Today dawned bright, brisk and windy. The roads are dry for Blind Date as she begins her trek home to Texas under the care, control and custody of Frank Mole’, Franke Mole’ Transport Service.
We have been working with Frank for three years now, as he prices fairly, is absolutely professional and cares for each boat as if it is his own. He is worthy of your consideration the next time you need a vessel transported. Her transport cover was designed and fabricated by Chris Hanson, Marine Canvas, Shelburne, VT.
Chris chose a varnish-friendly fabric comprised of a Sunbrella outer layer and an inner, soft layer that will not mar varnished services as she makes her way to Texas.
Shauna Whiting, Kocian Instruments, Stacy, MN performed what were little short of miracles with Blind Date’s rusty gauge panel.
Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel, Inc., Marine City, MI, executed a complete tear-down and rebuild of her Chrysler M47 engine.
Mickey Dupuis, D&S Custom Metal Restoration, Holyoke, MA, took on the challenge of preserving all her hardware, bow light, etc.
We did the rest during her almost three years with us, in what has turned out to be both a highly challenging and super rewarding preservation project.
Having emptied her innards and flipped her, we are hard at removing decades of paint, some sort of Bondo-like material, West epoxy and more from our 1959 16.5’ Lyman runabout hull’s exterior. The image is anything but pretty, as you should have noticed by the thumbnail at the front end of this clip.
Much of what is on the hull is over 3/16” thick with some sort of West Epoxy layers between layers of paint. As of shooting this clip, we have consumed six gallons of industrial paint stripper. She is severely hogged. Her failed keel, keelson and multiple ribs must be replaced. Multiple strakes’ aft tails are rotted through and through. Her keel is gone and must be replaced. The spray rails are gone, having been poorly repaired and partially replaced at some time. Her strakes are fastened with an array of screws and clench nails.
We will aim at de-hogging her, if that is a word, and repairing/replacing much more. In my world, this little runabout is among Lyman’s most iconic family models. We must save her, but the hill we must climb doing so will be steep and long.
Now that is a Milestone! Susan, who is a 1940 16-foot Lyman Yacht Tender with an rear cockpit that faces aft.
Other than having been stripped of all her finishes and preserved to our Snake Mountain Boatworks standard, and some repairs to her windshield and garboards, her hull is completely original.
Extensive research throughout Lyman World convinced us that her topsides had been finished brite at Sandusky, and have stayed that way since.
While she was flipped over, I spent way too many weeks beneath her removing decades of dirt, scuzz and old finishes, but I did so while preserving the fact that she’s been in service for some 80 years. Once cleaned, I stained all surfaces with Sandusky natural stain and applied four coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine – not Gloss.
After setting all of her clench nails through mahogany strakes below the waterline and cypress strakes above, we sanded her fair.
(The fact that, even though she’s not floated for over 20 years, and we expected some infiltration during her sea trial, neither bilge pump activated even once. Was there any water in the bilge other than that leaking in while we adjusted the prop shaft and rudder stuffing box? Yes, but so little that nothing came out when we opened the bilge drain.
Her topsides were stained with Sandusky natural stain. Her mahogany elements were stained using Sandusky Lyman stain.
All surfaces were sealed with four heavy coats of CPES, and then varnishing began and continued until we had applied 40 coats to her topsides and 30 coats to everything else using Pettit High Build varnish, which is now Pettit Flagship High Build.
Mickey Dupuis and his team transformed tired, pitted, and just awful into the jewelry you see here.
Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel, Inc., Marine City, MI, completely disassembled and then rebuilt her original Nordberg four-cylinder 60 HP engine and everything bolted to it.
Shauna Whiting, Kocian Instruments, executed an historically-correct preservation of her original gauge panel.
Loadmaster Trailer Co, Ltd, outdid themselves once again designing and fabricating a trailer that not only supports Susan completely, but almost hugs Susan during retrieval. Never before have we experienced such a smooth, effortless loading!
