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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010

    1959 14' plywood boat restoration

    Hello all! New member here...I'm Mike, 30 years old, from Buffalo, NY doing a restoration to a 1959 hand built 14' plywood boat. I acquired this back in October and spent a month or so stripping it down to bare wood. I spent the winter remodeling my kitchen, and am now getting back to the boat. I'll fill you in with the progress so far...mind you these photos date back to October-December or so, and from here on out these are copy/pastes from another forum I had posted this project up on

    The boat had been in barn storage the past few years where a leaky roof filled the boat and caused some damage. Here's the last good picture of it in the water from a few years ago...

    The barn where it was stored.

    In it's new winter home.

    The gorgeous Art Deco era inspired 55 HP Mercury outboard. Apparently this boat was capable of about 30mph and could pull skiers quite well.

    Interior shot...before cleaning. The seat cushions were destroyed and thrown in the trash before I picked her up.

    After a little cleanup, with the front seat bottom removed and the rear seat folded up. It's pretty cool to see how this was constructed once I start removing bits and pieces, amazing that it was built by hand.

    And getting started with scraping the paint away...this was maybe 1.5 hours or so of putzing around.

    Currently, my plans for the project look like this:

    *Read up on as much literature as I can and learn, learn, learn about the right way to fix these things up.
    *Remove bad paint on hull, prep, repaint in possibly a gloss black or navy blue finish to really set off the woodwork on top.
    *Possibly a new wood top (depending on the condition of it once I start cleaning it up).
    *Find a nice wood steering wheel.
    *Rip out the front wood seat and replace with swiveling captain chairs.
    *Upholster a new rear bench seat.
    *Possibly chop the windshield down a few inches.
    *Remove paint from all stainless trimware and polish that up.

    End goal is to have a comfy little 4 person cruiser to putt around with on calm days. I've never been involved in a project like this, so I have a lot to learn...but I'm excited to revive this beauty and hit the water come spring!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    The boat was hand built by the father of a lady I work with. I don't know his name, but know that is was based off of drawings from Popular Science Magazine. He used it up until about 25 years ago...then it went into 10 years of storage...then 8 years under the ownership of my boss who had to refinish it, then the past 2 years in the barn.

    Eventually this boat will end up in northern Minnesota at my parents cabin where it can be reunited with the '55 Chevy I'd really like to get a few years out of this and then hand it off to them...and then build another one for myself, something a little larger that could handle rougher water conditions and more people.

    Got a few hours in tonight...I can't get over how relaxing this is, and how nice it is to not have grease and grime all over my body, not to mention a sore back.

    The tools.

    Removing the bumper.

    I'm always amazed at the contours wood makes...so hot.

    Shit...we got some rot to deal with

    Note the form of the trim piece on the ground...

    ...and done for the night.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Had a friend come over with some home brew to slow me down a bit...Bourbon Barrel Porter with Oak wood chips, seemed fitting right? I can't begin to explain how amazing this beer is. Anyway, the boat is getting pretty close to being naked at this point Obviously this is the easy monkey work...but it yields some gratification through quick results of progress.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Pricking out all the putty from the many, many buried screws.

    After 50 years of service...she's coming up!

    The rot...

    This is half of the top, and will be used as a template for the new wood top that will eventually be made.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    I'm either a genius...or incredibly stupid for even trying this out, but I'm stubborn and didn't want to wait for 5 friends to show up...so I took it upon myself to do the deed of flipping the boat.

    First item to take care of was getting lumber for the stands I need to build. I really need a truck...

    Then came removing the engine. Never thought I'd use the picker to do something like this. Here's the stand to ease with moving it around as well.

    Now, onto flipping the boat...thanks to the picker, beams, and some clever use of ratchet straps, it was a fairly straightforward affair.

    ...and DONE.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Took advantage of a 4 day holiday weekend and ended up getting all the stripping, scraping, and sanding done on the hull.

    Once the hand tools reached the point of being worthless, I moved onto 40 grit DA duty.

    This is what I look like when working...

    And...after 12 hours, it's done.

    Next steps have already begun. I've tracked down a local source for the most perfect ribbon cut mahogany veneer My next update will cover this and the application of it over the hull...but will probably be a few weeks as it will undoubtedly be a tedious process.


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