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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Side panel replacement options

    Hey guys. I am considering replacing the side panels on my boat and was wondering what options I had instead of recovering the new wood with vinyl again. I really want something different and more water resistant.



    As you can see here the panel is comprised of two seperate pieces of vinyl covered plywood. I want to redo it and fabricate it out of just a single piece of plywood. I just want to try something different than vinyl.



    Eventually I plan on redoing the entire interior. Next year I want to fabricate my own half tower hard top. I will be looking to you guys for help on that project also.


    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  2. #2
    Commander drewpster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    There is a product called King Starboard. It is a poly (plastic) sheet that comes in pieces as big as a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood and comes in several thicknesses. The cool thing about it is that you an get it in several different colors that go all the way through the board. It also supposed to be worked just like wood. I would like to make my side panels out of it and use a router to cut a design into it. Then use thin pieces covered in vinyl to accent it. The down side is that the starboard is very expensive. If you got the money, I think its a good idea.

  3. #3
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I googled King Starboard and it seems great. I would need two 4 x 8 sheets so it's definitely cost prohibitive.

    I've looked at laminating the plywood but then I run the risk of it delaminating later. I've also considered leaving the wood exposed and just staining and varnishing it a nice shade. I wonder how formica would work in a boat.


    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  4. #4
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    formica will delaminate can take the sun.
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  5. #5
    Chief Petty Officer joeyplumley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    What about a few coats of paint? That's what I'm doing to mine (we'll see how it holds up).

    If you wanted a smooth surface, maybe seal w/ epoxy or poly resin, then paint over it. That's how I'm planning on doing my dash panels.
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  6. #6
    Commander redfury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    Are you looking for something to fill the void, but not necessarily something that is going to be all soft and cushy like the vinyl? If you are okay with a hard surface, there are a few different options. Plastic sheets like Starboard are obviously too expensive, why not fiberglass over ply? You can either fair it smooth and paint to your liking, or use the texture of the cloth or CSM or even create a pattern using different types of fiberglass. Lots of options, just depends on how much work you want to put into it.

  7. #7
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    You hit the nail on the head. I really don't want something all cushy like the vinyl. I started the project today so whatever I am going to do I better decide quick. I took the port panel off and got a sheet of 15/32 ply. I got it all cutout exactly like I want. I also got the storage hole cut in the center of it.

    Here is some of my thoughts. Filling any voids with a filler like Bondo, sanding it smooth, applying a layer or two of poly resin to seal the wood, and then priming it white. Then I was playing with the idea of spraying about 3 coats of Blue Glo White Brightsides on it and calling it a day. I might have the boats name carved out of teak and inlaying it on each panel to provide a design on them but otherwise thats about it.

    If it comes out decent enough I plan on redoing the doghouse and rear deck and painting it the same way and losing the carpet.

    Anybody see any downsides to this idea?
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    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  8. #8
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I am almost done with all cutting for the port panel. I still have to cut out the speaker openings but haven't decided if I will keep the four speakers or just the woofers. I got my poly resin and Bondo today and ordered some wood flour filler. I will be doing this slowly and correctly the 1st time. Just a little each day after work until it is the way I want it. Wish me luck.


    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  9. #9
    Commander drewpster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    Good to see you are progressing. If you get a chance take some pics of the job so we can see how it turns out. I have three panels to build. One under the transom deck and two more for each side to enclose the cockpit. I will probably go with resin coated ply covered in some sort of marine vinyl. Luckily the panels are flat and have no compound curves. I plan to add some storage locker access hatches to the front of each panel.

    under transom
    "Your results may vary"

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  10. #10
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I took some time today and filled in all the knot holes and any large deformities in the wood with the Bondo fiberglass filler. After it had cured I sanded it smooth with the palm sander and then applied a second coat to fill any spots that had sagged. I'm not too worried about minor imperfections in the wood because the two coats of resin I plan on using should fill them and even out smoothly after it cures. Then I will sand it again to level out any high spots. I pre-drilled most of the mounting holes already so that should help to keep the final finish from getting damaged. I want to get as much done now that I can so when the Brightside is delivered I can get to work learning how to spray paint. This is definitely going to be a learning experience.

    On the back side I will just seal it in the resin and leave it be. I might paint it with some regular old paint to help protect it further but nothing major.


