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Old 06-18-2012, 09:43 PM   #1
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Pilot Door Replacement

We are brand new trawler owners..'79 Californian LRC. Old boaters with a "new to us boat"! We desparately need to replace the bottom panel in the pilot door. Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what your pilot door looks like - can you post a photo?
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:24 PM   #3
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Here is one from the maintenance pages of a Nordic Tug organization.

NENTOA Rebuild wood doors on a NT 26
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:28 PM   #4
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We are brand new trawler owners..'79 Californian LRC. Old boaters with a "new to us boat"! We desparately need to replace the bottom panel in the pilot door. Any advice would be appreciated!
The door panel is a common point of failure and is just a piece of Teak veneer. I had mine replaced last year, about $250. You can do it yourself if you have wood working skill, but you need clamps and saws to cut, fit and square the door. If you don't then look around for a cabinet maker or woodworker. Usually the people in your marina will have some recommendation of who to use.

The best way to maintain it, is keep finish on it. The veneer won't last if it is allowed to go bare and exposed to the weather. After you change it out, put 4 thin coats of marine Cetol on it and you are good for several years. Then every so often rough it up with a nylon Scotch Bright pad and apply another coat of Cetol. Don't get carried away with Teak Cleaners, bleach or sand paper. The veneer isn't very thick.

Also note there is a Californian owners board on this site, near the bottom of the forum page and any questions you have that are specific to Californian's can be posted there. There are a number of Californian owners on the forum and they are more than willing to help you out.

Welcome to the forum
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:13 PM   #5
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I have similar issues with my starboard door and both aft doors on my 34 LRC. I have been contemplating how best to address the issue for months now and have yet to come to a conclusion.

At this point, I'm considering fashioning a temporary plywood door to secure the boat while making the repairs. Then I think I'll bring the door home for the rebuild. I'll remove the glass, then cut the joints to free the panel. Since the width of the sliding doors is much greater than the openings, the material lost to the cuts would never be noticed.

I haven't tried locating a source for the teak ply panels. It's all on the back burner pending more time in retirement, but I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for helpful suggestions and great ideas.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:11 AM   #6
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All three doors on my 34LRC are in bad shape as well. Plus they don't slide open worth a darn. I have siliconed the track and looked at slide buttons to put on the bottom but that increases their height such that they won't still fit in the track. The bottom fourth of the doors are delaminating as well. Am considering doors that swing on hinges for the aft doors, or maybe just one 36inch door aft, and just live with the side door. With grand children running in an out it is a pain to have to manhandle the doors for them. Even my wife and daughter have a terrible time with them when we are fishing. The doors will be on my to fix list come next fall. Has anyone converted their sliding doors to a swing door??
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:28 AM   #7
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Greetings,
Mr. Fp. I haven't done a conversion from slide to swing BUT consider, depending on the size of your aft deck, a swinger may intrude inconveniently into your living/moving space due to the added deck space needed for operation. As well, an unsecured slider does pretty much nothing whereas an unsecured swinger could be destructively banging about.
I'm NOT suggesting you don't do the conversion but give the alterations some thought. Since you're going to have to take the sliders off anyway, why not just rebuild them and the sliding mechanism....OK, just being the Devil's advocate a bit.
I too experience sticky doors and it IS on my "To Do" list...Rather than using silicone, I just spray them with some sort of soap cleaning spray like Spray 9 or something milder. Has to be done quite frequently BUT when I re-varnish I won't have to worry about adhesion problems due to the silicone.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:15 AM   #8
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All three doors on my 34LRC are in bad shape as well. Plus they don't slide open worth a darn. I have siliconed the track and looked at slide buttons to put on the bottom but that increases their height such that they won't still fit in the track. The bottom fourth of the doors are delaminating as well. Am considering doors that swing on hinges for the aft doors, or maybe just one 36inch door aft, and just live with the side door. With grand children running in an out it is a pain to have to manhandle the doors for them. Even my wife and daughter have a terrible time with them when we are fishing. The doors will be on my to fix list come next fall. Has anyone converted their sliding doors to a swing door??
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For the interior and exterior "wood" sliders, used some thin stainless sheetmetal, cut it to size and loose layed it in each door slider tray. For the exterior doors if they get sticky, two or three drops of dish washing soap in the channel and the door slides like a dream.

(I can't take credit for that one, a curmudgeon sailboater on my dock showed me that trick!!)
Larry B
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:15 PM   #9
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Like many others our "sliders" didn't slide very well either, despite having a stainless steel plate (approx 1/8" thick) on the bottom. My solution was to remove the doors, rout a channel in the bottoms, and install UHMWP (ultra-high molecular weight plastic) strips in the channels with countersuck stainless screws. They slide like a dream now and total costs for repair were under $50. For those contemplating marine teak plywood, I'd suggest using a thin (1/4 to 3/8") full teak panel instead. This would eliminate any ply delamination problems later on. If you go to all the trouble to take the doors apart, at least use panel materials that will give you a reasonable longevity factor. Our panels are "raised" (thicker in the middle with 1/4" edges) and provide more strength to the door assembly. Ply panels sealed with epoxy might slow or stop potential delamination, but I personally wouldn't take the chance.

