will attach them to the bulkheads. I´m wondering how I will do it: By means of glue, Epoxy or ordinary screws? I just don´t know yet. But when the veneers have been mounted, I can resume work on the roofing panels which will be finally brought to the ceiling, wires for LED-lights attached. Then it´s mere cosmetic stuff following.

Well, the Teak-tone doesn´t appear to be of any difference. Maybe when glossy painted?

I just hope the more reddish tone of the stained plywood will eventually fade out to match the other Teak made interior fittings like the panels of the saloon. Then I will paint the roofing panels in a nice white colour, fit Teak stipes to them and this item can be crossed off the list. Also, some other items – as always – arose with working on the roofing, such as the hatch frame which is an old, worn out plastic thingy. I decided to, you guessed it, make some new hatch frames from Teak. Stay tuned …


Other interesting articles:

Making a perfect Chart Table of massive Teak

Teak Panels for the Saloon

My Plans for the Galley-Refit