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Thread: New wood boat owner needing advice!

  1. #1
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    Default New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Hello!
    I am not a "boat" person, but have always wanted a vintage row boat. Last weekend , I drove by a jome and fell in love with a 1960 Penn Yan cartopper! I bought it, and now that I have it, i'm not sure how to kerp the interior wood or exterior in good shape. How to store it out of water? Etc.
    it appears to ve in fine shape, but I noticed the finish along edges, is flaking a bit... old varnish I suppose. The gentleman has owned it since 1960, snd has stored it indoors.
    my question...Can I use some kind of oil to rub into the wood, or over what is already there? I can' t imagine removing the old stuff, as tgere are lots if ribs... also the green on the exterior has some scratched off patches here and there. Can I touch it up? Or just pant it over? It has the original oars as well...There is no longer a motor with it, which is what I wanted. Just to paddle around the lake!
    suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!
    Victoria
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    That is one fine looking craft Victoria, and welcome to the forum. You will find posters from the US who are far more familiar with the boats than me. I hope you get many happy hours in her. Did she come with a name?

    BTW, you are 'boat person' now.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Don't oil. Do keep her indoors.

    Looks like the hull could use paint. Sand off the scaly stuff, smooth it all out and paint.

    It looks like the worst damage is along the gunnel. That will be easy to strip down to wood and varnish.

    On the inside varnish, where it's scaley, sand either to wood or to good covering and sand out from the deepest sanding so that as you repair varnish you can keep a clean coat.

    Now that's the short form. Thing is, varnishing while not hard requires attention to detail. "Brightwork" by Rebecca Wittman is definitive. "Painting and Varnishing" by Peter H Spectre will certainly cover your needs. And there's a longer discussion at http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-on-varnishing

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Ian's recommendations are spot on -- varnishing and painting can be different for boats, and aren't anything you want to learn the hard way

    How are you transporting the boat -- cartop, truck back, boat trailer with supports, flatbed utility trailer or ? You'll want to store it upside down with supports / saw horses across the gunwales. Get some more photos of the underside and sides of the hull -- is it still fair (that's nautical-speak for smooth and even)?

    If cartopping it you may want to pad the crossbars of your roof rack -- a cheap way is to use pool noodles held on with zip ties. The varnish will take a bit of a beating no matter how you cartop it, but damage can be minimized.

    Don't walk around or stand in it on land -- it isn't designed for that and those lovely delicate wood strips can crack. I'd also launch it and play around in it before doing too much work, as you may want to replace those pinned oars with something longer and unpinned. Paint should be oil-based, as that's probably what's already on there. Rustoleum makes a marine topsides paint that has worked well for me, or you can order from Kirby Paints for the uber-trad, high-VOC stuff. I'm NOT a fan of water-based acrylic porch paints, and they take weeks to fully cure whereas oil paint cures in a few days.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Pretty little Penn Yan in amazing condition.
    To follow up with what has already been said, if it were me, ......... For the outside, flip it over on some saw horses (or similar for easy working), give the outside a good hand sanding with #120 grit sand paper (given it is all original finish, be sure to wear a decent dust mask for sanding). Be sure to get along under the rub rail (were the paint meets the varnish), then give it a coat of your favorite oil based enamel. I would go with anything from regular Rustoleum ($9 a quart) to Kirby's ($30 a quart). The inside and rub rail would get a careful sanding with #150 grit (again a dust mask), sanding with the grain wherever possible and a coat of oil based varnish.

    (Oops, I see Thorne and I are on the same track re: paint.)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Hello everyone!
    What a warm welcome to this forum!
    I can't express enough how much I appreciate all of your comments/advice, and taking the time to do so! I look forward to being a part of the wood boat community. May be a small part, but it is nice knowing I can come here for advice, discussions... I will post some photos of the hull as well. I wondered about matching the color, or at least coming close to the original. A bit nervous, as I don't want to mess up the beauty and integrity if this fine boat
    p.s. I now have it on sawhorses, off the ground.




