Knock on Wood is a mid-1960s 20’ Lyman runabout who has reached the priming and painting lap of her preservation process.
We use Pettit Tie Coat Primer 6627 below the waterline and Total Boat Topside Primer above it. The TB primer is available in gray and white, which we alternate from one coat to the next as doing so helps us discern how much paint is actually being applied.
Applying super thin, what I term ghost-like coats of both primers is our, and should be your goal. Refer to the excellent product and “how-to” content Jamestown Distributors offers on its Web site,
While a yellow foam rollers is excellent at applying paint and varnish super evenly, it will only give you headaches on lapstrake hulls. The hard end of the roller can catch on and scratch the paint off the lower edge of the strake above the one you are painting.
Our roller of choice is the Pro-Line Mighty-Mini 4-inch foam roller, with foam extending completely around the outer end. (
We will finish below the waterline with 3 – 4 coats of Pettit 1933 Antifouling Copper Bronze bottom paint, and Interrlux Premium Yacht Enamel, 220, semi-gloss white for the topsides.
Interlux 220 is a wonderful topside paint that dries to a lustrous sheen, rather than a high gloss. As such it is our go-to topside paint for Lyman runabouts and Chris-Craft Sea Skiffs.
Keeping a wet edge is the key to success in any painting project, a goal that is quite challenging with applying TotalBoat primer since it dries so quickly. The next clip shows you how we apply this paint successfully at Snake Mountain Boatworks.

Rolling and tipping the final coat of Pettit Hi-Build gloss varnish on this 1946 Gar Wood Ensign is now behind us. We will allow the curing process to run for several days before John launches another session of taping off and filling seams with Sikaflex 295 UV.
Yes, I am repeating myself, but this step is critical to achieving as dust-free a result as is possible. All of the lights in the paint room will remain on until the surface is dry to the touch. Why? Fluorescent lights create static electricity when on that attracts and holds dust particles in place. Turn off the lights and gravity works. Dust particles are released from the fixtures, settle on a boat’s horizontal surfaces, imbed themselves into the varnish if it is still wet or even slightly tacky, and ruin the surface.
We will apply one more coat of semi-gloss white (220) Interlux Premium Yacht Enamel to the topsides and touch up the copper bronze bottom paint, at which time she will be ready for reassembly.

In response to several requests to see how John does it, here is a follow-up clip on Sikaflexing the seams of our 1952 Chris-Craft Riviera Runabout showing how John removes “all that blue tape and Sikaflex residue without getting it all over the varnish and him.”
It truly is tedious, painstaking work, as he must tease a corner of the tape free and then pull it up and off and towards the seam he is freeing. Pulling it laterally away from the seam risks raising little tails of Sikaflex that can flop over onto the varnish.
We begin removing the tape the moment the last seam is filled lest the Sikaflex begins setting. (We always do the same thing when painting or varnishing. Letting either cure prior to releasing the masking tape risks producing a ragged line, or worse.)
As, save for the pint room which we keep between 65 and 70, the shop stays at about only 60 F in the winter, which slows cure times, so the Riviera will sit until next Monday when RJ will apply white paint to the seams using his pin striping wheel applicator.

As one of my guys loves to say, “She’s coming into it now.” The 1952 Riviera runabout’s seams will be Sikaflexed by this evening, painted by Thursday and begin wearing her hardware next week.
We use white Sikaflex 295 UV, followed by high-gloss Total Boat Wet Edge topside paint.
As RJ is Mr. Varnish, John is the guru of filling seams. Not surprisingly, as is the case with most everything else in delivering finishes to die for, it is all about preparation. It took John most of an afternoon to tape the aft deck and covering boards, and all morning today to tape off the foredeck.
Why so long? Every edge must follow the seam’s shoulder precisely. Using a utility knife blade and incredible patience, John slices slivers of tape away so that all arcs are perfect and all straight lines are exactly straight.
He will be doing the ’46 Gar Wood Ensign once we apply the final coat of Pettit Hi-Build gloss varnish.

Her original, totally rebuilt Lycoming flathead four is back in the 1930 Dodge runabout’s engine bay. But it did not go easily.
The engine hatch is so small relative to the engine, that even spinning it 90 degrees failed to give us enough room until we removed the generator.
But now it is in sitting on the stringers, secured to its mounting bolts, at least provisionally.
The prop and engine couplings do not quite line up, and almost is just not good enough unless you want your power train to vibrate the hull to pieces. Hulls can change shape when they sit for decade after decade, which, in this case translates into a shaft log and strut that are no longer aligned perfectly. The prop will turn, but not without a bit of resistance at some points around the circle.
We will be fabricating and installing shims until the two couplers mate perfectly and the prop turns smoothly when the engine is in neutral.

