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advice 3 years 4 months ago #102679

  • peoriaone
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Can anyone point me in the right direction for some education? best books, videos, etc... I am considering a early 50's wood boat, possibly a chris craft or century. I would be looking at one in very good or restored condition. I just need to learn what to look for, how to maintain - soak it? store it off season? Really appreciate any direction you could give. Thanks

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102683

I would look for and join a wooden boat club in the area. They can teach you, give you leads to boats, and may even go with you as to help point out the problems and how to handle then BEFORE you buy

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CAVU

Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102692

Hi Peoriaone,
I agree with the Tall Tex. Don’t just go off and find what you like, (like I did) without knowing what to look for.
Bottom paint and bilge paint can hide A LOT. Even the cutwater.

When I bought my wood boat at the age of 26 in the fall of 1988. The exterior was in good shape. The deck needed replaced due to splits numerous refinishes and ½ wide seam stripes, which I knew. It had all the hardware pieces and a pretty nice and shiny chrome cut water on it. I put it away for the winter. Took it out, looked at in the spring, noticed a little dark patch through the varnish just above the white boot stripe. My heart sank, poked it…. Yep it was rot. Crawled into the bow area, felt around, there was an old plastic bag crumpled up…. Oddly enough, right at the rot spot. At that point, I knew I in for a project !
When I took it home and started taking all the chrome work off to get started. I got to the cutwater, took it off, and right at the water line on the stem a big chunk of wood was gone and had a giant epoxy looking patch, When I mean big chunk, I mean 4 inches tall and across the entire stem. The first words out of my mouth ? SON OF A …
So, your first wood boat information search ? go to the ACBS website, find the nearest chapter , or Century Club, or Chris Craft Club etc. Contact them, go to workshops if they have them. See projects in progress etc.
I was fortunate, I belonged , and still do, to Niagara Frontier Chapter. They had quarterly Workshops for the cost of doughnuts and coffee. The presenters are the folks working on their boats. So you get to see what the boats look like taken apart in various stages. Another good thing about the wood, AND fiberglass boat communities. WE ARE BOAT HOARDERS and in most cases, If we ain’t got what you want, we probably know who has one. In most cases….
The project line up is larger than the time to finish them. So sometimes deals can be made ? I mean really, I went on a boat shop tour in a van with 7 other boat nuts, and as we talked, we found out, that out of the 8 of us in the van…..
32 boats were owned !!!!!

This site is the same as above but the on-line version of the glass world.
Heck Waterwings has got a great project wood Century in the project section right now.
From what I’ve seen in person, MOST problems with wood boats is where wood touches wood, and at fastener locations. You have to understand, these are old boats, and no matter how well taken care of, wood splits and rots eventually.
You may not see it ? but it will be there.
So do a lot of homework before dropping a ton of money, before you find out, it’s going to take 3 more tons of money to fix, and enjoy.

This is my take on it. So take it for what it’s worth !
So take a deep breath, take your time, then figure out what you want. UNLESS.....
you are extremely wealthy, and can get whatever you want ?
At this point disregard the above, and go for it !!!!
But make sure you post lots of pictures for us poor folks to view !
Good luck on the hunt !!!

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102693

  • Ike
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All good advice. There are some good books on the subject.

Wooden Boat Restoration and Repair. By Guogeon In case you aren't familiar with that name they are probably one of the foremost experts on wooden boat building. See www.westsystem.com/ss/wood-epoxy-longevity/ Yes they are selling a product but they also teach a lot and do a lot of research into wooden boat building.

Repair of Wooden Boats by John N. C. Lewis. Hard to find but you can find used copies on Amazon. A good book on the subject.

I wouldn't normally send a member to another forum, but the best forum I have found on wooden boat building and restoration is the Wooden Boat Forum forum.woodenboat.com/ . Run by the people at Wooden Boat Magazine.

