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Cabin Paneling Remove and Replace


New Member
So apparently over the years some of the port windows in my 382 have leaked and damaged the paneling around the interior. As I look at it and contemplate removal and replacement, the proverbial can of worms comes to mind. My 1980 382 has 2 starboard ports and a large fixed. This seems to be the side most Morgans I have seen have problems.

Has anyone else done this work? Advice?

Removing the ports seems easy.
The curved wood on the fixed light looks fragile. The fixed light plexi is discolored and crazed.
Replacing the teak paneling seems very hard. It looks like it was 1 long single piece of teak ply, that is maybe glued to the cabin top. Is this true?
For those who have replaced this, first how did you remove it?
Second, will the curved wood trim on the fixed light be destroyed by this removal?
If it is like mine, the curved teak around the fixed port stays there when you unscrew the attachments on the outside. When I replaced my ports,however, I wanted to thru bolt them. So I made another interior trim piece (actually, four pieces per window) to cover the nuts. It took time and fiddling, but it was not hard. The wood on the cabin sides is only 1/8" thick. I had some water stains, but no rotted wood. I just sanded it down and painted it bright white. I have always liked the Herreshoff style of white with gloss varnished teak. I thought I had photos, but don't. I will try to take a few in the next day or two.
I have a similar question. I note the large (crazed) plexiglass windows are screwed in. Looking at the wood interior panel, I see that it is one piece across the entire length of the plexiglass window and seems to be held up with the bottom trim and the trim that holds the ceiling panels. Is it possible that this wood panel will come off allowing me to through bolt a replacement polycarbonate window? If not, have others replaced these large plexiglass windows by just screwing into the cabin top from the outside?
I'm dealing with the same issue at this very moment. Have been for a while. I have New Found Metal ports that someione in the past installed. They were installed completely wrong, as in just glopping up with sealer. Needless to say, they leaked like crazy.

I have so far removed the 3 ports on the starboard side. EACH port had a different sealer they bedded with! A mess and no wonder there have been severe leaks and major damage. The port side is not as bad. But I will tacle those two soon.

The Teak ply on Sonata is closer to 5/16" or 3/8" thick. A lot of delamination has occured at each port. I decided that replacement would entail too much of everything. Time, Money, Effort, AND Frustration. I have considered painting like Terry and others have done. This is still a possibility.

So, what I have done is try to stabilise the delamination/rot using a thin epoxy infusion. Like "Git Rot", but the West Marine version.
With the ports removed, I drilled down into the bad layers. Filled the areas with the epoxy and let it soak in. I used 1x4" boards wrapped with waxed paper to form a "mold" on the inside. Clamped tightly thru the port openings to the outside cabin. This also squeezed the swollen layers of ply back to more normal. Or flush.

I let this cure over night and removed the molds, or forms (1x4).
The results were better than I expected. I may actually be able to sand and refinish the teak with only slight noticability of the bad areas. I would rather not paint if I don't need to. Though I do like that style interior. I want to go sailing instead.
I now have all the proper installation materials for the ports. Hoping they NEVER leak again!

I am heading back to the boat after a long absence to try and continue on this project tomorrow. The port openings in the cabin sides have been sealed with clear plexiglass now. I will take some pictures and post here.

Sorry for my long winded disertation, but perhaps this method will help. I will report on progress and out come soon.

Thanks Mitchell. From the troubles you relate it sounds like my interior paneling around the portholes (plastic) is in relatively good condition. Good luck re-bedding your portlights; those New Found Metal Ports are nice if they are properly bedded. I bedded my new Ocean 60 hatches with butyl rubber tape. It was easy to work with and has not leaked. However, the large plexiglass lights near the galley and nav station are quite crazed (and driving the wife crazy) so I want to replace those. My question is still out there - has anyone removed the wood paneling inside of the windows above the galley and nav station?
From the research I have done here. Yes it has been done. But Sounds like a huge job. Apparently Morgan bonded the panels too well. The bottom trim is easily removed, but the top trim seems to be a mystery. I just decided against it for so many reasons.
My large fixed ports are crazed too. But they don't leak, so are down on the To Do list.

There are some threads on replacing them here if you do a search, and should be able to find them. They are screwed to the cabin sides from the exterior. I don't see any reason they should be thru bolted. And removing the interior trim, will likely destory that.

Yes, I am happy we have the NFM ports, and the new bedding material is Butyl rope, and foam. I purchased this and talked with NFM on proper installation. Who ever did the original installation was trying to cut corners or just plain stupid. I was amazed at what they did.

Have you considered white formica as a replacement for the teak plywood on the cabin sides? I have been using it to replace different areas in the cabin and find it looks great and is very easy to clean and maintain. I have used it on the galley upper cabinet front, the small area just aft of the hanging locker and the aft bulkhead where the old instruments once protruded. With nice teak trim it looks very New Englandish. I have been waiting to tackle the cabin sides as you are doing now. It's on my list.

I considered this Jim. But I'm really trying to not need to remove trim and handholds etc. My Wife lobby'd hard for white vinyl too, but that would increase the difficulty in making it look good and shipshape I thnk. Her thinking was it would match the overhead.
With all the other time consuming projects waiting, I'm hoping to be able to sand the repaired areas, oil and move on. We will see. Thank you. I really do love that look of Herreshoff interiors! And your experience and knowledge are always welcome.

