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      I need some advice, please. I’m putting an extra (small) instrument panel into the cubby hole in the grey ‘leatherette’ instrument panel on Playtime (38 Ocean – 2000 vintage). The cabin wood is mahogany (I think!) and is varnished with a shiny but slightly satin finish.
      Obviously I want to achieve a good match with the existing wood but am no expert in this field. Electricals, engines, plumbing even, I’m fine, but I did extra maths at school instead of woodwork so it’s always been a weak area in my DIY skill set!
      Firstly, what wood is recommended? It needs to be about 1cm thick so faced ply would be one option but can you get it in mahogany and would it match? An alternative would be a bit of solid mahogany (it only needs to be about 30 cms square) – but where can you buy a suitable piece in the Portsmouth/Southampton area?
      Secondly, what finish is recommended? Gloss varnish? Satin varnish? Polyurethane? An few coats of each? There are too many options!
      Any advice gratefully received.
      Thanks and Happy New Year to all.


        let me know how you get on, having just bought a bavaria 38 I too hope to do a bit of tasteful updating with the interior woodwork.

        when I previously updated my moody http://severnply.co.uk/ supplied a small sheet of venerred marine ply, when varnished matched perfectly. I am told you don’t need marine grade ply standard ply is good enough.

        if in the meantime anyone else has found a perfect match ……. 😳



          I have done some timber work in my B34 (2000 model – dark timber) with solid mahogany and Feast Watson Scandanavian oil and I am very happy with the result.

          Some time ago I took a cupboard door to a specialist timber merchant and he thought the timber was african mahogany which he happened to have. I believe he was right as it matched the boat beautifully.

          I have made fronts for shelves in one of the hanging spaces, storage pockets under the nav table, a sliding shelf for the computer and surround for the ham radio. I can send a photo if you like.

          I finished the timber with Feast Watson Scandanavian oil which is easier to use than Estapol as you can wipe it on with a rag and it gives a flat finish with the same sheen and the bavaria finish.

          These are brand names Australian so I hope they may be some hlp in the UK



            Thanks for the reply. I was starting to think no-one does woodwork!
            I went to the local timber yard over Christmas and they advised that you can’t (easily) get mahogany these days. The (green) equivalent they could offer is sapele.
            I bought a piece of solid sapele from them (£7.50 for a 1000 by 200mm piece, including planing to reduce the thickness to 13mm to match the surrounding timber) and am currently preparing the panel (cut outs, half round edges etc.).
            I will write again when I have ‘finished’ the panel. I’ll probably use gloss varnish as I haven’t heard of the products in the UK that you recommend; the rest of the woodwork on Playtime looks like (thin) gloss varnish (to my untrained eye). If anyone knows different, please let me know (quickly)!


              Umm – the plot thickens!
              I decided that bare sapele was a bit ‘pink’ and so tried a coat of Colron “Deep Mahogany” stain. This was a much closer colour match but still not quite ‘chestnut-brown” enough.
              I then tried a coat of teak coloured varnish. The final colour is a bit dark but will do (for now) as the new panel will not be next to any original woodwork.
              However, I have, in parallel, posted a question on the PBO forum and will let you know what ideas, if any, that august body has on woodwork finishes!


                This is the ‘response’ from the PBO Forum – disappointing.


                I think we generally get better advice through this BOA Forum!

                As a last line of attack, I will ask Clipper at the LBS on Wednesday if they have any idea (or know someone who might know) what finish Bavaria used on their woodwork in 2000.



                  I went to LBS yesterday (very ‘uncrowded’) and asked Clipper about the wood. The chap I spoke to wasn’t very helpful and “the man who knew everything about wood” was not on the stand.

                  I finally pitched up at the Robbins Timber stand and had, at last, found an expert. He had samples of all woods used on boats and he confirmed that the wood (I had taken a small sample from Playtime) is solid mahogany and that sapele is a poor substitute (too pink!). The finish, he reckons, is Epifanes semi gloss varnish (not satin), sprayed on.

                  They sell all hardwoods, including mahogany, and their prices are reasonable (for small quantities anyway). Their website is here


                  and they will post wood and other items as required.

                  It’s a pity I didn’t wait for this info – I have now fitted the sapele panel! Although it looks OK, good even, it is not the ‘perfect’ match I was hoping for. With my woodworking skills, though, I can’t face doing it all again in mahogany!


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