Preservation and restoration mean saving one boat at a time. Hopefully, a boat with historic significance can be preserved with its original uniqueness.  If not that, then restored to be cherished and enjoyed into the future.

Ancient techniques now are blended with new tools, materials, and products for the restoration process. There will always be more to learn and information to share.
ACBS Members have access to an extensive library (100+) of how-to videos, filmed on location at some of the nation’s leading boat shops, and filmed during symposia led by renowned boat builders and restorers. Not a member? Join today and get full access to this library of boat restoration and techniques videos.

Boat restoration & techniques video topics include:

  • Planking
  • Fiberglass repair
  • Bottom replacements (cold-molded and traditional)
  • Boat engine maintenance
  • Staining & varnishing
  • Deck repairs
  • and many others!

If you have suggestions for helpful articles for this website or for the ACBS Rudder, please share them with the ACBS Headquarters Staff.

Videos: See What You May Be Missing

The brief teaser videos below give a great overview of this extensive video series, which is available only to members.

Join today and get full access to this library of boat restoration and techniques videos.

Staining a Wooden Boat

Staining Tips and photos are by Joel Terbrueggen Pre-Staining Most of the time, new or replacement planks are much lighter than the surrounding wood or original wood. Here is a technique that usually works well for me. If the color difference isn’t significant this 1st option sometimes works. After sanding and fairing the area with…

Keeping Brightwork Bright

Imagine my surprise when as a novice to boating I found out that “Brightwork” referred to the varnished wood on a boat. It’s easy to display that showroom shine on your boat when it is in the dock at a show or even getting ready for a run to the neighborhood marina for an ice…

Gouges, Splits, and Super Glue

Article and Photos by Joel Terbrueggen This article is to let you know that you should not underestimate the usage of superglue in finish repairs. I like to use both the Thin and Medium viscosity along with the Accelerator to speed up the curing process to instantaneous. Here are some instances that I have found…

Installing a Bilge Blower Makes Vintage Boats Safer

Safe Boating week is May 18th through May 24th. For more information, visit www.safeboatingcampaign.com By Dick Werner & Brent Howard. As we are all well aware, we have that highly explosive liquid on board many of our old boats call gasoline. That liquid is very capable of vaporizing and releasing fumes. These fumes are heavier…

Tips on Varnishing Wooden Boats

Varnishing Tips and Photos by Joel Terbrueggen When it comes to varnishing there are any number of ways to accomplish it. I do not believe one way is necessarily better than another, it all comes down to whatever technique you are most comfortable with. After sealing, I use a Scotch Brite pad or 320 grit…

1973 Lyman Biscayne Restoration-Modifcation

By James Sanders, member of the Michigan chapter. I purchased this boat in 2003 after riding in a similar boat in some very rough water. At that time I owned a 31’ Chris Craft Commander and a few wood Chris’s prior to that. The first summer we used the boat primarily in the Algonac area…

The 5200 Bottom Gang

By Gary Fesperman, ACBS Secretary and member of the Blue Ridge Chapter. Several members of the Blue Ridge Chapter, the “5200 Bottom Gang,” got together to install the outer bottom planking on two boats in three days last week. The first boat was a 1965 17′ foot Chris Craft Ski Boat owned by Lee Mapp…

An Obsession with Higgins

By Jeff and Renee Davey, members of the Glacier Lakes chapter. Our Higgins obsession started about 37 years ago while on vacation in northern Wisconsin. We stopped at a local marina and purchased a 1947 19’ Higgins Deluxe Runabout. After sitting in storage for over 30 years, we finally decided to restore her. She is…

In Memory of our Daughter

By Mike Noland and Cyndi Geist, members of the Rocky Mountain chapter. Our 1939 Chris-Craft 33-foot dual cabin enclosed bridge cruiser was delivered new to Wayzeta, Minnesota and she had spent her life up to that point in that region. I purchased her from a family member in 2002, had a trailer built and off…

Father-Son Team Build, Restore, Repair, and Refinish

By Dave Wrzesinski My son Scott and I have been building, restoring, repairing and refinishing boats for the past 40 years. I started building when I was 11 years old with my friend Jon Staudacher and his father Les Staudacher. Les built unlimited hydroplanes from the 1950s to the early 1970s. He built unlimited boats…

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

By Dick Werner Wait! Before you say, “Oh yeah, I learned all about that stuff back in grade school—don’t bore me with superfluous information,” give me a couple minutes of your time before you go on to the next article. It could save yours or someone else’s life. I’ll be short and to the point.…

The Boat that Found Me

By Robert Greco 1963 17’ Thompson “Luxury” Skiff – The Boat That Found Me It started with a garage sale. I have been collecting old Johnson outboards for a few years, eventually gathering up the whole 1956 lineup, from 3 to 30 HP, my favorite motors.  A friend of mine spotted an old Johnson outboard…

Installing a Bilge Blower Makes Vintage Boats Safer

By Dick Werner & Brent Howard. As we are all well aware, we have that highly explosive liquid on board many of our old boats call gasoline. That liquid is very capable of vaporizing and releasing fumes. These fumes are heavier than air and will settle down in the bilge. Opening the hatch cover prior…

A Definitive Guide to Storing Your Boat

Note: Article and photos submitted by Phil McNamara, M.B.A. – CSO The key to ensuring that your boat is in tip-top shape on launch day is to get serious about off-season boat storage. Determining where and how to store your boat can mean the difference between a pristine exterior and an engine that starts up…

SkillsUSA Group Restores Classic Watercraft

Reprinted with permission from Central Valley High School, Spokane Valley, Washington. Introduction Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley, Washington’s SkillsUSA group takes on the restoration of a 1959 Chris Craft 17’ ski boat for the 2018-19 school year. According to Alan Wardsworth and Ron Beard who are SkillsUSA advisors at CVHS, “SkillsUSA is one…

A Marine Survey

by Kevin Bamerick October 22, 2018 “Do you need to hire a marine surveyor (or similar)? The universal answer would be if you are buying a boat and want to know what shape it is in, then a survey would suffice. This ACBS question was asked of D. Erik Will, AMS of Sodus Point. (I…

Hagerty Marine Guide

Note: This article written by David Kinney in June of 2017 is reprinted with permission from the Marine Division at Hagerty Insurance. Thanks for viewing our online Marine Price Guide. We’ve taken a look at literally thousands of boats in every condition to assemble this guide. Coming off of the lows that we experienced in…

Laser Level for Water Line

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…