Think Restoring A Fiberglass Boat Is Easier Than A Wood Boat? This Video May Change Your Mind.

Oh Eric!

Thanks to fellow WoodyBoater Eric Zelman for sending us in this video of the first step in one of his restorations, a 1962 Lake N’ Sea… You may recall Eric doing this with his Woody Wagemaker. And is also restoring a U22… Yes Eric has issues, but we all do here, so we are all family. But Eric, wow! Now, on to the topic. Restoring a Classic Plastic vs A Woody Boat. You can find cheap plastic ones  all over the place. Like Texx did a while back, below.

Texx’s Time Capsule Lake n Sea back years ago.

Remember Pumpkin? She was totally torn apart and restored. By the way she is for sale and a very good deal for the amount of work done. HERE at Katzs Marina

Now, as you watch this video, you will quickly realize that the dream of buying a fun cheap plastic boat and spraying it with paint and floating away in bliss may not be so easy. The YNOT gang has pointed this out many times with many of their stunning restorations.

The YNOT Chris Craft Silver Arrow is an amazing restoration, but this model is two restorations. Wood and Fiberglass.

Hey. HOLD ON, we are not trying to discourage anyone from anything here. But, a wood boat may have rot issues, but so do classic plastic boats. Even old Boston Whalers are subject to rot. And, yes  a stunning restored plastic boat is going to in the end be amazing, usable and yes…expensive. There is a special place in heaven for the person that restores a plastic boat fully. Because the sad fact is many would just paint it up and use it and sell it with the hidden dangers of rotten wood under the skin. So a video like this is an absolute must. Since it does seriously separate the crap from the real deal. Eric’s Lake ‘n Sea will be the best in the world because of the extra work.  Go Eric Go!

Makes restoring a Woody Boat not seem so crazy? Egh? Like anything out there, if you enjoy the process of restoration, which Eric clearly does. Than its all a priceless endeavor. So get out there, and look for your dream boat, plastic or wood, and know that if its a “Barn Find” or “Ran When It Was Backed Into the Garage” it needs you. And if you are not the enjoy the journey kinda WoodyBoater, buy one thats had the priceless journey already done. Our wonderful sponsors are standing by to help! It all starts with a simple click. And breathing mask!

21 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    My first every project was a build from scratch Hovercraft back in the 80’s.
    It was my first exposure to many things including fiberglass (the canopy over the seats). It is messy and difficult but like anything else with patience works out well in the end.
    Sorry for the bad quality photo. A scan of an old wallet photo.

  2. Sean
    Sean says:

    I am currently rescuing a 1965 Formula Jr (purported to be hull #2) which is the production version of the Wynn Mill II wooden racer. And precursor to the Donzi 16 Ski Sporter. I could not have restored my wooden Greavette by myself however, a complete “glass” project is well within the ability of most DIY-ers. The biggest problem is fiberglass dust from grinding!
    I hauled this boat to Toronto from Miami near where it was under a Banyan tree for 25 years. everything was rotten and needed replacement. A new transom is the current phase but, I personally prefer COOSA board (very expensive) or, plywood to Sea Cast. The stringers will be done with dimensional lumber. This classic is well worth saving!

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:

      You might want to contct Bob DeNisco in Tampa, Fl. He and his sons restored hull #1. They have had the boat at the Tavares show. Bob was also a high school classmate of Jim Wynne. If you can’t find an address for Bob, I have one in my Christmas card file.

      • Sean
        Sean says:

        Thanks Wilson,

        Would love that contact info. You can get me by email:

        dcsconroy AT gmail DOT com


        • Troy in ANE
          Troy in ANE says:

          The DeNisco boat is beautiful!

          It is not a Jr. It is Formula hull #1. If my memory is working today it is a model 233.

