Help! Trying to renovate a 14foot 1965 fishing boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Totalnoob2014, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Totalnoob2014
    Joined: Jul 2014
    Posts: 1
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    Location: Ontario, Canada

    Totalnoob2014 New Member

    Hello everyone.
    My husband recently bought a 1965 larson fibreglass boat. It's in decent condition as far as the engine and structure of the boat goes but it could use some TLC in the aesthetic-department. There are no holes in the boat but it could use a fresh coat of paint. I have been attempting to do some online research as to how to go about this, but the more I read, the more confused I become. All of the this talk of resins and gel-coats and epoxies has my head swimming. Could someone give me a decent explanation of what these are, as well as a basic idea of what is needed to get our little boat looking good again? I appreciate your help!
  2. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Dear TotalNoob. I fear that I may be labeled as the voice of doom with the following remarks. Let me begin by assuming that it is an outboard powered boat. Also you said that the hull appears to be in good shape. Let us hope so, but that is unlikely for a boat that old.. There are important parts of the boat that you can not see.

    Larson made perfectly adequate boats, but one of them approaching fifty years of age is suspect. The outer skin is made of FRP, fiberglass reinforced plastic. The plastic that holds the fiberglass together will be polyester resin. OK that covers the resin part of the mystery. The gel coat is merely an outer surface, very thin, that amounts to modified polyester resin that has an added coloring component. It is strictly a cosmetic part of the hull. In the beginning it was smooth and shiney. The resin used to make the skin is not colored, it is almost but not quite transparent but nearly so. So much for that part.

    The inside of the boat will almost surely have a flat surface that is added after the hull is made. Call it a floor. The floor usually consists of plywood covered with a thin layer of fiberglass (FRP). Underneath the floor there will be some longitudinal stringers. Stringers are a strength component of the hull that stiffens the relatively thin fiberglass bottom. Old boats often used wood for those stringers. Old boats often have rotted wood stringers that are no longer structurally sound.

    Most often, the transom, which also contains wood, plywood covered with fiberglass, is deteriorated or in many cases rotted beyond further trust. (the transom is the back of the boat where the motor is attached)

    If and only if the boat was stored indoors,and the previous owner was meticulous about never, ever, letting fresh water set in the boat for more than a day or two, then you may have a good find. Otherwise you have a project that will cause more than a little bit of sweat and tears along with a helping of profanity and expenditure of money. If the boat has a lot of mold or mildew then that is not a good sign. The biological demons are hell bent on destroying that which man has created.

    OK now for the cosmetics..... Sand the outer surface of the boat. By now the surface is dull and unattractive, probably with a patina of dull powdery surfaces. Sand thoroughly with a fairly fine grit paper. Now you are ready for the paint that makes the boat pretty. Use a good quality epoxy primer coat. Your paint supplier or marine paint seller will help you with this selection. Next apply a high quality oil or synthetic based top coat of glossy color of your choice.

    Interior of the boat may be painted, after thorough cleaning, sanding and drying of course, with a high quality house paint such as acrylic latex or similar. That is a perfectly suitable interior paint job. It will probably outlast the shiny coat of paint that you applied to the outer hull.

    I do hope that this will be helpful. Prepare yourself for a lot of work. In the end it may be an object of pride. If there is some doubt or verification of the structural integrity of the boat (mentioned above) then rent a chain saw, destroy it, and dispose of the boat parts in the local landfill like many, many, thousands of old boats have come to their final destiny.

    Forgive me for all the negativity TotalNoob. I truly hope that you have fallen into a good deal on the rare boat that has a near perfect history of loving care. If not, please do not let this give you reason to consult a divorce lawyer. It ain't the end of the world. One more thing........ do not tell your husband that I, the realist curmudgeon, brought up so many unwelcome probabilities.
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    In 1965 there was a 4' 1" Skipper and a 14' 3" All American model. The skipper was a "utility" layout, while the All American was a runabout.


    I'm pretty sure this was the Brunswick era (the end of it) version of these boats. They were tough little boats and moderately heavily laid up, but still have known and common issues associated with them, particularly a half a century old example.

    Messabout has offered some of the things to think about. Since this is a new thing for you, have it looked over carefully by a local repair shop. They'll focus on the engine and maybe on some structural stuff, but you'll get an idea of what she really might need. The aesthetic considerations should be held off, until you know what you've got. It's very probable the transom, stringers and other structural elements need attention after all this time.

    The first thing to purchase is a manual for the engine, so you know how to tune and fix it properly. Next would be a close look at the transom for softness (very likely) and soft spots in the floors as you walk around inside the boat. Any indications of softness, suggests maybe you need to think hard about what you've just acquired, as these types of repairs are often difficult and costly.
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