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For some strange reason, I selected the front passenger seat to disassemble first. I guess it was the biggest of the operable seats, so I tackled it first. As fate would have it, I think this is the only seat that is not original. There are signals throughout the structure under that vinyl and foam, that suggest it was rebuilt in a carpentry shop somewhere, sometime, for some reason. I see "exterior plywood" and that's not what I expect from Chris Craft, and it's obvious that the seat was rebuilt or repaired for some reason.First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768
This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.
Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.
The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.
The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.
I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.
Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"
I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.
Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.
The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.
I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".
Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !
I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.
After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!
Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414
Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)
July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.
Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !
Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.
Well the front seats have been disassembled and its evident one is original and the other apparently had some repair work done on it. The passenger seat was deteriorated inside, looking like either termites or rot. The termite thing seems sort of far fetched, but I guess its rot.For some strange reason, I selected the front passenger seat to disassemble first. I guess it was the biggest of the operable seats, so I tackled it first. As fate would have it, I think this is the only seat that is not original. There are signals throughout the structure under that vinyl and foam, that suggest it was rebuilt in a carpentry shop somewhere, sometime, for some reason. I see "exterior plywood" and that's not what I expect from Chris Craft, and it's obvious that the seat was rebuilt or repaired for some reason.
I took a look at the smaller drivers seat, and it still has the Thompson tag on the bottom, and it looks different, like all the rest. They look original. The exterior plywood didn't do the job, either. It's deterioriated to the point where I'll have to rebuild the passenger seat regardless. I'll have to round up some marine plywood to do it, of varying thicknesses. I already have some, maybe enough.
When the upholsterer saw my 11x17 photos the other day, he said it had been recovered. I told him I thought it was original. I guess the expert was right ! Ah well, I've been wrong so many times today allready, it makes little difference to me now.
(Below): This is the 1967 version and not my '66, but they're so similar, and this photo is a little better for this purpose.
The seat is an interesting hollow structure in order to give it the form you see in the brochure photos. It's a cool 1960's design, and we'll replicate it faithfully.
To my surprise, the old seats didn't appear to use marine plywood. I have decided to use the old ones as a pattern, and today I ran off all the pieces and have some of the assembly done now. I'm screwing and gluing eveything, and it will be a lot more durable than before.Well the front seats have been disassembled and its evident one is original and the other apparently had some repair work done on it. The passenger seat was deteriorated inside, looking like either termites or rot. The termite thing seems sort of far fetched, but I guess its rot.
Upon taking things apart, I now see some critical fastenings that are badly rusted, and one of the front seat hinges is so badly rusted it is structurally weakened. The rust may well have reached all the way through the piece. Therefore, rather than continue trying to save these old pieces, Im building new ones identical to these, using these as a pattern. Mine will use the proper marine plywood, and may actually be a tad heavier. It never ceases to amaze me how boat builders knew how to make things strong, but also light in weight, to enhance performance, cut down overall weight, and to conserve on materials too.
Here are a few photos of what those front seats looked like on the inside.
Ill have to find new hinges, and get some specialty fittings to conceal the assembly like Chris Craft did. Their design is reasonably durable, with the seat back sort of locking into the bottom to hold it steady, and not totally relying on the hinge alone.
Part of the fun here is to have seats, instruments, etc., all looking authentic. J
Heres what the helm seat looked like on the outside (no pun intended). J.
Since it was snowing today, I decided it would be best to sit in front of the fireplace and just disassemble the helm seat to see what I had to work with.
Here is the start of the disassembly, hmmmm, you never know how something is put together, until you first take it apart !
Paul, I believe that you were looking for chrome vents or rechroming. I just brought mine in (4) for rechrome @ 40.00 each. Place in Lansing, MI.This is the front air scoop on the 1966 20' fiberglass Sea Skiff. As you can see, it's cast into the boat and it's not the traditional clamshell air scoop. Clamshells are on the back of the boat in a traditional manner, but these things are just a bit strange. I think this design was changed later on when the same basic hull was sold as the Corsair Sea-V, as I've seen photos that show a front clamshell in this location, with a slightly modified top deck.
In any case, they're off to the rechroming shop.
Looking at the image received from the Mariners Museum, shows the clamshells instead of this cast in vent. I like the clamshells, myself, but since the boat has the cast in fiberglass vent device, naturally thats the way it will be.
Heres what the seat supports look like after three were hit with the wire wheel and one was still rusty awaiting attention. These were off some old Commander seats, identical to the Skiff, but the ones on the Skiff were just about rusted all the way through. Fortunately those old Commander seats still had some value!To my surprise, the old seats didn't appear to use marine plywood. I have decided to use the old ones as a pattern, and today I ran off all the pieces and have some of the assembly done now. I'm screwing and gluing eveything, and it will be a lot more durable than before.
Not a real difficult carpentry project !
Looking at the old Commander seats I still have (I replaced mine with new helm seats of similar appearance) I see the exact same hardware I need for the Skiff rebuild. I guess there is some merit to keeping this junk around for a few years!
One thing about owning cars of similar years, and boats of similar years, they generally use a lot of the same parts and techniques.