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Author Topic:   Bow Locker Covers
RD7673 posted 10-18-2003 11:21 PM ET (US)   Profile for RD7673   Send Email to RD7673  
I'm new here, and a new owner of a 15' striper. What a great site. Full of useful information.

Today was the first day of my restoration. My Question:

The wood on the Bow Locker is plywood. Obviously deterioted beyond any use. Any comments on replacements,ie; plywood, solid, or two piece door on hinges? What is the locker usually storing? Anchors, line, bait or fish?

Again, great site..

SemperWhaler posted 10-19-2003 12:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for SemperWhaler  Send Email to SemperWhaler     
I've thought of replacing mine with Starboard or some other polysomethingorotherlene. Also thought about finding anchor storage elsewhere so I can use the bow locker for a cooler. I've seen photos of classics with hinges on the bow locker but I don't think there is any wood to screw to there. Would anyone recommend for or against putting hinges on bow locker cover?
Florida15 posted 10-19-2003 11:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
The bow locker hatch on a 15' is made of mahogany plywood and it does have hinges. I use my locker to store lifejackets but it does have a plug so you could use it for a drink or fish cooler.
Starboard would be less maintenance but if you want to retain the classic look you should replace with mahogany.
Contact Shrimpburrito on this site. I was thinking of replacing my cover and he has a buddy that makes them. He gave me a very reasonable quote. I believe there are a few others that frequent this site that make them also.
Florida15 posted 10-19-2003 11:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
The bow locker hatch on a 15' is made of mahogany plywood and it does have hinges. I use my locker to store lifejackets but it does have a plug so you could use it for a drink or fish cooler.
Starboard would be less maintenance but if you want to retain the classic look you should replace with mahogany.
Contact Shrimpburrito on this site. I was thinking of replacing my cover and he has a buddy that makes them. He gave me a very reasonable quote. I believe there are a few others that frequent this site that make them also.
RD7673 posted 10-22-2003 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for RD7673  Send Email to RD7673     
Thank you for your responses. I have found a local supplier that has 3/4 mahogany plywood that I will be able to use. I want to keep it as close to original as possible.

If I apply epoxy to the edges to seal them and apply multiple layers of spar varnish to the cover, will I still need "marine grade" plywood?

Thanks...

Cicada posted 10-22-2003 01:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Went through some of the same questions when I refinished my 15' Sport. Found two different types of Marine mahogany plywood available. Okoume and sapele (sp). Okoume is flat sawn veneerr, the sapele is quarter sawn. Original hatch was quarter sawn. I question mixing finishes. Maybe somebody has a good answer on that. I use the bow locker to store anchor, spare prop and mooring lines. Have to remember to pull the plug or remove the lines when the boat's on the trailer. Wet lines aren't much fun.

Paul

Bigshot posted 10-22-2003 02:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Get a solid piece....better yet.

I never understood why the locker cover is ply and everything else is solid.

minimontauk posted 10-22-2003 03:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for minimontauk  Send Email to minimontauk     
Bigshot:
I saw a number of warped bow locker covers on 15' Whalers when I was shopping for my boat. When I bought my 15' Sport CC it had a warped solid wood bow cover with a cleat along the bottom. I don't know if that was BW original or screwed on later by the previous owner, but it didn't work. Any furniture maker will tell you that glued up boards over 12" wide are going to warp unless you do breadboard ends or similar. I got a plywood replacement. So far so good. Unfortunately, the 15' bow configuration acts as a perfect funnel for channeling water into the bow locker. BW could have easily molded a runoff channel into the locker rim, but didn't, a pretty bad design flaw, IMHO. I wonder if the inevitable puddle of water in the locker contributes to the warping?
John O posted 10-22-2003 06:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for John O    
minimontauk,

What are breadboard ends?

Florida15 posted 10-22-2003 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
I have heard that locker hatches made of solid wood will warp whereas those made of plywood will not. I know my plywood one has not warped. I have no experience with
solid wood hatches. Maybe it's just too wide to use solid wood without warping.
lhg posted 10-22-2003 07:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I would use marine grade mahogany plywood, mahogany stained first, then varnished 10 coats with a high grade spar varnish like Z-Spar Flagship, foam brush applied. This is essential to properly seal the edge grain of the plywood.
RD7673 posted 10-22-2003 07:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for RD7673  Send Email to RD7673     
lhg,

Why would you stain the mahogany plywood? Is it going to be naturally lighter than solid?

lhg posted 10-23-2003 03:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I use a filler stain on all Whaler wood, whether it is teak or mahogany, using a stain labeled the color of each, before varnishing. It also nicely levels out the grain and gives a yacht quality superior varnished surface, foam brush applied. If there was any criticism I had of Whaler's varnished wood, it was varnish work with too few coats, that did not hold up more than a couple of years and quickly turned yellow. I have since learned that for varnish to really last, and be easily renewable with a few new simple top coats, you need a base of 10 coats. BW never did this, obviously for cost reasons.