        • Wilson
          Wilson says:

          Sorry to be late in getting back on this one, but I had eye surgery last Friday and I couldn’t make the fingers hit the right keys. Having read all this I must profess ignorance in not knowing a Formula from a Formula Junior but to tell the truth, not being into classics while growing up in Miami all I knew was that Don Aranow was building some fast boats up on 183rd St. ( we call it gasoline alley in those days) and friend and classmate Jim Wynne was involved. To tell the truth I thought they were all Donzi’s and that Formula was just one model. So you see I really didn’t know a Formula from a Formula Jr. What I did remember was that Bob DeNisco, another high school friend of mine and Jim Wynne told me sometime ago that that a 4th classmate, George Peroni had found a Formula in a dump or under a palm tree and they were going to restore it. If it had been a Chris Craft I’d have paid more attention. Anyhow time passed and as the restoration was completed I told Bob it was time for a gettogether and he should bring his boys and the boat to Tavares and we could show off our boats together. ( I had a 17 fiberglass Chris Craft Corsair at the time) . Time passed and Bob finally brought the boat and boys to the show and we had a great reunion. It was at this point I learned that there was a difference between a Donzi and a Formua but Formula Jr. was never mentioned…..All of which is more that you or anyone else cares to know other than that Bob DeNisco’s email address is

  3. Greg Cooper
    Greg Cooper says:

    Back in the 1970’s while working with my dad rebuilding his 30′ wooden sloop in Bay City, Mi.. A boating boating enthusiast was complaining about his year old sail boat that had Blister Epoxy Gout ! That was a reassuring reason not to own a fiberglass boat.

  4. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Darn! I checked in too late today. The video has been taken down due to “Copyright” infringements.

  5. Eric
    Eric says:

    Troy, it’s back up. I had to remove the music. (that I purchased from amazon and the artist received a royalty…and gets credit for in the end) I appealed and they rejected the appeal- Matt will have to explain to me how a non profit hobbyist can purchase the music and can not use it to share with my “friends” yet a DJ, band, bar, etc. can play music by request and not pay the piper their 2 cents. Do they really keep a log of every song and send a check to the record label after every gig?

    • Eric
      Eric says:

      BTW I am happy to share a drop box link for those “friends” that want the version with music, just need your email. thx

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      I thought it might happen. Here is why. It a rights usage issue. The artist, owns the rights to the music. Youtube is liable as you are when you use it. No different than if someone used one of our photos in there video without permision. What you need is rights managed, or royalty free music, which you would pay for, Royalty free is cheaper. Like 50 bucks. Like anything, the cheaper it is the worse it is. You had the best of the best, his words said so much. But they are his words, his craft, his time, his expense, his skill. In a sense, what is happening by using him, is saying he endorses your classic boat restoration. So there is that cost as well. The only use you are permited to use it is for your ears and heart. Feel free to contact Bruces people. HA. I would guess 2 million would be around the number for three songs on a video seen by 2000 people. I once had to negotiate the rights to Singing in the rain for a BMW comercial. 1 million. That was in in 1990s

  6. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    hell with the music! The vid is OUTSTANDING…Eric is fearless with his projects. Like others I am itching just watching.
    That is over the top workmanship and craftsmanship and all for a leak and sink…wow! I thought his upholstery presentation was tops…this tops it.
    John in Va.

    • Dave Nau
      Dave Nau says:

      In the middle of a restoration of a 1962 MFG Edinboro.
      So far, it has a new transom of Carbon-Core CarbonBond, after much repair to the transom skins and the motor-well. Also, several significant hull repairs from rock and trailer damage, seat box repairs, plus deck restoration, windshield repair, deck hardware, restoration and complete hull polishing still to come. No paint used at all, except for replication of the splatter paint inside the hull, which it came with from the factory, with hand replicated splatters.. We used matching gelcoat as needed on the outside of the hull. The red deck will come back after massive sanding and polishing. Seat upholstery will stay original, as it is in very good shape.

      When all said and done, I think it will be just as expensive, if not more, than if I had done a proper complete restoration on a 1960 16′ 6′ Lyman, (same size as the Edinboro) partly because of my insistence of using gel coat rather than paint. After all, that’s the way it came from the factory. And this is with no wood stringer repairs, as these old MFG’s have fiberglass stringers!

      It will look great when done. (Picture is before any work started.) But, it’s a whole lot easier if you don’t need a complete restoration. Those kind of unrestored boats, however, are very hard to find these days. My 1966 MFG Niagara is original and unrestored.

      So, I must say that I have gel coat in my blood, rather than paint and varnish!

  7. George Carter
    George Carter says:

    I finished a 9 year restoration of a ’88 Donzi 22C Testa Rossa,
    I invested about 2500 hours and over $50,000 to complete it. The premise is correct, it does take a lot of work. I’ve owned this thing long enough if anyone is interested.

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