In addition Find out if there are any boat building classes in your area. Since you don't list what area you are in I can't recommend a class but most regions of the country have someone giving wooden boat building classes usually at community colleges, but there are quite a few schools that teach nothing else.

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Peter D. Eikenberry
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"Don't tell me that I can't. tell me how I can."

Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102699

Great information given. One other book is the Complete Wooden Runabout Restoration guide by Don Danenberg. Kind of hard to find in printed version as it isn't in print anymore, some folks are charging outrageous prices. It can be had electronically for cheap though if you have a tablet, kindle etc.

Yep I'm the guy Chuck was talking about. I have a 1953 18' Century Resorter that's a complete pattern boat, of which I didn't know until I got it apart, kind of like Chuck's experience. Had I done my homework, like your doing now, I wouldn't have bought this boat. I still would have gotten a wood boat eventually, just not this one. Way more work than I had originally planned on. I also wish I had joined the Century Boat Club before I looked at this boat and I could have gotten a lot of good info on what to look for etc.

Another group to look into is the ACBS chapter near you. They can help immensely.

Hope that helps. If you have questions drop me a line through this site and I'll try and help where I can.

Bob

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102703

Learn as much as you can by asking everyone a lot of questions. Remember that there are no dumb questions! This site and others are a great start. Great people who will do all they can to help you with anything!
Start by asking yourself a few questions on what you are dreaming of, can afford, what you will be using the boat for etc.
When buying a wood boat, it is usually cheaper to buy them done and restored, unless you want to be a part of the project. Most times you will spend thousands of dollars more than finding the right boat for your needs restored. You may want to be a part of this and are looking for a project, just be prepared to be in it for a very long haul.
If you are looking for an investment, find another hobby! LOL, In all reality, one can spend thousands on restoring a boat and will never recoup a portion of that when trying to move on to your next project or one a bit larger to fit your new found needs!
I liken this to buying a 1974 Ford Galaxie 500 to restore. You will spend thousands and end up still having just a nice 1974 Ford Galaxie 500, No slam intended for the Ford Galaxie lovers out there, but you get the point! Some boats are more worthy of a restoration from an investment point of view.
Looking forward to hearing about your journey!

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102709

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Thanks for the advice. I am looking for a boat that does not need to be restored. It will be used quite often in the Summer's on Lake of the Ozarks. During the season it would be stored on a covered lift. Off season it would be put on trailer and stored in a non-heated storage barn. I am not looking to be part of the restoration process so looking for a good user boat. While I want it to look nice, I am not wanting a boat for show. Kind of like a new car, rather have a ding or two so I dont worry about keeping it pristine. It will be used for cocktail cruises in the Ozarks. Not having had one I am not sure between a utility and a runabout. I like the room to move around in a utility but unsure of the noise of having the engine in between the driver/passenger. I am likely looking in the 20' range and will be trying to keep under 10K. We shall see. I have not fully decided on wood vs a vintage fiberglass but have started looking and doing research. Just love the look of the vintage wooden boats. I found a 20' Century Resorter that seems in great condition for a user boat, not perfect that is. I decided to get educated before I rush into something that ends in regret. Since I know nothing about wood boats I would not know what to look for in person. On top of that, I have owned a few boats before and currently have a couple but have never bought a boat that I did not test drive in the water. Here is the one I was discussing. I received detailed pics and my opinion is that it is over priced when compared to some others I have seen online. I also just reached out to the Mississippi Valley chapter of the ACBS to join and start some dialog. I will check out some of the other sites you all mentioned as well. Thanks so much and have a safe holiday.

stlouis.craigslist.org/boa/4777088599.html

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102710

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Thanks, I am in Peoria IL, anything close to me?