    QUOTE=nedL;5552206]Pretty little Penn Yan in amazing condition.
    To follow up with what has already been said, if it were me, ......... For the outside, flip it over on some saw horses (or similar for easy working), give the outside a good hand sanding with #120 grit sand paper (given it is all original finish, be sure to wear a decent dust mask for sanding). Be sure to get along under the rub rail (were the paint meets the varnish), then give it a coat of your favorite oil based enamel. I would go with anything from regular Rustoleum ($9 a quart) to Kirby's ($30 a quart). The inside and rub rail would get a careful sanding with #150 grit (again a dust mask), sanding with the grain wherever possible and a coat of oil based varnish.

    (Oops, I see Thorne and I are on the same track re: paint.)[/QUOTE]

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    I carefully lifted the boat onto wooden sawhorses I had... loojed underneath and it seemed to be resting on the ribs toward the side... woke up this morning and thought " this works great", until I noticed a slight bulge on the outside... my friend and I flipped the boat over and discovered the corner of sawhorse must have pushed tgrough a thinner part of the wood, maybe there was a weak, thinly cracked area... not sure, all I know is my heart sank, that I somehow damaged my new boat I love. I pushed slightly on the bulged part and it gave, but it ferls alnost like a slight bubble feel from outside. It didn't go through or crack the paint. The inside has an indented slightly cracked area where it happened... ugh 😩




    Quote Originally Posted by V1215 View Post
    Hello!
    I am not a "boat" person, but have always wanted a vintage row boat. Last weekend , I drove by a jome and fell in love with a 1960 Penn Yan cartopper! I bought it, and now that I have it, i'm not sure how to kerp the interior wood or exterior in good shape. How to store it out of water? Etc.
    it appears to ve in fine shape, but I noticed the finish along edges, is flaking a bit... old varnish I suppose. The gentleman has owned it since 1960, snd has stored it indoors.
    my question...Can I use some kind of oil to rub into the wood, or over what is already there? I can' t imagine removing the old stuff, as tgere are lots if ribs... also the green on the exterior has some scratched off patches here and there. Can I touch it up? Or just pant it over? It has the original oars as well...There is no longer a motor with it, which is what I wanted. Just to paddle around the lake!
    suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!
    Victoria

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!


  9. #9
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    This is how I found it this morning! I wanted to cry!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    The weight of the boat on the saw horse would not normally cause a problem. However the dark color of the wood indicates it is probably decayed and weak.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    If it was a corner of the saw horse, I wouldn't be surprised if the point load could damage even new cedar.

    I think the best repair would be a diamond shaped dutchman. Time to learn a new skill.

    Like this, but diamond shaped so you don't have a long line of end grain cut.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Oh dear.

    By 'putting it up on sawhorses' I am sure nobody meant to suggest inside the hull with the corners of the sawhorses pressing against the ribs or skin. You want the top of the boat (the rubrails or sheer) resting on horses. Of course most people don't have horses that wide, so you make a special set, extend the top width of a sturdy pair, or use three (two astern). It might be ok to support the boat with the horses resting on the seats - but without question it is best for the boat to be resting on its rubrails. And those horses should not be inducing any twist in the hull.

    There are also ways that it could be hung without inducing damage or distortion.

    This is what sometimes happens over the internet. Assumptions are made. Damage is done. It looks like you might have gotten away without serious damage.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    The dark color in the cracks looks old. The dent in the rib above it looks new. Wetting the new dent might swell the wood and make it less obvious. Not soaking, just a wet rag for a minute. The swelling is slow.
    The finish looks more like oil to me, except on the deck. While I hesitate to contradict Ian, I would recommend Deks Olje. Deks Olje link
    Last edited by MN Dave; 05-04-2018 at 10:49 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    First off, ..... I am so sorry for leading you astray with my comment to simply "flip it over on some saw horses" without clarifying.

    I will see if I can be more complete on any further comments.

    I would not consider all to be lost with that damage. Consider a couple of things here.
    1)The outer fabric skin is intact, which is the important thing with this type of construction. This means it will not leak any water.
    2)The damage happened from the inside pushing out and when the boat is in use (in the water), the water pressure is pushing from the outside in. As you may have already found out, if you push lightly on the outside the damage will not easily go back in, .... so, when in use this damage is far more cosmetic than structural.
    3) the canvas is original and in great condition, any real 'repair' to the wood will require removing the canvas. A lot of work for little gain.

