1940 Lyman Yacht Tender 16′ Sea Trial!

1940 lyman yacht tender sea trial

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.

Marks Upholstery in Vermont reproduced her cushions.

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.

1940 Lyman 16′ Yacht Tender Engine Test

1940 lyman yacht tender engine test

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.

Megan Meisler, her family and crew at Loadmaster Trailer Co. Ltd., in Port Clinton, OH – once again designed a super-supportive, absolutely stunning custom trailer for Susan.

Her surveyor, Captain Stan Walker, graded her as in Bristol Condition, only because it is the highest possible grade.

That’s wonderful for sure, but we are on pins and needles until the moment she floats and roars across Lake Champlain.

1940 Lyman 16′ Yacht Tender Preserved!

1940 lyman yacht tender preservation complete

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.

1940 Lyman 16′ Yacht Tender Preservation!

1940 lyman yacht tender preservation completed

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!

1940 16′ Lyman Yacht Tender Preservation – Nearing The Finish Line

1940 lyman yacht tender preservation

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.

Preservation team:

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!

1940 Lyman Yacht Tender Paying Sikaflex Into Deck Seams

1940 lyman yacht tender paying sikaflex into deck seams

With her decks bleached with Daly’s Wood Bleach, sanded with 80 grit, stained with a Wood Kote Jel’d stain – red and brown mahogany in a 2:1 ratio – and sealed with three coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, Joe announced, “Let’s see how my years of window glazing and auto striping experience translate into delivering absolutely knife-edge deck seams.”
Let’s just say that Joe proved himself to be a master seam striper! With RJ assisting, the aft deck is finished and they are pulling tape from the completed foredeck as I type.

My 1940 16’ Lyman Custom Yacht Tender will be ready for varnish next Monday.

Lyman fabricated this model’s decks are simply carvel planked, but without any interior battens. The athwart frames are closely spaced, so the decks are plenty strong, but the seams are completely open and must be filled at least part way to render the decks waterproof.

We are using Mahogany Sikaflex 291 LOT, with the acronym standing for Long Open Time, which gives us ample freedom to work at a measured pace. The seams were filled almost to the top at their edges, but with a concave profile, which is consistent with my research and other boats in this model line built between 1938 and 1940.

Joe began taping using three-quarter-inch Scotch blue painter’s tape, which lines each edge, followed by a one-inch-wide strip that covers the plank completely. He very much wants to share from his experience that pressing the tape down and onto the wood’s surface with pressure across its width is critical to avoiding driving the Sikaflex beneath the tape, which translates into ragged, rather than knife-like edges. (He has one request, “Even though it is more expensive, Frog Tape produces a tighter seal and straighter line than Scotch Blue does. Pressing the Frog Tape down firmly completely seals the edge)

Note to self: order some Frog Tape for the next deck seaming.

All Sikaflex is applied in the same direction, and the tape is pulled in the same direction, from the beginning of each seam at the helm to its terminus at the bow. Doing so ensures that the Sikaflex separates from the tape cleanly and consistently.

Additionally, Joe admonishes that, “The bubble chases the gun. Take great care to cut the tube’s tip at precisely forty-five degrees, with an at most one-eighth-inch orifice. That way, squeezing the gun presses the material down and back into what precedes it. Remember, the bubble chases the gun. Reverse direction at your peril.”

Clean-up uses lots of Interlux Special Thinner 216.

People often ask how long procedures like this one take. Joe spent about five hours yesterday, and he and RJ worked about four hours this morning. The entire process used up about three tubes of Mahogany Sikaflex 291 LOT.
Varnishing her decks, so they can begin catching up to the nineteen coats on her topsides, transom, windshield, engine box and seating components!

1940 Lyman 16′ Yacht Tender Staining Update

1940 lyman yacht tender staining

With nineteen coats of Pettit Easypoxy Hi-Build varnish applied to her topsides, transom; and engine box, seating and windshield components; it is time to turn our focus to the decks, coamings and rub rails of our 1940 16’ Lyman Custom Yacht Tender with aft-facing aft cockpit.

Lyman offered this basic hull configuration as a yacht tender like mine, but also as a runabout. Whether the aft cockpit faced forward or aft was the buyer’s choice. He or she could also order a windshield that folded down or one that was fixed. Mine is fixed.

My research also suggest that the fore and aft deck seams were sealed with a mahogany caulking material that only filled the seam channels about two-thirds, with the rest left open so she presents herself with strong lines, lines that help offset the reality that she is quite beamy for her length. (We wull use Sikaflex 291 LOT in mahogany.)

Today we are applying Sandusky Chris-Craft red mahogany filler stain? Why not the somewhat browner Lyman mahogany stain? Again what few period photos I can find and the several of these vessels built between 1938 and 1940 tended to have a somewhat red cast, which in this case will complement the blonde Cypress topsides rather nicely.

Additionally, in our experience, the red morphs toward red-brown as we apply the three coats of CPES and the Pettit Hi-Build that will follow.

CPES is next, and will be applied on Monday, the first two coats with the second following the first immediately per Danenberg, with a third coat applied Tuesday morning.

Filling the seams will be next, followed by the initial coats of varnish, a process that will continue until we reach twenty-two or so coats.

1940 Lyman 16′ Yacht Tender Preservation Milestone

1940 lyman yacht tender preservation milestone

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, on Saturday, March 17, 2018!

