The Woody Boater Lifestyle Is Alive And Well In Michigan!


The Michigan gang, and a cool Sea Skiff

I am looking forward to my trip in June to Algonac for the big show.  for many reasons. One, is just to bask in the glory of all the rich history of the area and Wooden Motor boats. That wonderful history is rich in the Detroit area. But that’s just stuff, machines and hardware… The real thing that is fantastic to see and feel, is how those machines came about. And they came about because of the wonderful people that call this place home. And they sure know how to have fun, how to squeeze the life out of a short summer. Not one day is wasted.. There is also a wonderful team spirit that we all share.

We got this email from fellow Woody Boater Greg Lewandowski.

Michigan Chapter Lifestyle:

I thought I would share a story with you regarding another aspect of the WoodyBoater “Lifestyle”. One of our older members, who also happens to be the club historian, is in process of restoring an 18 ft. Chris Craft Sea Skiff. Since his dexterity and stamina is not quite what it used to be, he was having some trouble getting the bottom ready for painting. Our Commodore, Carl Garmhaus, heard about what was going on, and put out the call for volunteers to give him a hand. Eleven guys (including Joe) from our club got together at Joe’s house yesterday morning. We had the bottom stripped and ready for prep and paint in less than two hours.

This is what its all about. Dang! What fun..

The bottom never stood a chance.

cough cough.. But sure does the trick fast.

We were all pleased that the wood was in great shape, and would not require any replacement. Joe is the gentleman on the far left in the group shot that we took after completing the job. Unfortunately, since Carl took these photos, he is not shown in any of them. As any group of WoodyBoaters would do, we then completed the outing by enjoying a greatly prepared burger that Joe provided off his grill, with a couple cold ones and a lot of catch up on what was going on in our world of woody boats. I thought you may enjoy the story and excuse as to why none of us had time to look at your web site until later in the day yesterday.


17 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Better than a barn raising.

    “Bottom razing?”

    I have my doubts this is in Michigan though. There’s not a single bottle of Bell’s Beer in any of the photos. And EVERYBODY knows Michiganders work for Bell’s.

  2. ranger
    ranger says:

    Good on y’all…!

    Other than being on the water, can’t think of a better way to spend a day with boating firneds…

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Great story, paying forward for Joe’s contribution to the chapter as historian. Good for you guys for recognizing and helping out with his need in spite of the less than warm and sunny day.

  4. DonD
    DonD says:

    This is the truly fun stuff.

    Every chapter should organize local groups who might work together like this.

    When I get calls from people who just attended their first wooden boat show, and want to buy a classic, I tell them;
    First, join the ACBS and a local chapter, and find out how many chapter members are nearby you. Get to know them and their boats before you buy the first pretty boat you come across. Get to know what model will suit your needs best.

    Imagine pooling the knowledge, research, and tools and how that would lessen the expenses on all aspects. Group material orders severly lowers the costs of those.

    Buying mahogany in 1,000 bd/ft bunks (4-5 boats) lowers that cost by 30-40%. If everybody is in the same area, then they all split one shipping charge.
    Buying bronze screws and bolts by the 5,000 quantity does the same. Bedding compounds, paints and sealers, etc., etc.

    You could meet to work on Joe and Bob’s boat every Saturday for a year (better than Poker), while riding in Fred, Tom, and Chuck’s boats in the summer. When these boats are done, you work on the others.

    Everybody doesn’t have to buy that bandsaw (that only gets used for that boat), that big router or grinder, the real clutched-screwgun, etc.

    Everybody gets to learn and share research.

  5. DonD
    DonD says:


    You could ask the Grand Poo-bah;
    “the center of the wood-motorboat universe: Woody Boater.”

    Do you;
    A) Buy the sexy barrelback and spend a King’s Ransom on the restoration, before you find that your belly doesn’t fit behind the steering wheel?


    B) Find out from experiencing your buddies boats that what you REALLY want is a large, comfortable, utility?

  6. Alex
    Alex says:

    Hey Don, your advice about pooling resources works for Bell’s Beer too. Kegs are cheaper by the ounce than bottles.

    • DonD
      DonD says:

      Wish I could relate.

      “Bells” probably tastes something like “Beer”.

      I am a boatwright, I drink some form of UN-grog (Rum, without water), when I am on the hard.

  7. Texx
    Texx says:

    Thanks Don – That is the best advice I have ever heard for anyone thinking of buying any wooden boat, period.

    Regardless if they are planning to work on it themselves or have someone else do the work for them.

    If only I was given that advice 8 years ago… Well, don’t get me started.

    • DonD
      DonD says:

      Yeah well,
      We’ve been discussing Riv transoms on my forum, of late…,

      Many threads.

      They began with a photo and question by you.

      You might be more responsible than you might presume?

  8. oldbaldguy
    oldbaldguy says:

    Wow, I thought people from MI would be more eskimo-like with whale skin kayaks. Sure that picture wasn’t taken in Ohio or some place further south? Just seems too green for MI in April.

  9. Carl Garmhaus
    Carl Garmhaus says:

    We’ve had a pretty mild spring this year. Finished in 1 hr and 20 min, didn’t break a sweat, and the beer was Labatt’s

  10. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    What no Stroh’s? Or is fire brewed to dangerous around wood boaters?
    Can you go back next week and raise him a larger garage?

  11. Joe Kassmann
    Joe Kassmann says:

    I sure appreciate the help at the sanding party. It would have taken me most of the summer and still would have needed help in and out of the garage. We have a great bunch of guys in the Mich. Chapt. who are always ready and willing to help. Thanks again to all who helped sand and absorb the beer. The first coat of CPES is already applied.

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