    I might suggest taking a flat piece of scrap wood (short piece of 2x4, a small piece of plywood, etc), lay that against the outside of the boat on top of the damage and begin with tapping with a hammer (lightly at first). I would say there is a 90% chance that with some careful work the underlaying cedar planking will be able to be coaxed back in to position. Make sure the boat is either on the ground (with the three corners - bow and 2 stern corners- on some padding), or supported by the gunwales (top edge of the sides) before starting. I would regularly check what the inside is looking like to see that the wood is returning to its original form and shape on the inside and not cracking. Make sure the piece of wood you are using as a block for tapping against is large enough to span across the ribs also. If you can get the cedar coaxed back where it belongs (or close) I would call it good.

    If the wood does not want to seem to go back where it belongs you might set the boat on an angle on the lawn so that the damage is at the lowest spot and pour a couple of quarts of boiling water on the spot, let it sit for about 10 - 15 minute, turn it over and try tapping on it with the block of wood and hammer again. -- With boiling water you may not even nee to tap with a hammer, you might be able to just push on the lump using the block of wood for backing and work the cedar back where it belongs.

    I must say that the discoloration on the inside is an indication that some moisture got into that cracking a while ago (just a tiny bit of water staining, not decay there). Is there any chance that the lump was there before and just happened to line up with where the saw horse was? It does seem surprising that one night of gently sitting on a saw horse caused damage. Those little scratches yes, however, cracking the cedar, ..... odd.

    this Penn Yan is built basically the same way as a wood and canvas canoe. There are a number of real good canoe guys here. I might also suggest you check out the "Wood Canoe Heritage Association" web site. There is a real good knowledge base of experience for boats like this there too. (Some of the canoe guys here also can be found there.)
    Last edited by nedL; 05-04-2018 at 12:04 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    100_3064.jpg100_3059.jpg100_3038.jpgHere's a penn yan trailboat, I did for a customer a few years ago. very similar to the cartopper . If you get ambitious one day to do everything over on it, but there's so many nuts,bolts and screw on the Penn Yans that it can make you crazy. But it's fine the way it is, just because a wooden boat is bright and new doesn't make it any more fun or make it float better. Clean it , put some paint and varnish on and have fun. Your getting enough good advice here that your's will come out fine. Can't go wrong with Pettit 1015 cap't varnish, paints, Kirby, brightside or epifanes. good luck, Dave

  16. #16
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Very pretty Dave !!!!! I have always admired those Penn Yann (and Old Town) fabric covered boats.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    The dark color in the cracks looks old. The dent in the rib above it looks new. Wetting the new dent might swell the wood and make it less obvious. Not soaking, just a wet rag for a minute. The swelling is slow.
    The finish looks more like oil to me, except on the deck. While I hesitate to contradict Ian, I would recommend Deks Olje. Deks Olje link
    Or use a steam iron on top of the cloth.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    You could also put a thin "butt block" there over the wound. Maybe 3/8" cedar. I would glue it down with thickened epoxy so you don't pierce the canvas with any fasteners. If the top edge was bevelled such that water will drain over it, you would have a permanent repair.

    You will need to sand to bare wood there for the epoxy to stick.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Hello!

    I want to thank you for the information!
    seems my sawhorses are a bit large, so will need to figure put something else to flip her over and work on the hull. I am excited and nervous, because I have never worked on a boat before.

    Quote Originally Posted by nedL View Post
    Pretty little Penn Yan in amazing condition.
    To follow up with what has already been said, if it were me, ......... For the outside, flip it over on some saw horses (or similar for easy working), give the outside a good hand sanding with #120 grit sand paper (given it is all original finish, be sure to wear a decent dust mask for sanding). Be sure to get along under the rub rail (were the paint meets the varnish), then give it a coat of your favorite oil based enamel. I would go with anything from regular Rustoleum ($9 a quart) to Kirby's ($30 a quart). The inside and rub rail would get a careful sanding with #150 grit (again a dust mask), sanding with the grain wherever possible and a coat of oil based varnish.

    (Oops, I see Thorne and I are on the same track re: paint.)

