Panel Headliner

Panel Headliner

Joined: January 1st, 2007, 9:46 pm

February 15th, 2010, 8:54 pm #1

All,

I am about to replace the headliner in Trishna (1969 38' Commander Express) and have decided to use panels... three of them across the cabin. I will deal with the vberth after the main cabin is complete. I would really appreciate your guidance before diving into this project.

First, I have seen many folks refer to "door skins" as the best material for paneling. I live in Vienna, Virgina and have been unable to find this product anywhere! Tart Lumber, Smoot Lumber, local hardwood supplier, big box stores, etc. Is it worth tracking down? If so, where would I find it? Oh... the widest portion of the headliner is roughly 8' 6", so this would need to be a 9' or 10' product or my design altered.

If not "door skins", then what? Fir plywood? FRP? What product, in your humble opinion, balances cost with performance? Why? I suspect folks differ on this one. I would be OK with replacing a panel, for example, if it were damaged by water and the panel material cost were cheap. Thickness (1/8", 1/4")? Type of wood/material? I'm down the rabbit hole with all these options...

I'm thinking about insulating behind the panels with XPS (or similar) rigid insulation. It looks like I can fit between 1-1.5" inches into the voids between stringers. Do you think it will help? Does anyone have real-world experience with this? I'd like to know if it's worth the effort.

My first mate strongly prefers the unperforated headliner. I'm ambivalent and intend to support her. If ventilation through the headliner is so important, why are there boats with unperforated headliners? If the headliner is not perforated, there's no reason to perforate the panel (or buy perforated hardboard, for example), right?

I've seen many recommendations to use foam-backed headliner when mounting to panels, and plan to do the same.

I'm planning on cutting three (large) panels. Beyond using the existing headliner as a template, are there any tips or tricks to marking/cutting the panels to a tight fit?

Once the panel is cut to shape, I'll stretch the foam/vinyl headliner over it, staple with monel staples and mount the panels with 3M duo lock. Finally, I'll trim around the edges and across the two seams - making the trim removeable where need be to simplify maintenance.

Thanks,
Scott
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Paul
Paul

February 15th, 2010, 9:26 pm #2

Hi Scott,

I think Home Depot actually had this stuff available awhile back, as I laminated a bunch of mahogany veneer to pine lumber when I did my library and it turned out great.

I would really suggest you get a 4x8 sheet of the stuff, actually I think it comes smaller, and put it outside to see how it behaves. The stuff has no really standard spec so it could be good or bad, depending on which part of the world it's coming from today.

If it stays reasonably straight and won't warp or bubble, then you can coat both sides and more on. Otherwise if you get a bad spec and it just explodes with a little water, you may well want to invest in a 1/4" true marine plywood, available from numerous sources worldwide. The stuff is expensive, but no where near as expensive as the time it will take to install it and finish it.

As for the perforated headliner, the perforations are there to help it breathe in the marine environment. I would go with the perforations. This also brings up the idea of some vent plugs to allow the wood panel headliner breathe too. You know they make some quarter size brass vents that could be installed, but hey, don't want to affect your plans, just have a phobia about water intrusion and unvented spaces.

Regards,

Best,

Paul
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Scott Cadle
Scott Cadle

February 15th, 2010, 10:30 pm #3

Paul,

Thanks... all opnions and advice are appreciated. I tried Home Depot (and Lowes) and couldn't find anything that looks like the right product. When I spoke to the associates, they had never heard of "door skins," hence my plea for help here.

I like your suggestion about leaving a panel outside to see how stable it is. Great tip! If not marine rated, I'll be sure to use Smith's CPES or similar. Good stuff.

If I went with a 4x8 panel, however, I'd have to make more (smaller) panels (since the overhead is 8' 6" wide) or find a way to join the shorter pieces... something I haven't done before with thin plywood. Were you thinking that there should be more small panels rather than 3 large ones?

Thanks,
Scott

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Paul
Paul

February 15th, 2010, 10:49 pm #4

The day I found the door skin at Home Depot I thought I hit a gold mine. My entire libarary and office is lined with the stuff, even the shelving is lined with it with hardwood edges. Even the paneling behind the shelving is door skin, all stained and varnished and it looks like a million dollars.

The fact that the associates at Home Depot never heard of "door skin" says a lot. Better hunt elsewhere.

