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Author Topic:   Forward hatch cover construction
Vibroluxe posted 04-23-2000 10:01 PM ET (US)   Profile for Vibroluxe   Send Email to Vibroluxe  
I have a 1970 13' Whaler which I am restoring and have some questions regarding the forward hatch cover. It has been mentioned that these hatches were originally made of [3/4] inch mahogany plywood. I've seen some of these hatches that appear to be solid wood. Are these replacements or could they have been original?

I have also seen some that have a small hole drilled in the upper center of the board so a finger could be inserted to easily remove the cover. Is this an original feature?

Lastly, some covers have a small stainless loop attached to the bottom of the board, which is fastened by bungee cord to the inside of the storage area. The tension on the cord is enough to keep the hatch from disappearing in rough conditions. The setups I've seen appear to be original but my hull has no holes in this area.

I was wondering if anyone has an original setup from this period and would let me know which of these features were stock and which may have been owner customizations. I'd like to make my hatch cover as close to original as possible. Thanks in advance - John

kent posted 04-24-2000 01:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for kent    

I have an old style 13 ft. Whaler. The forward hatch cover on my boat is solid 1 inch thick mahogany, not plywood. It doesn't have any holes drilled in it. There is a shaped piece of wood with bevelled sides that is screwed to the top of each end of the cover from the underside of the cover that acts as a handle. I am pretty new to Whalers, but from photos that I have seen, I think that this is the original design for the pre-70 13 ft. hulls. I'm not sure, but I think that the plywood covers were used on the newer and bigger boats. The cover on my boat does not nor appears to have ever had any form of a hold down device, but it does sound like a good idea. There are many Whaler experts here that should be able to give a more concise answer.

lhg posted 04-24-2000 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Kent's description of the earlier bow locker covers, for both the 13's & 16's, is correct, but I believe sometime around 1969 or 1970 they switched to the Marine plywood version, with a 1" dia finger hole instead of the raised handles. My 1970 catalog shows a 13 Trophy model with the smooth cover, and I know that my 1971 Nauset also had the plywood version with no raised handles. The bungee cord restraining device was not used until later, but I do not know the exact date.
vermilionwhalers posted 08-29-2001 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for vermilionwhalers  Send Email to vermilionwhalers     
I pulled up this old topic because I have some new information that might be helpful to restorers. We just finished restoring the forward hatch cover on an '83 15', which had been neglected and was showing dark spots from weather.

This is a plywood cover with 2-ply Phillipine (probably) Mahagony veneer on both sides. For the underside, sanding and revarnishing was enough for us, since you don't see that side much, and it gets bonked by anchors, etc.

The top side I belt sanded and refinished. I was going to sand off the entire veneer and replace. You can get a 2' x 8' sheet of Honduran Mahagony at Rockler for about $60 (you can't get away with the 2' x 2' sheet because you need 30" width). I looked at it, and it appeared to be a pretty good match, maybe a little oranger than Phillippine. You can get Phillippine or African at other specialty wood stores. Rockler suggested using an oil-based contact cement (available at Home Depot etc.) to attach to avoid clamping issues. Just follow the cement directions. Epoxy would work, too, but you have to clamp. Whatever you use make sure it's not water based.

After sanding off the first ply of the veneer (runs with the boat), I found the ply underneath very nice looking, so I fore-went (sorry) the new veneer and simply re-varnished the second ply.

Whaler purists will probably note that the second ply runs across, not with the boat, and is thus not a "classic" look. Well, I like the look because now the hatch matches up with the grain of the seats!

After belt-sanding off the first ply, I used a medium sandpaper to prepare the second ply for finishing. I applied a light coat of Mahagony stain to even out the color, then finished with Captain's varnish, available at West Marine (elsewhere Z-Spar has been suggested, available from Boat US), four coats, using steel wool in between coats. I polished with fine steel wool and lemon oil.

When and if the cover wears down I will sand off the second ply and re-apply a new Mahagony veneer.

HTH anyone with a similar situation.

Bigshot posted 08-29-2001 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Tired of varnishing? Use Starboard. Have seen numerous whalers with this. Looks great and comes in white or buff.
Angryeel posted 08-29-2001 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Angryeel  Send Email to Angryeel     
Vibroluxe- I have no usefull info for you regarding the cover, I actualy need to make one for my 17 this week. That is a great screen name; that is one of few old fenders I do not or have not owned. Fantastic old amps and I would love to have one. Good luck with the cover

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