Very few of Century Boat Company’s “Cowhide” Palominos with their distinctive Avodire decks and glossy black topsides and covering boards were built in 1956. Fewer still have survived. Hull No. P5652 is one that did, along with her original Tee Nee trailer and 30 HP Johnson Sea Horse outboard.
As we have observed during her preservation, she is the single most original Century we have seen to date at Snake Mountain Boatworks. Our work was purely a cosmetic preservation as nary a single piece of wood has been replaced. We saved, polished and re-used every hardware fastener. All of the hardware is original, having been prepped and plated by New England Chrome Plating, East Hartford, CT.
Fran Secor, noted Johnson rebuilder and restorer, has been able to save her original engine. As of today he’s completed all of the mechanical work and much of the final painting and assembly. Would a larger engine propel her more quickly? Yes, but it would not be original.
Save for her seat cushions, all of the upholstery is original, and those cushions were fabricated by A&A Marine using material from a NOS bolt of period cowhide fabric, sourced from the firm that supplied Century during the mid-1950s.
While we have, and her new owner(s) will receive her original burgee and stern flags, neither of them could survive even one roar across the water. We found an identical stern flag from the same period, and had Dave at A&A Marine fabricate two burgees, the black-on-white one that you see in this clip, and the more traditional white-on-red background burgee resting on the helm cushions.
Her Tee Nee trailer is about half-way through a complete restoration that began with it being completely disassembled, sandblasted and primed with metal etching primer, and is now being in brilliant Ford chrome yellow two-part epoxy.
We are racing to have her ready for her new owners before the ice leaves Lake Champlain. Meeting that goal is made easier by the fact that we still have over 2 feet of ice on the Lake.

The Minnow’s original 1930 Lycoming flathead four engine is back in the shop following a comprehensive rebuild by Robert Henkel and his team at Chris-Craft Parts in Michigan (
As parts are beyond difficult to find for this engine, Robert faced and overcame the challenge by having specialists in his network fabricate such parts as valves, pistons and more.
By week’s end we will have dropped the engine into the Minnow’s bilge, have reconnected her prop shaft and prop, installed her rudder and begun the final detail painting of her engine compartment, seat frames and bilge.
Soon, and we hope by the end of March, she will be ready to sojourn west to her owners in Oregon, where he will enjoy completing the cosmetic work, having seating upholstered and cockpit padding installed. (Happily on this score, I found some original upholstery beneath the most hideous
vinyl you have ever seen today. Matching her original upholstery is made ever so much easier by this discovery.
She will leave us sporting a true 5200 bottom that is planked identically to what the Dodge factory installed in 1930. Trailer sailing her will now be possible where it was not before her preservation was entrusted to Snake Mountain Boatworks LLC.

Now that three coats of Interlux Interprime Wood Sealer has been rolled and tipped onto her decks and coming and covering boards, varnishing this 1946 Garwood Ensign will begin next week.
We followed our long-held practice, quickly scuff hand sanding after each coat of sealer using 220 grit paper. Doing so knocks down any dust particles trapped in the surface.
We will sand the final coat on Monday and wash the surface down with acetone, before RJ and John begin rolling and tipping Pettit High-Build varnish onto these surfaces and include you in the process via follow-on clips.

Her hull number is TFK 873, and her owners bought her as a 1957 Penn Yan Captivator, but she is virtually an exact duplicate of the 1954 Captivator from which her owner graciously allowed me to release the seating and floorboards so we could pattern new and correct seating and floorboards for our project boat.
I am not sure how we could have made any headway using photos alone. Armed with the under-seat framing and all seat and floorboard components, we have solved a challenging, three-dimensional positioning and fabrication challenge.
No, the two hulls were not exactly identical. TFK 873 is just a bit wider at the chines, possibly from use over the last 60 years. But having the components allowed us to first fabricate cardboard patterns, from which we could transfer lengths, angles and bevels.
As of this afternoon, John has masterfully finished and temporarily installed all of the components, save for the aft outer seat brackets.
Only the outer seat bench braces remain. These were originally steam twisted into quasi-corkscrew shapes that fit into the hulls ever-changing radius curves. Duplicating these complex shapes, each of which was just slightly different from the other three, would have sent us on a maddening, probably fruitless fool’s errand. Rather, John applied his ingenuity to the problem and came up with sanding the backsides of each brace into shape using our 4-foot, stationary belt sander. Of course, his challenge involved shaping the outer face while maintaining the top face, where the bench fastens at the correct angle.
You see the front braces already installed in the video, and John is attacking the aft braces as I type.
Once we are satisfied that everything is perfect, all of the new components will be released for finishing, and so we can apply bilge paint up to the chines and topside paint to the inner surfaces of the topside planks, the ribs, and the back face of the aft seatback.
While RJ and I are painting, John will focus on installing her new transom and refastening her bottom planking starboard of the keel.

RJ has reached the finish line on “his” Chris-Craft Riviera Runabout. The weeks of hard work delivering varnish to die for is behind him.
He has pivoted to cleaning decades of gunk from the bilge, and he and I will shortly be applying two coats of Sandusky Chris Craft Red Bilge paint to all surfaces, including the undersides of the decks and covering boards.
I will also be scrubbing all of the original upholstery, so it can be installed as the reconstruction process moves forward.
All of the hardware is back from chrome and ready to be installed with all fasteners bedded in Dolfinite.
It is 42 degrees today and the snow back is retreating, but getting into the water before May is unlikely.
I am like a child on Christmas Eve, hoping “Santa” is bringing me a new red bike … waiting is hell.