I think it's available commercially, check with some of the large plywood suppliers in your area. I had a piece of it outside for a while, and the darn stuff looked very stable, still looks good.

Regarding the length of the pieces you mentioned, no, I did not give that any thought but the fewer generally the better. I know the marine ply is available in longer lengths than 8 feet, but the door skin stuff is "door sized".

Regards,

Best,

Paul
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Joined: October 17th, 2008, 6:09 am

February 16th, 2010, 12:05 am #5

All,

I am about to replace the headliner in Trishna (1969 38' Commander Express) and have decided to use panels... three of them across the cabin. I will deal with the vberth after the main cabin is complete. I would really appreciate your guidance before diving into this project.

First, I have seen many folks refer to "door skins" as the best material for paneling. I live in Vienna, Virgina and have been unable to find this product anywhere! Tart Lumber, Smoot Lumber, local hardwood supplier, big box stores, etc. Is it worth tracking down? If so, where would I find it? Oh... the widest portion of the headliner is roughly 8' 6", so this would need to be a 9' or 10' product or my design altered.

If not "door skins", then what? Fir plywood? FRP? What product, in your humble opinion, balances cost with performance? Why? I suspect folks differ on this one. I would be OK with replacing a panel, for example, if it were damaged by water and the panel material cost were cheap. Thickness (1/8", 1/4")? Type of wood/material? I'm down the rabbit hole with all these options...

I'm thinking about insulating behind the panels with XPS (or similar) rigid insulation. It looks like I can fit between 1-1.5" inches into the voids between stringers. Do you think it will help? Does anyone have real-world experience with this? I'd like to know if it's worth the effort.

My first mate strongly prefers the unperforated headliner. I'm ambivalent and intend to support her. If ventilation through the headliner is so important, why are there boats with unperforated headliners? If the headliner is not perforated, there's no reason to perforate the panel (or buy perforated hardboard, for example), right?

I've seen many recommendations to use foam-backed headliner when mounting to panels, and plan to do the same.

I'm planning on cutting three (large) panels. Beyond using the existing headliner as a template, are there any tips or tricks to marking/cutting the panels to a tight fit?

Once the panel is cut to shape, I'll stretch the foam/vinyl headliner over it, staple with monel staples and mount the panels with 3M duo lock. Finally, I'll trim around the edges and across the two seams - making the trim removeable where need be to simplify maintenance.

Thanks,
Scott
Look for threads on this forum for 'Paramount's' restoration. Norm has a really nice process which I'm doing on my 31' Express. 'Door Skin' after some back and forth with Norm, means 3/8" marine grade plywood. He didn't even stipulate marine grade, but as leaky as my old boat is and as new at old boat restoration as I am, I'm not taking anything for granted and am going with marine grade. The pictures he's posted from Paramount show a beautiful installation that looks 'factory' clean.

Home Depot & Lowes have the right size plywood, but it's not marine grade, at least here in central TX it isn't. If you have a source for hardwoods in your area, I'd guess they carry the type of plywood you're going to want.

Good luck and take pictures for us.

Thanks!

Kevin Bray
'06 CC Launch 22
FXA-31-4049
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Joined: May 25th, 2009, 11:34 pm

February 16th, 2010, 12:16 am #6

The day I found the door skin at Home Depot I thought I hit a gold mine. My entire libarary and office is lined with the stuff, even the shelving is lined with it with hardwood edges. Even the paneling behind the shelving is door skin, all stained and varnished and it looks like a million dollars.

The fact that the associates at Home Depot never heard of "door skin" says a lot. Better hunt elsewhere.

I think it's available commercially, check with some of the large plywood suppliers in your area. I had a piece of it outside for a while, and the darn stuff looked very stable, still looks good.

Regarding the length of the pieces you mentioned, no, I did not give that any thought but the fewer generally the better. I know the marine ply is available in longer lengths than 8 feet, but the door skin stuff is "door sized".

Regards,

Best,

Paul
www.westwindhardwood.com

Hi Scott

Check out the above site under plywood, look under "Cabinet Grade Plywood". We used the 6mm thick Philippine Mahogany Plywood, The standard sheet size is 4X8, but you can get 4X10 sheets for $59.00 each. The 1/4" 4X8 is $21. a sheet, so just get the big sheets for where you need the width! Marine ply isn't that much more expensive at $110. per sheet for the 4X8 6mm, and $120. for the 3/8" or 9mm but I don't know about bigger sheet sizes.

