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Headliner Replacement

Replacing the Headliner on my 1966 31 Commander. At first I was going to build panels but a quick test fit of the first one revealed they wouldn't fit through my cabin door. So I decided that what Chris Craft put in was going to be the best option for me. I bought perforated cream headliner vinyl and a roll of Hidem trim from a local company to me, Ross Coated fabrics in Hamtramck Mi. I also took the time to update the lighting. I started out by cutting 9' lengths that would be oversized by about a foot for my 31. Remove the lights, and hardware from the ceiling, as well as the top window trim. In the cabin I found the center of the vinyl stapled it up and worked my way out from there on one side. A staple every 6" or so is fine to start as I had to remove a fair amount to pull out wrinkles later. Then I moved to the other side, in the center panel where there's no protrusions I just started in the middle and worked my way out like the other side. The ends where there's protrusions into the cabin ceiling I started with the shortest section and worked my way to the longest. The part in the rear of the cabin was a particular pain. Working around the corners you have to cut the vinyl so it can be worked into the next longer section. Cut it long! I screwed one up and had to start over on it. As the vinyl is going up find and slit the headliner and pull the wires for the lights through. There's lots of pulling and stretching to get a smooth tight headliner, this is one of the most time consuming parts of the job. Once the headliner is up trim the excess with a razor. Find the holes for all the bolts and screws by feeling through the vinyl and install them. Install the lights. I then covered all the seams and staples with Hidem. It's not perfect, but I fell it turned out pretty good for an amateur and definitely looks better than the 54 year old headliner I replaced.

The original Headliner

Test panel for the ceiling, didn’t fit through the door.

New Cream headliner vs the old original

Pull and staple, headliner before the hidem and trim is put on

The final product

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