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Thread: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2022
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    Houston, Tx, USA
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    Default Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    I recently inherited my grandfather's wooden boat and am a complete boating novice. I'm trying to determine if its feasible to get the boat restored. I've attached the few pictures I have of the boat. The boat is about 15' long (bow to stern) and about 6' wide at the stern. The only markings on the boat are "Holmes Boatbuilders, Houston, Tx." The last registration sticker is from 1983 and I believe it has not been in the water at all since then. It has been stored in a barn the entire time so it has avoided exposure to sun and water, but is plenty dirty and had plenty of rodents call it home.

    My primary question is, is this boat in good enough shape to restore? If so, can anyone recommend a wooden boat restoration company in the Central Texas area? Thanks!
    20220422_153018_exported_2692_1650816503202.jpg20220422_153007_exported_2527_1650816540912.jpg20220422_153032_exported_2895_1650816398864.jpg20220422_153308_exported_2395_1650815750968.jpg

  2. #2
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    Fort Worth, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Good luck, Texas is not a hotbed of restoration for wood.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Welcome to the Forum!
    That is a nice-looking boat. Just from the photos it seems to be in pretty good shape but looks can be deceiving. Any idea how old?
    What does the bottom look like? Often when a wooden boat is stored on a trailer for a long time, the
    hull will become deformed where it sits on the bunks or rollers. That is really bad because it really effects performance.
    All the framing is covered so it's hard to tell what shape that is in. Can you lift the floorboards to take a look?
    The boat is built of plywood, which is OK but it makes it a not-too-valuable boat as far as classics are concerned.
    The money you put into it depends on it's sentimental value.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    I agree with Rich Jones...stripping the old varnish and applying new will be a lot of work but not a huge amount of money.
    I is possible even likely that boat's bottom is good. Deformation takes place when the motor is on the boat and the transom is overhanging the trailer. Be careful about gouges in the plywood, these are difficult or impossible to repair.
    I would take it to a car wash and see what you got.

  5. #5
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    Indian Land, SC, USA
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    If you take it to a car wash, try to not get a lot of water inside - too much water weight inside a boat on a trailer is not a good thing


    Rick
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Hose it down and take a good hard look in every nook and cranny.
    Post #4 pcford is the utmost authority for these types of boats here on the Forum.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    northeast Ohio
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    2,863

    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Pull the floorboards out.
    Sweep out/vaccum all the dust, dirt and crap before you get it wet.
    It will be way less of a mess to deal with...especially of there is critter crap in there.
    It looks pretty good. Paint is easier to keep up than varnish.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Don't worry about loading the boat with water. The boat has two drain holes in transom.

    If you keep the boat out of the sun and don't bang it up, the varnish will last years.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    I've done a bit of runabout restoration also. Long distance diagnosis is always difficult, but given what we know and can see... I suspect you have a good candidate for whatever level of project you wish to tackle. I agree - first steps are vacuum out & mop out. Then some tapping and poking to see if you can unearth any punky spots that will need work.

    As far as a local professional - no idea. But you might get a referral from the Antiques & Classic Boat Society -- https://acbs.org/
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  10. #10
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    Apr 2022
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    Houston, Tx, USA
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Welcome to the Forum!
    That is a nice-looking boat. Just from the photos it seems to be in pretty good shape but looks can be deceiving. Any idea how old?
    What does the bottom look like? Often when a wooden boat is stored on a trailer for a long time, the
    hull will become deformed where it sits on the bunks or rollers. That is really bad because it really effects performance.
    All the framing is covered so it's hard to tell what shape that is in. Can you lift the floorboards to take a look?
    The boat is built of plywood, which is OK but it makes it a not-too-valuable boat as far as classics are concerned.
    The money you put into it depends on it's sentimental value.
    I think it was purchased new in the late 1950's, so that makes it about 65 years old. Thanks for the tip about getting deformed by sitting on the trailer. I know it hasn't been moved off the trailer in at least 30 years. The boat is stored a few hours away from me, so it will be a bit before I can take a closer look at the framing.

