by Valerie Stabenow member of the Glacier Lakes chapter

I grew up around wood boats on Lauderdale Lakes in southern Wisconsin in the ‘60s. Boy, those were the boats to have, but unfortunately, that was not possible for my family.

Fast forward to 2006, living on a lake north of Madison, WI, when my non-boating husband suggested looking for a Chris-Craft. I had plenty of experience using the internet to locate old British Sports Cars (I had several), so looking for a Chris-Craft was only limited by my checkbook.
My car routine was basically to only look at potential purchases that were within easy driving distance. I located a hot boat prospect about 2 hours away. After checking it out, we hooked the 1947 Chris-Craft Deluxe up to the truck and BCWYWF came home with us. BCWYWF? Be Careful What You Wish For, and the sentence finishes with, “because then you will have to take care of it”. Truer words never spoken.

After the first summer of sorting him out (yes, my mechanical friends are all male), I had the great opportunity to help out restoring a U-22 at a local boatworks. I have stripped, repaired and refinished lots of furniture, so those skills were handy. I’m no stranger to power tools, either. After finishing the U-22, the shop owner offered me space to redo my boat’s deck and sides.

Those were stripped and I spent hours sanding and fairing. Then came stain and many, many coats of varnish along with a new interior (professionally done.) Two years later, I was again offered the opportunity to use the boatworks, this time to redo the boat’s bottom. Three weekends were spent taking the screws out and taking the boards off.

The decision was to make it a no-soak bottom, so epoxy encapsulated marine plywood was used. Several stringers were replaced, and I used oak planks from a tree that we had cut down years ago, a great use for them! The original cedar boards that were under the bottom paint were planed and also encapsulated. Nine months later, the new bottom was on, the waterline and bottom were repainted and BCWYWF was back on the water.

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