Boat Maintenance Boat Project

Headlining a Project: Part I

Friday, March 21, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

One of the projects we’re working on this winter is re-adhering the headliner in the salon and galley.  It’s a job that started years ago in other areas of the boat, so I thought we needed to provide a little background information before posting a blog about the sections we’re currently working on – the salon and galley. 

All things begin somewhere and our problem started seven years ago in New Zealand.  Foam backed headliners aren’t uncommon on boats; but, over time, the foam and the glue break down leaving behind a sagging eyesore. Removing it is an arduous and messy process that involves sanding the surface, scraping the residue from the hull or cabin top, purchasing new headliner material and gluing it back with a toxic smelling adhesive spray – not something you necessarily want to do, especially if you live aboard.  So we had to find another option.  

David’s a man who likes to take his time working through a problem before devising a plan, and the headliner was no exception.  Glue wasn’t going to do the trick, so we took the easy way out – we propped the headliner up with pillows and cushions and left it for another day.

It wasn’t until we were moored in San Diego a year later that the idea struck him.  Dura snaps!  The little upholstery buttons that fit over a screw stud to give it a finished look.  They were already part of the headliner design, so we would simply extend it.  From there, a plan was born.  David came up with a measurement for the thickness of the cabin top and laid out a pattern on paper while I sourced the dura snaps.

Once we had all of our ducks in a row, we were able to start work: 

Step 1: Prop up the headliner and ignore the problem.
Step 2: David installs screws and cups in a pattern he designed
that follows what already existed on the boat.  You can see
the original dura snaps in the photo behind him.
Step 3: Sally checks our work and gives us the 'paws up'.
Step 4: Working forward, David continues the pattern.
Step 5: The project is finished!
Every now and again, the problem shows itself in other areas of the boat (the aft head, the forward head and the aft cabin) and we go through a similar process, but the salon and galley have had us scratching our heads for quite some time.  Because the deck hardware comes through the hull in these areas, there are several bolts to work around, and the headliner sags along the uneven surfaces near the edges. 

To hide this, David came up with the idea of adding a piece of trim work and installing ambient lighting behind it so everything would look original to the boat.  But, like with so many other projects we’ve tackled over the years, it’s been hit and miss.  And currently, it’s a miss.  Especially this week.  We had to take a few steps backwards because the trim we bought turned out not to be wide enough (which means buying more oak ¼-inch pieces, cutting them to length, routing the edges, drilling screw holes and varnishing them) so the project, as a whole, still has a long way to go. 

So watch this space!

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