  11. #11
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    Apr 2022
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    Houston, Tx, USA
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    I agree with Rich Jones...stripping the old varnish and applying new will be a lot of work but not a huge amount of money.
    I is possible even likely that boat's bottom is good. Deformation takes place when the motor is on the boat and the transom is overhanging the trailer. Be careful about gouges in the plywood, these are difficult or impossible to repair.
    I would take it to a car wash and see what you got.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Hose it down and take a good hard look in every nook and cranny.
    Post #4 pcford is the utmost authority for these types of boats here on the Forum.
    Quote Originally Posted by timo4352 View Post
    Pull the floorboards out.
    Sweep out/vaccum all the dust, dirt and crap before you get it wet.
    It will be way less of a mess to deal with...especially of there is critter crap in there.
    It looks pretty good. Paint is easier to keep up than varnish.
    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Don't worry about loading the boat with water. The boat has two drain holes in transom.

    If you keep the boat out of the sun and don't bang it up, the varnish will last years.
    Thanks for all the comments! I'll make vacuuming and and washing it my priority for the next time I make the trip to where the boat is stored.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2022
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    Houston, Tx, USA
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I've done a bit of runabout restoration also. Long distance diagnosis is always difficult, but given what we know and can see... I suspect you have a good candidate for whatever level of project you wish to tackle. I agree - first steps are vacuum out & mop out. Then some tapping and poking to see if you can unearth any punky spots that will need work.

    As far as a local professional - no idea. But you might get a referral from the Antiques & Classic Boat Society -- https://acbs.org/
    Thanks for the tip about the ACBS! I'll see what info they can offer.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by cdub View Post
    Thanks for the tip about the ACBS! I'll see what info they can offer.
    The help will come in the form of a membership directory. You will likely be able to find an owner with a similar boat nearby.

    I have ACBS directory which is several years old. There are three Holmes owners listed...
    Last edited by pcford; 04-28-2022 at 10:15 PM.

  14. #14
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    N.E. Connecticut.
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Nice little sheet plywood runabout. There were probably 100+ builders of good little sheet plywood boats in the 1950's and early 1960's, almost all being forgotten in time today. Construction is simple, but solid and still practical today. With some TLC and fresh varnish & paint it would be a good looking little runabout.
    Do be aware that given the age, both the paint & the varnish will most likely contain lead. Nothing to go crazy over, just when sanding wear a decent dust mask, vacuum up the residue and wash your hands before picking up that sandwich.
    It looks like the trailer is well fitted to the boat (basically a good fitting cradle), so that would be a big plus.
    I hope we see you make progress with it,.... cute boat.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2009
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    Texas
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Take some measurements off the trailer as well. Bearings, wheels, and tires in case you want to bring it closer to home.

    edit-it doesn’t look too bad. We have seen much, much worse.

  16. #16
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    Charleston, SC
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Not an attempt to thread drift and in fact my question may benefit the OP.

    What method/glue etc was used with these plywood and frame boats in the 50s?

    thanks

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by gray duck View Post
    Not an attempt to thread drift and in fact my question may benefit the OP.

    What method/glue etc was used with these plywood and frame boats in the 50s?

    thanks
    Big topic. Big thread drift. Maybe start another thread?
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by gray duck View Post
    Not an attempt to thread drift and in fact my question may benefit the OP.

    What method/glue etc was used with these plywood and frame boats in the 50s?

    thanks
    "plastic resin"/ Weldwood. Or possibly resorcinol.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Texas Wooden Boat Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    "plastic resin"/ Weldwood. Or possibly resorcinol.
    There were hundreds of manufacturers of plywood runabouts. ChrisCraft just happens to be one of the longest-lived, therefore best known. Never heard of the OP's boat, but that's not surprising, as distribution tended to be regional for all but a few firms.

    Yes, those were common adhesives. I gather that some used urea-formaldehyde (aka 'plastic resin') glue exclusively. Some used resorcinol (phenol-resorcinol) some. But it was more expensive, and required more care and good clamping access. Some eventually switched to melamine based formulaes. Some so they could use a microwave for fast cures.

    Some - like Burch-Craft - up in Pat's neck of the woods, used a different formulation (I don't recall the specific goop) with a longer open time, which required high-heat to form, bend, and cure. It was part of their proprietary process.

    But, seriously, let's not branch off further... I'm interested in this project in Texas.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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