View Full Version : Saving a classic from the trashheap of time
04-06-2009, 12:06 PM
I am looking at buying a 1936 31' Chris Craft that has been out of the water and suspended in slings for a number of years. All the planks have shrunk allowing gaps, but that's not the main concern. Since it has been in slings for so long the sides have been drawn in and the cabin is sepatating fron the deck. Is this fixable? I am hoping that one it is placed on a trailer or blocks that it will relax the framing enough to be repaired and returne to it former glory.
Any advice would be greatly appeciated.
04-06-2009, 12:38 PM
Not being an expert in this area by any means, I think you will have to provide better images for the skilled craftsmen amongst us to be able to offer advice. What is posted, simply is too small and dosn't reveal enough details.
04-06-2009, 12:47 PM
Depending on how much labor you wish to expend, any wooden boat can be rebuilt. Not seeing what you are up against leaves much room for speculation.
I have resored boats that were hogged by removing the deck, installing cross spalls in conjunction with jacking the narrowed sections out to original position.
04-06-2009, 01:20 PM
Chris-Crafts are comparatively lightly built boats...why anyone would suspend the boat in sling rather than on blocks is a mystery.
It may be that if the boat were taken out of the slings and properly supported the fair form of the hull may return. But I would not count on it.
As Jay said, any wooden boat can be restored. The question is if it is feasible with available time and money. You should have a surveyor or at least a very knowledgeable professional boat restoration expert look at it.
04-07-2009, 02:09 PM
Yea I know. I wish the site allowed larger pictures.
04-07-2009, 02:41 PM
04-07-2009, 02:48 PM
I'm no expert, but what does the bottom look like. That looks like the cocpit floors have fallen quite a bit. Is it transferred to the outer hull.
fyi-this is definitely rebuildable. You should see whats left of my mullet boat. You have a lot to work with.
04-07-2009, 03:45 PM
Oh boy! Are the floor boards raised up or buckled up? Once distorted cross members, beams, are removed, jacking the boat back in to shape can begin. For the Herreshoff Steam launch "Vapor" the hull had sagged four inches in the stern area. The entire boat was suspended from a strong back while the hull was re-shaped. The entire keel was replaced as can be seen in the photo.
If offsets are available for your boat, molds can be constructed in order to help bring it into shape. Again, are you sure you want to do this much work?
04-09-2009, 12:19 PM
Here are pictures of the boat from all angles.
I certainly go along with the idea of putting her on blocks, and using shoring to gently push her back toward her shape. Since you obviously have strong hoisting points above, you MIGHT consider putting a beam in under her deck beams and lifting gently there.
Or you might decide that you're going to have to take the cockpit out anyway, and might as well start there.
If she's very dry, it might be good to spray her inside and out for a week or so, which might make her slightly less likely to crack.
If it were my project, I wouldn't make a final decision about it's feasibility before I saw whether she could be pushed back into shape. In other words, she'd have to be cheap.
04-09-2009, 01:52 PM
I'm not a romantic about these projects, even though I am well and truly an old wooden power boat lover. It's important to recognize reasonable economic feasibility in any project you attack.
The truth is, boats in this condition are rarely economically wise decisions. If you decide to attempt it, do so with your eyes open. Here are the facts:
One comment. I think there's a lot to be seen in the photos you have guided us to, but the thing that can't be seen from your angles is the true degree of hog. I take it from the other evidence we see and your own description though that there is considerable loss of shape here. That is apart from any other structural and mechanical issues, which I will assume meet the usual conditions for boats in this degree of disrepair.
1. This is not an important boat. A nice boat, a well made boat, a fun boat, yes. But not important. So it carries no premium once restored.
2. The reason to do this is because you want to do the project, not just because you want a nice wooden boat to go out on. That's almost always the case with boats that need to be brought back. That's to say, it's always better economy to get a good boat from the start than to restore a weaker one, but if one does go forward, one does so because the journey is as important as the destination.
3. If you are prepared to make this a work of a number of years and do a lot of it yourself, that is one way to have an entertaining experience. If you must hire this work out, you should look elsewhere. Personally, I'd keep looking if it were my first or tenth boat, but people's objectives vary and I can't guess from here what yours is. It's an ambitious project, no doubt though.
4. As has already been mentioned here, this boat is worth almost nothing in it's current condition.
5. Someone is likely to come along and suggest that what I'm saying is harsh and inaccurate not to forget just plain snooty. I say it's not harsh, it's direct. Often enough there is no one right answer to these questions but this isn't one of those cases if you need to pay for a full resto. If you need to do that, walk away.
6. I have rarely been involved in any major restoration where at some point along the way (or many) the owner didn't question what the hell he'd gotten himself into. You just don't want that to be your last and abiding thought.
Looks like lots of work - It's going to be a huge project either way - it looks like it was a pretty good leaker based on the bottom - unless that was a way to use the boat even when the planking was dried out.
04-10-2009, 05:45 AM
i like the looks of this boat, alot of work, but will be a verry nice boat when you get finished. Good luck
04-10-2009, 06:18 AM
May I ask what purpose the slings serve?
04-10-2009, 09:13 AM
The owner kept it out of the water to preserve it. Every time it started leaking he patched the offending seam with lead strips. He pased away about 20 yrs ago and his wife has kept it out of the water ever since. it leaks too bad to put in the water. The Idea of the slings was to keep it from roting in the water. It just caused a different problem. I won't the extent of the damage until I make the tip to see it. I believe I will have to replank the entire hull and poosible some structure. The interior is in great shape, but thats not the part that keeps it afloat. Maybe I should just write it off and look for something less ambitious.
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