A Hurricane Workshop At Smith Mountain Lake

, ,

The Three Amigos

Thanks to fellow Woody Boater Eric Zelman for reporting in from Smith Mountain Lake at this weekends Workshop.

Almost 4” of rain in 24 hours didn’t keep the SML crew out of the workshop. The doors opened at 8:30 at Bill Garrecht’s workshop in Moneta, VA on the Lake. Coffee and homemade muffins were a welcome site as the rain continued outside.

3 topics were discussed;
The pros and cons of installing a Pertronix breaker-less ignition system on your vintage engine distributor presented by Alan Frederick. The discussion included the shortcomings and benefits of this type of upgrade. The installation process was reviewed, various component costs and is it worth the effort. Alan distributed a thorough check list of information and conditions to review prior to the purchase. One major point to remember is that the Pertronix system will require that the spark plug wires be changed out to carbon type for the system to work properly and your engine to achieve the maximum performance.

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-12-01-52-pmAlan “distributing” some electronic knowledge-

Vintage upholstery material and installation were reviewed by Eric Zelman based on research for the preservation / restoration of his U22. Removing the old materials layer by layer, repair of the infrastructure and the application of new vintage material with a focus on bench seats, seat backs and kapok cushions. Crash pad and ceiling boards were also briefly touched on.
Through the use of “practice run” samples made by Eric during his research our group of boaters were able to see each layer and how it was applied with hand stitching, hog rings and a new sterilized and coated horse hair mix. Sources for all of the materials including burlap or muslin coil springs, edge roll and custom hidem made to match your vinyl or leather were distributed. Biscuit stitched kapok cushions wrapped up his discussion.
screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-12-02-03-pmEric explains how to shave your horse for the vintage “hair” layer-

The highlight of the workshop was the craftsmanship & artistry of the Gold Leaf Man, Stephen Filarsky of Franklinton, NC. Stephen worked intermittently before and between the other presenters allowing set up for the adhesive size application. It was magic to see how effortlessly he skillfully worked while we interjected with questions. I’ll let the pictures tell the story;


Talcum powder is applied through the perforated holes outlining the design.


Adhesive size is applied and allowed to set up for approx. 1 hour.



24 ct. gold leaf is applied to the size.


A light touch and wave of the cloth…


Like Magic! Yes, there’s a few dollars of the magic gold on the splash rail and floor-



The client chose a circular burnished pattern… Bam!


And the finishing touch.


On to the bow and the hull numbers.



The workshop ended with a nice luncheon and social hour. The SML crew typically host a workshop in the spring & fall that rival any other! All are welcome to join. Please contact the chapter or Alan Frederick for details.

And for those of you that want to see some of the other Workshops the guys have done. Here is one in Mexico they did years back.

6 replies
  1. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Lilly is Bill’s daughter, now in her third year at college , who was his constant shop helper when they first started this restoration years ago.

    Now for a WB vote!!!!

    Will he sell this boat and keep the racer he has owned for years, or finally cut the racer loose and keep “Water Lilly” a boat he can more easily get in and out of (age/ Golden Years effect:):):) )

  2. Alan Frederick
    Alan Frederick says:

    Luckily for us, hurricane Matthew only hit us with lots of rain but no major damage. Steve had to venture up from NC so we were worried that he may not have been able to attend the workshop. As Eric mentioned, we host 2 workshops each year and this one was certainly informative.
    Eric does extensive research on all his projects and is always willing to share with others what he’s discovered along the way.
    Steve is a master of his trade and, to my surprise, when I asked him how often he attends workshops, he said this was his first as a presenter. We were certainly happy to have him show us the finer points of gold leafing.
    Bill’s Capri looks stunning and “Water Lily” was chosen because his daughter’s name is Lily. She and Bill worked a lot together on the boat’s restoration.
    Everyone went away with more knowledge and after all – that’s what it’s all about!
    Come join us in the Spring for the next workshop here at the Jewel of the Blue Ridge.

Comments are closed.