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  1. #1
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    Red face Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    I'd love to install wood interior in the old fibreglass boat I'm restoring. I've attached a picture of my boat, and a picture of what I'd like to restore her interior to.The red arrow indicates specifically how I envision finishing the interior walls. I'd also like to put in a finished wood floor. I don't see a lot of information on this in books or online, possibly because I'm not using the correct vernacular. Am I dreaming? Is this a possiblility? And if so is it reasonable to think I can do this being a first time boat owner/restorer but reasonably good with tools and carpentry?

    IMAG0009.jpginterior.jpg

    Can anyone direct me to some postings or information on this?

    This picture is how I'd like to have the dashboard looking, since (correct me if I'm wrong) I'm pretty sure I have to work with the fibreglass and can't put wood or veneer over it. Again, let me know if I'm dreaming

    Dashboard (2).jpg

    Thanks for any help.
    Last edited by zoeetal; December 26th, 2013 at 09:56 AM.

  2. #2
    Supreme Mariner Woodonglass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Well, if you're dreamin then that makes 2 of us!!! When I retire it's my intention to to the exact same thing. My first boat restoration was a a 1959 Crosley which was a Fiberglass hull with a plywood Cap. They are Hard to find so I intend to find a 16 foot V-Hull remove the cap and then fabricate the entire cap for the hull to simulate the Crosley. I'll use Douglas Fir, Mahogany and Walnut for the wood. Epoxy will be my choice of Resin. I'm about 5 years away from starting this project but I fully intend to follow thru on this so, stay tuned.

  3. #3
    Supreme Mariner jbcurt00's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    There's a welsh fella that's done a wood topped fiberglass boat build around here somewhere.. Can't pull it out of my fog addled brain at the moment.....

    I'll try to find & post it....
    '60 Glastron FireFlite
    '63 SC Jet: Bedliner SURVIVOR
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    '57 Duracraft

    Money spent @ Boat Restoration should be measured in Smiles & Pride
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Think I could just glue a frame directly to the fibreglass sides and bottom with PL adhesive and then install tongue and groove to the frame? Then seal the wood with shellac? I wonder how this would affect resale value though or future restoration projects, since PL is quite permanent. Although it's safe to use on fibreglass I wonder if there is any issue with it's permanance. Any ideas?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Sounds amazing Woodonglass. Nice choice of woods. I'd love to use mahogony or walnut. I'll stay tuned to see how it unfolds.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodonglass View Post
    Well, if you're dreamin then that makes 2 of us!!! When I retire it's my intention to to the exact same thing. My first boat restoration was a a 1959 Crosley which was a Fiberglass hull with a plywood Cap. They are Hard to find so I intend to find a 16 foot V-Hull remove the cap and then fabricate the entire cap for the hull to simulate the Crosley. I'll use Douglas Fir, Mahogany and Walnut for the wood. Epoxy will be my choice of Resin. I'm about 5 years away from starting this project but I fully intend to follow thru on this so, stay tuned.
    Sounds amazing Woodonglass. Nice choice of woods. I'd love to use mahogony or walnut. I'll stay tuned to see how it unfolds.

  7. #7
    Supreme Mariner Woodonglass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    I don't think PL would be adequate for glueing the framing to the fiberglass hull. I have some preliminary drawings that I'll post when I get home. I'm on my cell now and it's hard to do

  8. #8
    Supreme Mariner jbcurt00's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoeetal View Post
    Think I could just glue a frame directly to the fibreglass sides and bottom with PL adhesive and then install tongue and groove to the frame? Then seal the wood with shellac? I wonder how this would affect resale value though or future restoration projects, since PL is quite permanent. Although it's safe to use on fibreglass I wonder if there is any issue with it's permanance. Any ideas?
    I think you need to plan to do this for a boat that suits your vision & wants. It likely won't do much for the resale value of the boat. If you do an exceptional job, using exceptional materials, they are still going to be attached to a vintage boat that has little collector value.

    If you decide to sell this boat, it'll be to someone else who LIKES what you've done to it, and will plan to leave it that way. I wouldn't consider the impact to future restoration efforts.

    Old boats are like most old cars: just old, not rare, vintage collectibles. Sure some are, but you wouldn't be considering this work on a boat that's already 'worth' $10K. It's likely to be a $100-500 boat that's been sitting around somewhere outside, neglected & forgotten. It's likely to be VERY rough.

    Because WOG has a specific boat he'd like to recreate, he's really only looking for a hull. The cap won't be used, so the rougher the project boat is to start the cheaper it'll be, so all the better. Pretty much any boat w/ a remotely similar hull will work. In fact, if he waits long enough, I probably have a spare 1960 Glastron FireFlite hull he can have for the cost of dragging it home. Which prices it out of his comfort zone, since it'd be @1200mi trip each way.

