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From a Bare Hull:  The Deck (Page 3)

Sheathing the Decks:  Underlayment
My specifications for the decks included two layers of plywood sheathing:  the first layer, which would be visible from the interior of the boat, was to be painted beadboard paneling, with a second layer of marine, BS-1088 Meranti plywood above.  The entire deck was to be sheathed in fiberglass when complete.

I briefly struggled with the decision to use an interior grade, relatively low-quality plywood in the decks (the fir beadboard ply), but ultimately I decided that as a nonstructural installation, and with careful construction practice, there was no reason to be concerned in this instance.  The killer of most deck constructions--cored or plywood--is when water is allowed to somehow penetrate these products.  Therefore, I'd  have to ensure that the plywood would forever remain dry.

hangovertomark.jpg (98306 bytes)I began with a stack of beadboard plywood, obtained from the local home center.     This material, built of fir and similar in appearance and construction to ordinary AC plywood, is 11/32" thick and features the appearance of beaded boards on the good side.  Designed to be painted, the heavy grain pattern, with appropriate coats of primer and topcoats, disappears, leaving behind a smooth, attractive surface.  I planned to cut the various pieces needed to shape, and then remove them for priming and painting before final installation.

foredeckcenterpiece.jpg (98465 bytes)With a full sheet in hand, I began at the bow.  I marked the center of the sheet, which turned out to be located at one of the beads, with 15 "boards" on each side of the center bead, and aligned the plywood on the deck beams to determine its final location.  To allow the sheet to fall properly on the deck beams, and also to extend aft far enough so that its full width could be used in way of the curved cabin trunk beam, the front edge ended up on the second deck beam, leaving a short space in the chainlocker for a smaller piece of plywood.

The front corners of the sheet overhung the sides of the boat, so I marked the overhangs for trimming.  I also traced the contour of the aft end where it overhung the curved deck beam.  With the markings complete, I trimmed the excess with a jigsaw.

foredecksheathed.jpg (78113 bytes)Satisfied with the fit, I continued on, cutting and fitting adjacent sheets as needed.  The plywood comes with rabbetted edges to allow adjoining sheets to overlap in a way such as to make the seams invisible on the beaded side, so on the two partial sheets on either side of the larger centerline piece, I concentrated on ensuring that the seams fit tightly.  I didn't overly concern myself with a perfect fit along the hull, as this area would be invisible inside the finished boat, and also was structurally unnecessary for a perfect fit to be achieved.  Waterproofing of the decks would be achieved with fiberglass sheathing.

beadboardhalfcut.jpg (97503 bytes)Through the rest of one afternoon, I completed the foredeck and sidedecks to just aft of amidships.  The next morning, I completed the remainder of the decks, from amidships aft to the transom.

sternbeadcut.jpg (111379 bytes)When all pieces were cut, I marked the locations of the deck beams across the entire widths of the various panels, to provide reference later when attaching the plywood permanently to the beams.  I also noted a few areas where the panels spanned certain bulkheads; I planned to paint only those areas in the cabin white, while I'd paint the remaining sections gray to match the surrounding hull and locker areas. 

largecenterpiecepaint.jpg (68854 bytes)Finally, I removed all 10 panels down to the floor of the shop, where I sanded each panel with 220 grit paper to smooth the surface before painting.  After vacuuming up the dust, I continued by rolling and tipping the first coats of gray paint in most areas, and white primer on the sections that were to be exposed to the cabin.  Several of the panels required one gray section and one white section, depending on their location relative to the cabin.  

panels1stcoatsand.jpg (27522 bytes) I left the paint to dry overnight before continuing, after which I sanded them with 220 grit and prepared for a second coat of gray paint and white primer.  With the second coat, I deemed the gray areas complete, but the white, visible areas were just getting started.  Again, I sanded the primer thoroughly, all the time working to smooth out the beadboard as much as possible.  Each coat of paint would fill the grain further, and make for a more pleasing appearance.

panels2ndcoat.jpg (39482 bytes)Next, I applied the first of several coats of white semi-gloss enamel (Interlux).  I thinned the paint to promote flow and elimination of brush marks.  Sanding between each coat, I applied several coats of paint, until the panels looked and felt the way I wanted.  With that, I moved on to the final installation of the panels.




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