The Smith Mountain Lake Gang Had A Workshop. OK, They Have Alot Of Workshops!


Eric Zelman wearing the colors and his presentation on reproducing boat emblems via home-made molds.

The Smith Mountain Lake Gang is a very.. VERY active and fun…well..gang of folks that keep each other going on the lake, as well as keep the knowledge flowing. Local Northern Neck Woody Boater Eric Zelman made a trek to the latest workshop to talk about how to make original metal lettering. Sadly for us, it was a nice event, and no one cut off there fingers or had a Reed And Prince screw drilled in their hand. Just some fun folks doing what a classic boat community does.  Here is the report from Eric


Additional group shot with Bill Garrecht’s 1955 Capri after total wood replacement await stain and varnish.

Thanks Matt,
Just want to tell you that the SML crew had a great workshop yesterday! First, the 40’ x 60’ building that Bill Garrecht has is great. We need one in the northern neck! I’ll start working on Jill …may take a few years!


John Rieth discussing his restoration of the bottom of his 1955 20’ Century “Banchee”.

Both of the boats are going through full restorations; John Rieth’s ’55 Century and Bill Garrecht’s CC Capri.


Group inspecting the bottom of the 1955 Century.

The guys are very, very detail oriented and rival any professional restoration shop if not better. Bill’s Capri is incredible. He has been working on it for 4 years, a complete wood restoration. It is now ready for bleaching and stain but looks beautiful naked! John is going through a frame by frame replacement and then on to a 5200 bottom on the Century. Every angle on every batten notch is being individually addressed, etc.


Alan Frederick discussing the fine art of adjusting a band saw.

smith gang

One gang we should all join!

7 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Nice! It always seems like they are busy having a lot of fun up there at Smith Mountain Lake.

    Matt have you ever check to see if the “Mountain Lake” is named after one of your relatives? There can’t be that many Smiths in Virginia.

  2. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Matt, Alan has a Hall-Scott he has just restored and runs on the stand regularly. I’ll try to get a video at our next workshop, when it fires up it pumps so much water it floods out the huge workshop Alan has.

  3. R daley
    R daley says:

    Was looking forward on the how do to make metal lettering.
    Is there a resource on who to do this.

    • Walt
      Walt says:

      I was wondering the same thing. What kind of metal lettering was he talking about – gold leaf or making cast letters out of metal? Maybe as a follow up he can show what a “5200 bottom” is. I hear that phrase a LOT but have never figured out what exactly that is. I know 3M makes 5200 compound but not sure how that is used on the bottom of the boat (and why it’s such a bad thing in the eyes of the respected ACBS judges).

      • Phil Jones
        Phil Jones says:

        Walt ask someone to lone you Don Dannenbergs book on how to restore wooden runabouts, and respected judges do not look down on “5200” bottoms. You can also go to Dannenbergs website for much more detailed info. Hope this helps.

    • Eric Zelman
      Eric Zelman says:

      If your local high school still has a mini foundry in the shop class check with he teacher to see if the kids can make a sand cast for you. You can also use a spin cast or roto mold foundry but that is expensive for just a couple of pieces. I had neither so I borrowed the emblem I needed from another enthusiast and made an RTV type mold and then poured in resin both are available atthe local craft shop. If you send me your email through Matt or reply I’ll send you back all of the pictures and product. thx

Comments are closed.