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Thread: Chris Craft Restoration

  1. #1

    Default Chris Craft Restoration

    I have a 1954, 36' Commander 6 sleeper. There is some rot along the keel about half inch to an inch deep in various spots... how hard is this "fix"... Any and all advice is more than welcome!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Do you have some photos of the damaged area? The location of the issue has everything to do with the approach of the repair...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Half an inch of rot in the keel of a 60 year old Chris Craft is easy to fix.
    but there is probably much , much more .
    Have you owned the boat long ?
    Has she been surveyed?
    Has she been hauled and kept painted?
    Salt water or sweet?
    "keel" , or skeg?
    pics !!!
    bruce

  4. #4

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Hey Bruce... she is in salt water... has not been hauled in a long time so hull needs bottom paint badly...She has been kept clean however from monthly hull cleanings by scuba-duba guy. Hull seems solid! my profile photo is the boat. she is still in the water, having trouble posting pics (too large of files maybe) email?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    monthly hull cleaning will keep off barnykills and weed, but they may leave the boat more exposed to marine borers. gribbles and toredos.
    pics need to be put on a photo hosting site first, I use flickr, others use others . Facebook even works. try to get pics here , many are more up to speed on this type of boat here than I am.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Here is a photo of the boat... I dove her two days ago. Initially there was only a small bit of water in the hull forward portion of the engine compartment...(there is indeed a bilge pump hooked up and working) I dove the hull and poked my fingers into the soft spots on the keel and felt several...(ranging from half inch to an inch)

    When I did a visual inspection yesterday there were NEW water pockets in the hull... a larger puddle in forward engine compartment (where the initial water was, then a fairly good size puddle in the forward hatch of V berth and middle of cabin where bilge pump is)

    Is this a Red Flag? Or did the fact that I poked "fresh holes with my fingers" into the keel make it absorb sea water that had previously been "sealed"... PLEASE ADVISE~!
    http://ldgraphicdesign.com/1954ChrisCraftCommander.jpg

  7. #7

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Well , You do not want the boat leaking because you poked your finger around underwater, that's fer sher.
    Where are you? If you are diving on the boat , is it warm?
    I think you need to turn the bilge pump off and find out how much she is leaking. But, maybe you cannot spend that much time to do that.
    It looks like she needs to come out for a proper poke around. Ice pick , small hammer, fifth of Jack , the usual.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    She is in the water... I was thinking wood could be pegged into the keel where the damaged areas are...or fiberglass over it?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    I am in Sunset Beach/Huntington Harbor... she for sure needs to be hauled, but she has also been sitting in said condition for a long time, so cannot imagine that my finger and wood screw poking into the keel/skeg area could bring her down... the bilge is not working on overtime or pumping water for that matter... it only goes on when weight is shifted in cabin. Just was a bit alarming as the spots that are now puddled were DRY... so...did she soak up some water from the finger poking? IS that a plausible concept or am I in heavy denial?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    na ah , i don't think knocking in a peg is a good idea. fiberglass in the water? negatory.
    If she needs a patch, consider a piece of ply , 3/8th, pre nailed with roofing nails , and slathered with toilet bowl ring wax.
    But the weird thing here is , a bit of rot in the KEEL should not be making her leak.
    she has to come out mate

  12. #12

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    I didn't mean put the glass on her while in the water! LOL... I know she has to come out.... the question is WHEN?
    You answered my question about the keel rot not causing the leak...that is huge...now figure out WHY she is taking on water.

    I was told it was normal to have some water in the hull of a 60 year old wooden hull boat...is this not so???

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    The boat needs to be hauled and surveyed. You are kidding yourself to proceed otherwise. And, opening yourself up to a major fine if she sinks...it's a ticking time bomb. There, did that get your attention?

    Pictures (so-called "pics" as they are called here and nowhere else in the known galaxy) are of limited value.
    Last edited by pcford; 08-07-2013 at 04:18 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    I am aware of the issues with her... she has sat in the same berth for 5 years as I have admired her when Stand Up Paddling past her each day... the boat can still sit in the berth she is in and I am simply weighing out my option$...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Trying to fix the boat in the water by getting advice on the internet is like trying to fix your car over the phone. Bite the bullet and haul her out, you'll be glad you did.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Class of '54 View Post
    I am aware of the issues with her... she has sat in the same berth for 5 years as I have admired her when Stand Up Paddling past her each day... the boat can still sit in the berth she is in and I am simply weighing out my option$...
    Oh, well, if the boat has been where it has been for five years, there is absolutely no reason to assume that anything could happen. (or is there?)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    She's a pretty boat. There are several threads on this site about very similar boats. Should be several good sources of information if you contact the owners of those strings. They may be able to provide some guidance as to trouble areas to look for, etc.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Well, you said she's in need of bottom paint. So, haul her out for that and a survey. Older boats will leak a bit, I suppose, but when you can start pulling wood out of the keel with your fingers, it's time to haul!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Leave her in the water(Not for years), until your bank account and credit card are ready without moving her too much around.

    Haul out as soon you are ready to invest, as while Hauling out, I am pretty sure surprise will be found...
    http://www.peacefuljourney.ca/
    BEWARE: I am a native french speaker

  20. #20

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Joshua... EXACTLY! I am putting new zincs on her immediately! then will haul her hopefully in the spring...problem is NO ONE wants to take on the liability to haul the old girl out! I will have to visit another marina!!! am researching having a crane service come

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Is your experience with poking holes in the hull where the term "poked" comes from?
    Hopefully she isn't completely poked!

