Removal of interior teak veneer panels

I am contemplating replacing the teak veneer panels installed in the cabin interior (where the ports are located) with the fiberglass paneling made by Crystaliner.

Although I appreciate the traditional nature of teak, I would like to brighten up the interior.

Does anyone know how the teak veneer was installed in the Sam Morse boats? I do not want to simply cover the teak with the fiberglass panels because I suspect that will create a lot of complications in re-fitting the ports and reinstalling the teak trim.



I am not sure how the paneling is installed. I have removed all of my ports to clean up. I am hoping that Roger Olsen will chime in here.

SV “Lightfoot”

I had to replace those panels some years ago due to water leaks at the portholes. It appeared to me the panels are bonded with fiberglass polyester resin. Once you get the wood off, you need to remove residual resin to make the surface smooth. I basically used a hammer and chisel. Grinding would be an option but what a mess.

Ron Thompson
Ho’okahiko 97

On Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 1:03 PM, BCC Forums wrote:

Gary, I agree with you that yes, the white f/g paneling will brighten up the cabin
and too, that by removing the Teak veneer plywood, there would be no chance of rot begining around the port holes.

You may even consider using foam insulating board behind the new f/g paneling, because a lot of condensation can build up there.


Good suggestion. Do you know how thick the foam insulating board is? I’m hoping to retain the original thickness so that I don’t have to spend a lot of time reducing the dimensions of the teak trim for re-installation.


Just a note…keep in mind that the ports are thru-bolted. You will need to have some dense material (like wood) around interior of the ports to tighten against. Foam will not do in this area.
SV “Lightfoot”

IN my last reply I was considering the problem you would have if you applied the fiberglass panels over the teak vernier. Your portlight barrel would not be long enough to reach flush with the collar and your screws would be too short. So I suggested you apply the fiberglass panels directly to the sides of the cabin sides. After some thought, I suggest you remove about 3/16" to 1/4" of the plywood surface and then bond the fiberglass panels to this plywood.

This should not be difficult to do with a good sharp, wide wood chisel. It is plywood and layers can be easily removed this way. You will find you can start and then rip out long strips of a layer until it is all removed to the desired thickness. Fill any deep voids and remove any high spots that could effect the fiberglass panel. Follow with a 40 grit sand. You do not need a smooth surface but you do need an even surface. When you bond the fiberglass panels, the bonding will fill small voids but it will not compensate for “bumps”

We applied our panels with fiberglass resin mish-mash (a putty made up of fiberglass resin and micro balloons. The fiberglass panels are first dry fit to make sure everything fits, then bonded, clamped and braced in place until the resin cured over night.

I suggest the following:

Dry fit the fiberglass panels to fit and cut out the port holes. I suggest you make the join (one piece is not long enough to reach the total distance if you want the grooves vertical) at center of the forward portlight to make it easier to fill and hide.

Cut a bunch of pieces (10 +/-) of wood about 1" to 2" thick the same length as the distance between the inside of the panels from cabin side to cabin side.

Cut about 8 sheets of 3/8" or 1/2" plywood that will be placed against the panels to distribute the pressure when bonded in place. (4 per side) Measure the size of these panels before cutting. Three portlights per side. One plywood panel will go between the portlights (2 total per side) and one at each end (2 total per side)

For bonding you can use mish-mash, 5200 or any good two part bonding putty.

Have six “C” clamp ready to clamp the fiberglass panels and plywood in place.

Apply the bonding material to the fiberglass panels and around the porthole opening on the plywood. Fill any voids in the plywood.

Clamp the panels in place. Start at the forward and aft port hole and clamp the larger pieces of plywood (between portlights) against the fiberglass panels holding everything in register. Do the same to the other side.

Now, using the strips of wood, brace the plywood firmly in place by wedging the pieces evenly over the plywood. Do not remove the “C” clamps because the sides of the cabin are tapered and the braces will want to force the panels to slide. The “C” clamps are to prevent this. If you do have problems, you will have to support the bottom of the fiberglass panels to prevent them from sliding down.

Now apply the plywood pieces at the end in the same manner.

Remove any excess adhesive in the portholes.

After the adhesive is cured remove the braces and plywood pieces. Sand and dry fit the portlights. Before installing the portlights, seal the edge of the plywood. You do not want to take any chance of water entering behind the plywood, the fiberglass panel or the edge grain of the plywood.

When installing the portlights, be certain to bed them with lots of bedding compound.

I am not sure if you intend to remove the hand rail or apply these panels inside.

If you have further problems or questions, you can contact me directly at


Thank you to everyone for their advice and particularly to Roger for the step-by-step instructions - it all makes sense. Now, I just have to summons the courage to start the process (but will likely not do so until the Fall - still need to go sailing!)

Dioscouri - #064

Save yourself a lot of hairpulling and bond the panels over the teak plywood. Make your patterns of tagboard, be sure they fit gnats behind perfect. Learn how to use a scrib and make your patterns in halves. Where the ports come through, cut the holes the size of the port flange so they are recessed into the fiberglass panels. The port flange would then be almost flush with the fiberglass panel. I you want the port flange to stand out you could find a shop that will sand down the back of the fiberglass panel to reduce its thickness. The sander could get the panel down to the thickness of Formica. You would need a drum sander to do this and most cabinet shops have one of these. The reduction of thickness will not be a problem as it is not structural. If you have rot around the ports cut it out and replace it with good marine plywood before you put on the fiberglass panels. Peeling the plywood panels down by layers is going to be a bear to do as they never come apart like you would expect them to. Been there, done that and ended up doing more work to prep the destroyed surface than I would have in just tearing it out and replacing it with new material. Good luck on your interior re-do.

Bob & Lois

BCC Jolie Brise