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Thread: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

  1. #1
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    Default 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Hello Everyone,

    I have recently had the opportunity to pick up this 1958 Watkins wooden boat.
    I can't seem to find any information on it online. Does anyone on here happen to have any information about this manufacturer? Yes, I'm a new to this sort of thing and i am learning quite a bit already.
    I am pretty handy and I have restored many vintage things in the past but never a boat.
    It seems to be a large undertaking but i feel like I'm up for the task.
    I don't have the funds to hire someone to survey it but the price is pretty affordable.
    I know i might end up putting a lot of money into it but form the photos, does it look like something that might be worth pursuing?
    Apparently it's been garage kept for it's entire life. I can see some stains in the bilge and on the outside of the boat but I know there can be rot hidden elsewhere.

    Thanks in advance and I look forward to learning a lot from all of you.



    IMG_0995.jpg IMG_0993.jpgIMG_0996.jpg



    Last edited by joseywailes; 02-24-2018 at 01:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Holy moly she looks ten years old!
    The usual... look for rot in the back corners and also look for any de lamination of the old plywood .
    Also, what folks new to boats tend to miss, is deformation of shape to the bottom caused by sitting on the trailer. Look for dimpling on the bottom. ( called hook).Even a 3/16 inch dimple a foot or three around can have a bad affect on the handling of the boat at planing speed ( 25 ish mph).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Looks essentially pretty well cared for. One thing I would look for is to see if the bottom has hogged from sitting too long on a trailer. Sometimes happens when not on well adjusted bunks. Can you poke around a bit looking for rot? Have you already bought it? Best part is it looks pretty much original. Depending on price I would say go for it. If you attempt to restore it you will get plenty of help here.
    Edit: Bruce posted while I was typing.... Do what he says...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Take a look at the thread”1958 Highliner” for comparison!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    That look great! Perfect first boat project in my opinion, assuming the bottom has no major trailer induced damage.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Wow. Thanks for the quick responses! I haven't purchased it yet. I had read about what all of you have mentioned about dimpling. I'm going to look at it next week. If it does have rollers and dimpling from the trailer is it still worth picking up? I guess it depends on how bad it would be? Hopefully its on a bunk trailer? I plan to look for rot in the corners, at the transom, in the bilge, near the bow, at the keel and foot etc. I will "knock" the wood to look for dead spots? The gentleman seems to be pretty open about it and is willing to let me take a peak around but i doubt he'll let me pull anything up. Thanks everyone.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Thank you! I'll definitely look at those recommendations.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Congrats! Yes.. get er off the trailer would be the first thing to do. I'd suggest thinking long and hard. if you can't afford a surveyor.. chance is you can't afford to fix or restore her. It's a common mistake.. with cars and boats.. get it.. tear into it.. the run out of $ or realize it's going to be too much $

    maybe maybe not. what you seek. http://www.watkinsowners.com/
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Thank you DeniseO30. A lot to think about.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Ok. So i looked into pricing for surveyors and as it turns out, I am capable of affording one. Lol. I thought it would be in the thousands. Shows how much I have to learn.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    The thousands will be along any time now.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    nice boat and i hope it works out for you.

    jim

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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by darroch View Post
    The thousands will be along any time now.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by MADOC1 View Post
    nice boat and i hope it works out for you.

    jim
    Thank you, Jim! Looking forward to it. I'm hoping the restoration will as rewarding as putting it on the water and watching it float! Or sink

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Holy moly she looks ten years old!
    The usual... look for rot in the back corners and also look for any de lamination of the old plywood .
    Also, what folks new to boats tend to miss, is deformation of shape to the bottom caused by sitting on the trailer. Look for dimpling on the bottom. ( called hook).Even a 3/16 inch dimple a foot or three around can have a bad affect on the handling of the boat at planing speed ( 25 ish mph).
    Thank you for the advice. Greatly appreciated.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Take a look at the thread”1958 Highliner” for comparison!
    I just did and i see what you mean now! Wow.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Also, I'm wondering what Hp outboard i might need to power this thing appropriately. I don't need to skip across the water, i just want something adequate to keep me moving. I will most likely take it on large, flat rivers. Thanks in advance.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseO30 View Post
    Congrats! Yes.. get er off the trailer would be the first thing to do. I'd suggest thinking long and hard. if you can't afford a surveyor.. chance is you can't afford to fix or restore her. It's a common mistake.. with cars and boats.. get it.. tear into it.. the run out of $ or realize it's going to be too much $

    maybe maybe not. what you seek. http://www.watkinsowners.com/
    Watkins was a Florida company that produced fiberglass boats. I owned one of these for a short time ... http://www.watkinsowners.com/w23.htm ... we had lots of fun with it.