    In NZ anyway, "poked" is one of the many terms to describe something that is worn out or knackered.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Uhm, ...... warm salt water + 5yrs without bottom paint or hauling, ....... I'll say it. .......I'd be pretty concerned about major worm damage. A C.C. keel in salt water shouldn't have 'rot' issues, but certainly could have major worm damage. (On that C.C. the keel really has nothing to do with the boat being water tight or not - other than leaking keel bolts). If she truly is showing more leaking just from poking around in the keel I might be concerned about her making it till spring.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    UPDATE... she was reportedly hauled out and bottom replanked and 6,000 new screws put in 6.5 years ago...
    the zincs supposedly have only been dormant for the past 8 months... (waiting on paperwork to that affect)
    I keep the boat at the guys dock I bought it from and got her for a song, as he wants to see her restored to her original glory.
    He owned the boat since '83 and has told me some funny stories of him cutting his nautical teeth.

    Question... how long without zinc does it take for the electrolysis to eat those hull screws?
    Does anyone have info on the CC registry in VA?

  24. #24

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Does anyone have the info for the gentleman that runs the Chris-Craft history registry in VA?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Hmm, .... I don't know of a "gentleman", however the Mariners Museum in Newport News has ALL of the Cris Craft historical information and build cards. I believe if you go to their website you can find information on how to request the original build information for your boat.

    Only 8 months since the zincs 'disappeared' from corrosion? You are probably ok.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Class of '54 View Post
    UPDATE... she was reportedly hauled out and bottom replanked and 6,000 new screws put in 6.5 years ago...
    the zincs supposedly have only been dormant for the past 8 months... (waiting on paperwork to that affect)
    I keep the boat at the guys dock I bought it from and got her for a song, as he wants to see her restored to her original glory.
    He owned the boat since '83 and has told me some funny stories of him cutting his nautical teeth.

    Question... how long without zinc does it take for the electrolysis to eat those hull screws?
    Does anyone have info on the CC registry in VA?
    Sorry, all of these questions would have been answered if the boat had been hauled and surveyed before you bought it. Even if your plans for it only extend, as you put it, to being a "party barge." Even a free boat can be very expensive.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Francois... I can dig it. Alas, it is what it is... the owner has all the paperwork and has owned it since '83 and I am restoring her at his dock. So... I cannot afford a $5,000 cash deposit to have her hauled out (in the next marina over, several nautical miles away, towed by vessel assist) and the $190 per lay day fees. I'm going to get a hydraulic lift and get her out of the water where she sits for repairs and fresh bottom paint. Evidently the guy had been putting a West System on the bottom. Thoughts???

  28. #28

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Thanks Ned.. .I was given a name of the person (and misplaced it) who I think is the head of the Museum, or curator...that is the contact info I was seeking

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Only Pat and Ned, I think, have spoken up in quite the way I intend to, though plenty are hinting to you, but I have some comments and you may not like them. You might want to consider them anyway. i've spent enough years on this forum being polite, and I try to be, but sometimes it is best, or at least easiest, to be direct. I thnk you are getting the picture anyway, so if this feels like I am whipping you and saying the obvious, I apologize in advance, but I am going to be blunt.

    Were I in your position I would be very concerned that I was asked to post a $5000 bond to haul my boat. I would be just as worried, owning a boat like this with some of the information coming in, not to have the ability or willingness to post that bond. Here in the Northwest there is a lot of skill and sympathy for old wooden boats, so it makes it easier, but where you are those qualities may not be in abundance.

    Still, yards make money by hauling vessels. Throwing roadblocks up to a haul out suggests the yard you are working with has reservations about putting you on the hard and as we are here and can't see the boat, and they are with you and can, you might take a cue from that. Some yards just don't like to chance it with wood, but almost every yard I have ever known makes an assessment based on condition and decides if they will work with you or not.

    It's a birdie whispering in your ear. I'd have little concern about the history of the boat insofar as ownership, build dates and the like, and far more in her current state than to be spending time with the Mariner's Museum, though it's always fun to know the history. But a boat that hasn't been out of the water in six and a half years or inspected in that time is neither insurable nor necessarily sound. And I would not take the advice that "she was fastened six years ago so she's OK" without a grain of salt. Fastened with what? CCs were built with exceptionally good (and now very expensive) materials. Did the people who re-fastened her use the traditional Chris products: bronze and copper, or did they get their screws from a less reputable source?

    These are all questions that a trained observer can answer. And you should be asking them. Without much delay, and to somebody local to you who knows and can honestly assess wooden boats. You will be shocked how much a boat that fails can cost you. And of course, she's useless and unreliable as is. Anybody who argues otherwise based on your input so far is just guessing or doesn't have much experience. Or being polite, which as I said I usually try to be. But truly, you would be very well served to get a local, knowing hand on this without delay because your story is one that is frequently heard and rarely ends well.
    Last edited by Lew Barrett; 08-14-2013 at 07:48 PM.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Lew... points all well taken... I am going to save her...plain and simple... The guy I purchased the boat from is letting me keep it at his dock and has owned her since '83.
    I'm rolling the dice and will keep you posted. She has taken on 3.5 gallons of water in two weeks from a slow leak that was previously filled with wax last year.
    I feel good about this boat, then again ignorance is bliss. She will be hauled and surveyed... will also be posting a ton of photos on a FB page I am making.
    Thanks everyone for the input.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    That's no big deal, a pint or two a day, but it also is not a measure of the potential issues. Looking forward to hearing of your journey! I overlooked that the prior owner is providing moorage, a plus.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    Here are some pics...more to come.
    https://www.facebook.com/Classof54

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    "technical" pics , of the floors , frames, bilges, planking , a few pulled fastenings, close up of questionable spots on hull.
    these are what we need. Then ,when she gets out , the hunt for toredo .
    bruce

  35. #35

    Default Re: Chris Craft Restoration

    all those pics coming~!

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