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Looks like my 58 32' Express Cruiser hull is fiberglassed?

Framing, planking and fairing. Repair, or reconstruction. If it's hull related, you'll find it here.

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debiby
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Looks like my 58 32' Express Cruiser hull is fiberglassed?

Post by debiby » Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:37 pm

I just bought a 58 32' Express cruiser that I want to restore. Everything on the hull and the decking are all solid and tight, the transom boards all need replaced but the hull looks like it has been covered with fiberglass and some is peeling off. Is this original or did someone do this later? I am new to this and want to try and bring her back to original condition and more important I want to be able to enjoy her for years to come. Any help or advise would be appreciated.

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:53 pm

The fiberglass would not be original. The fiberglass has been added by one of the previous owners in an attempt to make her "easier" to care for. History has proven that this approach does nto work very well.

At the top of each Boat Buzz page you'll see a link titled "Search" Click on this link and type in "fiberglass." You'll see every prior topic posted relative to fiberglass. Pick your way through those and you'll see several threads that discuss this issue.

Here's one in particluar:
http://www.chris-craft.org/discussion/v ... fiberglass
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Post by debiby » Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:05 pm

Thanks Bill I didn't think it was. I guess I will try to remove it and hope I don't have to replace the whole bottom.

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Post by Bill Basler » Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:12 pm

Typically this should come off. It is a lot of work, but Iit can be done. Time may be on your side. When you say, "some is peeling off" that could mean the delaminating has already begun. Take your time. Once you get that stuff removed, you'll be able to do a thorough inspection of your bottom. Unfortunately, introduction of fiberglass usually means someone was having some bottom problems some time ago. These could have been major, or they could have been minor. You won't know until you get that stuff off.
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Fibreglassed hull

Post by MikeM » Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:26 am

You know how people don't kick a dead dog?? Well, they usually don't fibreglass over a good hull either.

Keep us posted on what you find.
1929 Hacker Craft Dolphin, 24'
1940 Century Utility, 17'
1947 Chris Craft Special, 16'
1947 Chris Craft Sportsman, 22'
1949 Chris Craft Racing Runabout, 19'
1952 Penn Yan Cartopper, 12'
1954 Chris~Craft Racing Runabout, 19' (For Sale)
1971 Century Arabian, 19'
1973 Dan Arena Custom, 21'

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debiby
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Post by debiby » Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:29 pm

From what I can see of the inner hull everything looks realy good so I can't imagine there could be much wrong or I would think it would show on the inside but then again nothing surprises me. I will start stripping her this weekend and let you know what I find.

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Al Benton
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Post by Al Benton » Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:13 pm

Debiby, could you post a full size pic of your cruiser? I can't see well and the avatar is too small for my eyes. I think I have a marina neighbor with one just like it.

Once you get started removing the fiberglass check for soft spots in the planks as you go. Hopefully you won't find any but if you do be careful to preserve the old planks if you can. They can become patterns for replacement planks.

Don't be discouraged by all of this. First get the fiberglass off and see what you have to work with. Then, just deal with it one step at a time. You already have confidence to deal with the transom so just build on that.

Post a big pic,

Al

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debiby
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Post by debiby » Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:13 pm

Image
Here she is. I am guessing on the length I don't know for sure how to mesure her and if anyone could tell me that would be great. I haven't been able to locate the ID numbers yet.

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Al Benton
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Post by Al Benton » Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:09 pm

Well, that's a "BIG" pic alright. One about 1/3 that size would work well. It's not like my neighbor's cruiser. My son-in-law borrowed all my Chris Craft books so I couldn't look it up. It has bottom planks and plywood sides. I'm not familiar with what you have there, a lot of work for sure. But probably worth saving if you have enough time, energy and resources. If the wood's solid, go for it.

Al

P.S. Is that just polyester resin (without cloth) on the bottom?

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debiby
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Post by debiby » Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:24 pm

Sorry I didn't expect it to be that big. I found a picture of a 1948 34' express cruiser that looks like my boat but the guy who sold her to me says she is a 1958, she had a hemi in her which my understanding is they were offered in 1959 and only 3 ordered so I have no idea what I have here but I am still in lover with her!!