Now she can come home to Susie and Dana, longtime Lyman aficionados, But perhaps the best part is that, since her new stewards live on northern Lake Champlain, we have good reason to hope we will see much of them and of Susan.
She was Christened SUSAN in 1940 as she left Sandusky, Ohio, and now, for the first time in 20-plus years, we put fire to her totally-rebuilt, original, 60-HP, four-cylinder Nordberg engine.
OMG! Who ever thought a 4-banger would have such a voice! She fired almost immediately after we hit her starter. Initially, the idle was set a bit low, but, once Anthony turned the screw a bit, she idled along, producing 50 pounds of oil pressure while idling as smoothly as can be. We were a bit taken aback as she pumped the exhaust pipe full of water.
Once again, Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel, Inc. in Marine City, MI transformed a tired-and-worse marine engine into a power plant the both runs incredibly well, but also sits like a piece of jewelry in her engine bay.
Her original Cyprus strakes, every one of which is original, simply glisten behind the 30-plus coats of varnish we applied, but you will really see what she presents when we have her in the water, which we hope will happen tomorrow, as long as the launch ramp is not crowded by Memorial Day revelers refusing to practice social distancing or even wearing masks.
Starting with Voodoo Child, my 1953 22’ Model 110S Shepherd Runabout, we now install specific safety elements in every boat we do.
Susan is now a fully-preserved 1940 16-FT Lyman Yacht Tender with her telltale aft-facing aft cockpit.
We spared no expense while investing ourselves completely in executing a museum-quality preservation of this quite unusual and completely-original Lyman.
Yes, we did execute a few very minor Dutchman repairs, but that was it. Her old-growth Cyprus topsides are both original and gleam under 30+ coats of Pettit Hi-Build varnish.
Pulling her out of the shop and into the sun today is all the reward I need for ll those hours I spent beneath the hull stripping way too many layers of crud, paint and varnish; and then applying four coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine varnish. As a result, while her bilge and hullsides glisten, they retain all their evidence of being a well-used vessel for almost 80 years. Shauna Whiting, Kocian Instruments, invested herself incredibly in researching and then restoring Susan’s quite unique dash panel to both the highest possible standard and precisely as it was when Susan left Sandusky, OH in 1940.
Once again Robert Henkel transformed her original Nordberg engine from a rusty pile of cast iron into a unit that runs like a watch.
Mickey Dupuis, D&S Custom Metal Restoration, Holyoke, MA, cringed when I delivered Susan’s hardware. As always, he returned a collection of jewelry to us.
Megan Meisler and her family, who own and operated Loadmaster Trailer Co. Ltd. Did it again. Susan’s trailer fits like a glove, as she rides on a generous bunk system that both support her in every possible way and will be a dream for launching and retrieving her.
Maybe best of all, save for a brief hiatus decades and decades ago, Susan has lived on Lake Champlain. That her new stewards live among the islands of northern Lake Champlain means that she will live on her home waters for many decades to come.
Our 1956 19-FT Chris-Craft Capri has had a tough life, what with being assaulted by inept and worse “restorers” a decade or so ago.
We have recently reported on the travesties visited upon her decks, stem and engine hatch. Now that she’s been flipped, are we surprised to discover additional assaults perpetrated against her bottom?
The good news is that, save for needing refastening and a few minor repairs, her bottom planking is in excellent condition.
That said, and other things equal, she still needs a True 5200 bottom. However, as so often happens in life, other things are not equal. While her owner agrees that there is a True 5200 bottom in her future, given all we must preserve elsewhere on her hull and engine, it will not happen now, a decision we agree with based on our detailed and extensive examination of her bilge and its inner bottom planking.
The real issue in the bilge is lots of grease, oil and grime. Yes, that layer is pretty much gone directly beneath the engine, so we will release and execute repairs there. After we remove endless strings of useless cotton roving in some seams, roving that was not sealed with any sort of caulking compound, and yards and yards and yards of failed 5200 in others, we will refasten large parts of the bottom and then apply four coasts of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer – CPES. We will then pay the seams with Jamestown Distributors’ TotalBoat ThixoFlex and sand the bottom fair.
