Now that almost all of the exterior items on my checklist are complete, the time has come to turn my attention to the cabin. The cabin is fully lined with the original grey carpet which they call ‘monkey fur’. It’s not in terrible shape but it has a few stains and appears to be dried out and separating from the underlying fiberglass in many places. I’ve been rolling around all kinds of options in my head about what to do in the cabin for the past 6 months or so. I’ve looked at new headliner material but I could not envision a look that made me happy. As I was poking around youtube one day, I found a gentleman, Jeff Hall, who had a very similar issue to the issue in my cabin and I thought his solution was not only brilliant but looks fantastic!

The game plan now is to tear down the front section of ‘monkey fur’ from the ceiling, apply 5200 to some thin pine strips and glue to the ceiling in some strategic places in order to securely fasten the tongue and groove maple panels that will make up the ceiling. I am by no means a skilled or even semi-skilled carpenter … but I did stay in a holiday inn express one night. That’s all I need right?

The before photos below show the drab and uninviting look of the monkey fur …

I began by removing the monkey fur from the front part of the cabin ceiling. Most of the material pulled off easily as the glue had disintegrated underneath. The problem areas were around the old broken windshield wipers and along the edges. Removing the windshield wiper motors was a bit of a pain. There are now a couple of holes where the non-functioning windshield wipers used to reside. These holes can be easily filled, sanded and covered with SeaDek from the exterior. The wiring behind the monkey fur is now loosely hanging because there is no material to hold them up. Once the material was cleared, I began the process of cutting strips of finger jointed pine wood (roughly 1/2″ thick) to apply to the ceiling where I could attach the tongue and groove maple. The 1/2″ strips serve 3 main purposes:

  1. Provide a little spacing for the wires to hide – I’ll attach the wires to the fiberglass with some plastic clips
  2. Even out the uneven surface of the fiberglass
  3. Give the tongue and groove pieces a surface to firmly attach

I purchased maple tongue and groove panels (5/8″ x 3 1/4″ x 7′) and I cut to length. I wasn’t sure about where to start because of alignment issues and I didn’t want to be forced to make too many complicated cuts. Regardless where I start, there will be some cutting to do on the end pieces. I opted to start at the opening above the steps because it provided a nice straight edge where I could lay the first piece. After this piece is in place, I worked back towards the stern until the ceiling pieces were in place. The final piece angles down to the box and is held in place by a piece of trim moulding that is screwed into the box. All of the holes were pre-drilled and the screws are countersunk. Because the last piece was not going to be an exact 3.25″ wide, I had to rip the last piece in order to get the proper fit. The gaps along the edges of the ceilings will be eventually covered by trim moulding. The panels are lightweight and the tongue and groove connections allow the pieces to roll into a semi oval shape thereby easily compensating for any uneven height alignments. I attached the corners of each end panel using stainless screws that screw into the pine strips of wood underneath. Roughly every other panel piece is held in place with stainless screws. Each panel (except for both end panels) is held in place with the tongue and groove routes which holds these panels firmly in place. Once I completed the back half of the ceiling, I liked the look and decided to remove the monkey fur from the sides of the cabin. My strategy is to complete the long straight sections on the ceiling and sides of the cabin first and then work through each section of the cabin with the more complicated irregular shaped areas. The work is time consuming but so far the result is well worth it. You can see in the photos below how everything is progressing.


Removing the monkey fur
(messy, messy, messy!)

Pine Strips Applied using 5200

Installing the Tongue and Groove Panels


More to come …

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