Anyone with mahogany Chris-Craft finishing experience?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by tpastore posted 02-09-2008 05:30 PM 11719 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View tpastore's profile


105 posts in 4013 days

02-09-2008 05:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table mahogany chris-craft decking finishing epoxy cnc boat

Hello all, I am making a table that resembles the aft decking on a 1947 Chris-Craft Deluxe. The table is made with meranti dimensional lumber and meranti plywood for the deck. I built the exterior frame and then brought the pieces to a CNC router house to shape the outer frame and add the slots to the plywood. The pictures below show things dry assembled for the pictures and before any major sanding of the varinsh to start smoothing things out. This was the first of 3 tables. The first one (shown here early on) now has been completed. I ended up filling the slots with tinted epoxy, resanding, varnishing/sanding till flat, then re-striping the white. My complaint is that it seems pointless to make a groove just to fill it in again till it is unnoticeable, and then put the stripes on. So my question is: on my next two tables should I skip the step of adding the grooves in the plywood, just finish the whole thing flat and then add the stripes?

Here is a picture of the first table before adding epoxy and sanding:

And a picture with photoshopped in white stripes:

With the umbrella:

13 replies so far

View unclemonk's profile


2 posts in 3956 days

#1 posted 02-09-2008 06:57 PM

Wow! I am impressed with your finished product. Beautiful job. I grew up on a lake full of old Chris Craft and Century wood boats (1950s and 1960s era), so I am a big fan of the style and materials you have chosen.

Regarding skipping the grooves, it’s just a matter of taste. Being an old wooden boat fan, I like the colored epoxy in the grooves, as it resembles many of the bows of the older boats. The open grooves look nice as well, but would be places for food, etc. to become lodged. I think a totally plain table top would be boring, but that’s just my taste. How about just the border groove around the perimeter? You have a lot of options. Will the tables be stored outside? Mahogany is a great exterior wood, but it will weather if left unprotected.

I really like the style you have chosen. Did you find a plan somewhere or is this your own design?

View tpastore's profile


105 posts in 4013 days

#2 posted 02-09-2008 07:49 PM

This is my own design. I wouldn’t keep the grooves open for the reasons you mentioned. I will try to clarify. I can either:
1. put no grooves in, varnish, and paint the pinstripes.
2. Put grooves in, fill them with epoxy, varnish, and then paint the pinstripes.

I think the addition of grooves that are just refilled may be extra work but I dont know if I am missing something. Some boats have a depression in the varnish where the grooves are, some are perfect mirrors.

The first one went to a buddy up on Winnepisaukee in NH. The next two are paying for the first one.


View Harold's profile


310 posts in 4044 days

#3 posted 02-09-2008 08:20 PM

I like the grooves, you mentioned that you tinted the epoxy. There are a veritable rainbow of colors available to do this. Another option may be available, tourquoise dust to tint the epoxy, or perhaps brass dust
(personal favorite) I am trying to visualize brass pinstripes, with a brass fixture at the center. Here’s a tip, I get all my brass dust from the key grinder station at the hardware store in town. The softer metals all work with the same tools as wood, sandpaper etc..
regardless, this is a wonderful table, great work!
take care,

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View tpastore's profile


105 posts in 4013 days

#4 posted 02-10-2008 06:07 AM

A couple more pictures.

First here is a rendering that I made using AutoCAD. At first my plan was to use polished stainless pedastals. I then found out that they were close to $3000 each so I turned the meranti legs.

Next, here is the inspiration for this table:

I have the option of bleaching the meranti to simulate the blonde boats:

Or staining it:

Lastly, Here is a picture of ~1/3 of the boats in Center Harbor that day:

View Karson's profile


35145 posts in 4598 days

#5 posted 02-10-2008 06:11 AM

Great looking table. I’ve got a friend who was in charge of the paint shop for Chris Craft. He had 75 painters working for him. But he’s 85 and it’s probably hard to get any information from him.

Send me a private message if there is something you want me to ask him.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View mike02719's profile


25 posts in 3983 days

#6 posted 02-11-2008 04:33 AM

I remember these boats. I really think this design was to simulate the teak and holly treatment that those old classic yatchs had. To refresh your memory teak and holly decks were a safety item. When the decks were wet the holly expanded at a much faster rate, therefore providing better traction for walking. Try Wooden Boat Magazine for advice.

Your tables are beautiful no matter what you do to the grooves.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 3897 days

#7 posted 06-17-2008 07:34 PM

Tacking on to what Mike was saying, the stripes later evolved into a caulk. I’ve seen folks use black instead of white. My vote is for the white, and in terms of the grooves or stripes, it depends on how close to authentic you want it. I’d go ahead and do what you did the first time. Very appealing!

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 3905 days

#8 posted 06-18-2008 03:04 AM

I love the table, especially with the white stripes.Why did you have to restripe though? Was the varnish changing the color of the died epoxy that much? And if so, couldn’t you use an even brighter dye to compensate? The end result looks sort of cream colored to me. So if the varnish is ambering things up, wouldn’t a pure white epoxy end up cream colored after the varnish? Just not clear on why it’s taking 2 steps for the stripe color.

-- Use the fence Luke

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 4188 days

#9 posted 06-18-2008 03:05 AM

What if you did inlay with a wood like Holly? It has a very light /white color.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View cc194217's profile


7 posts in 3433 days

#10 posted 07-16-2009 09:13 PM

Ash for the inlay…. then coat it with GitRot…. seals the wood…you can get it from Jamestown Dist.. or just google GitRot… put the GitRot on till the wood will not soak anymore in..then you can varnish.. the pic enclosed is a 1942 17’ Runabout… in the process of rebuilding… note the wood is natural(except for the brown stripe), the GitRot brings out the highlights of the grain. Note,,, at this stage I have about 8 coats of Varish.. I use Interlux #96.. The top on this boat is about 30 years old. The only thing I had to do was replace the screws and re-varnish. You will find out that if you caulk your lines, that in the sun the caulk will shrink….

View patron's profile


13640 posts in 3538 days

#11 posted 07-17-2009 04:33 AM

i worked the boatyards in ft lauderdale for 10 years ,
and laid way to many decks .
the point of your table , ( which is very well made ) ,
is to simulate a wooden boat deck .
in the day , the decking was rived and caulked for water stopage ,
to simulate that era , it should be as close to the original as possible ,
even people that don’t know boats marvel at the work and beauty of these and other wooden boats .
a plain table top in a yacht setting , is just a plain table .
it should look as if it was salveged from a world class boat !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3774 days

#12 posted 07-17-2009 04:43 AM

This is amost outstanding table what a cool idea well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View der's profile


1 post in 3429 days

#13 posted 07-21-2009 04:52 PM

Nice table! I thought about a coffee table like that when i was refinishing a Capri 2 years ago. I used a three part clear Awlbrite finish (made by awl grip). Then i used 5200 to fill the grooves and trimed flush with a razor. I also build furniture i use short hair body filler with black pigment to fill knots and other imperfections. I thought you might use white pigment ,try a test piece first to see how much it bleeds into the wood. Again very nice table i like the wood legs better myself.David w Derham Bray Hill Boat Works

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics