1My interior panels around the sides of the boat were old teak veneer. The actual liner for the overhead is white vinyl, but
the teak paneling made the boat look like
a dungeon. Although I originally thought I
might save this, it soon became apparent
that that wasn’t going to be an option.
I managed to solve the dungeon problem
by royally screwing up while removing the
old ports. Some Neanderthal had glued
the inner frames both to the interior teak
paneling as well as to the fiberglass cabin
sides. Getting them loose was not pretty.
2If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have simply used DeBond Marine
Formula, a product designed to solve such
problems that makes the job much easier
and decreases collateral damage. Unfortunately, I instead resorted to the old-fashioned methods of brute force, cutting,
cussing, and more cussing.
3Mel wasn’t quite yet ready to let me destroy the boat, so weighing discretion against valor, we finally engaged
our friend Dave Peresula, who has more
patience and considerably more skill than
I do. He looked aghast at my efforts, then
began to apply his magic, taking over
where I’d left off.
For the teak-veneer replacement, he
introduced me to Komatex. It’s a light-
weight, closed-cell, free-foam PVC prod-
uct. It comes in sheets and can be easily
cut, formed, bent, and handled. It doesn’t
rot and is easy to clean up. The thin-
ner sheets are very easy to form into the
contours that plague boat work. Komatex
was ideal for us, and it made the project
4Ripping out the paneling, which had been destroyed by the porthole removal,
was a necessity.
Next, it was simply a matter of using
the old sheets of veneer teak as a pattern
for the Komatex. I found it easy to cut the
Komatex around the pattern.
It was also easy to trim and fine-tune
the Komatex. If your job allows you to use
thin enough material, this can be done with
a razor knife or plane.
5Fitting the new panels into place wasn’t difficult because the material bends and
flexes. Being able to use thin sheets of Komatex also saves weight. Load-bearing issues
would demand a heavier product.
You can secure the new materials with
screws, replacement battens, or even the
original battens. The same material and technique can be used to do your entire headliner.
6Voilà, a brand-new boat. Well, almost.
DeBond Marine Formula
Tom Neale is editor at large of BoatU.S.
Make sure to use the
correct bedding material when installing
hardware. Butyl tape is
a great choice for port
lights and hatches.
Do It Yourself