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Basler Utility 5799 Moving Forward

This is a general discussion area for those who are interested in Chris-Craft's connection with Gar Wood, the man, and the Company.

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Bill Basler
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Basler Utility 5799 Moving Forward

Post by Bill Basler » Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:38 pm

Thanks to the hard work of Mike Teusink and Kirk Wingard of the Wooden Runabout Company in Holland, Michigan, my old ugly 1936 Gar Wood Utility is getting a fresh perky bottom.

My initial inspection of this boat is that it led a rough life below the water line. Not so much rot, but years of use as a typical Mississippi River fishing boat. It is fairly obvious that backwater exploration was the norm with this boat as was evidenced by the cracked and rebrazed bronze prop strut, a laterally cracked keel, with subsequent patches with 4 x 4 landscaping timbers (hey, at least they were green-treated), and a forward bottom repair made from a durable sheetmetal patch screws and some roofing tar.

I can also tell you that this boat saw a lot of beer in its day, with a bilge full of Falstaff and Drewry's bottle caps, and about 200 electronic vacuum tubes.

Aside from this, to quote Mike and Kirk, "this is one of the straightest old boats we have seen." The side planks will all be saved. It is likely that the boat will get a new deck....not so much from abuse, but rather Perko deck vents, added some time ago, with 3-inch holes bored in the deck planks.

Here's a few shots out of hundreds that they have sent me. Enjoy.

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Last edited by Bill Basler on Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bill Basler

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Chad Durren
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Post by Chad Durren » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:34 pm

Bill, that's got to be exciting for you to see it in the works! Thanks for the update.

Perhaps someday you can drop a couple of your own bottle caps in the bilge. I'll spring for some Bell's micro-brew.

...unless you're OK with more Falstaff. I may have some trouble finding it.
1952 CC 18' Sportsman
1969 CC 19' Commander Super Sport

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:37 pm

I'm like a kid on Christmas every time I download the photos. You know the feeling.
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Post by Chad Durren » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:04 pm

I know it well. She is in good hands and Xmas will come soon.
1952 CC 18' Sportsman
1969 CC 19' Commander Super Sport

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Don Vogt
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Post by Don Vogt » Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:08 am

this has to be exciting, bill, keep us posted as progess continues.

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mattbyrne
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Post by mattbyrne » Wed Sep 09, 2009 2:00 pm

That looks a lot like the bottom in my garage. I start on my bottom last fall but I bet the Wooden Runabout guys finish finish before I do :D

Looking good Bill. When will it hit the water?

Matt

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:44 pm

Here is a bit more progress. The Wooden Runabout guys, Mike and Kirk had to pull off of the project for a few days, but they are getting very close to starting the inner planking. This series shows Mike setting up the routing jigs for the keel, gripe and chines. This Gar Wood used inner planking that was only 1/8-inch thick. Brian Robinson mentioned that he has seen this on a few other models as well. Apparently the basic utility concept applied to all things...including the inner bottom planking.

this boat is pretty much the opposite of my barrelback project in every way. My barrel will be a 100% wood replacement project. This Gar Wood was amazingly nice from the chine up with original wood sides that have never been stripped down to the wood. The sides are very tight.

The bottom had some structural damage and a bit of rot. After a lot of thought we decided to repair the stem rather than replacing, and repair the chines rather than replacing. On the prior post you can see that the aft section of each chine has been repaired by scarfing new to old. On the stem, the forefoot was pretty soft, so it was cut back to good solid white oak. Essentially the vertical leg of the stem was absolutely sound, so a new lower was mated to the upper, with a new gripe and stem knee.

Every boat calls for a different plan of attack based on how it has been cared for.

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Don Vogt
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Post by Don Vogt » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:59 pm

Bill, are you going to do a completely original bottom?

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:16 pm

Don, I feel bad for Kirk and Mike at Wooden Runabout Company.

