With some amazing weather the last two weeks I was able to take some time off to have some quality family time before the kids went to back to school, and to make some serious progress on our 1967 42 Commander.  Progress was made in the aft cabin, the helm area, and the engine.  I figured I'd share a few before and after pictures of the helm and aft cabin...


Here are some pictures from when we first looked at the boat...

It's a 1967, 23rd hull, so it's a woody inside.  But as you can see, the majority of the wood in the boat was painted white.  If you look closely here, you can see some rotted floor boards due to the leaking hatch and having been on the hard and uncovered for 6 years. 

The aft cabin looking towards the salon.  More painted mahogany.

The aft cabin looking back to the aft head.  Cool tweed wallpaper that had seen much better days.  It was covering up some much cooler mahogany...

So, that was the before... and here is some of the during and after...

Long before getting things back together, there was a lot of work on trim (remaking some pieces, stripping, sanding, staining & varnishing others, and of course thinking about what to do with the headliner.  To match what I did in the salon, I decided to put a centerboard in the aft cabin, with removable panels - all of this trim was created out of mahogany to match the rest of the wood.

As work progressed... After all of the wood work that makes up the valances were finished and put in place, I used screws and string attached to the headliner staple boards to measure out the panels.  That was transferred to 1/4" plywood and cut out.  Here is the completed fitting before finishing them out for installation.

The (mostly) finished product.  All of the windows and window track were removed, cleaned and put back in place using Dow Corning 795.  As much of the wood that makes up the corners and center post for the aft windows were rotted at the bottom due to poor drainage, all of them and most of the mahogany cladding was replaced.  All pieces were varnished  to provide protection, and everything sealed off to keep water from going into cavities below the two aft windows.  As with my salon ceiling panels, they were made with 1/4" plywood, painted black on one side, and then covered with traditional perforated headliner material.  The centerboard is designed with a lip that the inside edge of the panels slide into, and then the rest of the edge trim and trim between panels keeps them all in place.  If I need to, taking them down can be done very quickly for access.  I just didn't want to stick with a headliner that I'd have to cut to take down.  This provides a much more flexible solution.  There is another project (besides window treatments) that will finish up this area, but I'll share that when it's done.

Looking forward as a comparison to the all white before photo.  To help keep things a bit lighter I opted to keep the sliding doors painted... but an off white color.  Everything else is stained in "warm cherry", and varnished with Epifanes - the last two coats are rubbed effect.

No more wallpaper - hard to believe that someone wanted to hide all of this great wood!.  We purchased memory foam mattresses for both bunks - super comfy.  The walls next to both bunks are covered with a dark purple microfiber material, with a 1/2" foam backing.  A lot of the chrome in the boat wasn't in too bad of shape... a little elbow grease with Nevr-Dull wadding polish brought it back to life.


The helm as it looked when we purchased the boat...

Our 42 come with the head knocker hard top, but it didn't offer much protection for the six years it sat on the hard next to a barge loading area. 

It was dusty to say the least. As you can see the black paint had seen better days, the steering while was bad, and it had two different (and non-functional) controls for trim tabs. Anything chrome on it was in pretty bad shape, and needed real attention. 

Everything was removed from the helm and this is what we were left with. As you can see in the picture above, the black paint was worn, the gray was also warn and had a few more holes than it really needed, and there were lots of unnecessary holes on either side in the white gelcoat areas.  With all of this in mind I decided to have it painted (and have some of the holes on the sides filled).  Fortunately there were no cracks in the fiberglass.

As I mentioned the chrome was in pretty bad shape... but surprisingly, a good long bath in vinegar and some serious elbow grease brought much of the pull switches and center hub of the wheel back to life.  You can see the before and after cleaning above.  What couldn't be saved by a good cleaning?  The Morse controls (covers and sticks), wheel hoops, metal spindles, and most of the metal bars that adorned the black stripes of the helm.  For some of that, patience and luck netted me new(er) gauges in better shape than my originals, new Morse control covers and sticks, new stickers for the Morse Controls (thanks to fellow club member Jeremy Goldstein), and mahogany replacements for all the decorative bars, as well as some wood trim to hide some imperfections.  A trip to the chromer took care of the wheel hoops and spindles, and also changed the natural brass foot rest brackets to nice shiny chrome.

