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TOPIC: Safety and durability of '50s-era MFGs over time

Safety and durability of '50s-era MFGs over time 1 year 2 months ago #133069

Hi all,
I wanted to ask whether anyone with an older MFG has had, or has heard of, issues relating to the safety and durability of the hull over time. I have a 1958 Cambridge.
In particular,
- are you aware of any issues relating to failure (gradual or sudden) of the fiberglass hull?
- do you know of any reason why the foam flotation panels under the seats might not perform?
- can you think of any other reasons why the boat might not be safe for continued use?

I have had only minor repairs to the boat itself to deal with so far (motor has been another story). The windshield was replaced years ago. I recently had to replace the bolts securing the keelson to the hull, as those as corroded and water would leak in. I also had to replace the hardware that attaches the transom to the reinforcing support, as I think the weight of the motor was causing the transom to bow out. My biggest current issue is that the connection between the deck and the hull has broken, which results in the hull flexing a lot more than it ought to. I did paint the outside of the hull a few years back to resolve some chalking, but that was primarily cosmetic.

My wife is concerned, not unreasonably, that the sheer age of the boat means that it might not be entirely safe for our use. I'm going to have it looked at by a good boatyard, but before I get around to that, I thought I would run it by you guys.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have.
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Safety and durability of '50s-era MFGs over time 1 year 2 months ago #133078

You've already fixed the usual things, except for the hull to deck joint. The materials used improved over time, but the early ones were and are more susceptible to deterioration. It would be a good idea to remove the deck and re-secure it. However, my experience is only with later fiberglass decked MFGs and yours has a wood deck, and I'm not sure of the best way to proceed. I'll ask around and see if I can find someone with experience with this.

You might try posting your question on the general forum, as a number of boat builders in the 50's built boats with fiberglass hulls and wood decks - not just MFG. By 1961, almost completely, the industry switched to only building boats with fiberglass decks. I know MFG's last models with wood decks were from 1960, and by 1961 models, all had fiberglass decks. They even had mahogany as a color of the deck available for that one year only to aid in the transition, I've never actually seen one with such a color deck, however.

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Dave Nau - 1966 MFG Niagara with 1963 Mercury 350 (35hp) outboard and 1966 Tee Nee trailer. Second boat is a 1962 MFG Edinboro with a 1984 Evinrude 70hp and Holsclaw trailer.

Safety and durability of '50s-era MFGs over time 1 year 2 months ago #133121

Thanks! I appreciate the feedback.

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Safety and durability of '50s-era MFGs over time 8 months 1 week ago #135586

I had the same concern about my 57' MFG Erie. The exterior of the hull would have fibers going airborne everywhere if you even brushed against it. That was my main concern. I ended up brush painting the hull with white rustoleum that i mixed with a hardener, and also some thinner to help it level out/flow as I brushed it on. Sealed it great. The wood top was changed previously. it is actually 1/4" plywood. the strength is provided by the cross members tying the sides of the hull together, and giving the support for the top deck. I think you'll be fine. Since your post is 6 months old you ay have already sold the boat but thought I'd throw my 2-cents worth in.

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Safety and durability of '50s-era MFGs over time 8 months 1 week ago #135587

I have heard that from other owners of those early MFG boats. Painting or re-gel coating the hull would be in order for them.

By the early 60's they were using different resins, and that did not happen. I'm getting my 1962 Edinboro restored, and we did not have that problem. We did have to do some repairs on the keel due to trailer roller damage, along with a skinny hole caused by a rock (I think). The whole hull buffed out nicely, without having to re-gel coat the whole thing - only the areas repaired. The deck responded well to wet sanding the oxidation off, followed by polishing. The plastic coating on the deck hardware was delaminating on a number of pieces, so they were all stripped and powder coating in semi-gloss white. Came out well.

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Dave Nau - 1966 MFG Niagara with 1963 Mercury 350 (35hp) outboard and 1966 Tee Nee trailer. Second boat is a 1962 MFG Edinboro with a 1984 Evinrude 70hp and Holsclaw trailer.
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