1956 ChrisCraft Project, your opinion please...

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by PeterH, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. PeterH
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Sandpoint, Idaho

    PeterH New Member

    Hello,

    I'm new to the forum and new to boat restoration. I've recently acquired a 1955 or 56 ChrisCraft that we think is a Express Cruiser model. I've yet to send for the available information from the Mariner's Museum so I'm not 100% sure of the exact model. I think I'm at least the 4th owner of this boat.

    My wife and I are excited about the project but want to know, if this is a worthwhile exercise or a waste of our time and money. The boat appears to be in fair shape for its age. It was in the water as recently as 4 years ago but has sat on a trailer in a pasture since then. It now resides in my pole barn out of the direct weather. She appears to have the original 6 cylinder ChrisCraft engine and no obvious signs of major damage.

    I'm not sure of the condition of the plywood hull but as you might see if you visite this URL: http://www.phoyt.com/myrtle/MyrtleHome.htm the interior needs attention.

    So, please let me know if you think this is a reasonable project or not. If anyone else has a similar boat and would like to offer their advice, please do so! Should we move forward with this project, I wouldn't expect this boat to see the water again for at least 5 years. We aren't in any rush and we don't have a fortune to throw at this so its going to a very 'hands on' project.

    Thanks,
    Pete
    Near Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho.
     
  2. lprimina
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Morehead City NC

    lprimina Senior Member

    GO FOR IT.
    Ben
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The easiest and best way to find out if your boat is a project worth doing is hiring a surveyor to spend a day with her.

    Most folks think they have the knowledge and boating experience to access a small yacht in terms of repairs and updates needed, but frankly, most do not. Each design, model, year and manufacture have quirks, issues and areas that will stick out like a sore thumb to the skilled eye, ear and nose. The average boater hasn't this type of experience with a particular breed of vessel, without having owned and repaired several.

    Typically the interior fairs much better then the exterior with the ravages of use, neglect and time on the hard. Traditionally constructed wooden boats can't suffer neglect for very long, before major issues and conditions start cropping up. To discover these issues, an exam will need be performed by a person, familiar with the type and this will takes several hours as the pieces are inspected, literally crawling through the bilge, smelling the ends of timbers and poking and prodding with an ice pick or thumping areas with a mallet.

    A lot of boats this age seem in restorable shape, but end up being less costly to build a new one in the pattern of the old, then to restore. I fix boats like this for a living, gave a survey to the local Haggerty lady last spring and also do some skippering and design work. Before you toss a bunch of effort or money (you'll need plenty of both) contact a respected surveyor and see what he says. If you want to buy a used car, would you bring it over to the shop you trust for repairs to the other cars you've owned? The same is true for an older home or any purchase you'd rather not get beaten' up for . . .right?
     
  4. PeterH
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    PeterH New Member

    You make a good point. I'll look around to see if anyone like that is availalbe in this region. Thanks! Peter
     
  5. Kyle
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    Location: Tulsa Ok

    Kyle Junior Member

    Peter,
    Go to google and look up S.A.M.S., Society of accredited Marine Surveyors. They will give you listings for people in your area. I believe it is Marinesurveyor.org? Sorry, I don't know how to attatch a web address.
    Par is on the money. I have a boat that "just needs a plank here and some bottom paint and she'll be good to go". That was four years ago and I'm not ready for bottom paint yet.
    Good Luck,
    Kyle
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Kyle, how's that Sweet Elco coming?
     
  7. My first boat had 1 little soft spot in the bottom- moulded plywood- finished patch was 18" X 4'. Carefull.
     
  8. Kyle
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    Kyle Junior Member

    Par, Slow and steady wins the race. I finally got her indoors. Can't begin to tell you how good it is not to freeze my butt off this winter. In the mean time I've aquired a '73 chris craft XK22. As if I had nothing better to do than go to the lake. I am making a goal of having the keel and stem completed by April. (on the Elco). After that comes the chines then the Transom bow, and the two bottom layers. Hope she floats by September '05. I'm trying to scan pictures it just isn't working at the moment.
    Kyle
     
