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Old 11-09-2014, 11:33 AM   #1
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Californian construction

Currently own a 1966 Californian Express and have be looking to upgrade to a 38 or 42 Tri-cabin. Can anybody tell me if the house is fiberglass, fiberglass over wood? Any wood except for the interior? My 1966 is all glass.
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Old 11-09-2014, 11:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jclays View Post
Currently own a 1966 Californian Express and have be looking to upgrade to a 38 or 42 Tri-cabin. Can anybody tell me if the house is fiberglass, fiberglass over wood? Any wood except for the interior? My 1966 is all glass.
1976 and later 28', 30', 34', 37', 38', and 42' the hull and superstructure were all molded fiberglass. The hulls were solid, hand laid, fiberglass and no core. Interior cabin floors are 3/4" plywood usually carpeted and interior walls and bulk heads are covered with finished mahogany. Exterior doors, rails and trim are usually teak. I've seen a few with all stainless rails. 34' and larger were almost all twin diesel, either Perkins or Cat.

They're a great boat. . . good luck in your search.
Larry B
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Old 11-12-2014, 10:58 PM   #3
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Thanks
What about the decks. Glass or glass over wood?
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:07 PM   #4
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When I cut into my 1977 foredeck for my windlass installation, I found a thick, dense ply core encapsulated in fiberglass. No balsa.
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:21 PM   #5
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When I cut into my 1977 foredeck for my windlass installation, I found a thick, dense ply core encapsulated in fiberglass. No balsa.
That is the same kind of subdeck construction used by makers like American Marine/Grand Banks. The high-quality, marine-grade plywood core is resistant to rot and delamination, and makes for a very stiff and substantial deck.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:53 AM   #6
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Just a comment on balsa versus plywood

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That is the same kind of subdeck construction used by makers like American Marine/Grand Banks. The high-quality, marine-grade plywood core is resistant to rot and delamination, and makes for a very stiff and substantial deck.
Both materials have advantages and disadvantages. The balsa is end grained short blocks that it is thought to concentrate the rot around the water intrusion because the cell structure being vertical resists horizontal migration of the rot. Plywood has horizontal cell structure and the thought is rot migrates more easily. I don't know if this really holds true. In my experience it has been easier to repair rotted balsa cored decks. Mostly because the blood line( glue ) in plywood tends to act as a barrier to the rot and the top couple of veneers may be rotted for a much larger area than the lower veneers. This just make removal of the coring more difficult. Both turn to black mush over time. As to strength my gut feeling is plywood be the stronger of the two cores. However usually balsa coring has been 1" and the plywood 3/4. I don't believe that the plywood used was always marine grade, I suspect a lot of shop grade plywood was actually used because in the 70's the common thought was this was all encapsulated and it did not matter what grade plywood was used. Looking at the voids in the interior veneers I know much of it was not marine grade.
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Old 11-13-2014, 12:32 PM   #7
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Roger Hansen of Hansen Yacht Sales in Jacksonville Florida should be considered the expert on these vessels.
I toured the factory in 02 and was impresssed.
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:38 PM   #8
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I don't believe that the plywood used was always marine grade, I suspect a lot of shop grade plywood was actually used because in the 70's the common thought was this was all encapsulated and it did not matter what grade plywood was used. Looking at the voids in the interior veneers I know much of it was not marine grade.
You're probably right, most interior panels started out as Exterior AC grade not Marine grade. If they didn't want visible surface voids, they would use a punch and plug machine to remove them. When I was in College, 1966 -67 I worked at Boise Cascade Mill two summers on the plywood line doing layups. A lot of my time was on the exterior line 12 and 16 hour shifts, 6 days a week. Occasionally they would bring in a couple of pallets of "hand sorted" (no knot holes or splits) skins and plies and we would layup a few stacks of "Marine Grade" plywood. It's the same glue, machine and process as for exterior. The Face and Back skins were mostly very good, the Plies were usually good, but not perfect. The quality of the layup depended on sorters and the layup crew. After 8 hours catching glued plies dropping out of the rollers, pretty much whatever came out, ended up in the core. Nasty job!!

Custom orders, such as Marine grade, were done toward the end of the shift, so they could setup the line during our last break of the day for a short run. From sheet to sheet there could be quality differences and even some voids. Probably a small custom mill who lays up quality veneer panels might do a better job. But larger mills are interested in quantity output, not quality.
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Old 11-13-2014, 07:05 PM   #9
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I suspect that the grade of plywood used in subdeck cores varied by the builder. I know American Marine/Grand Banks used marine-grade ply in their subdecks because they advertised this fact back then.

I don't know about other boats like Californians, etc. but I would not be surprised if the brands known for their higher quality did the same as American Marine.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:04 PM   #10
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I'm in the middle of replacing the aft cabin windows and removing all the rotted wood on my 79' 42LRC. It was necessary to take down the ceiling panels, cork wallpaper on 1/4" plywood. Anyway when I removed the panels above the starboard bed I found the following written on the 1/2 inch plywood up under the side deck:

23 January 79
Made by Mexicans

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Old 12-14-2014, 10:43 PM   #11
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The boats were built in the El Toro/Tustin area of Orange County, CA...not too far from Mexico. Maybe a few were built down south and smuggled across the border!