    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  11. #11
    Commander drewpster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I would suggest you use a single layer of fiberglass cloth when you apply the resin. I coated the switch box below with resin to protect the wood. The problem I ran into was that the resin, when brushed on, is very thin. It would not stand up to any sanding without sanding through. Since you are planning for a finished surface I would suggest some fiberglass cloth so that it can be sanded smooth prior to painting. It would allow you to use fewer coats of resin to get a surface you can then finish.
    Also you may already know this but Brightside is designed to be applied with a roller and tipped with a brush. I have heard spraying it works well but it may be easier to roll it. (no spray equipment) Please post if you do decide to spray it. I would like to know how it turns out.
    The back of the box is hidden behind the panel it is mounted in so a smooth finish was not necessary. I coated the wood with Brightside after epoxy was brushed on. It looked rough but it is well protected against water.
    "Your results may vary"

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  12. #12
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    you can thicken the resin up as much as you like with Aerosil-Cabosil or a fairing compound

  13. #13
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I applied the resin today and it looks great. The 1st coat was mostly sucked up into the wood but the 2nd coat really gave the wood a smooth finish. I'm going to do the backside and then lightly sand it with 150 grit paper before painting it. The resin made the wood warp some so I think I am going to secure it in the boat before painting it so that it is already in the shape it will retain. I will get some pics of the progress tomorrow.


    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  14. #14
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I had to take a hiatus from the project for a few weeks. I lost my big brother and really haven't had the desire to do anything to the boat.

    I finally got outside this past saturday and applied the primer and then the first coat of paint to the panel and it did what I expected it to do. Showed every last imperfection that was in th surface of the panel. It has been at least 17 hours (amount of time it says to wait between coats) so I will start sanding it tomorrow with 100 grit and progressively working my way up to 220grit before applying the second coat. I am hopeful that after sanding and then applying the 3rd and final coat that the paint will level out and the majority of the imperfections will be hid.

    Any suggestions on how to make this process look it's best aside from starting from scratch with perfectly sanded defect free wood?


    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  15. #15
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    Sorry to hear about your brother... that's gotta be tough.

    You might try a little glazing putty in the voids and scratches before the next coat of paint. It's what body guys use to fine tune the finish after the first primer coats...
    '87 Bayliner 1950 BR 5.0l OMC

  16. #16
    Petty Officer 3rd Class
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I know I'm a bit late to this party, but I had a thought about a different material you could use, so if anyone else is going to do something similar it may benefit them..

    If you cut a piece of plexiglass to shape and paint the reverse side, not only would the paint be protected from the weather, but the plexi would basically act as a REALLY thick clear coat. then you could buff the unpainted side of the plexi to as high a shine as you wanted, and the color would come through from the reverse side.

    Another thing you could do with this same technique would be to paint the reverse side of a piece of plexi white, then place some bright LEDs on the edges of it, it would then act as a large (or whatever size you make it) courtesy light or whatever. Neat thing about that is if you really wanted to you could throw some color change LEDs in there and have side panel accents that rotate through various colors.

    Hmmm... might just have to add something like that on my boat.

  17. #17
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    Clever idea about the plexi. I actually did the exact same thing with a dash board on my old Mark Twain 180BR a few years ago. The only problem is plexi has gone up in price extraordinarily. I bought a 9" x 9" piece to make a new hatch glass out of a year ago and it cost $30.00. Can you imagine what an 8 x 4 foot piece will cost?
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    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  18. #18
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I finally finished the side panels. After painting the wood with the brightsides I just wasn't pleased with the outcome so I reluctantly went ahead and covered it in foam and vinyl. 1st attempt at sewing so it isn't perfect but a lot better than it was.






    Wanted to make the bimini top to fit in finally hence the color scheme chosen.






    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  19. #19
    Petty Officer 1st Class wil7483's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options









    1988 Wellcraft Elite 222 XL w/ 350 5.7 SBC and Alpha One

  20. #20
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
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    Default Re: Side panel replacement options

    I know this is late because you did the vinyl thing, but there are plastic outdoor dimensional lumber available at Depot and Lows that is not very expensive. It comes in 1x and 2x dimensions. Not strong enough to make floors from, but it works great for things like basement doors (bilco style). My sister just had her exterior basement door built from the stuff. Its strong, never needs painting and doesn't warp.

    The shutters and trim on my shed are made from the same stuff. Its now about 8 years old, and looks like new. Use stainless fasteners and it will never get rust stains, etc.

    I haven't seen it in 4x8, it might be a vailable, but I don't know. Just use the 1x6, 1x10 or 1x12 and piece together to make the shape. It routes great, cuts, sands and accepts paint great too.

    Something to think about for the next time you want to change it.

    BTW, I think you did a very nice job.
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


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