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Author Topic:   Console Rebuilding Tips
Kolbert posted 03-06-2002 12:49 PM ET (US)   Profile for Kolbert   Send Email to Kolbert  
I have just started a rebuilding project on a wood console and seat for a 71' Nauset and wanted to get some feedback from others who have previously taken on this endeavor. The original console has been taken apart and will be used as a template. The plywood was in bad shape and will be totally replaced. I plan on re-using the solid pieces and framing depending on their condition.

Any tips or red flags for the job? A Boston area dealer of marine plywood (Boulter Plywood ) has all of the wood but they have 2 different versions of mahogany, what type? What adhesive or glue is typically used?

What modifications would or did you make? I saw a picture on cetacea (how do you pronounce this?) of a restore that had a low seat infront of the console, pretty neat for small kids. What do you think of going with a smoke plexi windshield? If I stay with the original type windshield, is the gasket reusable and if not, where would I get a new one.

I appreciate all of your assistance.


OutrageMan posted 03-06-2002 01:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
You do not say what types of plywood are available. I would recomend marine grade luan or oakume.

For adhesives, use recorcinol. Epoxy will work too, but it does have a reutation of delaminating over time.

For finishing, I wrote an essay about this. You can see it @


Tom W Clark posted 03-06-2002 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Based on the choices from Boulter Plywood ( ) I would suggest either the Marine grade plain sawn Honduras mahogany or the Ribbon Stripe African mahogany. In general Honduras mahogany is what Whaler used. Looking at the factory drawings for this console ribbon stripe is specified for some parts, though the exact specie is not. I do not believe Whaler used Lauan (Philippine mahogany) but it would work as well.

I have the factory console drawings in a PDF format I can email you if you like. It includes the plans for the seat in front of the console if you choose to add it. It is a nice addition.

I would discourage you from using plexiglass on the console windshield. Just go to a glass shop and have new lites made from safety glass or tempered glass (or both) The glazing strip is still available form the manufacturer, Petro Plastics. Read about them here:

You are undertaking a substantial project. Good luck and have fun.

Kolbert posted 03-06-2002 02:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kolbert  Send Email to Kolbert     
Thanks for the info. Please e-mail me the pdf plans for the console w/ seat, that would be most helpful.
lhg posted 03-06-2002 11:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom W - Believe me, Whaler used Philippine Mahogany marine plywood and solid wood in the consoles, seats etc. I built this entire package from scratch (picture in Refernece section), and that is what I used. The owners manual and various catalogs also indicate Philippine. I always thought luan was a lower grade of wood than Philippine. Honduran mahogany was a more expensive, and darker, grade of wood in those days, and was not used.
Tom W Clark posted 03-07-2002 12:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

You may have used Lauan to build your components with but I have never seen anything indicating Whaler used the stuff. If they did then my respect for Dick Fisher just slipped a notch.

Lauan (a.k.a. Luan, Philippine mahogany) is not mahogany at all. The term used to apply mostly to several of the Shorea species but have now come to be applied to several dozen different tropical hardwoods that can be got for cheap from rain forest countries. The term "Philippine Mahogany" was contrived long ago by the US Forest Service in an effort to promote plywood from the Philippines. It has no relation to any of the true Mahoganies apart from a resemblance.

Lauan is the stuff they make that cheapo 1/4” plywood and paneling out of. It is considered a medium to low grade of wood. I have never seen a “marine grade” of lauan plywood. Mahogany, be it African or Honduran (there are actually several distinct trees that fall under these labels) is a superior material.

Okoume plywood is now popular with the boat builders and is readily available if Austin wants to go that route.

I have several Whaler foam samples undergoing laboratory analysis. Do I now have to collect and submit wood samples from old Whalers as well?

Boy, I hope you’re wrong about this.

Chesapeake posted 03-07-2002 03:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Larry: Nice job on the console. Have you got any close-ups so we can "inspect" your craftsmanship more closely?

Now, if you'd only switch to Honduras mahogany.


lhg posted 03-07-2002 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom, you sure can be hard to sell! The owners manual that came with my 1971 Whaler says both the marine plywood and solid wood used in the 13 & 16' Whalers was Philippine Mahogany. So your opinion of Dick Fisher just DID take a hit! I'll send you a copy of this manual. I'm positive Chuck Bennett would confirm that all varnished Whaler wood was philippine mahogany, solid or veneered.