Pre-staining/filling has given me incredible results, since I do not like the lighter color of varnished wood.

However, the main reason for doing this, learned from years of NOT doing it, is that the UV protection is GREATLY enhanced, and it keeps the wood looking much better for years. Without the stain, the wood underneath the varnish will suffer UV bleaching, combined with the varnish yellowing, and give the yellowed look that we see on so many older Whaler's wood. Even when stripped of varnish, this wood has to be re-sanded considerably to sand off the bleached out top surface.

When the wood is pre-stained, I have noticed that the wood/varnish combination still lightens a little, so in 3-5 years it will still be the color of new varnish wood that has NOT been stained.

15ftlover posted 10-23-2003 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for 15ftlover  Send Email to 15ftlover     
My hatch cover had the top and bottom outer layers of mahogany separate from the rest of the plywood. These were an extremely thin (1/16" or less) veneer which I assume was original. The structural ply's are more like 1/8-1/4 inch thick After stripping off these "sandwich" ends I found good surfaces to which I then reapplied a cabinet grade mahogany grade veneer using a 3M brand adhesive. Finished with round edge sanding and about 5 coats spar varnish. Unfortunately I'm not sure this is holding up well to the constant cast-net and foot use traffic as I'm getting some water stain darkening in the veneer. any opinions out there regarding cetol vs spar varnish?
hen
dburton posted 10-23-2003 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for dburton  Send Email to dburton     
I replaced the bow locker cover on my 13'with solid mahogany. I put industrial strength velcro strips under the cover and on water channel. The velcro holds the cover down flat agaist the locker. I believe that this will help prevent the wood from warping and twisting. I also have a bungee cord attaching the lid to the bottome of the locker. That cover ain't going anywhere.

It really isn't that had to open.

Doug

Taylor posted 10-23-2003 04:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Breadboard ends work like this: Take a number of planks and glue them side by side. The breadboard end is a piece of wood attached acoss grain at the end of the group of planks. It is called this since you often see it in breadboards in the kitchen. Pull yours out and see.

The problem with breadboard ends is that wood expands and contracts more across the grain than along the grain, so breadboard ends, while they help resist warping, do need to be attached in such a way that there is room for the 'seasonal' movement of the wood. Seasonal movement is caused by changes in humidity causing the wood to expand and contract. There are certainly wide variations in the humidity seen by marine hatch covers.

The Montauk hatch cover is made of teak planks side by side with two cleats (sticks of wood) glued and screwed to the bottom and a breadboard end glued and screwed to the front and the back. I've never been clear on how the this arrangement was intended to handle any seasonal movement, except maybe the planks were not actually glued side by side and the vee-groves at the joints were meant to hide the fact that sometimes these joints opened a little. This is actually how Victorian bead board is supposed to work. (note: I do mean 'bead' board and not 'bread' board here)

The humidity problem for bow hatches is that the wetness inside the hatch will cause the underside of the hatch to expand more than the top, causing the ends to warp up. The breadboard should help resist this. On my hatch, the two planks on each side are triangular and also slightly wider, since the shaped like a parallelogram. However the last screw out on the breadboard is still a few inches short of the end and its further out that I encounted the most warp.

Since I had splits in the last planks on each side anyway I took the whole cover apart and sliced the triangular planks along the crack, jointed them with a slight bevel and then reglued them with biscuits. I then added one more screw at the end of the breadboard. The hatch now lay flat again. It was also about 3/8" narrower.

Things were fine for a year, and now I have a slight bow in the other direction. Ironic.

Bottom line - keep any hatch well finished on both sides, and try to keep the inside of the compartment dry. Store the boat with something to hold the hatch open a little so the compartment can breath, which will allow the humidity to be the same on both sides of the hatch. Leaving the boat in the sun with water inside the compartment is going to create hatch with a dry top and a moist underside and that is going to make it wrap eventually.

Also - plywood can warp too! What plywood does well is minimize the seasonal movement across the grain since the grain direction alternates from ply to ply.

We now return you from "Fine Woodworking" to the "Whaler Forum".

adaco posted 10-23-2003 04:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for adaco  Send Email to adaco     
I recently replaced the bow (anchor and rope locker) cover on my 1989 montauk with one made from joined teak planks with two cleats on the underside. Having experienced the warping previously, I coated the bottom and the edges of the cover with two coats of epoxy resin. So far so good, but has anyone had previous experience with that approach...or is the ultimate answer just to always leave the hatch open a little when the boat is sitting around for any amount of time?

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