Console Ply Thickness?

Discussion in 'Materials' started by D Xavier, Aug 28, 2020.

  1. D Xavier
    Joined: Aug 2020
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    Location: Auckland, New Zealand

    D Xavier New Member

    Hey all, I'm wanting to build a Centre Console for my RIB and was thinking of using 9mm Bleached Birchwood Ply. Would that be thick enough? I'll use Epoxy and 2 layer of 300g cloth for waterproofing and structural strength. Instrument panel 18mm. Any thoughts and advice? Want to use Meranti but the Birchwood was half the price
  2. Cajunpockettunnel
    Joined: Aug 2020
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    Location: Franklin, LA

    Cajunpockettunnel Senior Member

    I'm my personal opinion absolutely. Especially since you're covering it in mat and epoxy. But, let the more experienced guys chime in.
  3. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    3/4" is very common, bit of glass each side
  4. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    9mm Meranti or Okoume should be fine. I think you'll like the way the real marine ply takes epoxy much better than the birch.

    2 layers of 300g fiberglass cloth is too much IMO. We live in the stone age here in the US (in some ways). 300G per square meter is the equivalent of 10 ounce per square yard cloth, right? When I did the cabin and flybridge on my restoration I used 4 ounce per square yard fiberglass cloth. Just one layer for abrasion resistance. 4 ounce is the equivalent of 114g per square meter or thereabouts. You'll save a lot of weight and a lot of resin.

    I made tongue and groove assemblies for the flybridge console and instrument panel. I coated each piece of the assembly with two coats of straight epoxy. With the third coat I laid down the cloth. Coat all six sides and pay particular attention to the edges, they'll soak up the resin so you can add even more there. A couple of more coats filled the weave. Then two coats of primer and two coats of Interlux Perfection. With the resin do each new coat within about 12 hours of the previous coat to get a good chemical bond.

    If you have to mount steering you could go a little heavier on the ply in that area but 9mm generally is fine. Don't forget to glass in some nice sturdy cleats.

    These panels have been on the boat for 10 years and look as good as they did when I installed them.

    Oh, don't forget to bed in any screw holes that you make so that water stays out of the assembly. If you need to make larger holes for machine screws you can even make an epoxy "grommet" to keep water out forever.



    Last edited: Aug 29, 2020
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The cheaper plywood is most likely for interior cabinetry. Check to see if it is at least exterior rated.
  6. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Obviously the steering could get a bit unnerving if bolted up to a skinny panel that hasn't much support, but there really isn't much need for heavy ply, you would just need less framing with a heavier ply.

  7. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Location: hawaii, usa

    kapnD Senior Member

    I’d avoid the cheap plywood, it is really poor quality, and will jeopardize the integrity of your product.
    The thickness is relative to the weight, I don’t know which is your primary concern.
    The instrument panel will be easier to work with if it is a separate piece of Starboard or similar, makes wiring easier too if you can tilt the panel to access the back.
    If you would provide photos and drawings of your concept, you’ll receive much more precise answers to your queries.
    fallguy likes this.
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