Well...I don't really. I'm not all that bad. But I did approach them with very specific goals on this project. My barrelback project is a gray boat in every way. It will need most, if not all, of its wood replaced.

The Gar was a different story. It was extremely straight and tight, the result of nearly ideal storage for 35 years. When it was being used back in the 30s-60s, I suspect it was used just as it was intended, as a Sportsman's boat. I think it saw a lot of action fishing, hunting, exploring Mississippi River back waters, and...hitting stuff.

The keel was cracked laterally, the bottom had holes in it patched with metals patches, the engine was hanging from two mounts...both on one side.

Other than the obvious problems though, the boat was amazingly original and sound...underneath all of the gunk, raccoon poop, etc.

After I got it cleaned out, most of the rot seemed to be in pretty isolated areas...and the usual ones at that...up front in the forefoot, and to the stern, where transom meets bottom.

As for the rebuild method, new outer planking was a given, as was inner. New bottom frames were needed on about half of the bottom frames. A couple bottom frames were repaired. This was desired, rather than wholesale wood replacement.

The chines were removed. I was prepared to replace them, but I was encouraged by those who do this for a living (Kirk and Mike) that the originals were just fine. The rot was isolated to the transom ends. With some clean up, and a new section with ample scarf, the chines were brought back to life.

A new keel was needed as the existing keel had the crack and some rot issues.

Once everything was cleaned, degreased, CPESed, and so on, new inner bottom was cut. My wish was to have the inner bottom look exactly as the original, that is with full thickness philippine planks laid a t 45-degree angle to the keel. The inner planking was CPESed, and bedded in 5200 just as one would on a plywood inner bottom.

The Purist in me wants an original bottom. The bill paying, side of me wants a bottom that will hold up for a heckofa long time. So, instead of cotton canvas, I have 5200 and CPES, neither of which will be visible on the finished product. I personally like this method. It is more work than plywood, as the planks all have to be dry fit, CPESed, bedded, edge glued with 5200 and so on. On top of that, there is a lot more time spent underneath the hull cleaning up the 5200 spooge on the inside. I have seen lots of 5200 bottoms where this excess 5200 is left in place. I hate that. The time to clean this stuff up is when is before it sets. It takes more time, but the job looks like original construction when done.

The inner planking was clamped, and screwed with temporary screws and fender washers, and left to cure for a week. Once the bottom had time to properly mellow, the temporary screws were removed, the outer surface lightly faired, and then CPESed again, to ready it for outer planking.

Oh, and one more condition, I laid on the Wooden Runabout guys...lots of pictures. In fact, I set up an ftp area on our web server where they dump about 100 photos a week. I know their every move! To the newer members here on this forum, this type of documentation is really the only way to fly, and it has been made relatively simple by digital cameras, email, and web servers.

Every time I am asked for a progress payment, I know exactly where the project stands.

Here are a few shots from earlier in the week:
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Bill Basler

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Don Vogt
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Post by Don Vogt » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:00 pm

thanks, bill, for the update. Looks like a pretty thorough effort. I know their are lots of differing thoughts on what type of bottom to use, but it sounds ike this one will work well for you.

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Post by mattbyrne » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:55 am

Bill,

Keep the pictures coming, I'm right behind you on the bottom replacement. I have all the inner bottom fit and temperary stapled on the boat. This weekends project it to take it all off, seal with CPES and then glue back down with 5200.

Matt

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Post by cenger » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:57 pm

1935 Split Cockpit coming along. I have new Keel, New Chines and New Frames installed. I am in the process of cutting out the chine rabbets in preparation for a 5200 bottom. I have thousands of pictures documenting the process. Can someone recommend an easy to use software package to post my progress on line?
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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:04 pm

There are many ways to go on this. One method is to use online photo albums. There are a bunch of these out there, and most are free.

For example, here are a series of albums by member Asa Godbold's restoration project. Picasa is one such online method.

http://picasaweb.google.com/asgtoolman/
Bill Basler

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