The folks at Westwind are really helpful, I'm sure they would reveal their source for the 4X10 sheets so you can track them down locally. They think this is suitable for headliner usage, they would not recommend it for decking etc.

The local lumber yard charges me $20 to deliver 3 blocks, Westwind sends it from Vancouver Island (20 miles and a ferry ride) and charges me $20. very reasonable company!

Check the fit of your panels before you cover them. The foam and fabric squish down pretty tight, so don't allow for a lot of extra space between the panels.

Good luck finding the bigger sheet size! They are made!

Norm


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Joined: May 25th, 2009, 11:34 pm

February 16th, 2010, 12:37 am #7

Look for threads on this forum for 'Paramount's' restoration. Norm has a really nice process which I'm doing on my 31' Express. 'Door Skin' after some back and forth with Norm, means 3/8" marine grade plywood. He didn't even stipulate marine grade, but as leaky as my old boat is and as new at old boat restoration as I am, I'm not taking anything for granted and am going with marine grade. The pictures he's posted from Paramount show a beautiful installation that looks 'factory' clean.

Home Depot & Lowes have the right size plywood, but it's not marine grade, at least here in central TX it isn't. If you have a source for hardwoods in your area, I'd guess they carry the type of plywood you're going to want.

Good luck and take pictures for us.

Thanks!

Kevin Bray
'06 CC Launch 22
FXA-31-4049
Doug at Blue Ocean Yacht Services is the master that has taught me the very little that I do know. He tends to the nicest boats in the Vancouver area and has done so for 40 (Gulp) years there are a couple that he has looked after since they were bought new in the 70's and now he looks after them for the original owner's grown children.

Kevin, if you re-bed everything really well, make sure there are no leaks, test with a hose after everything is stuck back on. There isn't that much bling on the cabin top, hand rails and mast? Seal em up and you should be good for 20 years or until you have to re-chrome, because you have polished her to death. LoL

The marine ply isn't much more expensive, but I'm not sure if there are 4X10 sheets? Are you OK with the 8' width in your 31'?

It is a very forgiving process, as long as you test fit them well before you cover them. The sides are hidden behind the long valance boards inside the cabin, and with strips of wood between the panels you can hide gaps etc.

It makes a huge difference to the brightness and freshness of an old gal.



There is room for insulation and it really warmed up Paramount's cabins.


Have fun!

Norm
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Steve
Steve

February 16th, 2010, 1:08 am #8

I like the idea of the plywood wrapped headliner panels but has anyone considered or done them in finished wood? I've kicked the idea around of redoing mine and finishing the mahogany panels in a gloss with teak batten trim at the edges and betwen panels. It may sound like it could darken up the interior but its not like there aren't enough windows in these Commanders, just a thought.
Steve Lendzion
'69 42' Commander
Bear Z Girl
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Scott Cadle
Scott Cadle

February 16th, 2010, 2:08 am #9

Steve,

I had considered finishing the wood but decided against it for the reason you mentioned... I feared it would be too dark. Were the interior finished in baltic birch or some other light wood, I might have chosen otherwise.

Scott

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Scott Cadle
Scott Cadle

February 16th, 2010, 2:13 am #10

The day I found the door skin at Home Depot I thought I hit a gold mine. My entire libarary and office is lined with the stuff, even the shelving is lined with it with hardwood edges. Even the paneling behind the shelving is door skin, all stained and varnished and it looks like a million dollars.

The fact that the associates at Home Depot never heard of "door skin" says a lot. Better hunt elsewhere.

I think it's available commercially, check with some of the large plywood suppliers in your area. I had a piece of it outside for a while, and the darn stuff looked very stable, still looks good.

Regarding the length of the pieces you mentioned, no, I did not give that any thought but the fewer generally the better. I know the marine ply is available in longer lengths than 8 feet, but the door skin stuff is "door sized".

Regards,

Best,

Paul
Wow! You sure put that to good use! I can see why... I had some 3mm marine grade sapele (used in refinishing the vberth) that was gorgeous. It made me think of all sorts of projects!
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