View Full Version : Diamond in the Ruff

01-25-2007, 12:54 AM
Greetings Gents,

Thank you for inviting me to WB Forum. I recently acquired a 1965 15í 11Ē Earle Brockway skiff. It belonged to my next door neighbor who had it set up for duck hunting. Iíve been eyeing this boat for 35 years and now itís finally mine.:D I guess persistence does pay off. Why would I want a wooden boat when my other boat is a Triumph ropolene plastic hull?
I guess great childhood memories of my friendí Brockway and all the orange painted ones my dad rented for us so we could go fishing and crabbing. But probably most all a chance to own part of a local legend and to preserve a bit of history. Growing up in North Branford about 20 miles from Brockwayís boat works. Years ago one could almost follow a trail of them to his shop if you drove along the coast line. I fell in love with them for their simplicity, plain Jane looks design. Yet the design was so stable and durable.

I got her with the condition that I would love, honor and cherry her. You know the rest. Well this girl is a pretty amazing lady. She is in pretty decent shape for her age, some varicose veins, and she could use a face lift, but definitely do-able. Iíd like to buy the old whole a new dress if you know what I mean..:rolleyes:

Itís been 33 years since my last love, wood boat and the maintenance products brands and technology have changed. Iím going to strip the bitchís bottom, bare naked. I need your expert recommendations on what kind of caulk type sealers, primer, and finish paint to use.

I plan to use the boat only in fresh water for the next 10 years and it will be trailered not moored Iíd like to get another 40 years of good lovin from her so I donít mine spoiling her a little.:o

Does this warrant the use of marine paint or will premium poly urethane house paint do the job?:confused:

I plane to fiberglass the bottom edges and seems unless you think this is inappropriate behavior for me to do this to this old girl?:eek:

Thank you for you input and shared experiences.

All good things
George De Beers

P.S. My wife is already jealous but once she goes for a ride and catches a huge lunker bass sheíll get over her:p

01-25-2007, 12:57 AM
Welcome to the forum....

01-25-2007, 01:13 AM

The more complete and exact the info you give us, the better our (often rather mixed) advice can be. Is the boat solid wood or ply, and what sort of wood was used?

You'll want to post photos if you can, and say why you are thinking of using glass on the bottom and seams -- is there rot, or wear, or leaks or ?

In most cases it is better to stick with the traditional methods of maintaining and restoring older boats - modern paints and sealants are fine, but making any major changes in the way the boat's structure dynamically changes (shrinks/expands/moves) can create serious problems later (or even sooner).

Paint is a very personal choice, but most modern housepaints designed for use on wood should be fine for a trailered boat.

01-25-2007, 08:42 AM
Greetings Neighbor!
If yer gonna buy her a new dress, don't look at poly, think big. Too bad yer gonna only skinny dip her in fresh water, that'll cut her life span down a bit. Seeing as yer gonna trailer her, I'd stay away from the 'glass too. Remember that glass on an old wood hull really only traps the moisture that gets in in, it doesn't keep moisture out.
When I return from serving my sentence in FLA. ( ;) )I'll stop by and we can go over her with a fine tooth comb if you'd like.

Russ Manheimer
01-25-2007, 11:25 AM
Welcome George,
I'll add my voice to the no fiberglass contingent. Keep it simple, fix what's obviously wrong and use her for a while. If the leaks persist (and we don't know yet if she does) then explore other solutions. If she's a traditional skiff then try to use traditional methods first.
Above all we need pictures. Lots of pics.....and pics of your progress.

Kevin G
01-25-2007, 12:15 PM
If I remember correctly, Earle used roofing tar on them originally. Why change? I enjoyed my two Brockways and I know that one of them is still actively lobstering off the coast of Branford with a couple of young boys. Loved that boat. Earle was quite a character. There was a memory of Earle in WB not long after he passed away. He once told me that he figured he had built close to 5000 boats in his lifetime. I wouldn't be surprised, since he family was building boats up on the river since the 18th Century.

01-25-2007, 04:56 PM
Brockway skiffs have always caught my fancy.



Keith Wilson
01-25-2007, 05:25 PM
Wait a minute - aren't Brockway skiffs made of ordinary fir plywood? CDX Sheathing, IIRC, with roofing nails to hold them together, and roofing tar slathered liberally in the seams! Wouldn't glass tape and epoxy on the seams cover the end grain of the plywood, protect against abrasion a bit, and generally be a good thing? This is a Brockway, not a Herreshoff, fer chrissake! Even fiberglassing the bottom would be a good idea, methinks. After all, everybody does it on new plywood construction. Just don't sand too much and lay on house paint with an old slightly ratty 4" brush, and you'll be right in the spirit of the thing.

01-25-2007, 07:44 PM
No, Keith....Yer wrong. Brockways are the Herreschoffs of L.I.S..... And indeed they are/were built of CDX (or more usually ABX) but you still don't want to trap moisture in. That's a given no matter what. If you BUILD a boat that's expected to be glassed, that's one t5hing, but your really shouldn't glass a wooden boat thaqt was never intended to be glassed.

01-25-2007, 09:48 PM
Thanks for the advice, You have convinced me about no cloth. Are you in the Service or are you going to the clink? I'm married thats like being in jail solidtary confinement you know.

Keith Wilson
01-25-2007, 10:18 PM
I disagree. Tape on the outside of the seams of a plywood skiff can only be an improvement. You shouldn't do it while it's soaking wet, but let it dry for the winter and it'll be fine. "Trapping moisture in" with a bit of glass/epoxy on the outside is not a problem. There's absolutley no difference between a plywood skiff that's "intended to be glassed" and a plywood skiff that isn't. Earl was in way too big a hurry for fancy expensive stuff like epoxy and glass. Slathering the whole boat with epoxy might not be a good idea, but taping the seams is. OTOH, if it's OK as it is, it'll do no harm to leave it alone.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. ;)