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TOPIC: Another Fleetcraft restoration

Another Fleetcraft restoration 3 years 2 months ago #109454

  • oldhaven
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In other posts I mention the 1957 Fleetcraft Imperial that has been in my family since new. I redid it in the early 90's and now deck delamination and general wear and tear forces me to do it yet again. All wood is off and I will repaint the hull soon. Original dark charcoal outside and light gray inside. There is no internal wood to rot as this is a pressed fiberglass single layer hull about 5/16 thick. It depends on the Phillipine mahogany wood parts for strength. I removed the pounds and pounds of silicon bronze fasteners, some requiring a hammer type impact driver. Good isometric exercise. The 3M 5200 I used last time was fun too. She has an interesting hull shape with a very buoyant bow form, and the boat designer, who I talked to long ago, said this was to provide a dry ride for 3 or 4 up front in rough water.

I plan to use a 1957 Merc Mark 55 that I am redoing instead of the 1959 Evinrude Golden Jubilee fat fifty my uncle used since he wanted to pull skiers. That was a lot of weight for the narrow low transom and resulted in a 2 inch freeboard over the transom cut.

Should be into the fun part now. You all know how depressing the deconstruction part of these projects can be.

Ron
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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 3 years 2 months ago #109457

Ron, great boat, can't wait to watch your progress. Of course I'm partial to the Golden Jubilee Fat Fifty as I have/had one on my Wagemaker. I changed it out for an 80hp. That Mark 55 will look great on her though!

Bob

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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 3 years 2 months ago #109468

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I like the looks of the v-4 but I am partial to the mercs performance and sound but the boat looks great mine is in getting closer last report, we did engine, all glass work,and trailer and all sanding but I am having an old timer do my wood so he is in no rush and actually I guess Im not either but looks good congrs,Bill

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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 3 years 2 months ago #109469

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I have not yet sanded and prepped the hull and interior, but when I did it 25 years ago I used Imron two part polyurethane paint. It has held up remarkably well, but has some bad scratches and scrapes so I am doing it all again. I did not spray the Imron, which can be VERY harmful if breathed, and I only had an organic vapor cartridge filter mask at the time. (My lungs still work well). I used the roller and brush tip off method outdoors. It came out quite acceptably from 10 feet away. I'm not sure what I will use this time. When I did it last time it had fiberglass pox and I had to use epoxy to fill and smooth what seemed like thousands of tiny pock marks from uncured resin leaving the hull. The west system epoxy with graphite filler I used took care of that plus sealed it from further damage. Did your Fleetcraft have this type of early fiberglass problem?

I really hate to replace the Evinrude, as it just looks so 50's hot rod on the boat and has a lot of memories for me. I was going to redo the heads and reeds, and improve the fuel consumption from the crankcase venting and use it anyway. I had not used it in a few years and opened it up to find huge mouse nests inside the cowl,and the resultant mess that urine makes. It has to be redone now. That made my mind up about the nice Mark 55 I have that is in great shape and ready for rebuild with all NOS parts I had stockpiled over the last 15 years. I am painting the cowls red to match the red and white upholstery. I am sure the boat will be happier with half the weight for 80% of the horsepower hanging on the transom. It will probably come out even. I will miss the way the boat stood on its tail and then jumped out of the hole onto plane when I gunned it and that big 3 blade power prop bit in.

I look forward to seeing yours when its splash time. I am doing all the wood on mine, including having to redo the 6mm meranti marine ply front deck with the filled grooves. I used some plywood last rebuild that I had been told was marine grade, but over the years that proved not true and it delaminated. The staining and varnishing is not too bad to do if you realize it will look used and need maintenance after a couple of years anyway. I plan to use the boat a lot so it will not be a concours see yourself 3 feet deep in it finish. I used Epiphanes varnish over the years which is expensive but really nice to use. I will probably go this way again. The upholstery has been kept inside out of the weather when the boat was not used and is in really good shape. What are you doing with your seats?

