Re-upholstery, Refinishing, Screens, Bilge Pump Monitor, LED Lighting, Horizontal Blinds, Forced Air Heat


The salon settee upholstery has seen better days.  Twenty two years is a long time.  When you sat on it, the cushions started sliding out from under you and the style was just a little too frilly for our taste.

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The back rest was actually storage for pillows which is a good idea.  It pivots up out of the way when the settee is unfolded and turned into a double for guests.  We decided to go to a traditional backrest made of foam and keep the pillows stored someplace else.


The helm seat had also seen better days.  As a matter of fact all the original upholstery needed replaced.

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We re-did all the upholstery during the winter of 2010.  A great deal was found on what appeared to be some ultrasuede material so that is what we used.  Red wine easily wipes off the fabric even after sitting for a while.



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Salon Settee

The finished product is a little more modern (and less frilly) looking than the original.  The back is new foam that is Velcro’ d to a hinged piece of plywood.  Due to its thickness the back must be removed to give additional room on the Settee if using it as a single berth or when folded out to become a double.


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It turns out that re-using the original foam wasn’t the worlds brightest idea as far as the top settee cushion went.  The cushion wanted to roll over on itself as the foam was pretty much shot.  After a year or so of fighting with it we replaced it with new foam.  We should have replaced it when doing the re-upholstery but didn’t.  $135 later things look exactly the same as they did before except the cushion now maintains it shape.  Such is the price of sanity (or insanity depending on how you look at it).






Replacement Chairs

The fold down table on the port side originally had two chairs that aren’t as comfortable as they look.  They also took up a little too much space and didn’t function very well as extra chairs for the back deck due their size.

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These were replaced with folding recliners.  We still need to make some thin cushions to add a bit more comfort to them.  The advantage is that when the table is folded against the bulkhead, the chairs can be used as a recliner, facilitating nap taking without going below.


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Two additional light weight folding chairs were purchased that stow neatly against the starboard bulkhead.  This allows us to easily sit four during dinner in the salon and can be moved to the veranda for additional seating when necessary.  It turns out that it isn’t easy to find decent quality chairs that would fit the space requirement.  These ended up being considerably more expensive than the reclining chairs purchased for the port side table.


The stools under the counter are actually bar stools with the legs trimmed to bring the seats to the appropriate height.


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The screens in all the opening windows were in pretty bad shape.  The last replacement was done with pet screen which has a very large, heavy weave.  After hearing about UltraVue Invisible Screening we thought we would give it a try.  The stuff is really nice.  The window on the left has screen, the window on the right is the fixed glass side.  The general cost runs to about a dollar a running foot, but in the grand scheme of things that is almost free as far as material costs for a Pilgrim are concerned.  Replacement is easy; remove the screws holding the fiberglass frame on the outside, pull off the old screen which was held on with rubber contact cement and glue in a new piece.  After the cement has dried, use a sharp utility knife to trim off the excess and put it back on the boat.  With the frames off and the screens out, that is a real good time to compound and wax the frame.



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We really liked the view of the skylight with no screen, but seeing how well the UltraVue stuff worked we used it here.  You can still see the woodwork with the cover on the skylight and when the cover is off you have a clear view of the sky.

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Bilge Pump Monitor

LIBERTY came to us with an uninstalled bilge pump monitor so we found a place in the salon to install it where it can be seen and heard if the pump starts working harder than it is supposed to (which is almost never).  You wouldn’t think that it should take about a man day to install one of these but it does.  Doing a nice job of wiring as well as trying to decipher the original bilge pump wiring takes time.  This is especially true when the original wiring is not exactly original as we found we had a wire that went nowhere.  That isn’t exactly true either; the wire went someplace but when it got there nothing was attached to it.


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Cabinet doors in the aft portion of the salon were also in dire need of refinishing, so off with the old and on with the new. 


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Of course refinishing the door made the frames and adjoining cabinetry look tawdry, so that needed to be done also.




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I made the mistake in counting up the number of cabinet doors in a Pilgrim.  We have a total of 30.  The good news is that only 20 of them need stripped and varnished.  The 10 in the forward state room appear to be in good enough condition that a light sanding and varnishing will suffice.  There are lots of pictures of refinishing those 20 doors.







Who paints the underside of the steps to the Pilot House?




Even refinishing the teak pulls ends up being a chore with so many to deal with.






We want to replace the hinges as the originals are pretty pitted.  Guess what….. replacement hinges have the holes punched slightly off from the original; about ½ hole diameter to be exact.  This continuation of this project is covered under the Galley pages.



