by Monte Bauman President of the Buckeye chapter

There is a certain mystique around “Barn Finds”. The romance of finding a diamond in the rough. The heroic-ness of taking something ignored and lost to history and bringing it back to glory. But “Barn Finds” are just as likely to be trash, as treasure, and the Buckeye Chapter met this past October of 2020.

This story started with a phone call. Friends from the Chautauqua Institute community of Lakeside called not long after my wife and I had spent a weekend up there at their boat show. We had chatted with lots of folks and amongst them was a kindly old couple with a barn. They did not know it at the time, but soon the barn would be sold and would have to be emptied of all its many treasures. Including an old boat. That couple remembered us, and luckily, they were able to navigate their way to us via our mutual Lakeside friends.

I was not looking for a project. But I took their call anyway. Curiosity is a terrible thing! They were brutal negotiators, telling me “I take it” or “they burn it”. They sent me the pictures. It was a beautiful little Aristocraft Typhoon stood up against the wall of an ancient timber framed barn and from what I could tell, it was in terrific shape. Then they told me the story of a little boat bought the father of a 14-year-old girl who came to love racing across Lake Hubbard (Michigan) in the middle 1950’s. Come 1960 the little boat needed repair, and the little boat was just too little, so she was put up and all but forgotten for the next 60 years. Now what?

Being an officer for the Buckeye Chapter I am always on the lookout for fun things for the membership to do together. The “lights went on” when I finally figured out that the “Now What” with this boat”, coincided very nicely with the “what can the chapter do for fun” question. We organized a chapter meeting called “Barn Finds – Treasure or Trash”. This was a win-win for me, for the Buckeye Chapter is blessed with two extreme talents in the boat restoration business. Matt Zimmerman from Zimmerman Boat Works, and Bob Furlan, from Second Wind Restorations. Great does not begin to describe the work they do. Could I convince them to host a session on “Barn Finds”? To be our “subject matter experts”? To take on 101 questions? Most of them mine? Lucky for me, they said YES.

Early on a Saturday morning, almost 20 of us came together. Mostly Buckeye Chapter members, but a nice number of guests too. We started the morning unloading the boat, then after a few introductions and chit chat we got the meeting started, then we preceded through a meeting plan. We had a great time doing it. Looking at old boats, talking about old boats, arguing about old boats, and telling (and retelling) old boat stories it was great. I am confident the membership had as much fun as I did, and I am confident we will have incented several new members to join the chapter for having spent a fun morning with us. So, go for it, find a Barn Find and do a “show and tell” chapter meeting … it will be great!

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