An Old Boat that Started It All

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Blog entry by UrbaneHillbilly posted 02-08-2010 04:32 AM 1036 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to post this work in progress. Before I moved to VT, I started restoring a boat with an old buddy who is an engineer and wooden boat builder. (If you are interested in seeing his stuff, send me an email or message. I don’t want to appear to be advertising for him. He builds 18’ wooden fishing boats that could be mistaken for being 100 years old, but he hides a lot of modern materials and techniques in them to make them hold up better.)

Anyway, last winter I was thinking of doing a kit boat and I asked this buddy which kit company he would recommend. He said, “Naw, don’t do that. I have a 1935 Old Town Square Stern that I stripped and never restored. It is worth about $75 in its current state. I will help you fix it in my shop.” So I couldn’t say “no” to such an offer from a real wooden boat guy and before I knew it I was buying 1950s era Sea Horse motors to restore along with it.

In fairness, this isn’t some kind of museum restoration. My buddy’s family bought this boat in 1968 for $10. When they picked it up, they had to dig the transom out of several years of mud. They fixed it and caught Muskie in it and wore it out. My buddy stripped it and got busy with kids and it sat in an outdoor shed for 20 years! The wood was brittle like straw when we pulled it out. So we are renovating more than restoring. Mainly, this is evident in the choices for hull covering: fiberglass rather than canvas, polyester in lieu of more traditional potting compounds and self-leveling gel coat for a very tough covering. And instead of a strict spar varnish interior we went with more durable finish.

Anyway, the pics are over at picasa:

From Boat

Here it is after a lot polishing on the gel coat.

From Boat

This is about where we started.

From Boat

After some work to bring the wood back.

From Boat

Big front end repair work.

From Boat

Refinished and polished (original) seat.

There is now a whole bunch of follow on wood work with rub rails and the skeg and then bright work. And many thanks to my buddy who has kept working on it in my absence.

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#1 posted 02-08-2010 04:34 AM

Looks like great work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View UrbaneHillbilly's profile


22 posts in 3045 days

#2 posted 02-08-2010 04:55 AM

It certainly was fun and it is a different game than furniture and a different game than working with new wood. Every time I use new wood it seems so easy compared to working on that boat.

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4396 days

#3 posted 02-08-2010 05:14 AM

Looks great. Nice job you’ve done.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View ashahidan's profile


64 posts in 3094 days

#4 posted 02-08-2010 11:03 AM

That is a beautiful boat.
Former boat builders were very dedicated craftsmen . They made boats not just for utility but also an object of craft to admired.
When I made boats last time I used mainly plywood and coat the interior and the exterior with Epicoat , a fiberglass resin produced by Shell Chemicals.


-- asm

View alexbarlage's profile


41 posts in 3037 days

#5 posted 02-09-2010 08:16 PM

I would be interested in seeing your buddies boat builds, I have a picture of an old boat from the 60’s or 70’s, I would like to try to build some day. I’ll scan it and post a picture in a day or so, I’ll have to find which pile it is in.

-- The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.

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