How does that build date of Jan 23, 1979 compare to your HIN? I'm trying to interpret mine from the same era (1977) but find varying patterns within the hull ID numbers.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:50 PM   #12
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There was writing all over the backsides of the plywood panels. Most often it was a builders reference to where the panel belonged, someone's initials, measurements, etc. But when I enlarged the shaft packing access panel in the floor on the port side. The backside of the piece of plywood I cutout had a tic-tac-toe on it. Probably someone on lunch break.

Many of Marshalls employees were Mexican-Americans and some were not American. There were stories that CBP would visit his plant looking for undocumented workers. So I guess I am not surprised.


PS: Are you recovering the head liner? If so, what material were you planning on using?
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:06 PM   #13
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I will make new headliner panels out of 1/4" ply and the plan is to cover with bead board wall paper. The natural color is white but it is also paintable so I may paint with a high gloss white. I will stick with the mohagany trim that actually covers the seams of the ceiling panels. I'm testing some 2 watt soft white 2.75" LED recessed puck lights in the aft cabin now to see about placement. The depth of the lights is .60 inches so that works out well since you have an 1.25" to work with in the ceiling and .75" under the side and aft deck. I will also install in the panels that are under the deck in the aft cabin for accent lights. I purchased 10 for $50 on ebay and I'm very impressed with them so far. Depending on how this works out I will extend this theme throughout, including the saloon and forward cabin.

I was in Vancouver, WA yesterday so I stopped in at Peninsula glass and ordered windows. Black Powder frames with dark smoke glass and sliders forward, same design as TMILLER posted. I showed Jeff Kemp the picture of TMILLER's (Trawler Forum on I-phone) and he was able to locate the design in his file although I brought a pattern that I made on banner paper for verification. $1700 with freight to SoCal area includes port and starb.

I didn't have the issue with varying side wall thickness but I also completely removed all interior wood to the fibre glass shell on the starboard side. The factory lay-up is 1/4 inch fibre glass over 3/4" plywood with another layer of 1/2 inch plywood with mohogany lamininate facing to the interior. This brings the total thickness out to 1.5 inches. I don't believe any of this wood to be marine grade and since it is all interior I'm not sure it needs to be.

My HIN is JCM421500179, I believe it decodes to:
JCM Marshall Boat
42 length
150 sequence number
01 January
79 Year

This lines up with the 23 January 79 written by the laborers.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:43 PM   #14
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Awh. . . that's good to know. I've never pulled down the overheads, still got the cork ceiling, so was wondering how much space was there. Living here in the PNW, I was thinking of adding some high density closed cell insulation to the ceiling, but that doesn't leave much room. I've converted my engine room lights and forward cabin lights to LED, the rest are still fluorescent. Very happy with the results, what a difference the LED's made in the engine room!!

You will be happy with the Pen. glass windows. They're the best and don't leak. I ordered them without the sliders, just didn't want to deal with them anymore. I think yours will come with double sided gasket tape, if they're the same as mine, and that is all you need. All the dock critics will tell you to use sealer, but the way the window clamps in they will never leak.

Do you have a Manufactures Tag on the cable chase near the helm? Also I see you have the mast and boom (is it aluminum?), bow pulpit and aft cabin rails. . .those were all extras that had to be ordered along with the electric stove, two door fridge, curtains and 7.5 genny.
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Old 12-16-2014, 09:47 PM   #15
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Inside the ceilings are a grid of 1 inch thick by 2" wide battons located under the Mohagany Trim. The battons are attached to the decking above with stainless woodscrews drilled through the fiberglass and into the core. The panels are 1/4inch plywood with cork wall paper on one side and 1/4" foam on the other inside the ceiling. I don't see that the foam does much. The panels are attached with nails every couple of inches and very difficult to pull down without making a mess out of the panels. Also had to remove the bedpost in order to pull the panel above. The bedpost probably adds some structural support just because of how tight it is wedged into position but it is actually not needed for structure and purely aesthetic. I kind of like not having it, the space feels bigger and more open but I don't want to take away from the classic appearance so I'll re-install it with the new ceiling panels.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:01 AM   #16
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Not sure if it helps, but here is a very simple, classic-looking overhead treatment that allows you to access wiring when needed - and is very easy to clean. Mahogany king plank and 1x2 furring strips are attached directly to the fiberglass overhead. Then the "pre-lam" panels are attached (simply 1/4" luan with white or gray mica laminate surface.) Finally, mahogany battens hide the joints and screws.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:10 AM   #17
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Yes, thank you for posting. That is essentially how the original panels are attached with the exception of the center line joint. That is the look I am going for but I like a little more detail hence the bead board pattern. The original panels in the fore and aft heads are of the type you indicated, 1/4 plywood with mica laminate. One of the issues faced without having the centerline joint is the panels are in excess of 9 feet across so you can't use standard 4x8 plywood unless you get creative.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:17 AM   #18
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:26 AM   #19
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If you really want to go with a beadboard look, Ken (at Mirage Mfg., Great Harbour Trawlers) will make and sell you as many fiberglass "beadboard" (actually calls them V-Groove) panels as you want. The panels are made on a mold table and typically have a 220 grit gelcoat surface. They are made about 6' long by 3' wide, but the guys in the factory "patch" them together to fit any size wall (or overhead.)
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:34 AM   #20
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Edelweiss:

Yes the Mast and Boom are aluminum. The boom has a slider that extends out another six feet. I'm told the original owner took the boat to Dana Point Harbor,CA and tore off the mast trying to go under the bridge that crosses the main channel.
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