An aside. I had the honor and oppurtunity to visit Windward Passage some time ago. She is a 73 foot Wood Maxi Racer from the past. Nearly the entire curved and formed wood interior is painted in "passage green". Very pale green. I commented on how beautiful it was finished and was informed it had ALL been brushed. It was smoother than if it had been sprayed. Truly stunning.

Folks: Here is a picture of Adavida's interior and a couple close-ups of how I trimmed around the windows with teak. the window photos are not very good; lighting was a problem.


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That's the look I'd love to have on Dana. Is the white painted or something else?

Years ago I was doing electrical work at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan. We were redoing the counters at their Van Cleff & Arpels jewelry section. The new display counters were made of wood and were hand painted with a high gloss paint that was so perfect that it looked like plastic. I should have taken lessons from the painters!

OK, wow, just wow!! You folks are amazing. Truely. I just got back from a week long trip around the Albemarle and mostly staying away from the internet. I am pretty confident in being able to reseal the ports. I like butyl tape too. I am now convinced leave the fixed light teak trim alone. I will remove the crazed plexi and replace and reseal with something (recommendations for sealer on these?) Without first removing to inspect, mine looks like the plexi is grooved and the sealer is a gasket inserted in the groove, and the screws are set through the groove. Perhaps is is just a very neat sealer job.

In my fervid imagination, I was hoping to take all the ports out, put up the new paneling, cut it out of the ports including the fixed light after install with an edge trimmer, reinstall the ports and the light. Install the outside corner trim that holds the steaming birth headliner with screws as before and sail away. That fixed light is beautiful. I love the narrow trim of the existing teak face against my painted paneling, and don't want to change it, but I don't have the skills or time to rip that out and remanufacture all that. The teak frame seems salvageable, so I think I will sand and oil and leave it alone.

Jim, I think that might be a bit of genius.
Once I get all the port lights out, perhaps I can remove the rot and delaminated sections of teak paneling (already painted white). I can fill if necessary locally, but cover all with Formica. It is thin, but stiffer than teak veneer, and will not detract from the beauty of the delicate fixed light frame. Templating around the fixed light window trim, will be slow and painstaking, but perhaps they are both the same so I will not have to do it twice. It might work. Attaching the outside corner molding will have to be done with adhesives rather than screws. That might make some of the headliners very difficult to remove in the future. This method it predicated on the top edge of the panel being a straight "factory edge". The cutting will be on the bottom and covered by the outside corner molding. For me formica is harder to cut cleanly, so I need that smooth edge.

My existing paneling is butt-jointed in 3 spots. Since the cabin top flares slightly that butt would open slightly at the bottom -- the original installer knew that and cut is perfectly. I think Formica can be cut with a knife using an overlap as a straight edge, so that I can make those butts as nice as before.

My wife, says "Oh no, don't go all perfectionist on it -- you will end up ripping it all out and redoing it all, and we will not be able to sail for months" ahhh the words of the bard were never truer, "to sail or fix the sailboat that is the question!"


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We have been slowly converting the interior over to white formica with teak trim. It looks good and is very easy to maintain. To fit the sheets of the formica "perfectly" is done using templates made of oaktag paper. In the photo the aft bulkhead is being fitted with strips of oaktag which and taped together into a pattern that is taped on the sheet formica and cut. They fit like a glove.

The other photos show some areas that have been done in this manner. As I have mentioned to Terry, We would love to do the same to the cabin sides.



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Looks good Jim. Where did you move your instruments to?
Also: My cabinet tops, which are white formica, are getting a little tired. But I have been afraid to tackle the job, because I did not know how to take the old formica off. I don't want corian, just, maybe, new formica. I welcome advice. Thanks

All the instruments, when we brought the boat, were on the cockpit bulkheads. I was so tired of asking guests and crew "could you move so I could see the meters". When we were ready for an electronic upgrade, we redesigned the system. The Garmin chart plotter and the Simrad autopilot control moved up under the dodger on the stbd side. The B&G instruments went in a pod above the companionway slide. There are no longer any instruments, except the VHF remote at the wheel. When we are cruising we are almost always sitting under the dodger with the autopilot doing the work. If we are at the wheel, all the displays have large enough numerals to see from the helm. To cover the old instrument holes in the bulkheads I used 3/4" Starboard pieces on the outside and white formica on the inside.



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I replaced the teak on both sides when I replace the large port windows and the smaller windows with stainless steel ports. Yes it is a very difficult job. Not really putting the new stuff on but getting the old stuff off. I had leaks in two places the starboard side large port was leaking around the screw holes. The port side was all stained because Morgan had glued a section to the head window Because the windows were not deep enough to reach into the head. that obviously had the glue fail and it leaked in there and into the Portside dinete area. So again the bitch of the work is chiseling out the old pieces after you do that grind it down to get rid of the remaining pieces of Morgan glue putting in the new pieces is easy. Just make sure you cut all the port holes in the right size. you know what they say, measure twice and cut once this was probably 25 years ago or more.
My solution to the head window problem was going to a welding shop and have a stainless piece Formed and welded to the stainless steel port that I had purchased.