Bertram 25 Deck/Cockpit furniture re-do

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by Christopher Thomas, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Christopher Thomas
    Joined: Jul 2019
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: North Carolina

    Christopher Thomas New Member

    Hello Folks,

    I live in NC and my family is quickly outgrowing our carolina skiff. I also love projects so I have bought a project. Hopefully I have found the right community to help me along.

    I acquired this 1972 Bertram 25. It is ok running boat with a fairly nicely repainted hull. The decks are mostly sound but cosmetically poor with a few spots where the deck coring is a little soft. The furniture was disgusting and somewhat rotted. I have removed all the furniture. I'm in the process of getting the mechanicals and wiring to a safe and dependable place but there is a fairly big job ahead in redoing all the deck/cockpit furniture. The entire cockpit/foredeck and furniture will end up having the hundreds of holes filled and be completely repaired, faired and painted Im talking about everything from the cockpit sole to the rub rail joint along with the foredeck. I have attached some photos and some sketches of how I will layout the cockpit.

    I plan to rebuild the dinette from the templates of the existing dinette but I did not like the galley/helm seat layout. I plan to build a helm seat/mini-galley/rear facing cooler seat (or mabee I'll put the batteries or a live well under the rear facing seat.)

    I will want to build the furniture before I repair the deck so I can be sure that I can put non-wood cores anywhere that the new furniture will be fastened down, As a result I am planning to get going on the furniture soon.

    My main question(s) is this: Is there more than 1 way to build weather resistant furniture that is high quality? I know I could build furniture out of wood and use it as a plug, build a fiberglass mold, and then glass the parts but it seems like there must be a better (easier) way. Is it improper to build the furniture out of plywood and laminate on both sides of the wood and fair and finish the outer surface? I would be sure to use coosa-board or similar in any spots that will have screw holes.

    Thanks in advance






    bajansailor likes this.
  2. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 1,093
    Likes: 232, Points: 63
    Location: Colorado

    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum.

    Congrats/condolences on your new upgrade/project.

    While there might be many ways to skin cats; some are less unpleasant than others.

    I admire your desire to personalize your boat. You might be over thinking things and making life rougher than it needs be.

    --Solidify the sole (floor) first. Oversized drilling and filling to rot proof a fastener is easier than adjusting all the furniture because the sole ended up different than planned.
    --encapsulated plywood will last long enough to become someone else's problem.

    Good luck
  3. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 1,006
    Likes: 201, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 512
    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum Christopher. Oh, and Blueknarr, touche on the congrats/condolences comment. So true........

    A couple of things. Those are recent photos, right? That boat is pushing 50 and looks pretty good. I get that you want to do a nice remodel/restoration but consider this: All of that furniture held up pretty well for almost 50 years. Are there issues? Sure. I started having issues when I turned 50 too and I'm in pretty good shape.

    First things first. Everything good below the sole? Stringers/Floors solid? Engine beds/mounts in good shape? Take a good look under there as that's the foundation of your "house" so to speak and will be relatively easy to address with all that furniture out of the way. Soft soles mean water intrusion. A cored sole, right? You can open up a section that is soft with a circular saw or oscillating cutter. There are probably a ton of little hardwood blocks (or mush that used to be hardwood blocks) under the glass. I've never done a whole sole but have done large deck hatches that were cored. It's not the worst job. You can remove the rotted core and replace the core with good marine or exterior grade plywood (waterproof glued). Coat the ply three times on all six sides with epoxy resin and fill in any small areas where you can't fit the ply with epoxy/wood flour mix. There are a lot of posts on this site that address fixing decks and soles. Do a search if you haven't already.

    Paul Ricelli (AKA "PAR") posted a lot on this site before his untimely death a little over a year ago. Although he's gone you can still benefit from the advice he left behind here and at his own web site. Take his advice when you see it, he really knew his stuff. Do searchs for deck or sole repair.

    As for the durability of your furniture I'd say this. You certainly don't need Coosa. I've used Coosa, it's a great product. Light, strong and weather/water proof. But you don't need it for cabinetry. I've used it for structural repairs below the waterline.

    I'll post a link to a thread from seven years ago when I was building the flybridge for my restored 1973 Silverton sedan. That boat's been in service since 2014 and the flybridge is uncovered. The panels are made of a product called Araucoply. I used to get this at my local Lowes for about $25 for a 1/2 inch sheet. I took great pains to eliminate any chance of water intrusion as I built this structure and have allowed for proper drainage for rain and dew. Except for some of the trim there are actually only 6 screws in the entire flybridge. It's all tongue and groove, glued up with thickened epoxy. As bluenarr said, be patient and thorough waterproofing fasteners and a good grade of plywood will last for a long long time. I sealed the plywood with three coats of epoxy on all six sides, applied a layer of 4 oz. fiberglass cloth then 2 coats of primer and two or three coats of Interlux Perfection.

    My flybridge looks as good today as the day I finished it.

    Take your time and think about what you want in your boat. You may decide to deviate from the Bertram design. Think it through. One of the best things I ever did was install a couple of nice helm seats on my flybridge.

    I'll post a couple of photos of the boat from last summer and if you're curious you can see how that flybridge looked as it was being built. Epoxy is a wonderful product.

    IMG_20180803_161025057_HDR.jpg IMG_20180803_161047747_HDR.jpg

    This flybridge came out of my head.


    Helm Seats | Boat Captains Chairs | Helm Boat Seats

    Good luck,

    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019

  4. Christopher Thomas
    Joined: Jul 2019
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: North Carolina

    Christopher Thomas New Member

    Stringers are all glass in the B25. They can be subject to delamination but appear ok. I had it surveyed too. There are some soft spots in the sole (that coincide with high moisture readings from the surveyor) and I am planning to re-core those areas. The hatches, have good looking clean balsa underneath. You can even still see the grain. The transom and engine beds are solid too.

    The rest of your post has great suggestions. Thank you.
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