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Thread: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

  1. #1
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    Default 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Ladies and Gentleman,

    Thanks for letting me into your community as i'm excited to share this experience with everyone and since this is my first wood boat restore I will no doubt be living in this forum clicking violently through the pages for how to's and the like.

    Anyway, I am still unsure EXACTLY what the boat is. Its a 1927 or 1928 Chris Craft Cadet or standard Runabout/Utility. After some conversations with some people there has been some skepticism about whether or not it is a Cadet, so I have sent the hullID into the Mariners Museum to find out once and for all.

    Its a beautiful old vessel, with a charming story. It has been in my close family and friends for around 50 years, and I plan to take this old girl to her 100th birthday party in stunning condition. In the early 70's before snap-chat and Facebook could prove it, my dad restored this boat for his friend and gave it to him as a wedding present. He named it the Blythe Spirit, which I don't care for but who am I to say it wasn't the right thing to do. After 30 or so years on one of their wedding anniversary's they thought it would be cool to give the boat back to my dad. For my sake, it was a cool idea. It sat in dry storage for many years before it came to this point where paying for storage in New York on it doesn't make sense when there is a perfectly good garage in Tennessee that would be happy to get covered in sanding dust. Now it is my duty to get it back up and going to its former glory.

    I have restored old ski boats, fiberglass runabouts, etc but never a wooden boat 3 times my age. It seems really daunting to me since the boat isn't in my shop yet, as I am still having it removed from storage and having a trailer bunked for it so we can make the journey, but i'm ecstatic none the less.

    If anyone has any information outright that may lead them to believe that this is or isn't what I think it is i'm happy to listen. Again, really excited to learn from the no doubt hundreds of builders and talented wood workers out there, and hopefully learn my own techniques along the way.
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    Last edited by nickvaphiadis; 04-30-2019 at 09:59 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Wow!
    That is a beauty. A piece of history.
    Plenty of people here to help you do it right.
    I'm sure there must be a Chris Craft forum out there also that may be of even more specific help, if needed.
    Good luck with her. I'll be watching your progress.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    What a beautiful craft....can't be many of those still about. I love the engraved? facia clock panel, it looks like it should be hanging on a necklace chain!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Thanks! This boat is just dripping with brass pieces I can't wait to polish back to a shine. I like the chrome that people do, but I think i'd rather keep it all brass.

    Unfortunately all I can do is think about stuff until the trailer is finished and I make the 2000 mile journey to get it.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Very nice!!!! And I would encourage you to check out the “Chris Craft Antique Boat Club”. Any work should be done true to her original build. She is of an age that “proper and original” will add to her value and non original changes will detract from her value. For instance, chroming hardware that was not originally chrome would hurt twice, once for the expense, and then in the damage it would do to the boat’s value.

    Does she still have the original engine?

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    That's a real gem. It's going to be a great project, I'm sure.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    I dug out my book on Chris Craft and have a little info. Cadets were built between 1927-29. They were replaced by the 22' Model 101 and Model 102. They also produced 24',26',28' and 30' runabouts. Your builder's plate stating Model 101, plus the upswept forward deck (which first appeared on their 1929-1930 models) and single instrument cluster (replacing the Cadets single instruments), suggests it's a 1930 model.
    For really good info, contact the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, N.Y. They helped me ID an old PennYan runabout I had.
    What is the length/beam of your boat and the engine/hp?
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Thats like hittin' Lotto! What a beauty.

    Whatever you do, do it slowly and carefully.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Another change from the Cadet to the 1930 Model 101 was replacing the walnut wheel with an automotive-type black steering wheel.
    The brass fittings (including the cutwater) are interesting. I've only seen stainless on Chris Crafts. Perhaps it came with the painted hull. Do you know if the hull was originally painted or bright finished?
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Another change from the Cadet to the 1930 Model 101 was replacing the walnut wheel with an automotive-type black steering wheel.
    The brass fittings (including the cutwater) are interesting. I've only seen stainless on Chris Crafts. Perhaps it came with the painted hull. Do you know if the hull was originally painted or bright finished?
    I have been in touch with the Mariners Museum to get the hull card, so hopefully i'll see that in the next week or so. I also plan to reach out to a friend at St. Lawrence Restoration as well. I never considered contact the boat museum in clayton. I'm from Alexandria Bay, but live outside of Nashville now.

    As soon as I get the hull card i'm hoping that it clears up a lot of the confusion/misinformation.

    The boat is a 22', all fittings and trim are original, and the engine is around that storage facility someplace but not currently in the boat. Once I get the card it will help us to identify and pick out the correct motor out of the storage area where there are just motors everywhere. Its likely a chrysler though.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    From my book, I'm thinking the engine is a 106 hp Chrysler Imperial.
    It's probably best that the engine is out of the boat. For long time storage like that, to have the engine out no doubt reduces the chances of hull deformation from the weight of the engine.
    Last edited by Rich Jones; 05-01-2019 at 04:23 PM.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    The brass fittings (including the cutwater) are interesting. I've only seen stainless on Chris Crafts. Perhaps it came with the painted hull. Do you know if the hull was originally painted or bright finished?
    I think it's possible they were originally plated. I think you're wise for pointing that out. A lot of plating will wear away the over the years and then owners will put them to the wheel to spare the expense of re-chroming. This could be one of those cases so some research would be a good idea.