But I would agree, I'm not sure exactly what species this term applies to, but some of those species are definitely higher quality than luan.

The cooler cleats that came on my Outrages are also solid Philippine Mahogany.

I remember ordering both the 1/2" and 3/4" marine plywood that I built my Nauset from. It had more veneers than the normal exterior grade plywood, with no inner voids. The plywood matched the color of the solid lumber perfectly. Did anyone notice that Excelsior has had a problem with this. It was much lighter than the solid lumber. I wonder what they used?

The teak marine plywood on my Outrages, that is used for the floor sump covers, is similar stuff, but has a back side of luan instead of teak. As a matter of fact, all the veneers are luan, with only the top one being teak.

Tom W Clark posted 03-08-2002 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Hard to sell? You are being very polite in describing me, to be sure. But you're correct. I'll believe it when I see it. I certainly am not calling you a liar but quite literally, I have never seen ANY Whaler literature that refers to Philippine mahogany. This includes a 1971 price list and my new 1974 accessories and specifications price list. By the same token I have never seen anything that refers to Honduran mahogany either so this may be a case where they were just keeping their options open.

Any manufacturer, even Whaler, will probably substitute materials if one source becomes hard to procure. If they did use Philippine mahogany I am sure it was along with a real mahogany as well.

I should point out that my own experience with Whaler ownership only goes back to the 1976 model year when I owned a used 13' as a teenager. I am not sure I knew the difference between Lauan and mahogany back then so perhaps you're right about your 1971 model.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the lumber available in the 60's and 70's was generally of a much higher quality as well as less expensive in comparison to what is available now. Maybe in 1971 you could actually get nice Lauan, who knows?

But until I actually see your owners manual, or until you go home tonight and look it up and quote the relevant portions of it here on the FORUM, I will remain a doubter.

lae posted 03-09-2002 01:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for lae  Send Email to lae     
You can still get good Lauan if you hand pick it every time you see some. I pick it by dry weight. Getting harder though.
rwest posted 03-09-2002 07:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for rwest  Send Email to rwest     
I went through a rehab a year ago on a 35 y.o. 16 bear hull to make it into a Nauset. Photos of the rehab are at my web site:

I have several topics at my site but scroll down to find the Whaler section.

I used solid mahogany for the seat back and 1/2" laminated mahogany plywood for the base of the console and seat base and forward locker. I laminated two pieces of the 1/2" to make a 1" seat base for added support. I used the "West System" sealer on all parts to seal the water out and to glue all pieces together as well as using SS and or bronze screws where called for. I got he plans from the classic Whaler site. Total cost for the seat and console was about $600 vs. nearly $2000 from the folks in New England who make them. Took about 3 months of weekends to do it but worth the time and effort.

Jon Faitsch posted 03-09-2002 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jon Faitsch  Send Email to Jon Faitsch     
I have two questions. First, I am rebuilding my side console for a 13ft whaler, is there anyway I can get the dimensions for all the pieces used to construct it ? And second where can I find the serial number for my hull ? Thanks for all your help
Tom W Clark posted 03-09-2002 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I have a CAD drawing of the Sport 13 parts. Email me your mailing address and I'll send you a set.

The serial number is (or was) stenciled on the inside of the transom in the splash well. Depending on the year of your boat there may also be a HIN (Hull Identification Number) on an aluminum tag riveted to the outside of the transom near the top.

Kolbert posted 03-26-2002 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Kolbert  Send Email to Kolbert     
I had to take some time away from the console process but am now back to it. As I was taking apart the current console and also looking at the plans (Thanks Tom!), all I saw were bronze screws. Why are bronze screws used under the mahogany plugs but stainless on the exposed areas? Wouldn't stainless be a better and less expensive alternative? The bronze screws were VERY soft and kept stripping out. Any feelings?
Tom W Clark posted 03-26-2002 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Those screws are brass, not bronze I suspect. They cost less than stainless and that is probably why they were used back then. Replace them with stainless if you like.

OutrageMan posted 03-26-2002 01:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
I have to say, that exposed silicon bronze or brass screws look soooooooo good under varnish.


carlz posted 03-28-2002 09:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for carlz  Send Email to carlz     
It is about a year since I completed my from-scratch console based on the factory drawings. By the time I finished I realized that closely following the factory plans is not such a good idea, unless you have a compelling need to achieve a factory replica. The factory plans reflect in many ways the need of a manufacturer to hold down costs. When doing a production run of one you may not realized the savings they did and compromise the potential quality of the finished product that might be otherwis achieved. What that means, in plain words, is that I would use more solid wood if I were to do it over, especially in the upper console where the need for plywood's strength is somewhat less. Solid wood is much more forgiving, especially when sanding. It also looks a whole lot better, even than good quality veneered plywood.