Following applying three more coats of CPES we will prime with Pettit Tie Coat Primer and then apply three coats of Pettit Copper Bronze Hard Racing Bottom Paint.
Now that Methyl Chloride has been banned, and we can no longer source “good” paint stripper, we have turned to TotalBoat TotalStrip Paint Stripper. No, it is not what Circa 1850 was, but it is user friendly and we are adjusting to applying it and then coming back 24 – 48 hours later. It is still wet and has liquefied many layers of paint, even bottom paint, by then.
Finally, we’ve all faced challenges stripping concave hullsides. Using a standard, straight-bladed scraper risks leaving skid marks at each end of the blade while the center floats above the wood. A good friend suggested we try an Allway Tools 2-1/2-Inch 4-Edge Metal Tubular Wood Scraper, the blade edges of which are slightly convex. At only about $8 for a handle and 4-edge blade, why not? Bingo! It works beautifully … nary a skid mark appears behind each stroke.
Today we blast through another milestone, well two, actually.
Our 1957 23’ Lyman Runabout helm seat reconfiguration challenge is behind us, and we are ready to disassemble her interior, ceilings, seating and lockers for final sanding followed by staining, sealing and varnishing.
That’s all well and very good, but what is far more worth celebrating is that RJ stepped into his Dad’s shoes and proved himself equal to the challenge of fabricating the port side of our new pair of helm seats and lockers. Knowing him as I do, I was absolutely confident he’d cross this personal milestone and prove to himself in the process that he’s ready to tackle our fabrication challenges. And all on the day before Thanksgiving! He and we have much to be thankful for, especially when it involves personal growth,, as this challenge has for RJ.
Congratulations RJ! We could not be prouder of your personal accomplishment. You’ve always been a can-do guy around here, but now you know you can contribute mightily to Snake Mountain Boatwork’s quest to deliver only the highest standards of craftsmanship.
Susan is a Pre-WWII 16’ Lyman yacht tender with solid Cypress narrow strakes and coaming, mahogany transom and decks, aft-facing aft seating compartment, a fixed windshield and a wonderful tumblehome.
She is powered by a Nordberg Gasoline Marine Engine 4-cylinder flathead, 60 horse power, engine, which is mated to a Paragon transmission. Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel Inc. in Michigan, who executed a comprehensive engine and transmission rebuild, reports that Nordberg “dressed” Hercules engines, in this case a Model B. The Nordberg engine plate includes its own serial number, 130R – 4951.
The person from whom I purchased Susan has owned her twice, the first time for decades ending in 1989, and a second time in spring 2015. She was banished to barn queen status for 25 years by the in- between owners. I bought her from her original owner in June 2015.
Thankfully, my biggest fear, that years in a barn would grow a nice crop of dry rot proved to be completely unfounded. My plastic hammer returned solid, crisp reports everywhere on the boat.
How about the ribs? There simply is no wear, rot or fractures to be found. Indeed, the in-between owner left her outdoors during our recent deluge. The hull is so tight that it held water that had to be vacuumed out.
She has a five-digit hull number, 10151, which renowned Lyman expert, Tom Koroknay, (Lyman Boats – Legends of the Lake), suggests that she may be one of the few 16’, narrow-strake, yacht tenders Lyman introduced in 1931. He places Susan as built in 1940, just before WWII.
Mickey Dupuis and his crew at D&S Custom Metal Restoration in Holyoke, MA, once again transformed tired, pitted hardware into beyond-show-ready jewelry.
Shauna Whiting, Kocian Instruments in Stacy, MN, after much research, preserved Susan’s original gauge panel cosmetically and mechanically with spectacular, historically-correct results.
Megan Meisler, her dad, brother and crew at Loadmaster Ltd. In Port Clinton, OH, once again worked with me remotely and delivered another perfectly-fitting, super-elegant Vermont green trailer.