  20. #20
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Good morning!
    I apologize for not replying back to all of your generous replies and help in my trying to fix/do work on the Penn Yan. All of your replies are so thoughtful and I am seeing how much boat lovers, truly love wooden boats! I have the boat sitting in my pond right now. Hoping to order the paint and barnish, and try and bring some new luster to her.
    I haven't done anything yet, as this is my busy airbnb season, and gardening, etc. I really want to bring the boat to a nearby lake, but not sure how I will be transporting with my car. For a " cartopper, she is a bit heavy". Would take two to lift. The gentleman I bought her from said he use to carry her on his back! I'm strong, but can't imagine that.
    I am curious about some kind of wheel pull attachment so that I can pull her around or to the lake without dragging of course.
    Thank you all again!
    Awesome forum!
    Victoria

    Hello!

    I want to thank you for the information!
    seems my sawhorses are a bit large, so will need to figure put something else to flip her over and work on the hull. I am excited and nervous, because I have never worked on a boat before.

    Quote Originally Posted by nedL View Post
    Pretty little Penn Yan in amazing condition.
    To follow up with what has already been said, if it were me, ......... For the outside, flip it over on some saw horses (or similar for easy working), give the outside a good hand sanding with #120 grit sand paper (given it is all original finish, be sure to wear a decent dust mask for sanding). Be sure to get along under the rub rail (were the paint meets the varnish), then give it a coat of your favorite oil based enamel. I would go with anything from regular Rustoleum ($9 a quart) to Kirby's ($30 a quart). The inside and rub rail would get a careful sanding with #150 grit (again a dust mask), sanding with the grain wherever possible and a coat of oil based varnish.

    (Oops, I see Thorne and I are on the same track re: paint.)

  21. #21
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Welcome aboard hon! Yes that would be a bit difficult for the not knowing how, to get on top a car or truck alone.

    I've seen more than a few PYs she's quite well preserved compared to many! You are not far from some of the best shops that build sell and restore old canoes. and yes penn yan was a well known canoe builder. (you can tell also by the construction methods)

    You be a bit far from here, so online is the best help I can offer LOL.
    By all means use her, If you leave her "in" the painted canvas will get green and slime covered in a few days. Letting her bake in the sun for weeks and weeks is also not good.. If you can. a type of lean to shelter and cart would be good.

    For loading on a rack.. there are a mess of innovations just for the task. most use a 2 rail, ramp like set up from the side. But all can be quite expensive. just a vid. not a sales effort . still not simple LOL
    Lady that gave me this boat and I loaded it from the back.



    Last edited by DeniseO30; 05-11-2018 at 10:12 AM.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  22. #22
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Nice boat! Dynamic Dollies and Racks can make you a nice dolly. http://dynamicdollies.com/ Give them a call and Ben can let you know which stock dolly would fit your boat. We use them on all of our small boats.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: New wood boat owner needing advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by V1215 View Post
    ... also the green on the exterior has some scratched off patches here and there. Can I touch it up? Or just pant it over?
    Victoria
    No paint job is any better than its foundation – surface preparation is critical. Painting over peeling paint is pointless – the old paint will continue peeling, taking the good paint with it. But if the old paint is basically sound, and/or if you scrape/sand off the loose paint, a fresh coat of paint can make a canoe look better, even if the new paint job is not perfect, and even if the old paint is a bit cracked.

    You will find links to several discussions about touching up and repairing paint on a wood/canvas hull here:

    http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?8906-Repaint-Tips

    Indeed, you will find much information about maintaining a wood/canvas hull in the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association’s forums -- the construction of your boat is basically the same as the construction of a wood/canvas canoe, and the people involved in the WCHA have lots of experience and expertise with this kind of hull. http://forums.wcha.org/index.php

    Further, information about repairs to the planking, ribs, and gunwales of wood/canvas boats may be found in these books:

    The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration, and Maintenance by Rollin Thurlow and Jerry Stelmok

    Building the Maine Guide Canoe by Jerry Stelmok

    This Old Canoe: How To Restore Your Wood-Canvas Canoe, by Mike Elliott

    You have a fine looking boat -- with minimal care, you should be able to enjoy it for years.

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