Interior paint and filler

22 Sep 2005
The interior of my boat is all mahogony, with mahogany ply panels panels right up to the top of the cabin. Over the years these have suffered water damage (to the extent that it isn't repairable with stain/varnish) and the interior panel by the companionway is in very poor condition with holes all over it and even more water damage.

I've been scratching my head about what to do about that this for a few years, and my initial thought has always been that I'll cover the existing panels with another thin mahogany panel, try to colour match it and then varnish.

But after talking it over with SWMBO (who does a lot of interior desing - and pinted out that wood painted white is lot nicer looking than fiberglass painted white) and seeing a thread here with some very nice pics of boats with white painted bulkheads it seems this is would be a much cheaper, easier, and maybe even more asthetically pleasing way of fixing it.

So my first question is regarding paint - I'm pretty sure normal household paint would be fine, but any input much appreciated.

Secondly, what type of filler would be best to use to get the surfaces ready for painting? They'll probably need quite a bit of work after being sanded down enough to get a good surface to start from, and I need to fill some quite big holes e.g. where speakers used to be. I guess I would need something that is flexile enough to take the movement of a boat, but would also like something that can be sanded prior to painting.