At the end of the day yesterday, John and RJ teased me with, “You might find a surprise when you come into the shop tomorrow morning.”

Right they were. We’ve shared several videos recently in which this Lyman was upside down. In fact we stained and sealed the topsides and transom, and John and RJ applied the initial eight coats of Pettit Easypoxy Hi-Build Varnish with her flipped. She has also been flipped while RJ and I stripped, sealed and finished her interior surfaces with a combination of Sikkens Cetol Marine Varnish, and Sandusky Lyman Sand Tan Bilge Paint.

They must have sneaked back to the shop last night. When I walked in this morning, there she was, upright and standing proudly on her boat dollies. What intriguing lines. And the combination of coamings and planked decks adds so much to her design.

Facing me now is stripping what is left of ancient varnish from her decks and coamings with a heat gun and BAHCO scraper, and cleaning her deck seams with a reefing hook. Yes, using Circa 1850 chemical stripper would likely be faster, but doing so risks dropping the stripper onto finished surfaces unless I protect all of them with masking paper, a task that would be both hugely tedious and terribly time consuming.

I have been searching for Lyman material and research that will help me nail down her model. Tossing the question out to the membership of the New England Lyman Group spawned a lively conversation and also a 1941 Lyman brochure that answered the question.

She meets all the criteria of the “15-foot Custom Inboard Yacht Tender.”

Here is an excerpt from that brochure:
The 15’ Yacht Tender has been the answer to many a yacht owner’s problem of procuring a practical tender, light in weight, fast and smart in appearance. It is being used on some of the finest yachts in the country today. Because the carrying space for a tender on many boats is limited, the Yacht Tender can be built on special order within the limits of 14’ to 16’. The steering wheel is mounted on a special bracket in the forward cockpit and the engine controls are handily located. The motor is installed admidship (SIC), fully enclosed and freely available. The seat in the other cockpit faces aft.

Susan satisfies the following criteria stipulated in the brochure:

  • LOA – 14’ to 16’. Susan’s LOA is 15’8”.
  • Beam – 5’4”. Check.
  • Planking — edge grain cypress or Philippine mahogany. Susan’s topside strakes are edge grain cypress. She is planked with Philippine mahogany below the waterline.
  • The outside of the hull is painted white or finished bright (varnished). Susan is varnished.
  • Decking, seats, motor compartment and all other trim are of Philippine mahogany. Check.
  • A spray shield, in place of the windshield (as shown above) is optional equipment at no additional cost. Susan is outfitted with an absolutely flat-across-the-deck spray shield.

We will now sand her topsides flat, followed by applying 3 – 5 additional coats and sanding again.

Some of the clench nail heads are seated beneath the fair surface, but these declivities will continue filling as additional coats are applied.

Our goal is an absolutely flat surface and varnish that allows all those brilliant copper clench nail heads to shine through.

Yes, we’ve set another milestone free and watching it fade into our wake!

1940 16′ Lyman Custom Yacht Tender: Interior Varnish & Bilge Paint

1940 lyman yacht tender interior varnish bilge paint

Susan’s interior is varnished. Her bilge is painted. The respirator is back in the bag and on the shelf.

Most important the Sikkens Cetol largely erased the color differential between the mahogany and cypress planking, while adding an almost sensual honey hue to the interior. Yes, the strong lighting does distort and wash the color out, and I cannot wait to have her flipped right-side-up again.

RJ and I applied the first, and quite generous coat of SANPACO Lyman sand tan bilge paint at and below the floor line. A second and finishing coat will be applied once we are ready to install the driveline, seating and engine box.

We will install the floor panel support rail and intermediate topside stiffening rail next week, while we apply several initial coats of Pettit Hi-Build varnish to the topsides and transom.

Then, with cross bracing in place, she will be flipped and set on dollies, so we can begin working on the decks, coamings, and sprayshield. (According to its 1941 catalog, Lyman offered a tall, quite upright and flat sprayshield in place of the shorter sweptback windshield on the tenders of that era.)

Once prepped, all of these surfaces will be stained with Sandusky Natural filler stain, as this model was offered finished natural – bright.

It’s cost us the better part of three weeks, but the result more than justifies the investment of time, sweat and our BAHCO scrapers!

1940 16′ Lyman Yacht Tender Staining & Sealing Topsides

1940 lyman yacht tender staining sealing topsides

Obliterating milestone becomes more and more gratifying once a conservation project moves past repairing and sanding, and into applying stains, sealer and finishes!

And, with her topsides stained with Sandusky Natural Filler Stain 9805, and sealed with three applications of CPES, our 1940 Lyman Custom yacht Tender just crossed that Rubicon.

Once we complete the transom’s final niggling repairs and sand it flat, we will stain it with a 2:1 mixture of Wood Kote Products Inc.’s red and brown mahogany Jel’d stain.

Yes, after being urged to do so, and following extensive testing on scrap wood, this Lyman will serve as our first time staining with other than Interlux or Sandusky filler stain. While we will sacrifice the positive effects of filler stain and thereby likely need additional coats of varnish to achieve a flat surface, our research and testing suggest strongly that we gain a much more uniform result.

Time will tell.

Once finish “bodywork” and final sanding is behind us, we will stain her transom later today. We will apply CPES on Thursday, and be ready for varnishing soonest thereafter.

Now that is a major milestone indeed!