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Post by Wood Commander » Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:48 am

Debiby (Debby ?), I can't be sure without more and better pictures, but your boat looks like it could be an Express Cruiser from 1950 to 1954 and from 30' to 32'. It looks to be in the same family as my Commander. It's definately not a 1958 Chris Craft, as the styling was a bit different after 1956. A few of the features look a bit odd to me, like the bow. The Bull Nose area looks a bit off to me. Someone in the past may have modified the boat a little bit. More and better pictures would help but if it is truly the Chris Craft that I think it is, it will be a 32'er from 1953 or 1954.
For your hull number, look on the title, on the middle aft deck hatch (up at the forward end of the aft deck near the cabin door) for the brass tag from the factory, stamped in the wood on- the edges of the engine hatches, on the Port engine stringer near the transmission, on the very front narrow edging of the companionway folding hatch, on the back sides of most interior trim pieces, if there is a triangle bow cap- on the back edge, if no bow cap on the forward inside edge of one of the monkey rails (thick toe rails), on the stem viewed from up inside the anchor rope locker, and maybe on the bow foredeck samson post (mooring post)if it is wood.
Does your boat have a split aft deck? That makes it an Express Cruiser and pre- 1954 if my memory serves me correctly today. That is why it looks so much like the 1948 34' Express Cruiser. I'm thinking that the hull number you are looking for will be something along the lines of- X 32 _ _ _ , Express Cruiser, 32' and the underlines being the production run number.
Let us know what you come up with!
Bret

1953 35' Commander "Adonis III"

1970 23' lancer project

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:22 am

Bret, plywood sides? This is the part that confuses me. I admittedly am a little green here. But plywood sides on this boat, especially with what appears to be a plank bottom seems odd. I am all but positive this is either very early 50s or possibly '49. There's not even a hint of a bullnose or any of the other rounded styling that was coming in strongly by the mid fifties.

Call me crazy, but I think this is a Kit Boat. They made a 21' Express Cruiser, and I think there was a 31' or 32' as well.

Whatever it is, it definitely has Commander styling for sure.

I have a promotional film from 1949 when the Kit Boat division was first launched. I will dig that out now and see what I can find.
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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:34 am

I just watched a short portionof the Kit Boat Film. I'd bet money this is a 31' Express Cruiser Kit Boat. Year is unknown, but they were offered starting in 1950. This definitely jives with the earlier 50s styling.
Image

Image

Here are a couple of screen shots fromthe film.
Bill Basler

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Al Benton
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Post by Al Benton » Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:49 am

Debiby, your boat has similar lines to my neighbor's 1953 express but his has planked sides and the bull nose feature that Bret mentioned. Could it be a Commander??? Chris Craft offered well over 100 different boat models in the early 50's. If you can find the hull number the records can probably be tracked down at The Mariner's Museum.

Al

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Post by Al Benton » Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:55 am

I think you're on to the origin, Bill. Looks very close.

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Post by Wood Commander » Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:36 pm

I didn't see anything about plywood hullsides until I linked out to the BIG picture. The external chine covering piece is a dead giveaway for a plywood sheet boat like a kit boat or Cavalier. I agree with the consensus of the 31' Express Cruiser kit boat. That explains why no bull nose and the incorrect hull porthole and front cabin treatment. And it may not have been finished and launched until 1958 even if bought earlier in the 1950's. The bad news is that there probably is no hull number. But it is a neat find. I doubt that very many large kit boats are still in existance. Bill are there any records by size or model of kit boats sold in the 50's?
Bret

1953 35' Commander "Adonis III"

1970 23' lancer project

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Post by debiby » Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:02 pm

If this was a kit boat would there be numbers anywhere on the boat? Also that may explain the hemi, maybe they didn't buy the motor till later?? How would I find out more info on a kit boat?

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Post by debiby » Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:04 pm

By the way guys my name is Dan. I want to thank everyone for all the help you are giving me.

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Post by Bill Basler » Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:35 pm

Bret and Dan, I have never reallly given much thought to some of these questions. This post is making me expand my knowledge a little bit and that is a good thing. For example, I didn't know that the bigger Express Cruiser kits had a plank bottom. Dan, yours does have a plank bottom right? All of the smaller kits were 100% plywood on frame, incuding the bottom.

I am thinking that this may be somewhat hard to pin down on a year. When Chris-Craft introduced these kits in 1950, they probably didn't mess with the styling one bit until they were discontinued after 1958. In other words, while the production run Chris-Craft cruisers were being constantly evolved (hence the bullnose designs of the later fifties) the kit boats probably existed in one design from 1950 through 1958. My other theory is that a bullnose would have next to impossible to pull off in a do-it-yourself kit...not really in keeping with the slab sided plywood construction.

So in retrospect, your boat could actually be a '58 as I don't think that the lack of a bullnose bow means much.

I also agree with Bret in that the trim piece along the chine is pretty synonymous with plywood construction. That piece covers the end grain of the plys where the side meets the bottom.

