North country boat works

Love a smile! – Photo Credit: David Blohm Photography

Thanks to fellow Woody Boater and hip guy Andrew Robb for sending us in some cool resto shots of the very rare F.S. Crate Custom he did at North Country Boatworks. What is also cool is that Andrew is part of a new generation of young boat Restorers out there, who are for sure living the lifestyle. Go Andrew go!

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Photo Credit: Kent O. Smith (from Clayton Boat Show)

We finished the full restoration of “Nezzie”, a 1948 F.S. Crate 26′ Custom Triple Cockpit in the summer of 2015 (a brief history of the boat can be found in an earlier post from 2014). Designed for larger bodies of water, the boat is well overbuilt, with heavy bottom frames and steam bent white oak intermediate frames from the chines up to the sheer (an unusual design detail). She very much resembles a large Shepherd, with high freeboard, similar deck planking construction, as well as using almost all of the same chromed hardware manufactured by Brydon Brass Company.

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After a lengthy restoration, we were able to preserve close to 80% of the original Honduran Mahogany planking above the waterline, deck planking, and interior. There had been some alterations made over her 68 year lifespan that became obvious as we were restoring the interior, so we made every effort to revert the changes back to an original appearance.

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One interesting problem we encountered was that the forward and middle cockpit ceiling planks were originally installed first, running full length from the forward bulkhead back into the engine compartment, with the middle cockpit cabinetry being constructed afterwards on top of them. The ceiling planks were stained and varnished, but there was never any way to remove them from the cockpit so they had been varnished in place since 1948. We decided to split the ceiling planks into their two cockpits, making them removable which would allow future maintenance/varnish work to be done outside the boat and granting access to the wiring that runs behind them. Visually, everything looks exactly as original.
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The boat had twin fuel tanks located in the engine compartment. We opted to remove the reserve tank and open up more space to work on the engine. The tanks were originally converted welding tanks from the 30s with bottom fed fuel lines, obviously posing an unnecessary safety risk. We had a USCG approved aluminum tank fabricated to fit the space, and ran all new fuel lines with an  inline filter and shut off valves accessible under the middle cockpit seats, where they are hidden but easily accessible. Also in the engine compartment, we installed a dual battery bank and a new stainless steel 4″ exhaust pipe.

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We took “Nezzie” to the Clayton Boat Show last August, where she was graciously awarded best in her class and received the “Museum’s Staff Award”. Then in September we took the long drive out to Minnesota for the International Show where she finished with the “Silver” award for her class. Unfortunately at the end of the weekend we couldn’t get the WB engine started, at which time Matt and the Woody Boater crew thankfully gave us a much needed tow back to the launch ramp. As Matt always says: “Its not a boat show without somebody needing a tow!”

tow-home

File photo from Gull Lake – Sorry Andrew, we caught the “situation”

You can find “Nezzie” cruising her new home waters on Lake Michigan this summer.

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Off to the shows – Photo Credit: David Blohm Photography

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8 Responses to “North Country Boatworks Shares The Cool F.S. Crate Triple.”
  1. Troy in ANE

    What a Beeeautiful Boat!

    I’m betting it was a condenser at Gull Lake.

    Matt: when did Peter’s Billiards show up? That makes for an interesting sponsor.

  2. Dan T

    Andrew, that’s great that you were able to recycle so much of her original mahoganies and powered her with the W. Love the high sheer. Nice work. Congratulations!

  3. mike s

    A beautiful boat restored by a talented restorer. Great job Andrew.

  4. Jim Bell

    F S Crate built one off boats and was one of the largest Chris Craft Dealers in Canada located in Keswick Ontario on Lake Simcoe. His son Lloyd Crated carried on the business and handed off to his two sons and one daughter. His third son went his own way just north of Keswick to Orillia, On. (Crates Lakeland Boats) Lloyd passed away about 2 years ago. The brothers and sister lost the business to creditors shortly after the passing of their father, Lloyd. Sad story, too long to tell here. Lake Simcoe has several woody Chris Crafts from Crates selling them over the years. I have owned a couple including the 24′ Sea Skiff I am restoring.

  5. floyd r turbo

    Thanks for the very interesting additional details Jim and happy Canada Day to all our Canadian friends

  6. Keith

    Awesome job on a very cool and unique boat. Hope to see you soon, Andrew! And let Tommy Tantrum know I still have his mallet!

  7. Richard Daley

    R Daley
    Jim
    Would love to see some pictures or a story on the restoration of your Sea Skiff
    I also have. 24 footer which Iam contemplating a restoration on this winter