Ever notice that it’s usually the little things that make a huge difference? Maybe you get your car washed and afterwards you realize how dirty it was and how much better it is now that it’s clean. Or you paint a room in your house and afterwards you realize how much nicer it is to be in that room. We’ve finished (I should say mostly finished) a few projects and living on the boat is so much better (YEA!) We finally installed most of the headliner, hung the upper cabinet over the galley sink, and started putting put the teak trim back up. HUGE difference!
The old headliner was 1/8″ mahogany plywood sprayed with white gel-coat, and the leaky deck had left it in pretty bad shape. Even though the leaks have since been resolved (hopefully…fingers crossed), we wanted to use something on the ceiling that was just a bit more impervious to moisture than plywood. Our first choice was Fiberglass Reinforced Panels like they use in commercial kitchens and restrooms but we couldn’t find any with a smooth glossy finish. Our next option was Formica high pressure laminate with a glossy finish but it was gawd awfully expensive, so we decided to use regular Formica from Lowe’s on the ceiling, walls in the head as well as behind all the port lights on the side walls. The only problem with using it on the ceiling was that it wasn’t nearly as thick as the original plywood and required shim strips in order to make the old teak trim fit back into place.
Since FRP is 0.090″ thick and completely moisture proof (should the deck hardware ever happen to leak again) it seemed a reasonable choice for shim material, and $30/sheet wasn’t going to break the budget. Ripped down into 1-3/4″ widths and screwed to the existing mahogany ceiling spacers the FRP worked well, but was a slight pain in the ass and but one more step in the headliner process.
Because our boat has no square corners or right angles, the next step was to make patterns of each ceiling panel out of heavy duty craft paper. This involved something akin to singlehandedly hanging wet wall paper overhead, trimming it to size, and praying it sticks before falling to the floor in a big pile. Blue painter’s tape doesn’t work so well in this sort of scenario but I managed to make do. Down at the workshop with patterns traced out on Formica sheet, once again my trusty Fein Multimaster shines through with perfectly chip-free cuts. I tacked each panel overhead with a a few tiny little nails to hold it in place just long enough to reinstall the side trim and laminated teak bows, which provide the real support for the ceiling.
Jeni is happy that the cabinet is finally reinstalled over the galley sink, and I’m pretty surprised at how much storage we reclaimed by getting it back up there. Each day the boat feels more and more like our home rather than this never-ending re-fit of half finished projects.