» Home

  » Thoughts from the helm

  » 5200 Bottoms

  » What is a 5200 Bottom?

  » Current Projects

  » Recent Projects

  » Custom Trailers

  » Engine Remanufacturing

  » Links

  » Contact Us

1955 21' Chris-Craft Capri

We seem to be doing a lot of Capris lately, and we love it. One of the best looking designs ever from Chris-Craft. Sleek and sexy. They really set the pace for runabouts of that era. Many tried to copy them, but few were successful.

We actually completed a refinish on this boat many years ago at the old shop, and she turned out quite nice back then. The owner was tired of the seams showing on the old wood and was opting for a 'glue n' screw' to keep the hull looking fresh year after year. The decks look nice, so we're just doing the hullsides, new quarter rails, windshield, and ceiling boards.

What a mess! Sometime during its life, 5200 had simply been applied on the inside of the boat along the battens. All it did was make it more difficult and messy removing the planks. In the end, most of the planks broke into, leaving us no patterns to work with.
It's always best to replace the battens, then the fasteners are going into fresh wood. The owner also wanted the boat skinned for extra strength, as she has her original and powerful Hemi. The boat wants to twist with all that torque, so why not strengthen up the hull while we're at it.
We achieve the best results by using 3m Okume. We CPES the inside, frames, and battens. Then we 5200 the skin to the structure with temporary fasteners/washers (dry wall screws work just fine). After about a week the temporary screws are removed and the skin is bonded. Using the flexible adhesive on the skin still allows the internal structure to flex somewhat without damage.
As we had no patterns, we used 1/8" plywood and cut a plank that we thought was close, then with a scribe we fastened the plank onto the boat and drew the correct line. Once we were happy with the ply, then we would transpose the shape onto mahogany and then use the router method to get the super-tight plank fit. More work, but the results are worth it. As you can see, it worked very well. Now it's on to long-boarding, bleach, stain, and varnish.
Jim, our painter, has been doing custom sign painting for more than ...well more than I know. He actually did some very interesting hieroglyphics for the Egyptian pyramids, and the transoms on their wood barges used on the Nile. So he knows what he's doing. Actual gold leaf outlined in black, or any other color you want. He does it all by free hand. Now, if he could just get rid of the hiccups and the other shaking.
Princess is a very special name. I don't think the owner, and friend, will mind me telling you this is named for his daughter, Elizabeth. She was one of the sweetest young women I've ever met. We would always talk wood boats at the shows, and kidded each other a lot. She was a true wood-boater, and was always fussing over her dad's boat doing whatever it needed, including getting dirty in the bilge. She was tragically killed by a drunk driver at Christmas time quite a few years ago. I will never forget her, as she was the same age as my own daughter. Princess, and his other boat named Peaches, are perfect names for Elizabeth. She will always be missed. We put in extra effort on this Capri to make her really special...just in memory of her. I think she was smiling the day we finished the beautiful boat. I'm sure there are woodies in heaven...and Elizabeth is surely at the wheel of one of them. Maybe even in the bilge, doing what she loves.