View Full Version : First wooden boat - A Hello and LOTS of questions!

07-08-2014, 05:22 PM
Hello everyone, long time wooden boat admirer and this weekend, I dragged home a little starter project to tinker with.

So the story goes, I was searching for a cheap boat to take on vacation. I found an ad for a partly refinished 12' cedar boat for $120 which reportedly came with a running, working motor, so I went to look. I had my doubts when I saw it...maybe it will float. No holes, no rot from a first look. Basic 2 seat boat in need of TLC. The motor turned out to be a super cool looking retro 1953 5hp Johnson which came with a full spare motor for parts...of course it did not run, nor did the spare have good coils...but hey...$120? besides, it's a good learning project that will someday lend a hand to a restoration of a much nicer boat

Anyway, back to my long winded story...As the realization hit that this was not going fishing in it until my new coils and electronics get here, I started picking away at the fiberglassed hull which was failing in places, then in sheets. Yup...gonna now give it a good once over and make it nice. Listening to my wife ended me up here before I can mess this boat up badly. I'm sure it's not worth much, and in trying to find out its age and make, I am stymied about it because it doesn't appear to fit the mold. Thus my first question;

1) Does anyone know if Lakefield or Geisler made a 12' utility? It's construction appears to my untrained eye to be a dead ringer with the exception that it lacks an indian head handle on the bow.

2) It's shape is quite odd. At just shy of 12' long and 5' wide, it appears quite deep. The PO started to replace the gunwales but there does not appear to have been oar pivot mounts installed. The seat placement too is also odd. Only 2 benches, the stern bench uncomfortably far from the tiller reach, yet the bow seat not where I would assume a rowboat seat would be placed...again, newb here. The transom has been replaced by the looks (2 pc, oak and something or other) I'm musing that this boat may have been shortened over time due to stern rot?

3) Is there any restoration books that anyone could recommend? I'd like to know how to replace strips, ribs, braces and what ever else comes up and what materials to use

4) Most of the fiberglass, caulking and filler (bondo?) is coming off in sheets and chunks without any damage to the wood. (again, newb...assuming no damage) would a heat gun help? The wood only appears to be 1/4" thick...worried about damaging it

5) I have to work outside. There is a few minor places of rot. Should I leave the hull exposed to the elements to dry, or keep it tarped? I read about an injection epoxy that can restore some decayed wood...wondering if any minor spots that I am going to recover with canvas/glass will be ok with that application? (There's blue resin in the cracks...doubtful this hull will be able to be clear varnish in the pre-canvased area...)

6) Would 12' be way too short to convert into a runabout? The bow deck is missing...sensing an open canvas to create one with a shorty 30's style windscreen

Ok, enough questions from me for now before someone puts an axe through my hull. Hope to be an active participant with my project if you all will humour my questions, trials and tribulations

Attempting a photo link; http://i1372.photobucket.com/albums/ag337/ShoestringMariner/photo3_zps83ee940e.jpg

Thanks in advance

07-08-2014, 06:10 PM

Welcome Scott,

Looks to have a bit of tumble-home to the transom, cannot say I know too much but I like the look and hopefully will clean up nicely. A few different angles may help those in the know with your questions.


Peter Malcolm Jardine
07-08-2014, 07:08 PM
Nice boat... could be either brand. Get some kind of temporary shelter over it.... keep it out of the sun. Yes, these boats were built light, and got their integrity from their overall construction. All the parts for those motors can still be had, and there are still guys out there that can fix them.... decals and paint available too.

I'm in Belleville Ontario ...;)

07-08-2014, 11:49 PM
What's that batten/spray rail looking appendage? Why does it extend beyond the transom?

07-09-2014, 12:42 AM
$120? What fun! I think refurbishing is a better first boat project than building.

07-09-2014, 06:25 AM
Check out AOMCI.org (antique outboard motor club international) go to the ask-a-member section of the forum to ask your questions about getting that motor going. You may have been there already, the carb on that motor usually requires new primer cups which as far as I know are only available through a club member who makes them exactly right and sells them reasonably. Best Wishes.

07-10-2014, 04:59 AM
Hey thanks folks. I know its a heap of nothing compared to the amazing boat/yacht projects that I see people working on here...but it's a start and a learning experience. I will post more photos when I have removed all the glass and see how it looks underneath.

@Peter - thanks, good to see another Ontarian:) I've found some sources nearby which was a surprise. I'm on the other side of the GTA

@jpatrick; The Previous owner started redoing this boat. He left that un-trimmed I guess. Nevertheless, its being removed. He glassed up to it and it held moisture which caused some decay on the cedar

@Gerrarddm; I love refinishing all kinds of things, but someday I would love to build my own mahogany runabout. I'm sure I'm going to be a few hundred into this motor to make it run nicely, and a few more to restore it...but I like old stuff

@SeaB - Thanks, that looks like a great link. Especially for the hard to find leather cups, which it needs. It has both a float and primer issue...

Pungo Lee
07-11-2014, 06:58 PM
That motor isn't hurt, looks great compared to a salt water motor run hard and hung up wet. I run a 1955 Johnson 25hp and someone worth their salt could get that one running in a drum in a couple of hours, they are really simple motors when you don't have to fool with a dual-line pressure fuel tank. Nice Skiff, reminds me of a Penn Yan, a style of construction I haven't encountered during my restoration days. You being in Australia this may not help but NAPA Auto Parts carries a lot of the older parts, they would use to give you an Outboard catalogue if you asked. Good luck on your journey...