Hi all, my friends all think I lost my mind...I bought a wooden boat. It's a '61 15.5' Penn Yan possibly a 'Niagara', with a '58 V-4 Evinrude 50hp. After some work on the lower unit, I got it running and wet a couple times, and I'm beginning to think my friends are right...It's a good looking 'ol boat, it's got a few soft ribs, but I think it is mostly solid. The varnish mostly looks good, except for the deck, which is peeling. Would it be advisable to do a quick scrape and patch varnish, for now, and strip it down over winter? Or just let it go for now? I'm hesitant get too involved, as I see many wood boat projects that get stripped down and never get back together. Any advice will be welcome, Thanks
you have to be a project minded person with the ability to commit the funds and time to do this right. If you hack and bash you way through it you will have hack and bash results.
if you have the funds find a shop or carpenter that can take this on for you.
This is a nice vintage boat package either you will stick with it or not. That part is up to you. I have never given up on a boat project but I can no longer take them on either due to health.
Start going to events of your loacl chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society (
) and the Antique Outboard Motor Club (
) and start networking. Get to know other folks with similar boats. Ask tons of questions.
Have fun with the boat and enjoy the comments she will receive.
Go out and enjoy her for now. Like Andreas said, go to lots of meets and ask questions. Then you will have a better idea of if you want to take it on.
Please don't just tear into it and leave it. That boat is too nice to die ugly. You may find that you have had your fun with it and later want to sell it to a restorer. Nothing wrong with that.
Or this winter get it into the garage and prepare for many a long night and lots of cash. It would all be worth it because its a boat you want to restore. If your thinking you can make some money at it, FORGET IT! You won't usually get what you have into it back.
But for now just enjoy it. Have some fun and worry about the restoration idea later.
P.S. Use that picture of the boat as your avatar. I love it.
Thanks for the advice, I guess my main concern was leaving spots exposed to the elements. An acquaintance of mine stripped a '56 Century many years ago, and has never gotten back to it, and craigslist is full of similar projects.
Working construction, busy season is usually 12+ hours a day, usually out of town. I once had a 22' I/O that I installed a new outdrive and then got working long hours out of town all summer, I got it winterized that November and never got back to it for over 5 years, by then the engine and steering had both set up, I still can't believe that happened.
At least now I do have a ramshackle barn to do some work in, the roof leaks but it has a partial concrete floor. Most of my time off is winter (Buffalo, NY area), and I don't know if a breezy barn and a kerosene heater make for good atmosphere for refinishing and varnishing...?
When people actually used these boat rather than treat them like the crown jewels, it was standard practice to do a quick and dirty varnish touch up every couple years.
Take a couple days, give the trouble areas a light sanding, and re-coat with varnish. Set a time limit for your project and make the repairs fit the time. Let dry. Go have fun. Keep doing that every couple years, then do a big refinish when you have time.
This insane need to have everything perfect at all times is a mindset that occurred sometime in the 1980's. I think it takes a lot of the fun out of hobbies like this.
For sure, varnish over the bare wood spots! Also, rot begets rot. Rot is an organism. It will spread to other wood if not kept in check. So take care f those "soft ribs" soon.
Welcome aboard, absolutely beautiful boat!!! Jepster has it right, you need to cover the bare spots before anything can get in there! You also have to get on top of that rot as soon as possible or it will get worse, very worse. There is some rot treatment stuff, Git Rot if I remember right, that you can put over the rot spots actually seeps into them and stops the rot. This will hold you over until you do the major restoration.
Good luck with her again beautiful boat!
I'm a Buffalo native, now living in Cincinnati. Here is a link to get you started. The Niagara Frontier Chapter of the ACBS is a great starting point. The quarterly Workshops are awesome, and you don't have to be a member to go to them. Tons of knowledge there and a lot of connections for anything you need. If you get a chance, check out the Boat show in early September at the Buffalo Launch Club on Grand Island. As for your Kerosene heater ? Better be a Big torpedo style !!! Those little 55,000 BTU torpedoes will be useless in a drafty Barn. If you can find a cheap 200,000 BTU heater, you be much happier. I bought one on CL because the guy couldn't keep it running any longer than 2 minutes. The problem was drywall dust clogging the impeller fins. Runs like a champ now !
Anyway... check out the site:
BTW... do yourself a favor, use varnish NOT polyurethane.
Also, if and when you decide to do a full varnish, use non UV varnish for build up coats, it's less expensive. Use the UV varnish for the last couple coats.