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1949 Chris Craft Sportsman

I just love these little boats. They’re zippy (translation… fun), easy to trailer and store. This particular Sportsman comes from MS and is very similar to the 1950 17’ Sportsman we did a couple of years ago. She’s also in about the same shape. The bottom is shot so we’re replacing with a new 5200, rebuilding the rotted sheer, chine splash rails, dried out transom planks, chine planks and complete refinish. The owner does quite a bit of hot-rod restoration himself and already rebuilt the ‘K’ power. He’ll put her all back together when we’re finished. He also purchased a new custom trailer from us, painted to match the red interior.

The bottom came off fine and although the frames, keel, and chines were gunked up with dirt and other bilge stuff after many years of use she was in very good shape structurally. We cleaned those up, replaced some worn bolts and tightened all the others. After shaping the inner layer with 4m Okume plywood we then sealed with CPES and then attached with stainless stapes and a thin bead of 5200. As always, we dry fit all the outer mahogany planks with about a penny’s thickness between the planks to allow room for the 5200 to ooze out and provide that cushion. This is very important. After two coats of sealer on both the inner layer and the inside of the planks we attached with 5200 and #8 stainless fasteners. After fairing we applied two more coats of sealer, two coats of 2000e barrier coat paint and then two coats of bronze bottom paint. She really turned out nice. Now on to the other repairs.

Once we rolled the boat over we began replacing the starboard shelf and covering board, then also the transom planks. We had hoped to save the transom, but as the wood was marginal at best we advised the owner to replace while we had the boat apart. He agreed and so that’s what we did. The result was worth the time and effort as it turned out beautiful. Again, we decided to bleach the boat due to both new and old wood not matching up as well as we would have hoped…and the bleaching did the trick. Make sure if you bleach your own boat that you allow at least 48 hours to dry, otherwise you may get some serious blotching when you stain…then it’s back to the sanding. I learned this the hard way one time! After varnishing we striped the deck seams, sprayed the bilge, installed the interior ceiling boards, shaft log, rudder assembly, and finally the stainless rub rails. The owner will do the rest himself, and I can’t wait to see the finished boat.

Completing the Project …March, 2009

So, we’re done with this project and I must say both we and the owner are very pleased. He’ll be boating this season for sure. The nifty little Chris seemed to wave ‘bye’ as she left the shop on her new custom trailer, appreciating the makeover. Now she can be proud to show her face and we’re happy to have been part of it.

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