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1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Leather, Tolex or Russaloid. Linoleum or black rubber matting. If it's in the cockpit or in the cabin, post your questions and answers here.

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motoryachtsoco
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1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by motoryachtsoco » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:31 am

My project boat, a 1956 19' Capri was delivered with "Carpenter" Special Flame seats. Or in this case Special Flame "Straw" upholstery with white piping. The crash pad and dash has the black faux alligator tolex.

I've noted the topic of "Carpenter" being discussed from time to time but haven't found the answer as to what is "Carpenter", so I asked an "old timer" who came up with this answer.

Special Flame is the fabric, and "Carpenter" is the Upholstery Type.

During the 1900's Craftsman style was big in America and remained so through the 1930's, but it went by many names, including Mission, Arts and Crafts, Four Square and even "Carpenter".

His guess is that Carpenter style relates to the sewn "squares" in the fabric on the seat back. The 3 cushions, progress to the two rows of ten squares, with the top of the cushion being one long "header".

To replicate the 1956 seat backs one would have to incorporate the 3 cushions, the 20 squares and the header. The style is so simple even a carpenter can do it.

Can anyone offer a better answer?
Chris McIntire

Greg Wallace
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by Greg Wallace » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:21 pm

In your particular situation this explanation may be accurate but in a larger context it is my understanding that the term "Carpenters Special" and in an abreviated form "Special" designated a departure from regular production when a customer request was being accomodated. This might include an extra glove box, special seat configuration, the installation of a non standard power train and even extend to a deck reconfiguration. If the modification or engine choice conflicted enough with the normal model designation then "Special" would even replace the model number on the hull card.

It would be reasonable to expect that perhaps a special team or individual "carpenter" may have to perform or at least oversee these unique operations and may even require the boat to be taken out of the regular production line to complete.

General motors accomplished this as a COPO or "Central Office Production Order" thus we have the COPO Camaros and others.

Even Jerry Conrad found this confusing in assuming any hull card with "Special" replacing the model number automatically designated the hull in question as a "Special race boat". I ran into this while researching the 27ft Racing runabouts. Many of the hull cards carrying the "Special" designation were actually not race boats at all but boats with significant modifications to a customer request.
Greg Wallace 23 Custom 22166 former Chris-Craft dealer Russells Point, Oh.

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Pete DeVito
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by Pete DeVito » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:13 pm

This sample was posted a while back and the names were hand written on the sample. What was the upholstery called out on your hull card? I have seen Special used in all different ways. I have a sportsman and it was called Custom because they put ceiling planks in this particular one along with Stern bands and linoleum on the floor. All this was called out on my hull card as a comment. Does your hull card have comments referring to the "special"
CC_uphol_samples_1.jpg
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Past Project 1948 17' Deluxe
Past Project 1957 19' Capri
Future Project 1955 17' Special Sportsman

motoryachtsoco
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by motoryachtsoco » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:59 am

Knotty-The hull card says Color: "Special-Flame" but it matches to the Flame Straw on the photo of the card you posted.

I'd like to replace with the same Flame Straw if anyone knows of a source. The seat backs are pretty good even after 57 years, but the float cushions are toast, dry rot has taken its toll.

Also the hull card Notes Upholstery - Type: "Carpenter"

In the Carolina's we are at a little bit of a disadvantage in that most of our recreational lakes were pretty new in the 50's some were not completed until the 1960's. So Chris Craft didn't ship many of the 19' Capri's to this region and (unless I'm mistaken) none of 21' Capri's.

My Capri was shipped to Williams Boat Company in Tryon, NC early in 1956. Tryon is near the NC/SC border just north of Greenville. In fact as recently as 2010 Mr. Frank Williams was still alive and walking the docks at a Woody Boat show on Lake Norman.

He'd be 107 today butit wouldn't surprise me if he was out on a nearby lake today with temps in the 70's.
Chris McIntire

jim g
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by jim g » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:29 am

Frank passed away a couple of years ago. He has been missed at the boat shows around here. He was a chris craft dealer from the 30's through the 60's.

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Brian Robinson
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by Brian Robinson » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:57 pm

Carpenter Special Flame a.k.a. Flame Straw was used on a lot of 1956 Chris-Craft's. About 99% of that model year's 19' and 21' Capri's, and Continental's were done in that material. "Carpenter" may have been referring to the pattern, which used stitched square seat backs with white Tolex welting and black Tolex (alligator) for the crash pad, spring bases, seat backs, and side pockets. It is a pretty complex three-tone interior. It is the same pattern as the '55s, but with red replacing gold and a few things switched around.

The major problem is that material is not available today, at least not that I am aware. I know Jack Bingham's 1956 26' Continental has an original material interior that has been repaired/replaced over the years with original C-C material that had been located, but is now used up. It is a salmon color red (orangish/pinkish), not at all like Flame Tolex.

You could see if Paul Cundiff at Woodies Restorations would be interested in reproducing the material, if you could come up with some decent sized original samples. I have pulled it out of several '56 Capris, but don't have any samples larger than a square inch or so.
-Brian
1923 Hackercraft 23' Dolphin #03
1938 Gar Wood 22' Streamliner #6256 Empress
1952 Chris~Craft 19' Racing Runabout #363 Thunderstruck
Robinson Restoration, LLC (760) 468-1009

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Doug P
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by Doug P » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:59 pm

What is the difference between Red Tolex and Tango Red?...color or material.
I have a 58/59 Roamer 25' Sportsman and attempting to duplicate upholstery. It has silver metallic piping.
Any Ideas?

motoryachtsoco
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by motoryachtsoco » Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:10 am

The Special Flame seems to be the same as Flame "straw"

Here is a photo of the rear seat back today, showing the straw pattern.
IMG-20131219-02645.jpg
Finding this may be imposable. But the tolex faux alligator used on the crash pad and dash is pretty common, in fact many guitar amps ie Peavy still use the stuff.
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Chris McIntire

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Brian Robinson
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by Brian Robinson » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:37 pm

Looks like you have a pretty complete seat back in great shape. You should send a swatch to Paul Cundiff, he might be able to help.
-Brian
1923 Hackercraft 23' Dolphin #03
1938 Gar Wood 22' Streamliner #6256 Empress
1952 Chris~Craft 19' Racing Runabout #363 Thunderstruck
Robinson Restoration, LLC (760) 468-1009

boatmanscm
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Re: 1956 Capri "Carpenter Special Flame"

Post by boatmanscm » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:54 am

The search can be long , but it may surprise you it may still be out there. Maybe not the exact color , but that can be changed easy. the problem I have found is looking for samples . one way is to cross reference the material to a year auto if possible , the hard to find petiflute was used in 64 nova I think of course it is not called what boaters refer to . If you have some time check out an older upholstery shop one that has the year books on cars . they contain every color and texture used in the year of the book. so the older the books the better results.
Also time consuming web search for vinyl manufactures and wholesale . IF YOU COME ACROSS THE GOOD STUFF, just make a note of numbers and maker then any shop could aquire it for you. they just don't give out all the vinyl samples to each shop.
Best bet is take your upholster out to lunch, then stop by Keyston brothers and they have many sample books that most do not. I got some 12 years back from the captain of the Thunderbird his name is John B. salmon color .
Good luck stan
OH AND SMS IS A GREAT SOURCE THEY WILL EVEN MAKE CUSTOM VINYLS. SEND THEM A CUT BEST BET , BUT HAVE DEEP POCKETS.
Stanley Marshall CUSTOM UPHOLSTER ,
Over 100 boats , @[email protected]

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