    I have my doubts they're the same company.

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by joseywailes View Post
    Also, I'm wondering what Hp outboard i might need to power this thing appropriately. I don't need to skip across the water, i just want something adequate to keep me moving. I will most likely take it on large, flat rivers. Thanks in advance.
    When she was built 35HP was about as big as you could get.
    Ratus ratus bilgeous snipeous!

    You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Gandhi

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Watkins was a Florida company that produced fiberglass boats. I owned one of these for a short time ... http://www.watkinsowners.com/w23.htm ... we had lots of fun with it.

    I have my doubts they're the same company.

    I checked the watkins site and didn't see anything. When i go to see it i'll look for an actual identifier.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Adams View Post
    When she was built 35HP was about as big as you could get.
    it had a 1958 Evinrude 35 hp Big Twin electric start on it but he must've sold it. major bummer.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Holy moly she looks ten years old!
    The usual... look for rot in the back corners and also look for any de lamination of the old plywood .
    Also, what folks new to boats tend to miss, is deformation of shape to the bottom caused by sitting on the trailer. Look for dimpling on the bottom. ( called hook).Even a 3/16 inch dimple a foot or three around can have a bad affect on the handling of the boat at planing speed ( 25 ish mph).
    Thanks! I'm learning how to respond on here.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    That trailer does look kinda 'new' and too big, based on where the front two rollers are. But what you're hoping for is A) bunks that are properly adjusted and span multiple rib locations and B) extend all the way back to just past the edge of the transom. Not being stored with the motor on it is actually good, because it's 200 fewer pounds on the transom all these years.

    I just sold a pristine 35HP Sea King that would have worked well on that boat. But there are still many out there, if you want to go old school. I moved to a 50 HP Honda 4-stroke, so I'm no longer old-school. Boating on a river that is open to trade (barges and tugs) will mean you need reliability over style. I have considered getting an old-school cowl to put over the Honda, but there are cooling airflow issues I'd need to address.

    I agree it's in great shape cosmetically. Just have to check there's no hidden rot, and you might have to re-bed some timbers, and give it about a month to 'take up' so it doesn't leak at the seams. When the time comes, you can get a head start by putting water in the boat, to help the wood expand before first launch. And you don't 'fill' it, but rather put a few inches of water in. (Actually filling it would make it explode in short order.)

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    That trailer does look kinda 'new' and too big, based on where the front two rollers are. But what you're hoping for is A) bunks that are properly adjusted and span multiple rib locations and B) extend all the way back to just past the edge of the transom. Not being stored with the motor on it is actually good, because it's 200 fewer pounds on the transom all these years.

    I just sold a pristine 35HP Sea King that would have worked well on that boat. But there are still many out there, if you want to go old school. I moved to a 50 HP Honda 4-stroke, so I'm no longer old-school. Boating on a river that is open to trade (barges and tugs) will mean you need reliability over style. I have considered getting an old-school cowl to put over the Honda, but there are cooling airflow issues I'd need to address.

