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Old 02-19-2018, 10:43 PM   #1
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KK Manatee Pilothouse Redux

After the recent Helm Project, KK Manatee Helm Project my tired old pilothouse was in dire need of updating. The abusive roof reskin undertaken a few years ago left the gelcoat on the inside of the roof discolored and spider-cracked everywhere. Then last year's new window project provided a decent foundation for improving the pilothouse environment in general, so it seems worthwhile to go after the ceiling and surroundings with some affordable fixes. The plan is:

1. Build a new hinged overhead console to receive all the wiring coming from the mast through the new conduit on both sides of the roof (installed during the roof reskin). Install 6 gang rocker switch panel and new AIS GPS VHF radio in overhead console.

2. Use foam backed Ivory marine vinyl to upholster foam insulation panels cut to fit in the recesses of the roof.

3. Cut & finish teak beam caps to cover raised ribs in roof.

4. Modify teak window frames (built a couple of years ago for old windows) to fit new windows.

5. Add teak molding around instrument console base, chart table areas and pilothouse doors to match window frames.

6. Paint and varnish where necessary. Re-hinge doors, add locking hardware and hold-back latches.

Here's the before and after shots of the helm console:
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:50 PM   #2
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Looks very nice. Want to come and do mine?
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:49 AM   #3
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That’s a very nice transformation. Well done!
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:39 AM   #4
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Looks great Larry . All of your projects are so well thought out and results are awesome.
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:52 AM   #5
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She looks brand new!
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:16 AM   #6
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Great job on the new helm Larry. Looking fwd to photos of the other components of the pilot house refurb as they get done.
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Old 02-20-2018, 01:14 PM   #7
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How about some pilothouse before pictures?
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:42 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the accolades, folks. I'll look for some of those older "before" photos to compare later, but meanwhile the ceiling is the next thing in line. The job will require five separate panels, one of them being the overhead console for wiring, radio and some rocker switches for accessory interior lights. The first panel below is the one most forward, actually over top of the windshield where there will be an inch or so space over the panel for wiring that travels from the mast, coming through the roof just forward of the helm, and then down the windshield posts. Since only line-of-sight (not headroom) is the only concern, a thicker panel there won't have any negatives to speak of, so what the heck, make it thick. Although later panels will be thinner and require the foam backing on the vinyl to be stripped off around the perimeter, no need for that on this one.
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:24 PM   #9
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Next came this odd looking overhead cabinet to receive all the wiring coming through the roof from the mast, power and ground wiring coming up the windshield frames to a 30 Amp Blueseas fuse box, antenna cables, NMEA 2000 hookup for the AIS GPS VHF radio, etc. etc.. As you can see, it was some odd shaping to fit the contours of the roof. Because of the crown of the roof, only two hinges are possible to enable the full width cabinet to tilt down for easy wiring access.

The material used is 1/2" marine plywood, fastened with glue and deck screws. Total weight was 22 lbs. if you're counting (I am). Upholstering this shape required stripping a perimeter of the foam backing off the vinyl to keep the corners and edges relatively flat. I'm thinking about putting the reliable old monkey fur inside to dress it up a bit. We'll see when it's installed. Upholstery comes next.
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Old 02-26-2018, 07:52 PM   #10
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Overhead console continued:
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:46 PM   #11
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Sweet set-up, Larry!
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:54 AM   #12
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Looks great! What process did you use to refinish the dash, looks like you filled some holes and painted?
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:06 AM   #13
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You got skills!!
This is fun to watch.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthurc View Post
Looks great! What process did you use to refinish the dash, looks like you filled some holes and painted?
Art: If you're referring to the center section of the helm, it's all covered here in the Manatee Helm Project link: KK Manatee Helm Project

Otherwise, the chart tables on either side were touched up after sanding, but no holes to fill. After the ceiling project is done, I'll either cover them in teak plywood or perhaps something else non-glare. Have you seen those rolls of foam, gripy shelf vinyl available in super markets, Bed & Bath, etc. in several colors? I may use the black stuff to make mats for all the dash surfaces. The stuff lays flat, doesn't slide off and is easy to cut.

Anyway, back to the Pilothouse redux project. After finishing the overhead console, it was time to mount the unit in place.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:05 PM   #15
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That overhead console is a fabulous idea!!!
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:30 PM   #16
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OK, now time for the rest of the ceiling panels. I selected a 5/8" aluminum-over-foam wall insulation panel available at Lowes, Home Depot or a host of other building suppliers. Why use this stuff instead of fiberboard or thin plywood?

1. Insulation R-factor
2. lightweight
3. easy to cut and shape
4. firm enough to upholster and glue does well with aluminum sheething
5. these panels can stand a compound bend, so on crowned ceilings, the panels
can be pre-loaded for the crown before upholstery is glued, preventing wrinkles in the foam backed vinyl once installed.
6. the finished panels will be light enough to glue and firm enough use screws and upholstery washers to fasten.

One thing though. In order to give the panels a relatively uniform thickness, I chose to strip off the foam backing of the vinyl in the areas overlapping the back of the panel. This was a bit of extra work, but folding the vinyl over itself was no issue. Folding multiple of layers of foam backed vinyl would get thick and unworkable very quickly.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:22 PM   #17
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On with the ceiling panels. Here’s a before & after shot below. If you have a crowned ceiling, make sure to consider that before you glue on the upholstery, and crown the work board so the upholstery can be glued to the panel in the approximate form it will end up on the ceiling.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:59 PM   #18
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Ceiling panels complete, and only the teak beam caps to come. The gelcoat on the original recessed ribs is pretty cracked, so I'm attempting to copy and install the same style of beam cap found throughout the interior. But for now, the ceiling is greatly improved. Heat reduction in the FL sun is also evident.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:06 PM   #19
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Well done sir!
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:46 PM   #20
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Great project Larry, I like the forward panel tilt down design.
Larry after you finished the pilothouse exterior roof structure rebuild years ago, did you recoat the roof exterior ? I’m toying with the idea of recoating ours with two part epoxy.
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