    Bronze and brass are beautiful when polished and some alloys will take a nice patina so can be left to weather but if you use a boat much at all, hand polishing hardware and fittings quickly becomes annoying and on a boat like this plated stuff will become the thing I'd want. For that reason, high quality boats built in the era very iften came with plated hardware. Chris made some of the best considering these were production boats and that follows for post war boats as well. Each item is designed for the place it will live on the boat, nothing generic.

    I'm not a CC guy but a '57 Cavalier was my first boat project and I doubt they ever offered a much cheaper runabout (utility actually) to the public. Even it had chromed brass and bronze hardware. Much of it had pitted and worn away to reveal the base metal or the worn looking underlying nickel. I restored it to presentable "driver" condition but If I had been restoring a more worthy boat I would have had the hardware re-chromed. I'd research your boat just to be sure before settling on the finishes, especially if there are any pieces that would be difficult or painful to remove a second time.

    It is beautiful! What fun you'll have!

    Added: You can see in the photo of the tooled panel that it was once chromed. It probably all was.
    Last edited by Lew Barrett; 05-01-2019 at 08:47 PM.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    What a stunner you have there, and it's family and builder's provenance to boot!
    I look forward to the restoration.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    I went back to my book and found a picture of a bright finished runabout with all brass fittings/cutwater. So, they were not all stainless or chromed.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I went back to my book and found a picture of a bright finished runabout with all brass fittings/cutwater. So, they were not all stainless or chromed.
    I really hope that is the case with this boat. Because I would really like to keep it white with brass.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    I would think the backside of the cutwater will tell you very quickly if the hardware was originally plated or unplanted. If it was originally plated there should be a good bit of remaining evidence of the chrome.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    I'm sure your brass is original. The one pictured in my book is a 1929 Cadet with brass everything. As for paint, the only ones mentioned that were painted were the Special Raceboat, Special Runabout and Racing Runabout. Of course, my book does not mention every option for every Chris Craft made, it only offers a glimpse of what they offered.
    The reason there are so many around is that they were the only major boat builder to survive the Great Depression.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    It will bel interesting to hear what comes back from the Mariner’s Museum.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    neat old boat. good luck locating the original engine. is this all at a marina storage area? sure will be following along.

    jim

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    You mentioned that the boat is in New York State. Any chance the Lake George region? That's a popular place for such craft. I'm only an hour or so away from there.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    You mentioned that the boat is in New York State. Any chance the Lake George region? That's a popular place for such craft. I'm only an hour or so away from there.
    No sir. Not far though, I grew up on the St Lawrence river in Alexandria bay/1000 islands area. Wooden boats are hugely popular there.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Very cool boat !! Looking forward to seeing the restoration and re-birth of a classic !

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Before roughly 1930, it was common for boat hardware to be nickel plated. It gives a mellow finish...very nice. Here are some images of early Chris parts being nickel plated.
    http://thevillagelampshop.com/nickel...ndpatinas.html

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Nickel is softer and thus more easily abraded than chrome. It is quite possible that your hardware was originally nickel. To me (35 years speedboat restoration), unplated hardware looks odd, except for certain boats.

    Lew mentioned that the instrument panel was chrome plated...it was likely nickel plated as was the rest of the hardware.
    Last edited by pcford; 05-03-2019 at 12:43 PM.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Nickel is softer and thus more easily abraded than chrome. It is quite possible that your hardware was originally nickel. To me (35 years speedboat restoration), unplated hardware looks odd, except for certain boats.
    Quote Originally Posted by nickvaphiadis View Post
    I think pcford has a point, if you look at the instrument cluster it looks like there is residual plating that has been left behind from many polishings.
    Steamboat

    I get by with the judicious use of serendipity.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Nickel plating is very nice. It has a warm lustre. Note the slight yellowish tone in the image above. Has to be polished occasionally. I put all nickel plated plumbing in our place.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    My book mentions that starting in 1930 the instrument cluster was chrome and nickel plated. Chrome around the edge and nickel plating for the interior?
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    IMG_0051.jpg

    I got got the hull card and packet from the mariners museum today!

    anyone care to help me decipher this? It’s all a bit hieroglyphic to me. It appears to me that it was finished or shipped in June 1930 and shipped to Clayton NY. Next to that ����*♂️

    I noticed it it said it had a 75hp engine and I don’t see that on the specs and price list that they sent along with it. They had 82 hp and 106hp.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by nickvaphiadis; 05-13-2019 at 04:08 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    The images aren't showing. Can you try again?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    The images aren't showing. Can you try again?

    That should do it. Thanks for the heads up!

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    I see one now - but not the 2nd (the one with the details).
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration


  33. #33
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    How am I so devastatingly bad at technology. I thought I was a millennial.

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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration


  35. #35
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    Default Re: 1927/8 Chris Craft Cadet / Runabout / First Wooden Vessel Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by nickvaphiadis View Post
    How am I so devastatingly bad at technology. I thought I was a millennial.


    It definitely says 75HP. Is it maybe a name above Clayton? Leo Mercier? Not exactly easy handwriting to read.

    BTW - it's now showing in the post with the brochure.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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