Expert wood identifiers.

We never claimed to be expert wood identifiers.  In fact, I believe you can tell how much we’re not expert wood identifiers by my continued use of the phrase “expert wood identifiers.”  There’s gotta be a name for that, right?

So, we refinished the wood in the galley, which is great for us and all, but you’re probably thinking it isn’t really all that special considering we’re refinishing every piece of wood on the entire forty-seven foot long monster, and I wish you were right.  You’re not, but I wish you were.

Teak on the right, mahogany on the left.  Nice.

I bet you look at this and think you’re an expert wood identifier, don’t you?

See how the veneer on the cabinet face on the right hand side of the picture is, like, a totally different species of wood from the veneer on the left side?  Yeah, we do, too.  Now.  Now that it’s all permanently installed and we’re never ever ever changing it again.  Grumph.

So, apparently the wood on the Compass is mahogany, which isn’t totally shocking.  Believe it or not, Charlie and I actually spent quite a bit of time discussing what species we thought the wood could be.  The wood is more red than I’d like it to be, but I thought mahogany was much more red than the wood on the Compass.  And, remember, at some point someone stained most of the wood an orangey-rust color, which we found our when we first washed down the inside of the boat.  When the wood was freshly sanded, it was a mid-toned peachy brown color, kinda like newly sanded teak.  We figured the reddish hue, since it wasn’t as dark as the mahagonay samples we found, was a figment of our imagination, left over from when we first got the boat.  Too bad there’s this thing called “African Mahogany” which is known for being less red than it’s American counterpart.  Yup, our African boat has African wood.  Whodathunkit?

As far as the installation went, it was neither exceptionally easy nor exceptionally hard.  We’d never applied veneer before, so we spent a few weeks leading up the project reading up on the process.  After our individual studies, I wanted to apply our own glue and Charlie wanted to use sticky-backed veneer.  We went with Charlie’s plan on this one, since I’m much better at giving “I told you so”‘s than getting “what were you thinking”‘s.  After we’d removed all of the old veneer, and sanded and cleaned the substrate, we went to town.  At first we tried to peel away the backing from the veneer while simultaneously pressing down the exposed sticky area to the cabinet face.  This was a frustrating mess, and every time we got to a drawer cut out, the whole thing got bubbled and warped.  Finally, I decided that we’d just peel off all of the backing, exposing all of the sticky stuff, lay the veneer on our carpet glue side up, and just lay the substrate on top of it.  This may seem amateurish, but it worked like a charm.  It’s not like we have a woodshop to do this in, and we’re not planning on doing it many more times.

Charlie cutting out veneer for the doors and drawers.

After we got the stuff stuck on, we cut the veneer away from the drawer and door openings.  We were careful to preserve the pieces well so that we could use them on the actual drawer and door faces.  Charlie completed that part on his own, and did a damn fine job making those little circles for the door pulls.

The truth is, we actually noticed that the teak we ordered was much different from the wood on our boat as soon as we opened the package, but the cost of sending the stuff back, combined with the restocking fee and the cost of having new mahogany veneer shipped was more than we were willing to shell out.  Instead, we purchased some mahogany marine-grade stain (I know, I know) and tinted the teak a bit. We finished everything with West Marine Wood Pro under Interlux Gold Spar Satin.  The Interlux isn’t as easy to work with as the Epifanes, in my opinion, but it looks just fine.  I’d think it looked top-notch if we weren’t comparing it to the Epifanes.  I think it has a more hazy finish than the Rubbed Effect on the rest of the boat, but it’s not noticeable enough to complain about.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re not willing to go through the hassle of using a mislabeled Epifanes product again.

We’re pretty happy with the job overall, especially considering that neither of us had ever attempted anything like it before.  Someday we may try to match the veneer we redid to that in the rest of the boat, but, hey, maybe someday we’ll win the lottery and I’ll convince Charlie that we should have the whole thing redone in maple (yes, I’m a living stereotype).  For now, we’re just happy to be sixty-five percent done with the interior woodwork.

In an attempt to change things up a bit, we’ve shifted focus and have started rebedding deck hardware.  This means that we’ve finally pulled down some of the headliner (yes, I think we’re doing some things backwards, too), and I’m pleased to report that the underside of the deck looks marvelous and strong.  We always worry about what we’ll find, and we’re always left pleasantly surprised.  You’d think we’d realize by now that this boat is just amazing.  We were truly blessed when we found our Compass.

As for me personally, I’m headed down into the garage to put a forth coat of varnish on the v-berth headliner.  It never ends, folks.  Sixty-five percent, my ass.

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