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1948 18' Chris Craft Sportsman

This is the second boat we’ve done for this gentleman, the first being a U-22.  Although this particular boat is not in as bad of shape as the first, she is still crying for help.  She also comes with two engines to choose from…both pretty much in pieces and in boxes.  One is a K and the other a KL.  She’s to get what we call the ‘Full Monte’, or everything including new bottom, replace any and all bad hullside and deck planks, rebuild engine, new interior and flooring, re-wire, etc.  In other words, make her beautiful and water ready.  Well, we do indeed have our work cut out for us.

We magnafluxed both blocks and after checking out we decided on the KL, as it’s a little more horsepower and will be appreciated.  While the engine is being done, we do what we always do first…the bottom.  We rolled her over and removed the very tired inner and outer planks…and you can see how bad the fabric was in between the layers.  We cleaned up the framework, replaced any worn bolts and tightened up the rest.  No real surprises other than a few minor frame repairs.  The stem/grip were also questionable, but we were able to save both of those with a little work and move ahead.

Once the bottom was completed we proceeded to replacing multiple cracked hullside and transom planks.  It’s always a little tricky when attempting to get just the right fit between two other planks, so we always overcut the plank by 1/8” or so, then hand plane small sections at a time to get it as tight as possible.  It’s old school…but works like a charm every time if you’re patient.

We had hoped to save the decks and covering boards, but they were in too bad of shape so we replaced all of those…with very fine results.  Sometimes the cost of replacing is little more than taking all the time to repair…and the result is always much better.

Replacing fasteners, bungs, fairing, and finally bleaching and now this cute little Sportsman is ready for stain.  We like to make up our stain to a ‘tomato soup’ consistency.  Too thick and it does not saturate the wood well enough, too thin and the color is not right.  Always try the stain out on a sample piece of mahogany prepared just as the boat.  Wipe in on, wait a minute and then wipe off in the same direction as the grain.  We don’t rub…it can leave a blotchy appearance.  Once stained let the boat sit for at least two days before applying the first coat of sealer.  More wood grain will show as coats of varnish are applied.


****Finishing the Project ****

It took us much longer to get this project done than normal.  There were a lot of part issues that put us way behind, but the owner was very patient and the result is quite nice. 


A water test in the spring and she’s ready to go!