Archive for the ‘ShopNotes’ Category

New Project

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Started out early today with Riley as my navigator. 2 1/2 hours up the road we found an 18′ 1965 Chris Craft Super Sport in need of a new home. We spent about 3 hours just loading it and securing everything as it was in pieces. Made it back home just before dark.

Boat Season Preparations Begin…

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

The wear and tear always seems to catch up in the spring…

Our mini pontoon boat needs a new deck. Had been shopping for a 5′ x 10′ sheet of 3/4″ plywood all winter as it would take 3 sheets at 4′ x 8′

Today it arrived… Ended up ordering it from the boats manufacturer, Prairie View Industries out of Nebraska. It came pre-drilled with a nice rubber mat already glued down. Now we wait for mother nature to cooperate as this will be an outside project.

Riviera pulled from storage

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Brought home our Riviera this afternoon to begin our yearly inspection.


Small Repair Testing

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Drug our little vee-bottom down to the river this morning too test out the repairs made yesterday. All well with the repairs and the dogs are thrilled!

Small Repair

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The weather is incredible this morning, so I spent the morning outside plugging some leaks in our little vee-bottom.

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Stewart Warner gauge panel for our Ensign

Saturday, January 28th, 2012


Some “Bling” for our Garwood

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Stephanie won a package of chrome for our Garwood Ensign on eBay.

We got all these pieces and best of all…
Our Garwood has screw holes for all the new parts…

Correct part? …our boat has screw holes for new one…

Below: an Ensign at has the bow chrome and aft vent. It’s listed as number 20 of 650 or so built…

It may also be noted that its panel of gauges is similar to ours…

The Inspiration of Algonac

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Saturday, June 25th, we made our way to Algonac Michigan to the boat show “Where it all began.” We were able to meet the “Oldboatguy,” Arlon and see his beautifully restored GarWood Ensign. The oldboatguy pulled his boat all the way to Algonac from Idaho alone. That’s quite a trip and very inspirational… Even more than being where woodies all began.

Taking three dogs to a boat show is just too much… It was hard enough before with two large male labs, but three labs is too much. Our newest puppy, not even a year old, did not like all the strange people. Before, we could take turns seeing and photographing the woodies, but these three monsters/beasts all want to do different things… Boots wanted to crawl under someones boat to just hang out, Sam just wanted to go swimming, and Lizzy just wanted to go on a ride away from all the hoop-la…

I was able to verify that our Ensign was originally made with engine bed logs. Also, got a better idea of the brightwork meant for it. Forgot to ask what ever happened to the old continental the oldboatguy got last year, but found out he’s got himself a Riviera of his own for a future project. We can wish him the best of luck and hopes he and family enjoy it as much as we enjoy ours…

All this inspiration has pushed me along on our garage addition and today our GarWood was pushed into the new garage awaiting it’s makeover!

MJ’s inspection

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Everything checked out okay. So on to the water test… Floats, runs – all good!

Got MJ in the Driveway

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Finally got the space cleared out enough to bring our Riviera home this evening.

I’ve been crazy busy working on the garage addition and I’m still not really in a position to slack-off on it yet, but almost…

In the meantime (when it’s too hot to work on the garage) I can clean/inspect the Chris-Craft. Usually I over-do-it so hopefully there won’t be any major problems to address and she can be floating by the weekend.


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

We headed out for our cruise at 7:50 tonight.  Its a rather quiet night.  No ride last night due to thunderstorms.  Refilled the raccoon buffet and headed for the dam.  Have only seen a handful of Wax Wings and 3 Heron.  Just as we were leaving the dam, Brittany and Riley showed up.  We chatted a while and headed for home.  The ski club was out tonight pulling 3 skiers behind 1 boat!  We saw 2 raccoons by the 3 big pipes.  Back at Preston, we ended up watching 8 raccoons enjoying our buffet! On the way home by Gortes Island, a big owl flew in front of us!  We pulled up to the dock at 9:50 tonight.


Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Mike added 10 gallons of gas and refilled our spare tank.  We left at 7:40, its still 98 with a heat index its 103…hot, hot , hot! :O  We saw a little group of duck playing in the water by Lil Gortes.  There was a big red tailed hawk circling around the RR Bridge. Lots of people fishing by Kingsbury Park area.  As we pulled up to refill our buffet, a little raccoon came out.  We dropped the food and left.  Passed the yellow ski boat by the 281 bridge.  There were lots of Great Blue Heron from the 281 bridge to the dam.  Just past the dam in the trees, we saw 5 Great White Egrets, usually don’t see them until late fall.  As Mike walked the dogs, the skies got really dark.  On the way back, there was a deer eating leaves from a tree on the edge of the water.  The night hawks came out right after sunset tonight.  The pirate ship was out on the opposite side of Preston from us.  As we pulled up to the buffet spot, 2 raccoons were eating, then 3.  Not much later, 3 ran up the river bank! And then there were 7!  Docked under 5/6 of a moon at 9:48.

Fireworks 2010

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

The fireworks were fantastic from the water here at the old Fort Defiance and Fort Winchester sites… This is the last 30 seconds from the Auglaize River.

Algonac – Where it all began…

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

This is “Where It All Began.” Sponsored by the Michigan chapter of the ACBS in the place where Smith and Wood lived, worked and played. Algonac Michigan is located on the St.Clair River. It’s wide and deep with little jet ski’s running along with freighters and such. The show was held at the Algonac Harbour Club and consists of some deep water docks with many large boats. Back behind the restaurant, the woodies were moored below for everyone to view. There was plenty of room for us to have our dogs here… We’ll be marking this show in our calendar for next year!

This particular boat show was special in that a statue of Gar Wood and Christoper Smith was unveiled next the Algonac/Clay Historical Society Museum. Most of the remaining Smith’s and Wood’s were there for the event and our timing couldn’t have been better. We arrive just after the unveiling just in time to see many of the woodies cruising by in a parade.

We got quite a few good pictures while we were there. Here’s a few random ones from our gallery…

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Be sure to check out the rest of the photos in our Gallery

And, while there we also saw a “WoodyBoater” pick-up truck, so be sure to check out his site for more coverage of the event and some even better photos a few post down…

Rash Repair Update

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

pictures/update coming soon…

Dock Rash Repair

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Our Chris-Craft Riviera is about ready


Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

No ride last night due to rain,  making the river go up even higher!  We left tonight about 7:35 in MJ, Boots is a little under the weather.  Saw 3 rafts and 2 boats by Pontiac Park and a few fishermen on the banks.  We dropped a small raccoon food drop on the back side of Preston Island, checked out the turtle on the logs and headed for the dam.  I looked up just in time at the 3 big drain pipes to see 2 fawns and a doe, wow were they tiny!  Then, just a couple boat lengths away, we saw another deer at the stone piles and GM cooling ponds.  Across from Graceland, we saw the hugest leather back turtle we’ve ever seen on the river!  The boys had fun at the dam invade on a couple’s picnic! I fixed the rub rail on the dam dock with a few nails and hammer.  Then off again to watch the sunset.  We had a mom wood duck and 4 ducklings cross in front of us and just where we were settling in to watch the sunset, we saw a mess of geese and their young running into the woods and just beyond them we saw another deer lay just off the river bank near a pile of branches!  I didn’t think we could see much more but then by the 3 pipes again, we saw another doe with the tiniest fawn, you could only see it when it was running!  Just past them, on the edge of the woods, we saw another two larger deer!  What a night, not to mention all the bank and cliff swallows, heron, kingfisher, purple martin, and common night hawks we saw!  No raccoons at the food drop.  But, circled around Preston to check on the 3 rafters floating down river but they looked like they were getting along just fine!  Mike sped up and got back to Pontiac Park before it got too dark, waved to 2 more boats and headed up the Auglaize.  In the middle of the “rock pass” we passed a boat fishing, the boys barked and then it home to dock.  Pulled into dock at 9:35.


Monday, June 7th, 2010

A beautiful evening as we headed out for our evening woodie cruise at 7:45.  There is a lot of foam on the surface so trying to figure out what is debris and what is foam is making it a challenging ride tonight.  It has been great watching the black birds and red wing black birds diving for bugs!  We also have swallows and purple martins darting around us snapping up bugs from every direction!  Lets not forget all the herons, duck, and kingfishers too.  While sitting at the dam while Mike walked Boots and Sam, someone else was walking their pit, a very friendly dog, and a Baltimore Oriele flew overhead!  We were blesses to see a fawn tonight that couldn’t be more than a couple days old across from Graceland house.  A little further down as we watched the sun set, we watched a Cooper’s hawk get chased from tree to tree by black birds.    We got to witness all three sun sets tonight with the purple-pink clouds at the second and the last having orange-peach and yellow clouds!  Lots of debris on the way home but we did see another boat by the library.  Slow going on the Auglaize but finally arrived home at 9:50.  Beautiful ride but a little chilly 68.

