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drynoc 12-15-2003 07:42 AM

Cabin sole
I am going to have to replace the plywood pieces of the sole in the cabin of my Santana 35. I would like to hear about any alternatives others have used, including the advantages/disadvantages of using solid lumber vs. plywood. I would also like to hear of possible sources, particularly near the mid Chesapeake Bay.

KenD 12-15-2003 08:02 AM

Cabin sole
I have seen solid lumber teak in annapolis and richmond I would like to join the list to find a source for teak and holly ply for a cabin sole, The biggest problem is getting a grade capable of holding up to the moisture of the bilge,without delaminating.

Jeff_H 12-15-2003 08:17 AM

Cabin sole
There are a number of things that you can do to replace your cabin sole. The cheapest is to go back with an Ipe or Okome plywood without the holly accents. This material is pretty inexpensive. The hot ticket is to fit the panels and then roll on several coats of epoxy resin on all sizes and edges to seal the plywood from absorbing water. Once the epoxy has cured then sand and apply several coats of vanish. If you don''t mind the extra labor you can buy ''pinstriping'' masking tape and paint on ''faux holly'' stripes and then throw the last couple coats of varnish over the top. That turns out to be easier than it sounds using a roll and tip process and it produces a very durable deck but one that requires some additional maintenance. If you are going offshore you can mask off stripes and then roll on a non-skip varnish strips.

Plan ''b'' is to buy teak and holly plywood that is made for this purpose. There are two versions of this material that are out there. You want the one with the heavier face veneer.Again the hot ticket is to fit the panels and then roll on several coats of epoxy resin on all sizes and edges to seal the plywood from absorbing water. And once again, once the epoxy has cured then sand and apply several coats of vanish.

Building a solid teak deck is possible but it requires a lot of work to build and frankly will add a lot ow work. The other issue is leaving large enough gaps to permit the wood to swell without buckling. I have built a small teak deck and it was not the easiest solition.

One last idea if you have access to a good woodworking shop would be to use IPE which is a teaklike wood sold for exterior decks on buildings and which is roughly half the cost of teak. You would need to mill it to the proper edge configuration. You might also consider resawing it to 1/4" planks and laminate those to a plywood backing using epoxy glue.

There are three sources of marine plywood in the Mid-chespeake that I know of:
Harbor Sales: kinds of plywood)
Chesapeake Light Craft (Okome) in Annapolis,
and Annapolis Hardwoods. (I have never actually bought plywood at Annapolis Hardwoods so I am not sure what they carry)


paulk 12-15-2003 04:01 PM

Cabin sole
We''ve used plan "b" above on one section of our cabin sole that needed replacing, and will be proceeding to do another this season. (After 22 years, I can see how some of the floorboards might get be gettting tired.) The one we''ve done looks fine, and, amazingly, the insets line up exactly with the originals - we must be using the same material! Key is coating the end grain to keep moisture OUT!. Don''t forget to coat the insides of the finger holes too.

paulk 12-15-2003 04:06 PM

Cabin sole
Forgot to discuss the downsides of using planks. They would tend to split lengthways along the grain (due to swelling, shrinking, cupping, etc.) unless you screw good strong cleats to the undersides. In some cases there isn''t good room for the cleats, and they can add weight. In newer boats with wider cabin soles, plywood is stronger for the span required, and cheaper.

petercra 12-16-2003 02:36 PM

Cabin sole
I''ve seen teak and holly sole plywood at Boulter Plywood in Somerville, MA.

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