View Full Version : First wooden boat, a Penn-yan O/B

08-12-2001, 06:53 AM
I have my first wooden boat witch is a 196o
Penn-yan outboard that needs attencion.
How do I go about fixing/restoring it? The boat is in good shape? The deck has to be replaced in some spots and it needs a new transom. The planking looks good. It looks like I can reuse all the planking? The boat has been sitting out side for a long time and the wood looks almost to weathered? My Father wants to replace the transom and the ply-seperaded plywood on the deck then sand the boat whole boat down as is and refinish it and leave it?
My plan is to strip the boat apart till it resembles a pile of scrap firewood then rebuild the boat piece by piece and varnish it with something like West system or the like. (Compaired to my fathers simple repainting) Then in the end I will have a boat worty of being a show piece.
So what sould I do?

08-12-2001, 07:52 AM
I submit to the theory that you take it apart and put it back together with new bonding and finishing materials. Using Smith's CPES, or a comparable product you can even salvage some of the wood you might have thought "shot". I salvage where I can because I prefer to keep the "spirit" of the boat alive. You will know exactly what you have by doing a complete teardown and rebuild. The other way leaves a lot of questions about hidden problems. It is a lot of work, but when you launch it for the first time. WOW!!!!

08-12-2001, 08:26 AM
Congratulations on getting your first wooden boat! I just acquired one a couple of weeks ago and it is a really interesting/fun hobby. I've got a whole lot to learn, but that is the best part.

I can't give you any fix-up advice yet, since I'm looking for that myself, but pictures of this vessel would be great so we can follow your progress.

Good luck!!

08-12-2001, 09:14 AM
In keeping with the dictum, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" I'd be inclined to only replace the bad stuff and refinish it. That alone will keep you busy for longer than you imagine. Reducing her to a pile of separate parts will do some damage by itself. Then there's the danger of seeing that pile as too overwhelming and never getting her back together again http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/frown.gif
CPES is a good under paint or varnish coat but I'd be leery of its rescuing wood that's shot thru with rot. Have a look at the many CPES threads here.
There's a Penn Yan guy or two here. Look them up.

08-12-2001, 12:46 PM
Lumberdude,sounds like you and Tom could compare notes with a picture or two from Tom.
Did you ever get a handle on the maker of your's?
Tom,pictures are the best way to help out the communication here,plus I'm a sucker for pictures of wood boats.

[This message has been edited by dasboat (edited 08-12-2001).]

08-12-2001, 08:26 PM
Hi Tom, What model penn yan do you have? Do you have a serial #. I see you are in Rochester NY, I am just outside Elmira. Look at my website for some of my penn yans I have 14 now. http://charliesboats.8m.com
Good luck, Charlie

08-12-2001, 11:21 PM
Charlie,those are great looking boats.You must really keep your nose to the ground to find so many,or are they just more plentiful in your part of the world?
I have seen VERY few out this way in spite of turning over lots of rocks.
Nice work,

Tim B
08-13-2001, 09:43 AM

I also vote for not doing a massive take apart effort. Many wood boats in the 50's-70's were built in ways that make disassembly difficult. If this boat is strip built, the strips are nailed to each other as well as being attached to the frames (ribs). I have a 16 ft carvel sailboat built in 1971. It looks built very traditionally, but as it was being assembled, it was glued together along with the screws. When I first got it I was quick to pull out planks and ribs that had signs of damage, rot. In retrospect, I did damage to the boat that was not always necessary.

Here's a summary of how I would approach my next 'restoration project'
1. Throughly clean and strip the boat. Remove loose stuff, paint, varnish, loose parts (be sure that you carefully document where and how the part goes).

2. Find out as much as you can about how the boat was built. You will need to know how it was built to take it apart with the least damage and to put it together again.

3. Carefully examine the boat for damage, rot, soft-spots, etc. Do this multiple times. Carefully form a list of what is damaged. Decide what must be replaced verses what should be fixed by alternate means like dutchmans or sistering. This is where I messed up and replaced frames that really only had surface damage.

4. Plan out repairs. How are you going to replace bad parts? If you take too much of the boat apart at once, it will loose it's shape. Molds or support structures may be required to hold the shape. How will you form new parts? Where will you get the patterns for them from? You need to plan the disassembly well enough so that you can use the bad part or the hole it came as the template for the new part. Depending on how much you have to chop up the piece to get it out, it may not be any good for a template.

5. Dig in.

6. Dream alot about how great it will be when the boats done. This may be the most important step of all. Without it you will loose interest.


08-13-2001, 11:52 AM
Tim, I've got the dreaming part down, it's the hard work I'm having trouble with....


Bruce Hooke
08-13-2001, 04:34 PM
Tim has it about right in my opinion. I would just add that as a general rule when repairing wooden boats you don't want to take things apart so much that the boat changes shape. If you were to really take everything apart it would be almost impossible to get it all back together. Instead you want to remove and replace things in stages. For example, if a whole group of frames needs to be replaced then remove and replace every other one and then go back and remove and replace the ones you left in place the first time.

On the other hand, if you are engaged in a major re-build it does make sense to start be getting out of the way all the hardware and non-structural parts that needs to come off to do the structural work.

Most definitely the ESSENTIAL first step is planning. As Tim said, go over everything a number of times and figure out exactly what needs to be replaced. This is also the time to figure out if the boat is too far gone to be worth working on. You say the wood is almost too weathered. How bad is it? If you are going to have to replace much of the wood in the boat then you may want to re-think whether the project makes sense. If it still looks like a viable project then figure out a logical sequence of steps so that you don't end up having to undo stuff you have already done.

As to overall approach, there is little point in cutting so many corners that the boat falls apart in a year or is dangerous or is a constant headache, but beyond that, whether you do just enough to get the job done or aim for a show quality restoration, is largely a matter of how much time, effort and money you want to put into the project.

Finally, I don't mean to scare you with this, but I do want to provide a reality check: in some ways doing a major restoration on a boat can be harder than building a new one in terms of the skills required. For example, when you are building a new boat you can fit part A to part B and then fit part C to parts A and B; when you are repairing you may have to try to cut part B to fit inbetween parts A and C while at the same time dealing with the fact that part C has shifted position because part B failed so to make part B you need to work out where part C is supposed to be and then build part B to suit...

08-13-2001, 06:32 PM
Ok, thanks guys for your help!!
So the verdic is "if it an't broke don't fix it" So all I have to do is replace the deck and transom and refinish the hull. The boat looks like Charlie's explorer with the bow of a chriscraft cobra. the hull is 6" to 8" wide planks of plywood? In between the stringers their is 2 1/4-20? screws and bolts helping to hold the planking on. I have never seen this? I have taken pictures of the boat I will find a way to post them for you Das.
Why I would like to tear the old boat apart is 1.I can't comprehend the boat being in as good of shape its in? 2. I don't want to fix this Half a$$ed? One of the things ide like to do is scrap the hull down and varnish the hull with this stuff my friend told me about?
Its a varnish that is fiberglass based and it is clear. With this stuff you apply this stuff on the hull and forget about it?
Thanks again guys-Tom

08-14-2001, 09:48 PM
Tom you said the boat is an outboard can you find a serial # stamped in the inside stem or on the transom I can ID the boat by the letters in the serial #. Charlie