What a Wet Spring…

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The weather has been strange this year. We got an extra early start with several warmer than average days in April. Normally, we don’t attempt to put our dock in until after Memorial Day. This year, we were over a month early getting the dock in, and the river’s ever changing level has been quite a challenge, but evrything has been okay other than not being able to get out to the dock a couple times for a total of 8 to 12 hours.

Cruises on the Rivers are slow going because of the debris but it all a good time when riding in our Chris-Craft Riviera…

Just the other day (Friday) we check out the condition of our boats only to find a small (25′ – 30′) tree had got caught under our Riviera. After almost an hour of trying to free this monstrosity, we ended up attaching a rope and pulling it out forcefully with another boat.

After we regathered everything, we took the Rivi for a ride. What we encountered on the way…

Our Tree pulled Free…

Big Obstacles…

Debris at Independence State Park

Ridin’ Home in Style…


Riviera’s Ready

Monday, June 7th, 2010
Our Riviera has had some time in the water and is running great. But for the record, our blog entry, “Pre-Season Prep,” didn’t include any photos. Well, I got a new camera for my birthday from my mom. So, here’s a few pictures…

Old fuel tank
strap connectors


New connection

And new flax in our Shaft-log and Rudder-log…
And we were pleasantly surprised
to see the bilge cleanup so well…
And for a recap of some of 2009’s work: The transom and aft quarter-round was stripped down to bare wood, sanded, stained, and varnished. The second picture below shows the difference in color between the years of service…
All in all, everything has been good this year. We spent less than 100 hours preparing for this years boating season. That about 1/4 of the time spent most years…


Ready to Ride in 2010…

Relaxing done right?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Today was our second ride of the year in our Riviera…

Our evening of relaxation began around 7:30pm. Our two dogs, “Boots” and “Sam” were in the boat before the cover was completely off.

Our Rivi’s been in the water since 2:30pm Sunday, May 30th. First thing was check the bilge, I took a quick peek under the front seat — Not even enough water to cover the keel… Then, as with every ride, I open the hatch and take a quick look there. Meanwhile, my wife Stephanie, loads our cooler, dog leashes, snacks, etc. into the boat and then puts up our flags…

We actually got underway at 7:40pm…

Our ride begins with a 1/4 mile stretch of rock infested waters that we have to carefully follow a predetermined path via a handheld gps. Later in the season when the water level gets down, we’ll recheck rock locations and double check the clear path.

Before getting though the pass, 5 kayaks began coming around the island. Lucky for them, we were just putting along… They waved, we waved and the dogs barked. All a good time.

Across from the island were two pontoons docked where none had been seen before. Actually, one was new and possibly a replacement for an old v-bottom outboard that was docked there last year.

About 1000′ past the island there used to be a big tree stuck in the middle of the river, but it wasn’t visible and may even be gone. We’ll just have to wait for the river to go down and see…

Before getting to the railroad bridge we passed a guy fishing from his boat and another couple just out for an evening ride. Under the bridge were 3 more kayaks. They waved and got the wave from out boat as we waved back…

Once we got to the Maumee River, their was a lot less debris in the water. Kingsbury Park was full of people fishing, picnicking, and taking advantage of the nice weather. Pontiac Park’s lots were also full, probably from all those kayaks we’ve seen today.

We didn’t encounter another boat for a couple of miles, about 1/2 mile before the dam. The boat ramps at the marina appear to have had a couple brave souls use it, but for the most part it’s still unusable. At least they have the docks in and we can stop for the dogs to snoop, run, and do any necessary business…

We left the docks at Independence Dam State Park just before sunset. Boots and Sam spotted a raccoon behind GM’s landfill. We continued to putt along the river’s edge until we saw two young deer grazing behind the McFeeter’s. After a brief minute or two they took off and so did we, cruising along the backside of Preston Island.

Sunsets on the Maumee River are fantastic. The trees and directional changes of the river make it appear as though there are 3 sunsets along our cruise route. Today, timing was right on and we saw all three…

Turning up the Auglaize River we encountered the field of debris. Yesterday’s weather must have really dropped a lot of rain south of us. I know we sure got hammered here with over 3″ and “Flash Flood Warnings”.