Ron

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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 8 months ago #116763

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Still working on the hull. I have it repainted on the outside, then wet sanded and polished the Imron paint. I spent this weekend re-driving the silicon bronze screws to attach the keel, bilge keels and the interior keelsons and transom knees. All the other wood has been stripped and needs a final prep for the mahogany aniline stain and varnish. I may replace the inner and outer transom wood with 3/4 Meranti, but that can wait until I see how the beat up original wood turns out stained and varnished. So far I have not replaced any of the original wood except for the front deck.
I also have the 1957 Mercury Mark 55 completely rebuilt and repainted in a nice Ford Red and Ford white that is close to the stock Mercury Sunset Orange and white.
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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 8 months ago #116764

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Looking good Oldhaven!

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Mark

Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 8 months ago #116796

  • bilnan1
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this will sound stupid but mine is done except putting the pinstripe and 3 more coats,, I guess I need to push him your looks great,,we are working on 2 boats but I am forced to push now,wish we would have did it my self thanks for motivating me Bill

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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 8 months ago #116803

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I am only working on two boats now. And this one I had hoped to have done this year. Oh well.... Don't feel guilty for not completing this one after all the masterpieces you have done.

My other project:

forums.iboats.com/forum/owners-groups-by-manufacturer/s/starcraft-boats/10030868-another-maine-starchief/page8

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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 8 months ago #116805

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Waterwings wrote:

Ron, great boat, can't wait to watch your progress. Of course I'm partial to the Golden Jubilee Fat Fifty as I have/had one on my Wagemaker. I changed it out for an 80hp. That Mark 55 will look great on her though!

Bob


one for sale here in NE.

maine.craigslist.org/boa/5296357135.html

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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 8 months ago #116843

Wow, but if I come home with another oat the Admiral will divorce me! lol

Bob

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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 8 months ago #116924

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Yesterday I cut the new front decks and the front seat deck from Meranti marine ply. I used the table saw to cut the deck grooves and dry fitted the decks to the center board and gunwales. I will be putting stain and a coat of thinned varnish on all this, but final fitting will have to be done on the boat, probably in the spring.
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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 4 months ago #119888

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Continuing to pre work the wood on the Fleetcraft prior to spring, I have been staining and putting initial coats of varnish on the pieces I have stripped or rebuilt so far. I also did the striping on the front and rear decks. I used to have steadier hands, but it turned out reasonably well. There will be a few more coats of varnish after the boat is assembled, but this will get things going sooner when better weather arrives in Maine. it is amazing the amount of finish this old mahogany soaks up, and I should probably have used a filler first, so fewer coats would be needed to level.
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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 4 months ago #120077

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Your foredeck looks beautiful!

Will anyone be crawling around on the deck during usage? If so, it might be advisable to add some additional under deck bracing. My hull is fiberglass and suffered surface cracking from crawling around on the deck. The rebuild has a significant amount of support structure which resulted in a very stable deck.

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Re:Another Fleetcraft restoration 2 years 4 months ago #120081

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Thanks Kern, Since this is the second time I have done this, I am going to do my best and then take better care of it when it is done.
I have only got the foredeck together enough to get 3-4 coats of varnish on it so things go quicker when I can work outside this spring. The deck is pretty rigid but is not intended to walk on. unlike the rear deck, whick is made of 3/4 inch mahogany planking, the front deck was 1/4 mahogany plywood. In all the years it had been used it was OK,and that varnish is not great to walk on when wet. Still You are correct that it could be stiffened up, and I intend to put some 1 inch rigid foam pieces shaped to fit under the deck panels and then brace them to the gunwales and center support so they support the panels. the boat had nearly no flotation in it when new, and I intend to fix that with under deck and seat rigid foam that is not visible and drains well.

Just read through your restoration thread. Wow...I don't think mine will be quite as much of a show piece as your is turning out to be. This is more of a functional restoration. I won't be re-chroming the hardware for instance. I find it interesting how different these very early fiberglass hulls are from those built just a few years later, since mine has no internal wood, just a thin fiberglass shell with all external wood bracing. My '57 is just a couple of years into the builders use of fiberglass from the previous Fleetcraft plywood boats. (See the library). The later encapsulated hulls are more rigid, but can have internal problems. Mine tended to make a bit of noise as the hull flexed against the wood stringers when in rough water, but I have been careful to bed them with 3M 4200 this time.

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