If only winter was not nigh! We’d have her out on Lake Champlain today!
We continue with the most unpleasant elements of wood boat preservation, stripping, sanding sealing and varnishing the hull’s interior – so many ribs! And doing the same with the myriad of parts released during deconstruction.
Joe has fabricated and steam-bent the new transom’s mounting strip. He has fabricated the new transom blank along with framing elements we could not save. All of it has now been stripped (saved elements), sanded, bleached, stained, sealed and received all but it final coat of varnish. Anthony, helped by RJ, spent a tortuous week stripping the hull’s entire interior. By today he and RJ have sanded all surfaces of every rib and interior hull planking. The entire area has received two coats of Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer and its initial coat of Sikkens Cetol Marine. By early next week, it will be all hands on deck as we install the mounting strip and the fully assembled transom. The latter will be bedded in 3M 5200.
Soon, we can flip her upright and get on with the most enjoyable part, bleaching, staining, sealing, varnishing and painting.
Susan, our 1940, sixteen-foot LOA Lyman Yacht Tender, HIN 10151, with aft facing aft cockpit is oh, oh so close to the finish line.
Yes, she was Susan when new, so our vinyl master duplicated that freehand font and Susan she will be until a future steward can express her/his preference for some other name. That said, I chose 7-year vinyl and will not varnish over it, which facilitates simply peeling it off if a future owner wishes to without doing any damage to the varnish.
A REQUEST: Her original 12” x 18” ensign was in tatters and worse when I bought her, so I am searching for a period, or at least period-correct, but not-brand-new ensign. Anybody have one I can buy that will become Susan’s? Thanks.
Other boat obligations forced us to banish her to storage for a bit, before we install her windshield and seating – the latter will return from upholstery soon. We are also waiting on an exhaust elbow, as the one bolted on when she arrived was, well, junk.
She is fitted with Cypress hullside strakes down to the waterline and mahogany from there down to the keel. She is rather stunning mahogany everywhere else. Viewing the clip surely puts a spotlight on her mahogany.
Save for one small, rectangular Dutchman repair just below her starboard rub rail and just about at the helm station, 99.99% of her wood is original. Every rib and every frame member are original and one-hundred percent rot-free. The one .0001% is the below-deck bow light backing block. We replaced it.
We stripped her to bare wood inside and out, stem to stern and started back, beginning with RJ and I sanding and finishing her interior hullsides and bilge while she was upside down. RJ has yet to forgive me, but gives credit to me for having suffered through at least half of this torture.
The interior hullsides received multiple coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine, and we applied three plus coats of SANPACO Lyman Sand Tan Bilge Paint to the entire bilge and all of its components.
Her bottom seams were sealed with TotalBoat Thixo Flex from Jamestown Distributors before we applied three coats of CPES and three of Pettit Tie Coat Primer 6627 and four coats of Sandusky Lyman Copper Bronze Antifouling Bottom Paint.
Deck seams were filled with Sikaflex 290 LOT – Mahogany based on a former owner’s memory.
After sanding everything fair, we bleached decks and hullsides as well as every “loose” component.
We stained using mahogany components with Lake Oswego Boat Company “Lyman” Gel Stain. The Cyprus hull sides received natural Gel Stain, and then the varnish marathon began. Pettit Hi-Build followed by the last two coats of Pettit Captains Varnish Ultra Clear 2067
OMG! Thirty-two coats later, my crew decreed, “That’s spectacular. Enough already!” Indeed, the gloss is a mile deep.
Gauge Restoration: Shauna Whiting, Kocian Instruments, Forest Lake, MN Metal Restoration: Mickey Dupuis, Custom Metal Restoration, Holyoke, MA Engine Rebuild: Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel INC., Marine City, MI Woodwork and finishing: Snake Mountain Boatworks LLC’s crew
Maybe, maybe, maybe we can pull everything together by Labor Day. Might even celebrate a bit as she romps across Lake Champlain!