Without seeing another boat since before the dam, we arrived home at our dock at 9:40pm. Our exclusive sunset cruise really makes us feel special and even more appreciative of owning our woody.

By 9:50pm, everybody’s up the hill, the boat is covered, and at 10:00pm I have to get ready for work… Life is good when you have a woody.

Launched – May 30, 2010 – Cruised for 1 hour 40 minute
June 1, 2010 – Cruised for 2 hours…

Riviera’s 2010 Pre-Season Inspection

Monday, May 24th, 2010
Our Chris-Craft Riviera has been home almost 3 weeks and things are looking good this year.
Last year at the end of the season, we were taking on lots of water (from the rudder’s packing). Plus the 2009 preseason inspection was frightening to say the least…

West System bottoms can have unexpected problems with water trapped in the wood!

Our biggest concern this year was the integrity of the bottom and the packings for the rudder and the shaft logs. The shaft-log packing wasn’t a major concern because of its accessibility and the fact that it’s been re-packed a few years ago. The packing for the rudder was hopefully the cause of last year’s water problems — not something with the bottom.

First was accessing the rudder-log…
(which still contains the original flax packing)

The fuel tank and filler-tube.
The fuel tank’s fill-tube removed.
Filler-tube and it’s parts…
Not being sure whether the fuel tank would fit out the hatch nor wanting to take any chances damaging the deck, I opted to remove the fuel tank through the starboard side along the engine and out the backseat.
With the fuel tank removed, accessing the rudder assembly was possible. Simply removing the control arm allowed the rudder to fall out as the packing was that bad… To facilitate re-installation, I had a couple 2 1/4″ wrenches cut out of 1/4″ stainless steel.
Since I’m changing the rudder-log’s flax packing, I may as well change the shaft-log’s also.

So first, pulled the shaft
and removed the coupling…

…and the shaft-log apart

The other major concern this year was the condition of the bottom. It’s integrity is of utmost importance and with last year’s discovery has been on my mind ever since…

What about future boating? – restore our GarWood

Where? – addition to the garage

Time frame? – a couple years plus 1 extra in-case? (2013)

Can we get 3 more years from our Riviera’s bottom?

We began by cleaning the bilge with a dry brush, plastic putty knife, and vacuum cleaner. Once most of the loose debris was gone, some TPS was mixed up and used to further clean the bilge. We used one rag to scrub away the grim and another to wipe and dry. New rags were rotated in as necessary to keep from getting any setting water in the bilge.

Three small spots were found on the port side beneath the backseat and floor area. Each spot was near old screw holes used during assembly of the West System bottom merely 12 years ago in 1998.
I wiped out the section to be worked on with denatured alcohol and started investigating the soft spots with an awl and discovered the compromised wood to be fairly localized. Two of the spots only seemed to affect a single layer of the plywood, but the other went through 2 layers and softened the third layer.

All in all, we have only spent around 30 hrs investigating to this point, but we’re feeling good about everything so far. Hopefully, we’ll be able to maintain our Chris-Craft until our GarWood get her restoration (starting this fall?).

Musical Woodies?

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

A very exciting day as we brought our Riviera home from its winter storage facility… The day was quite hectic because our GarWood and Sandrail was already in the shop. I pulled the buggy out in the morning and repositioned the GarWood a bit.

When I woke up in the afternoon, I had to preform my daily ritual of a bite to eat for me and the dogs, a short boat ride to an island down the river for the dogs to run, snoop, and do their business… And finally back to the task of getting our Chris-Craft home.

I continued by moving our car across the street, then we pushed and pulled the GarWood out of the shop and into the driveway beside our house. The Riviera is a little longer than the Ensign so a few things had to be moved around the shop to accommodate it. Rounded everybody up and into the truck to go get the Riviera. Everything hooked up alright and the tow went uneventful other than a little traffic.

Our Chris Craft Riviera is home and in the shop. It’s a tight fit with her rudder against the back wall and the tongue being about 2 inches too long to close the garage door… Gee, I really-really need this building to grow. I had to park the sandrail behind the shop for the time being and will be putting most-all of my efforts into getting the Riviera into the water and out of the way of a much needed shop addition.

Once the Riviera was in the shop, we had to relocate our GarWood somewhere out of the elements. We towed her back to where the Chris-Craft was stored for the winter.