    Start looking around for possible project candidates, and be patient.........

    I couldn't find that boat that'd been redone w/ a wood cap & interior, but I'll keep looking...............

    Good luck
    '60 Glastron FireFlite
    '63 SC Jet: Bedliner SURVIVOR
    Fit 2B Paddled
    '57 Duracraft

    Money spent @ Boat Restoration should be measured in Smiles & Pride
    Majic 3/2004~12/2011





  9. #9
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    I don't want to take the cap off, I just want a wood interior rather than the old fibreglass or carpet. I paid $500 for the boat, motor and trailer so I feel comfortable doing her up exactly how I want without worrying too much about resale. I imagine I'll have her for a good long time anyway.

    I found some information on finishing a cabin with wood by framing it with plywood strips glued to the fibreglass hull with epoxy. Then glass them in with a single 8-inch wide strip of 4 or 6 ounce fibreglass cloth. It mentions you can insulate between with frames with rigid insulation to reduce condensation. Then attach planks to the frame and seal. I'll keep looking for more info, but if I give this a go I'll keep you posted.

    ...there must be someone out there doing this. I've seen a ton of photos of fibreglass runabouts with wood decks. Hmmm...

    IMAG0066.jpg
    Last edited by zoeetal; December 29th, 2013 at 09:35 AM.

  10. #10
    Master Chief Petty Officer Grandad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Duplicate post
    Last edited by Grandad; December 30th, 2013 at 12:06 PM.
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  11. #11
    Master Chief Petty Officer Grandad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Hi zoe, I think you need to make some decisions about what you'll enjoy working at the most. If you're looking to spend a lot of time crafting woodwork, I'd start by either building a wood boat from scratch or re-building a classic. If on the other hand, you're trying to improve the appearance of a "plain looking" interior of a non-descript boat, then I suggest that you consider using a "wood-look" product instead of real wood. Real wood is heavy unless you're able to add a wood veneer to an existing surface.

    A boat that's put to good use is frequently exposed to the elements. Moisture and sunlight destroy wood, so your sealant must be excellent and never get penetrated. Classy looking wood surfaces have to be protected from impacts and surface scratches. If this will be a family boat that'll carry water skiis and boards or even tackle boxes, I think you'd be better off with something more durable, such as Formica that I used in my restore of an aluminum boat. In the pictures below, all the wood grain that you see is Formica. It's obviously as durable as kitchen counter-tops that last through many years of abuse. Impervious to moisture and sunlight. Not as classy as real wood and not cheap, but there's no sealing required and no maintenance worries. - Grandad



    Winner 2013 Starcraft Splash Of The Year Award
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Looks great Grandad. Thanks for your input. I think you're right in scaling my vision back. I've been looking around more and came across wood decking tiles, which I thought would be a beautiful, affordable, and practical way to give myself the wood deck I wanted. Also, that way the water runs right through to the fibreglass floor and out the back of the boat, and I can take them up at will to refinish or reseal them over the years. They're available in teak and Ipe woods, both of which are durable, outdoor woods. I'll likely make an insert for the sides of the boat that either looks like wood or is covered in formica, as you mentioned. For the dashboard I may just paint it a different colour from the bow and install some sharp looking chrome rings around the dials. With a nice steering wheel it should look pretty spiffy.

    Attached is a projection I've done over my boat of a few different types of deck tiles, as well as a boat with the kind of deck I'd like to simulate. Of course I'll install the seating first then install the tiles around it since they can be easily cut to fit. I plan on painting her classic yellow (like the jaguar pic I've attached), which I think will look great with the wood.

    I'm sure the vision will continue to evolve as I go but it's a great learning process. I enjoy the challenge of seeing what I can do with this blank slate of a boat!

    Double C Basketweave, Ipe1.jpg
    Colorado Parallel, Ipe.jpgseats.jpgcolour3.jpg

  13. #13
    Supreme Mariner Woodonglass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    If you are just wanting to do the deck and the dash then I'd highly recommend either Spruce or Cedar. Both are very light weight, Highly water resistant and very easy on the eye. You could easily fabricate a grid system to overlay your existing deck and you could do a thin veneer over your existing dash. I personally think it would look Awesome!!!!

  14. #14
    Lieutenant Junior Grade produceguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Love the wood look.Your only limited by your imagination my friend.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Installing wood interior in old fibreglass runabout?

    Most anything is doable with only your imagination AND your back account your limiting factors. With that said, if you do jump into your dream restoration, do it right and not some cheap overlay over rotted structures. When I decide to do anything, I have to do it beyond anything anybody would ever think of doing. If that means stripping everything down to the basic structure then so be it. I very seldom think about resale value because I'm doing it for myself every time. But I also have to admit, I've never lost one penny if I did sale things after I've restored them...of course I don't count my time into that equation either... I just enjoy the efforts and the final out come!

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