I know my limits so as I said, I had a body shop take care of patching and painting the helm.  The white is an exact match to the gelcoat color (thanks to our archives for that).  Many of the holes were patched, and the whole thing was clear coated.  They did a great job.

The (mostly) finished product as of this weekend.  The foot rest is all new, the switch label plates are all new, I repainted the outer shells of the binnacle, replaced all of the lights in the helm with LED bulbs, replaced the ignition switches that were Sea Ray (gag) when we purchased with original CC ignition switches, and thanks to my dad, added some 1/4" mahogany to cover up some holes around the gauges and the two trim tab controls.  The mahogany replacements for the chrome bars turned out pretty cool, adding a little something to the helm that wasn't there before.  The wiring was in good shape and stayed original... I removed quite bit of wiring that was no longer necessary.  It was a little scary to take it out, and more so to put it back, but so far everything is looking good.  And, now that I have a helm back in place, I can turn my attention to the newly rebuilt 427 that just went into the engine room this past week...

Until the next update... Happy Commanding!

1967 42 Commander
"What If..." 

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Absolutely stunning, Chris! Wow! That’s one lucky boat!

For those of us of a certain age, perhaps you should rename your boat with a Greatful Dead Album title, "What a long strange trip it's been"

Nice work.

Looks like you've been very busy.

Love the interior varnished!

Watching your restoration at least confirms that I'm not the only crazy one here.

Glad to see you starting to enjoy the results of all your hard work

Awesome. Very nice.

What a great job Chris!  Aft cabin ceiling and trim are spectacular!  Great job on the helm with the "wood" additions.

Dave Wilson

42' Commander "Valhalla"

Chris great work! I have hull# 10 of the same model.  I too pulled the wallpaper from the heads------nice ribbon grade mahogany.  Mine is a soft top and the long side braces of the windshield are bright mahog. The factory must have run out of alum. when the boat was built on a Friday.  Great Work!    Bob

Chris, that looks great. Mine is of the 1970 variety so no good wood for me. I am really wanting to do my headliners like that!

Excellent job. I’ve got  H.I.N. # FBA 422031 H. Inspires me to do the same to mine. 

Indeed it has been Tim......

In reality, it's not so difficult.  I thought about it for a while after I had pulled the headliner off that a PO put up.  I used the existing ribs of the cabin top for the salon, and of the aft deck for the aft cabin.  The centerboards for both the salon and the aft cabin are 6" wide and 3/4" thick with a notch cut out of the top edges that allow the panels to be slid into.  For the other 3 sides (or more depending on the panel), they rest up against the existing headliner staple trim that CC put in.  Ribs between the panels going from port to starboard are all 2" wide, 3/8" thick.  Edge trim is 1.5" wide and 3/8" thick.  With the ribs and edging being that wide, it affords the ability to not be so exact when it comes to the panel sizes.  I drove some nails into the ribbing and staple trim and used string to provide me with an outline to measure from.  With the centerboard being the true straight edge, I used it as the straight edge to cut all the panels from, and also to line up all the headliner material so it wasn't different from panel to panel. 

This weekend I'll put in the panel for the aft head, and fit all of the trim.  After that will be the much more challenging v-berth... Due to the curve of the hull I won't be able to use the 1.5" edge trim so I'll have to make an exact cut for the curve, then wrap the headliner material.  Again, I'd rather mess around with making panels and having access than just stapling up new headliner. 

If anyone is interested I can provide more details and pictures of the panel process.
Mark Steinmann said:

Chris, that looks great. Mine is of the 1970 variety so no good wood for me. I am really wanting to do my headliners like that!

So next year is TOE RAIL, right????

No... gonna be probably two years out on that... I'm a bit reluctant to start that project considering all that's involved.  So, next year will be the hardtop removal and reseating.  I've seen other members that have done it, so I'll be asking questions and looking for advice... the hardtop was removed and put back on when the boat was moved from Sandusky to the Quad Cities and they did a pretty crappy job... things aren't lined up really good, and they used copious amounts of caulk (5200?) to make up for it... it'll be a mess, but it must get done next year.  The nice thing is that my ceiling panels in the salon will make for easy access!
Byron Smith said:

So next year is TOE RAIL, right????

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