Here are the mods I made in my version.

1. Used 3/4 inch plywood in the lower console; much, much stronger than 1/2 inch. 2. floor cleats run under the bottom of the plywood so that rarely will the plywood be standing in water and have a chance to wick it up.
3. raised the overall height of the console to 33' or 34 inches by raising the lower console heigt to 17". This makes it more comfortable to stand, but I am not quite satisfied with the effect in the appearance of the boat.
4. extended the sides of the lower console to reach under the front seat, rather than making the front seat supports as a separate piece. This makes the fabrication simpler and the resulting structure stronger. BW had a separate piece because it was an option, I expect.
5. Omitted the keyhole cableway in the shelf. It looked difficult to execute and I decided to rather put holes exactly where I needed them when rigging. I beleive the rigging came out cleaner for doing that.

I learned a lot from doing it, but to tell the truth, between the money spent on tools and materials and the endless hours there is something to be said for getting factory fiberglass. It does look good, though.

Kolbert posted 03-29-2002 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Kolbert  Send Email to Kolbert     

Thanks for the feedback on your modifications. I too, planned on using a single piece on the lower sides to support the front seat. Much cleaner and stronger design.

Excellent idea on the console mounting supports. My whaler spent significant time in the water at a lake house. The standing water from rain when it couldn't be bailed led to premature failure of the seat and lower console.

What were the drawbacks to raising the console height up to 34"? Did it just look funny or did you run into any other problems?

On the key hole cut, I am trying to re-use this piece. It was pretty well protected and in good shape. This will save me quite a bit of time.

Do you have any other areas of caution? or rebuild tricks?



Kolbert posted 05-06-2002 08:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Kolbert  Send Email to Kolbert     
FYI everyone. Just bought the marine plywood for my rebuild at Boulter in Somerville, MA. They told me that the old piece of the console that I brought in was "Phillipine" Mahogany, but that it is no longer available in plywood, only solid lumber. The choice came down to either the Honduras Mahogany or a Sapele Ribbon Stripe. I choose the Honduran because it should match closer to the solid lumber that I am reusing, even though it is lighter and less striped than the existing.
Gep posted 05-07-2002 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Gep  Send Email to Gep     
I was reading this thread yesterday and I wanted to wait until I got home and could look at my reference articles before I commented. It says that the wood that was used was "Varnished solid mahogany seats and forward locker". In another article it says "Varnished seats and locker tops, forward and aft, are of mahogany or Spanish cedar". The Cox'n model was $545.00 and the Bos'n model was $635.00, so you can guess how old this brochure is. It is a copy of a brochure that Chuck Bennett at Whaler faxed to me about 7 years ago.
SSCH posted 05-07-2002 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for SSCH  Send Email to SSCH     

I've been told that resorcinol (sp?) is no longer available. Local hardwood lumber guys recommend Gorilla glue or epoxy as a replacement. They claim that the EPA got the resorcinol off the market several years ago.

Neither of these newer types of glue are as waterproof as the old stuff.

Tom W Clark posted 05-08-2002 12:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I noticed the reference to Spanish Cedar too and commented on it in the CD ROM thread. It appears in the original Boston Whaler catalog from 1958. Back then the "Sports" model only cost $575 ($3500 in year 2001 dollars.)

From the 1961 catalog I quote:

"The term mahogany where used in the folder refers to any of several woods including African and Philippine mahogany that are handsome and suitable"


Resorcinol glue is still readily available. It is the traditional boat builders glue that came into common use during WWII. There are many other waterproof glues out there, epoxy, polyurethane (Gorilla), plastic resin, ect.

Yes, "waterproof" is a relative term but for the purposes of building a console for a Whaler, just about anything better than Elmer's will do.

OutrageMan posted 05-08-2002 12:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
Recorcinol glue is very much available. You can go to any Home Depot and get some.

You can even get variations of it called Aerodux that allow you to use it in a broader range of temperatures.

Any formulation will leave an appreciable brown/purple glue line. I think it looks pretty neat.


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