Saloon Sole


We are also in the middle of stripping the entire cabin sole and refinishing it.  We have the pilot house and galley sole stripped and a few coats of varnish on those areas.  This picture is in the salon sole that has been stripped with the heat gun before the shrink wrap goes on for the winter.  It is possible to sand and varnish under shrink wrap, but don’t even try to use a heat gun to strip varnish when you are fully buttoned up for the winter.  This was learned the hard way during our last winter season.



Sanded and varnished



We finally got around to installing another set of hinges in the smaller engine hatch cover.  Lifting it clear of the hold to do bilge/packing gland/holding tank checks gets old after a while.  Don’t scratch the new varnish!



Saloon Trim


In the video below we in the process of sanding and re-varnishing all the woodwork in the Saloon.  I am beginning to see why a fair number of Pilgrims woodwork is starving for varnish as this is not a trivial task.  The problem with a boat is that in order to do something right, you have to disassemble/remove lots of hindrances.  For example, trying to do a good job without removing the curtains and valances over the windows is just about impossible.  Trying to sand and varnish around items that are mounted on the woodwork is equally impossible.  Tearing all this apart during midseason when the boat is in use just isn’t going to happen.  You might notice the miles of blue tape used.  Generally I have a steady enough hand so as not to have to use making tape, but not in this case.  The tape also protects the white Formica during the multiple sanding’s between coats.





We also removed the valances over the sliding port windows for refinishing.  The picture below also shows a teak insert we made to replace the plastic panel in the new NovaCool refrigerator that is being installed.




Our Pilgrim had some cute little lights mounted on the back side of the valance allowing for some indirect mood lighting.  Again, cute but not terribly effective.  We decided on replacing the old bulbs with a strip of LED’s.  The LED’s are a lot brighter and are mounted at an angle so as not to project a sharp shadow onto the overhead when being used.  You can see the relative difference in brightness.




Actually, after doing a test install of the LED strips, we determined that these were way to bright to be simply “mood” lights for the saloon so we re-purposed these into basement lights and purchased LED strips that were rated for about one-third the brightness.


We keep most of our “odd” electronic gear (cell phones, tablets, computers, chargers etc.) in the library cabinet.  To make better use of the space we made a half shelf and also installed an LED light strip.  Somebody should straighten that cabinet up.  I will have to bring that subject up with our cabin boy.




We also installed some LED lights to provide down lighting over the table.  There was no provision for any sort of light to brighten up any activities being done on the folding table (which we never fold down).  Power is tapped off the LED light strips above the valance.






Not being a fan of curtains, we removed all the curtains from the head, galley and saloon.  We finally figured out how we could install horizontal blinds under the valances (remove the valances, install the blinds and reinstall the valances). 




In order to keep the blinds from moving around you can either use the “free” hold downs provided by the blind manufacturer or make your own.  They should really pay you to take the so called free ones as they are an embarrassment especially considering the cost of the blinds themselves.  “Window Treatments” are expensive; boat or no boat.  We chose to make our own; again having access to a 3D printer made this a somewhat easy job.





Dedicated Forced Air Heat


Since LIBERTY only came to us with a reverse cycle air conditioner we wanted the ability to heat the boat at anchor without having to start the genset to power the heat pump on the ac unit.  We decided upon a propane heater more than likely because we had a diesel heater on our last trawler and were looking for something different.  Both types of heaters require outside air to support combustion and some location to vent the exhaust. 


We settled on a 10,000 BTU Propex heater sold by Sure Marine Service out of Seattle.  We located the heater itself under the Settee in the salon with both the intake and exhaust vents going out the side of the cabin above the walking deck.  This project actually took about a year to complete as we started it in the fall when it got cool (when else?), other more pressing projects superseded the finishing of it until late the following summer.  Since the boat is pulled out of the water for the winter, there is not a lot of enthusiasm for working on something that cannot be used for almost another year.




Heat ducts feed both the salon and the forward stateroom.




To get forward, the duct must be routed down through the salon sole (in our case inside a cabinet located forward of the settee, through the bulkhead between the basement and engine room and then through the bulkhead separating the forward cabin and the basement.


The path the duct work needed to travel was too tight to allow the use of the round duct.  Since we don’t think it is too efficient having air trying to find its own way though this area we helped it a bit.




This should help direct the air in the right direction without causing too big of a pressure drop.




The bottom shelf seals the top of the duct.




 To be continued…..


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