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Old 06-20-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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Regarding the swinging door. Yes I have looked at the spaced used to swing. Would need to swing in and than, when open would block set of drawers on one side or if I swung it the other way would cover the refrig. door.

The doors would have to be rebuilt to be able to rout the bottoms for sliding strips which is another option.

I have also considerd some sort of rails to hang on the top with roller fixtures. Don't know what I will do, but it is another winter project. Thanks
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #11
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If its just the center wood panel you can do several things, cut it out and replace by securing new ply/piece with epoxy and molding strips, sand the top surface down/off until the next ply/layer, and/or ply a new surface over the old. Cutting the old out and replacing with new is the quickest and easiest with the epoxy and molding. Keep in mind nobody but maybe you, and in time not even you will remember/know what the door originally looked like. So you can even change the looks. When remodeling going through an old boat you have to think out side of what is there as long as it matches/goes with the surrounding area.

In going though the Eagle I have used/done all three. The trick is to find wood that sort of matches the old grain/wood, and the correct stain to match, or better yet paint the door. My wife bought the Eagle because of the teak trim/doors/deck and interior, so painting is out of the question. I painted a hand hold and she noticed. Guess what I was doing the next day?

As for the sliding, the best is UHMW plastic runner. You might have to cut the door down a bit because of the height. I routed out a groove down the UHMW and scred to the bottom of the door, that fit over a metal square key stock screwed to the door threshold.

Did you know the word threshold dates back when thrashing/straw was spread over the dirt floor, so a board was put across the door to hold in the thrashing/straw, which over time cam to be threshold.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:58 PM   #12
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I'm in the process of rebuilding my cabin sliding door frame. I redid the door (solid teak, luckily) over the winter in my shop. It has L shaped SS brackets on each lower corner to slide on. When I dismantled the frame, I discovered that the door was sliding on a fiberglass sail batten in the bottom of the channel. After cleaning it up a bit, it works great! Might be cheaper and easier to find laying around the marina.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:08 PM   #13
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Not having seen a picture of the door(s) in question, I can't offer exact advice. But if there is a deteriorated panel that needs replacing, I'd suggest you look at a thick piece of tinted plexiglass. We have them on the lower portion of our pilothouse doors, and it's great to have that visibility when maneuvering - plus it's where the dog looks out!
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:08 PM   #14
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Here are some shots of my doors. This first one is the most recent, about a year old.



The exterior door panels were delaminating and painted when I bought the boat in 2007. These next two show a closer look at the exterior and interior in the condition when I bought the boat. The discoloration and delamination in the lower stbd corner of the interior panel is about the same. No close-ups of the exterior panels which look worse.



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Old 06-20-2012, 07:28 PM   #15
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I too suffer from sticking sliding doors on a stainless slide rail. In a previous post in another thread somebody said they used stick on slick strips very successfully. I am planning to give these a try. It sounds like an easy fix.
SlickStrips.com UHMW Adhesive Backed Sheet and Tape - Reduce Friction - Slide Anything
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:55 PM   #16
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Here are some shots of my doors.
Ah, I was picturing side door...

Nevermind the plexiglass - it won't buy you anything when the doors are open, and not much when the doors are closed (when it would be best if the panels matched the rest of the interior). My only suggestion now is to get a canvas awning to protect the bulkhead - here's one I had on my Osprey:
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:02 PM   #17
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I'm considering going to varnish over West System epoxy when I rebuild and refinish the doors. It might help them last longer and require less maintenance.

Varnish Over Epoxy - West System

Had anyone tried this approach?
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:30 PM   #18
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I'm considering going to varnish over West System epoxy when I rebuild and refinish the doors. It might help them last longer and require less maintenance.

Varnish Over Epoxy - West System

Had anyone tried this approach?

Doing it that way also provides UV protection for the epoxy and wood.
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:31 PM   #19
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I'm considering going to varnish over West System epoxy when I rebuild and refinish the doors. It might help them last longer and require less maintenance.

Varnish Over Epoxy - West System

Had anyone tried this approach?
Nice find! I'll follow this topic closely. Love to see how this works out.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:36 PM   #20
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I'll follow this topic closely. Love to see how this works out.
Don't look too closely. It'll take some time before I have the time, knowledge, tools and courage to tackle this project as it should be tackled. I'm still in the learning and planning stage.

If my past performance is any indication of future results, this could take a looooong time.
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