Article and Photos by Joel Terbrueggen

The first thing you should do is to make sure you have marked the top (or bottom) of the boot top at the 3 corners (both transom sides and the bow). An awl, ice pick, a glass cutting tool, or even a thin blade saw to leave a small kerf will work. You want to make sure it is a mark that won’t be sanded off. Now proceed with the refinishing job.

Once you are at a point where you want to establish the boot top, level the aft end of the boat. A level on the stringers is an effective way to start. Using a jack on one of the corners will probably be necessary.  Double check by measuring up or down from a couple of known spots such as the corners to the floor. 

Now use the laser to get a straight line across the transom. You may have to use the jack to fudge the corner height to “connect the dots” with the laser. Now strike the transom water line. This gives you the aft end location for the sides as well.

Place the laser amidships and adjust the laser’s height so it is in line with the transom corner marking.  

Now the bow can be raised or lowered as needed until the laser is on the bow marking. Now you can strike the side water lines.

I like to use a dry erase marker to place a series of dots along the laser line from bow to stern. Turn off the laser and apply your tape by connecting the dots.

Use tape that is the width of the water line. Now apply tape on either side of the tape used to mark the water line. When you remove the center tape you will have a boot top uniform in width the entire length of the boat.

At this point I will apply 2 coats of a primer like Interlux Pre-Kote Primer. Follow this with your boot top color. 

Joel Terbrueggen is a member of the Ohio Valley Chapter of ACBS. He has presented many restoration lessons which are available in the Video Library available on our ACBS Members Only site under the Resources tab.  Joel also donated his extensive library of cataloged photos taken as he performed surveys on antique and classic boats over a 16 year period.  These are also in the ACBS Members Only site under the Resources tab.  Joel Terbrueggen currently does much of the wood restoration on boats at the Motor Boat Garage in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Click here to see additional posts with Restoration Tips


    • Bob:
      I think the easiest way is to use your ACBS Directory and find the owners of several boats like yours. Contact the owners and ask for the measurements at the transom corners up to the top of their boot top. Then in the bow pick a spot like down from the top plank or a specific seam. As I mention, I would get several of these, so you can compare.
      The other option, which would be my last option, would be to take the boat to a ramp and determine the location by floating the boat. You need calm water for this method, but I know of some that have done this.
      Good luck,

  1. Can you tell me where I can obtain a set of the hull supports with casters as shown in the article photos? Those are very nice in that they do not require a lot of space or storage when they are not in use!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.