I am guessing that there are very few of these in existence. And yet, I do not know the exact numbers that were produced. Jim Shotwell has done quite a bit of research relative to the Kit Boats. I will ask him whether he has production numbers. It can't be too many though, as this 32-footer was the biggest in the lineup.

Imagine taking delivery of a 32-foot kit to your house!! Especially when the typical suburban home during this time had a one car garage. Another thing that I have been fascinated with is thinking about someone taking delivery of two 850 pound Hercs and trannys. The engines were an option, as was a trailer. Also, this particular model was available as a single engine or twin. I'm just wondering how "dad" would have hoisted two 850 pound engines into a hull that stands 5 1/2' tall at the shear, and that's with the hull sitting on the ground. Sounds like quite a project.

For those of you who haven't ordered our Archive DVD with the Kit Boat film, you might give it some thought. I am needing to have another run of them made and if there is enough interest I will place an order. See a previous post relating to this DVD here:

http://www.chris-craft.org/discussion/v ... hlight=dvd

Dan, I suspect you have found something pretty rare. Smaller Kit Boats that need a bunch of work are out there in numbers, but I don't recall seeing this big one, anywhere.
Bill Basler

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Post by debiby » Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:30 pm

I think you are right and it is a kit. It had a single engine in her. The fellow I bought her from took the hemi out but says I can have the trani and other marine parts. I am leaning towards putting a diesel engine in but maybe the hemi (he will sell it to me) would make her worth more? The bottom is indeed planks. I will post some more pictures of her later. I can't find any kind of id anywhere and the previose owner is looking for the old registration papers.

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Post by Al Benton » Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:55 pm

Dan, CC made some great looking boats in the 50's. You are luckey to have one of the more rare examples of those. I think she has a true classic look that's appealing even now. And she doesn't have that un-atractive bull nose on her, just clean lines.

Sounds like she is indeed a kit boat although the plank bottom is still supprising. I wonder how they delivered that?

Al

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Post by debiby » Fri Aug 25, 2006 9:55 pm

That had to be something huh? I am now back to wondering if the fiberglass was put on when she was built and if so why? I guess I will find out more as I clean up what is left of the fiberglass and inspect the wood. I guess with it being a kit boat I can make some changes to the layout and such without worry because it isn't fasctory anyway. I am thinking of putting planks on the bow and the top of the cabin and staining them rather than the plywood that was there. I have so much to do I don't know where to start and can't wait to get started as well.

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Post by Al Benton » Sat Aug 26, 2006 4:38 pm

Dan,

Back in the late 50's fiberglass boats were becomming popular. A few wood boat owners (a neighbor and a cosin included) covered their wood hulls with it, not aware of the possible end results. It was the thing to do then, sort of a trend. So it's possible that yours could have been a part of "the thing to do" with a wood boat.

Al

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Post by Bill Basler » Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:18 pm

Dan, Al, Bret and any others who are interested:

Here is a short video clip of the above mentioned DVD Kit Boat Film. This is just a short cut of the fifteen minute film. The original film has sound.

Dan, your boat is the first one you see in action here:

http://chris-craft.org/kitboat.mov
Bill Basler

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debiby
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Post by debiby » Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:13 am

Thanks Bill that does look a lot like mine but in the video it looks like the aft deck is flat and mine it split, maybe that one was a smaller one or something but I think you are right. I started stripping paint and fiberglass today and boy is that gonna take awhile. The fiberglass is already almost all off but there is a glazing of resin still on the planks that is real tuff to get off. I am going to try using acitone to see if that will help cut it, does anyone have any ideas on how else to losen that stuff?

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Post by Al Benton » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:51 am

Bill. Thanks for the short clip showing the kit boats. I had to download QuickTime Player to view it. My Windows stuff didn't work. Also using Firefox now. Works great. Thanks.

Dan, I think the resin sticking so well is a good sign that the wood is solid under there. Acetone may cut it but a rotary or random orbital sander with 80 grit may be faster. Be careful if you use a rotary, they can dig into the wood quickly.

I wonder why the aft deck is split. The side view looks the same on both boats. Was it to accommodate the big Hemi in the engine compartment?

Al

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:59 am

Dan, is your aft deck split due to an engine box? Your boat is a single engine correct?
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Post by debiby » Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:55 pm

Probably for the engine would be my guess. Also I have tried a hot air stripper on the resin and it seems to be working but I am thinking 60 grit sandpaper would be easier. You can see the wood thru the resin and the parts I have stripped and it all looks great so I am very hopefull.

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