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Old 11-21-2018, 11:46 AM   #1
City: Miami
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Son of the Beach
Vessel Model: Bertram/37 Convertible
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 7
38' Californian

We just purchased a 38' Californian motor yacht. Extremely happy with it but going thru the "making it our boat" phase and major cleaning and updating. We have water stains around two of the windows, on the wood, in our galley. Any suggestions on the best way to get that fixed?



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Old 11-21-2018, 12:06 PM   #2
Comodave's Avatar
City: Au Gres, MI
Country: US
Vessel Name: Never Say Never
Vessel Model: President 41 DC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 5,539
Welcome aboard. Had a friend who lived aboard a 38 for about 25 years before it was destroyed by a hurricane. Good luck.

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Old 11-24-2018, 11:28 PM   #3
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City: PNW
Country: USA
Vessel Model: 1976 Californian Tricabin LRC
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1,860
Congrats on your purchase, they're a fine boat. Unfortunately, the interior wood is just a thin mahogany veneer. You can try a light spot sanding, and a little stain, but I haven't had much luck with that. Ends up looking worse than before. If the leak got into the plywood below the veneer, then best option is to replace. Under the veneer is a 3/8 - 1/2" exterior plywood which is bonded to the fiberglass. It can be removed, but it quite a messy project. I haven't seen the replacement ribbon mahogany veneer in year, probably a custom wood shop could find it, but it won't be cheap.
Good luck
Larry B
Larry B
Careful . . .I Have a Generator and I'm not afraid to use it !
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:50 PM   #4
City: Nashville
Country: USA
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 2
Working on a similar project on my 38 Californian right now. The interior is 1/2" mahogany plywood panels or 1/4" mahogany plywood over 3/4" epoxied plywood. I found the 1/4" is finish nailed and lightly stuck to the epoxied plywood and came right off with a little finess from a pry bar. The 1/2" panels were screwed on around the edges. Look for the plugs covering the screw heads. I actually found some pretty good mahogany plywood online at Home Depot. Had to order for store pickup but it came well packaged (4'x4' sheets). I'm struggling matching the finish of the 35 year aged interior but I'm pretty close with a Watco danish oil dark walnut. I'm getting ready to do a wipe on poly satin finish. I also found some mahogany PSA backed veneer online at Rockler. I'm going to use that on a few spots that are only slightly damaged and the existing veneer has not separated from the plywood layers.

Not an exact match of the quality of the 35 year old veneer but it sure looks alot better than the water damaged stuff.

I used butyl tape to reset the windows. I found the stuff is MUCH easier to work with than trusty BoatLife polysulfone. You can put it where you want and it's not messy. Just put it in the fridge for about an hour before use.
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:58 PM   #5
City: Miami
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Son of the Beach
Vessel Model: Bertram/37 Convertible
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 7
Thanks for the info, Tranquillity III. Good information. The only thing we've done so far is all the window coverings. This weekend we will tackle the water damaged veneer and your info is priceless. Any chance you can post before and after pictures?
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Old 01-29-2019, 10:29 PM   #6
City: Clearwater, FL
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Seas the Bay
Vessel Model: 1977 42' Hardin Europa
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 575
I had a 1977 42' Californian. (Now have a boat in a different state).

Around an aft stateroom window, I ended up cutting out the plywood all the way to the glass and building it back up with two layers (staggered seams) of marine grade mahogany ply. The visible seam landed between the head and statroom, so it looked good.

Where I did some repairs in the salon, and added some cabinetry, I initially bought this veneer, which was very nice:

But, I didn't like installing with the contact adhesive and then bought this...selecting the 3M peel-and-stick. I loved the way it turned out and how it installed.

One big lesson I learned is that it has to be varnished with real varnish to look right -- polys don't soak in give it the darker color, or so it seemed to me.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:16 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 96
use Captains marine amber varnish. Thin by 40% on the first coat. Lightly sand with 320 grit and thin by 20%. Afterwards can use full viscosity if not cold outside. Sand lightly between each coat.

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californian, stained wood interior, window leaks

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