    I agree it's in great shape cosmetically. Just have to check there's no hidden rot, and you might have to re-bed some timbers, and give it about a month to 'take up' so it doesn't leak at the seams. When the time comes, you can get a head start by putting water in the boat, to help the wood expand before first launch. And you don't 'fill' it, but rather put a few inches of water in. (Actually filling it would make it explode in short order.)
    I will take a look for these things. Thanks for mentioning the trailer. If the bunks (if they are there) don't extend past the transom, do I look for hooking there too? I'm realizing if I need to replace any timbers, I might be in over my head as I've never done that and I don't know how to steam timber to make it fit. I'm willing to learn but the more research I get into, the more I realize that I can get in over my head really fast. I am considering a vintage outboard but you make a good point of having it on the Monongahela and Ohio rivers, I'm definitely going to encounter, locks, tugs, larger vessels etc. I would definitely want to have a reliable outboard. I was also considering just going with a new outboard but I hear 4 strokes are very heavy and I'd hate to see it tear the transom off and float to the bottom of the river with me following. Also, I was wondering what to do about "take up" that's good advice. I was worried that I'd pop it in the water and it would take on water too fast for me to deal with it quickly. There's a lot to consider and I want to be rationale rather than romantic about the idea of owning one of these older wooden boats. I think I'm in a good place to do this but I want to do it right the first time. Thanks.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    until you get photos of the bilge it's all guessing from armchair experts LOL but the hull looks to be cold or hot molded ply or veneer. It may not have as many frames that plank boats have. it may not need to "take up" (swell when wet) You don't know that you need to steam lumber to bend just yet. (and that is the fun easy part of boat building and restoration) It also looks like glass on to the water line. (hard to tell)
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  26. #26
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseO30 View Post
    until you get photos of the bilge it's all guessing from armchair experts LOL but the hull looks to be cold or hot molded ply or veneer. It may not have as many frames that plank boats have. it may not need to "take up" (swell when wet) You don't know that you need to steam lumber to bend just yet. (and that is the fun easy part of boat building and restoration) It also looks like glass on to the water line. (hard to tell)
    Thank you. You are right. Perhaps I should wait until I see it to begin asking questions. Lol. I'm seeing it next Monday so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Plywood boats do NOT need to "take up." Filling a plywood boat with water is not advisable.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry's Gal View Post
    Plywood boats do NOT need to "take up." Filling a plywood boat with water is not advisable.
    Thank you. I Appreciate the information.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Forgot to mention he wants $1000 for the boat. If it's intact is it worth it?

  30. #30
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    “Is it worth it”,......hmmmm
    Depending on what you want for an outboard I can see From $500 (older, heading toward age appropriate) and up to whatever a new 35 hp costs on top of the base purchase cost, plus controls for the outboard. Cleaned up nicely and running well I could see about $2500 for the rig.
    If the hull is sound, needs only cosmetics (hours of paint & varnish work), only you can decide if “it is worth it”.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    If it is anywhere as good as it looks in the pics I would say grab it. She will be a beauty when restored assuming there are no surprises, but I am a sucker for a pretty face, so...
    Oh and a trailer too, that is worth a couple of hundred right there, liking it more all the time.... why dont I ever find something like that?

  32. #32
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by nedL View Post
    “Is it worth it”,......hmmmm
    Depending on what you want for an outboard I can see From $500 (older, heading toward age appropriate) and up to whatever a new 35 hp costs on top of the base purchase cost, plus controls for the outboard. Cleaned up nicely and running well I could see about $2500 for the rig.
    If the hull is sound, needs only cosmetics (hours of paint & varnish work), only you can decide if “it is worth it”.
    Very true. I knew an outboard would most likely cost me more than the boat. Good things to consider. Truthfully, the work is what is the most appealing to me. I enjoy the work probably a little more than the end result.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldad View Post
    If it is anywhere as good as it looks in the pics I would say grab it. She will be a beauty when restored assuming there are no surprises, but I am a sucker for a pretty face, so...
    Oh and a trailer too, that is worth a couple of hundred right there, liking it more all the time.... why dont I ever find something like that?
    Lol! you and i are a lot alike. I'm always the one saying man, that guy was in the right place at the right time. I too am a sucker for a pretty face! I'm seeing it Monday. I'll post some of my own pics of it either way.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: 1958 Watkins Wooden Boat

    IMG_1017.JPGIMG_1008.JPGIMG_1007.JPGIMG_1028.JPG

    So i went to see the boat yesterday. He had it out in the sun so it was easy to see. It didn't appear to have any rot. The only concerning factor was the stern was sitting on bunks and they only covered about 1/4th of the bottom. the front portion of the boats keel was sitting on a roller. there was only one. unfortunately i couldn't get a good photo of it because there was a huge tarp sitting under it. It looked as if gravity had caused the roller to bow the bilge inward at the keel. I looked at the keel and it looks like it was reinforced and it was bowed as well. I decided not to buy it for $1000. I offered him $500 to take it off his hands, we'll see what he says. Also, it's not a fiber glass hull it's just painted green at the water line. Overall it was in good condition for it's age but some of it was beat up. The back seat looks like it was torn off and re-attached. I'm just worried about the keel possibly being bowed but it was too difficult to tell. This boat was made in Brackenridge, PA by Franks Boat Works in 1958. They no loner exist which is why I couldn't find any information on it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by joseywailes; 03-06-2018 at 01:57 PM. Reason: more images

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