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102712

Without looking at the boat in person, that price is not bad considering it's a 20' and if he has done everything claimed in the ad. Just my opinion but if you find something for around $10k it's probably going to need varnish work in it's near future, but everything else should be solid and no rot anywhere. The transom area is pretty much notorious for rot on all wood boats so you have to be careful and look it over closely. All in all the one you're eyeing looks pretty good from the pics. He does say make an offer but I don't know if he would go as low as $10K for all the work that was done. If he did it himself that's a good price. Now a days a bottom replacement will run close to $15K if it's done by a professional restorer, so you can guess what a total restoration would cost.

Bob

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102715

My knowledge of Century is limited, so What I know may be off ?
Century is a seam batten boat throughout. Meaning: where all the planks butt up against each other, they are fastened to the battens, and frames.
Chris Craft had an inner bottom along with battens, or an extra line of defense from water intrusion. The seller makes no claims to re-bedding, re-screwing, or replacing
Any of the bottom. But if he used Billy Mays Flex seal ? …. Ha-Ha-Ha !
So if you can check to battens for splits, rotted bottom side edges or anything that may cause concern. Do so. Also a certified Boat surveyor ? You’ll be out the cost of a survey, if the boat has serious issues ?
But you’re way ahead, if you find the costly repairs after purchase.
I’m sure to best of the Owners knowledge the boat is sound, and he is not trying sell junk. But care should be taken

A good example : I was at a boat show, it was a Chris Craft Utility, restored. An 89 point boat. Owner and friend took us for a short ride. Hit a semi large wave at 30 MPH.
Heard a big POP. Went back to the marina, saw nothing amiss. Within 15 minute there was water on the deck floor. The scramble of electric, battery operated bilge pumps went into action.
Got the boat to the ramp, put it on the trailer, and water comes gushing out between bottom of the transom and the top of one of the bottom planks. There were 3 screws holing the plank on.
Two of them were previously broken and age bronze colored at the break. The last screw break was shiny and new at the break. So restored, does not mean surveyed and inspected closely.
Did the owner know of this problem ? No he did not, and had he known, he would have fixed it.
I’m not trying to scare you, but this boat has been bounced on the trailer, flexed in the water, bounced on the water, and these screws and wood have done so for what ? 60 years now ?
Depending on how many seasons it was used. Don’t fear it, just be ready for it…. For when and if it happens ?

I’m 53…. I can shave, shower, cut my nails and what’s left of my hair, go to a tanning booth, put on a new suit and can look awesome, Even though the rest of my body feels like sh*t ! but nobody can see that.

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102717

All good points Chuck. The seller doesn't say if and when the bottom was redone, I would assume it has been re-done at least once but you never know. Also don't know if it was re-done, was it a 5200 bottom, (dry bottom) or some other method. Lot's of if's in this one without physically looking at the boat, as you know. Hell the transom on my boat looked great from outside until I got the planking off and found it rotted, as seen in my project thread. I guess my point is for $10K don't expect a boat that isn't going to need some work done in the very near future. Wood boats aren't cheap as you know. I'm also not trying to scare anyone away from a wood boat, just know what to expect when you get one. They can last a very long time if they're taken care of and the preventative maintenance done religiously. Letting paint or varnish go until some slight bare wood is showing will only result in lots or rot later, depending on where it is. Just my 2 cents.

Bob

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102718

  • Ike
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That is a beautiful boat. However I wouldn't touch it without a survey from a surveyor who specializes in wood boats, and I am qualified to be a surveyor. Surveying s boat for yourself is a lot like being your own attorney, you have a fool for a client. They are not emotionally involved. Check out www.marinesurvey.org/ That is the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors. Find one who works in your area (which may be the whole state or nearby states) Make sure they do wood boats. Or you could find a surveyor through BOATUS. www.boatus.com/searchresults.asp?q=surveyors%20directory I can not stress getting a survey too much. An old wood boat like that is hard to insure without a survey, and it will save you the cost of the survey if it is bad under the nice varnish and paint.

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Peter D. Eikenberry
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"Don't tell me that I can't. tell me how I can."

Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102729

I reside in NW Iowa and have some great possibilites of some great boats. In my opinion, a 20' boat on LOTO is the bare minimum I would entertain to own. I know of 3-4 nice boats here in my area that are in beautiful shape, proud to show and great to run. A 24' Chris Craft Sportsman, (Nice boat with great freeboard and very comfortable), a beautiful 1968 Century Resorter 19, 300 original hours and absolutely beautiful. A 1963 Century Raven Lapstrake, again beautiful! All with great trailers and covers. They will be a bit more than you want to spend, but for 10K, you will be asking a lot for a good water ready user. Also a great user 1966 Century Coronado that will need some attention, but a great user. Feel free to contact me and I can get you pictures on all of these boats.

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102730

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Thanks all, here is a link with more detailed pictures. The boat is in Center MO but they will move it to St Loius if I am serious. I am sure I can find a surveyor there.

drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-jgd_1-BqNXdnlkcFc5TFVtU0E&usp=sharing

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102734

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Thanks, always happy to look at pics and the prices, not looking for one I have to give allot of "attention" to though. Happy to maintain but not restoring. Thanks

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102735

Well those pics are much more telling tasn the others. I very anal about my work so I'm critical but I'm not impressed with the work done on the upholstery. in that I mean you can see where the old upholstery came further in on the forint and rear deck and he was too lazy to really strip down the varnish to bare wood to get rid of the old staple stains etc. Also I' don't like some of the gaps between some of the planks. Honestly looks like it just had cosmetic work done in stead of some serious repair work done. Back in the transom shot, looks like some rot up near the starboard transom inside up by the decking. Dark areas that look like rot. Yes over priced for what I'm seeing now.

Bob

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102739

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thanks

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102760

Looking at the pics you have to remember "old boat" fair price would be possibly around $5500.00 but that make and model is nothing special then you would need to restore either professionally or on your own. just my opinion Travis

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102861

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My advice would be to stick with Chris-Crafts. As far as resale goes, a Chris-Craft will hold it's value and bring in the buyers. To many people, any old wooden boat is a Chris-Craft. It's name recognition, just like the people who think every old car is a Model T. Besides, CCs are built well and most of them have great lines.

Never buy a wooden boat sight unseen and by all means, hire a wooden boat surveyor if you're serious about a particular boat but before you do, do a little poking around with an ice pick at the ribs, stringers and the inside of the transom, particularly at the bottom. If the owner objects, walk away.

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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102870

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Lots of good advice here. I purchased an 18' Century Sabre, 1963 knowing that it needed lots of work. Price was $3500 with trailer. I did the restore myself over 5 years using the Dannenberg book. $4500 in parts and materials. Ran the boat for 5 years without a hitch and lots of thumbs up. Sold it last year because I just couldn't handle the upkeep anymore.
If you find one you like I would recommend bringing an ice pick or small screwdriver with you and poke around inside the bilge around frame work, keel, lower transom area and bow. You will find soft spots no doubt that need to be replaced but keep in mind you are buying an OLD BOAT period. If it was restored it would command a premium price, if it's "water ready" that just means it floats, not saying for how long. Don't get lost in appearance, check the engine, transmission, electrical etc. CC boats of the early had the membrane but that had a tendency to rot out between plys. So many things to look for. Just be realistic, you get what you pay for.
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Re:advice 3 years 4 months ago #102980

Hi Peoriaone,

Very, very good advice above. Definitely have the boat surveyed, not by someone who is associated with the seller. Also, if the bottom has been restored do as Don Danenburg days and see photos of the restoration process. A boat we purchased as newbies said it has a new 5200 bottom. And it did. BUT It was attached to all oil soaked keel, so we had to have a new bottom. She was pretty, new varnish, new chrome and even surveyed. But a lot was found after the purchase. Definitely join the nearest ACBS Chapter and become friends with the members, they will help lead you in the right direction as they know they will be seeing you at future ACBS gatherings.

Jerri

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