  9. pungolee
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    Location: north carolina

    pungolee Senior Member

    I looked over your photographs.I had a chance a few years back to purchase a Chris very much like this model for 500 dollars.I thought it was a steal until I did a little research.The ply models just aren't as popular as the solid timber ones.This model will be bouncy and light feeling if it hits any waves of significance.The style is also dated and unpopular.That notwithstanding,if you love this old boat and want to restore it,do it!Restoration is a labour of love,only that can keep someone committed for the years neccesary to see the job through.Yes,it will be hands on,but money will still be a large factor,hardware,drive system rebuild(I know it needs this)chemicals,this medium sized craft will eat ten thousand dollars to get her close to seaworthy.And then what will you have?A ten thousand dollar boat at the best,more likely a six thousand dollar one(or less)I have restored sleds in much worse condition,but over the years I guess I have grown hardened.My advise?Skip the surveyor fees,pull the hardware(engine to hinges)and auction them on e-bay.Use the money to buy a boat you can enjoy.And convert the hull to a neat guest apartment behind your house,or sell it to a seafood eaterie.I know this sounds harsh,its just two cents from a stranger.
     
  10. Arrowmarine
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Arrowmarine Senior Member

    If you and your wife are excited and you can spend quality time together, then it's worth doing
     
  11. alloyed2sea
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    alloyed2sea Junior Member

    And an invaluable 2cents it is.
    Signed,
    Another hardened Chris-Craft boat restorer.
     
  12. pungolee
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    Location: north carolina

    pungolee Senior Member

    There would be some who believe every Chris-Craft is worth saving,just as any lesser doodle by Van Goh is nonetheless,a Van Goh,and therefore a masterpiece.I do not argue that if a fan exists for any work of art,therein lies its value.I do not believe all Chris Crafts are worthy,just as new John Deere riding tractors sold by Home Depot will not increase in value or collectability like their true brethren.Just because something has a certain color scheme or brand plate does not mean certain quality.Chris Craft made some bombs,like everyone else has,it would be better for all concerned if they were allowed to fade quietly away,to the dustbin of history,so the other shining examples will have room.That said,I hate to rain on anyones dreams.It's just that I wished someone would have given me frank discussion from the other perspective before I undertook some restorations.Come to think of it,they did,but I failed to listen,caught up in the excitement of the moment as it were.Two more invaluable cents worth.
     
  13. 428
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    428 Junior Member

    With the 4 cents collected he is now getting close to the real value of this boat.
    Just kidding, if this boat is something that you and your wife are willing to spend the 5 years restoring hands on, I'd go for it. I don't believe the cost will be nearly as bad as some lead on. It won't be free by any stretch but she'd be an interesting project. I've restored several cars and it's more for the love of the car than profit I assure you. A driver resto will sometimes break even to a small profit if you don't count your labor. A high end resto for re-sale rairly breaks even, only by restoring for a customer can money be made. So if it's for yourself and you plan on keeping her, what's the big deal.
    That said, yes they're are better boats out there but, you already have this one, it's somewhat complete, it's an ugly duck which will help draw attention to it and it is a recognized name.
    Go for it, my 2 cents.
    Hey, you're in the black now :)

    One thing more to add. This I'm sure will get some argument but never, ever scrap a complete older boat, even if she's not a classic. Just like cars there's a finite number of classics available, when they're gone the lesser models move up to become the next. Remember those early 60's Belvedere's, Galaxies and Bel Air's you couldn't give away, many thousands being paid for those now. Same with boats. Don't scrap em, restore them. Or at least protect them for the next generation.
     

  14. bensauber
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    Location: New Orleans

    bensauber New Member

    Your Chris Craft

    Please Don't give up on your wooden boat. There aren't that many of these boats left now and yours looks quite worthwhile in the pictures from 4 years ago. A lot of these were Kit boats made by Chris Craft in the 50's I thought the kits had outboards on them but I,m not sure, Seems to me that information on the sedan cruisers is sketchy maybe because they are not as flashy as the runabouts? I have a sedan cruiser similar to yours but a little older design say 1948 or so. It is a planked hull but I think a copy of the 22 ft. kit boat. It was built by a couple furniture makers right after WWII or early 50 when one of the cousins built a Chris Craft kit boat. It is ready for the motor but has never had one installed. Has been in a shed since being built. The exterior is finished but the interior is not. I have no plans on the boat, so I'm curious to see how yours is layed out. If you decide to scrap the boat I'm interested in the running gear. If not I'm interested in how you proceed with your restoration. :?:
     
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