Two 15 Year Olds, And A Dream Boat.

thompson 10 before

One can dream

thompson header?

Dreams come true!

Fellow Woody Boaters and future key holders to the Classic Boat Culture kingdom are brothers Alec Kane and Daniel Kane from up in the Les Cheneaux Islands sent us in his cool Thompson they restored. Go guys go! Go with the wind, the waves and the warmth of magical summers. You are the future, and we are proud to have you here in Woodyboaterville! Take it away, it’s all yours.

Thompson barn pull

Pulling her out of the Barn! A real barn find!

I have been interested in wood boats my whole life and it all started on my grandpa 1961 Chris Craft sea skiff in the best location I know the Les Cheneaux Islands.   At only 15years old I have been inspired and have a passion to find and restore myself a boat of my own. So I took to the Internet and after 6 months and some convincing to dad I finally found it, a 1957 14 ft Thompson. This boat it a true barn find. Remember it is a 1957 and the last time it was registered and in the water was 1964.

thompson stripped

Stripped and cleaned

thompson repair

more finish work. Dad Dan and grandfather Ronald Slanker also helped this along!

The original owner bought the boat new and ran it for 7 years then put it in his barn and never touched. After 52 years of collecting dust it finally say the light of day. With snow on the ground my brother(also 15) and I were determined to have it floating at our cabin in Hessel Michigan by summer.  After only 4 months we did it. For two 15 year olds it is pretty impressive

thompson 13

Next the deck

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Starting to look like a new boat


Adding a blue stripe to match the family Sea Skiff. Wait for it!

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The launch with an oldboard. The fire extinguisher is ready!

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Come on! One more crank




The ageless and timeless smile of pride and joy!

thompson whaler

Up on the UP small whalers are the go to kid boat. not now. I bet old school cool is going to be contagious.

thompson dock


Thompson Smile header

That’s heaven, enjoy guys, when you need to go to your happy place when you have a job in a big city doing TPS reports, you will dream of these sort of moments.

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The magic of the area, where Woody Boats are part of life.

thompson Marion

Well, there is an old friend!

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thompson dock Skiff

Wow. Brothers from another plant!

Thompson Family

Back on land with the family

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Cool shot.

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Thanks again to the Kane family for sharing with all of us. Its heartwarming to see families being families and living the dream. Go Kanes go!

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

    4 months from barn to water, that is AMAZING!

    One of the best stories we have had in a long long time. I love that big sister Sea Skiff is a twin screw. You even painted them alike.

    Heck I thought it was impressive that I bought my first wood boat at 17, let alone restore one at 15. AWESOME!

  2. Pappy
    Pappy says:

    Great story and a real pretty boat. May the Woodyboater force remain strong with you young men forever!

  3. Old Salt
    Old Salt says:

    What’s up with the engine? It looks like the last photo has a different outboard engine on it compared to the rest of the photos..

    Nice job Alec and Daniel! Hopefully when my two boys are fifteen they will follow in your footsteps.

  4. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Great story about two young men who are obviously a credit to society…especially the boating society..I predict great futures for both of them.

  5. John Baas
    John Baas says:

    This story restores my faith in the future of the classic boating hobby. Heck, it restores my faith in the future of our country! The parents of these young men did it right. The brothers are doing it right. Keep it up, guys! Congratulations on a project well done.

  6. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude
    Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude says:

    EXCELLENT work guys. Love it and yes, lapstrakes RULE!

    Wish you had kept the shearstrake stained and varnished like original. But I do understand the desire to “match” the family CC Sea Skiff paint scheme.

    Bring her to the next Thompson Antique & Classic Boat Rally at Marinette, WI in June 2017. No judging. No awards. Just fun with boats!

    I happen to be sitting in my office which is only about 300 feet away from the old Thompson Boat factory in Peshtigo, WI

    Andreas Jordahl Rhude
    Thompson Antique & Classic Boat Rally, Inc.
    a nonprofit corporation

  7. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Kane is able (or I should say Kanes are able), nice rescue. Love the tumblehome on that Thompson. Congrats on a job well done.

  8. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Congratulations, gentlemen. Well done. Have a great summer enjoying that beauty!

  9. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Great job, neat boat….I cruiser for lots of miles in my Whirlwind this weekend…those classic outboard boats are very cool.

    John in Va

  10. Bill Loose
    Bill Loose says:

    Great job guys, a very sweet boat! Lesson learned – start young enough and you won’t go grey restoring a woody!!

  11. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Great job on a wonderful boat! We had a couple Thompson boats in the fleet when I was growing up. They are something special. Enjoy it!

  12. Mike Barr
    Mike Barr says:

    Great story about a great family. I’ve been friends with grandpa, and been around these boys since they were puppies. Our company, Metalbrite was proud to be part of this project on their chrome work.

  13. Bridget
    Bridget says:

    Hey guys amazing work! Great to see more young kids working on these boats. Doing mine was so much fun and so rewarding. Awesome job!

  14. Emil King
    Emil King says:

    Great story, and I’m sure they’ll get a lot of attention from their friends.

    As far as I can tell, a lot of teenagers in my neck of the woods (especially the ones you would take to be the trend-setters) are really into old stuff, even if they have no idea why. Retro is cool to a lot of them (you can verify this by visiting any Urban Outfitters store). Just the other day, some college kids left a note on my FJ40 Land Cruiser to see if they could hire it for a music video. Vintage, “heritage brands” are big on social media right now. I think it’s the fact it’s different. Not sure where wooden boats fit on that spectrum, though Chesapeake Light Craft just had a demo day this weekend and there were lots of kids out paddling and sailing wooden boats.

  15. Bill Christie
    Bill Christie says:

    I live out on the west coast in Canada. My dad ordered his boat from Peshtigo and it was railed to Spokane and then trailored up to the Kootenays on Arrow Lakes. I was maybe 6 at the time and recall vaguely the launch. It was exciting. My father named her “Joyce” (mom’s name) and she was elegant as mom. First I recall was my brothers saying how well she planes and that soft spray from the lapstrake. Two beautiful silver “screaming mercs” behind. The Joyce was a central part of our family and we identified with the quality of her workmanship. We had another runabout and camped up and down the Arrow Lakes. Family was 2 girls and 3 boys and cousins or friends usually came along. I believe she was the only Thompson on the lakes and people recognized her. Both boats backed into the pebble beach. Campfires and early morning water skiing at pancake breakfasts with the boat club. Those were the days. Recalling The Joyce, I get a sense of wonder of what is good in the world. Some day perhaps I will visit the spot where Thompson Bros were and where the Joyce was created.

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