A Candidate For Preservation Or Restoration – What’s The Difference?

Model 100 - 3 This summer while visiting my friend and fellow Woody Boater Dane Anderson in Minnesota, one day we decided to take Dane’s 1959 Supreme Spitfire for a leisurely day cruise on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes north of Brainerd. After a wonderful (and adventurous) day of classic boating, we loaded up the mighty 14′ Spitfire and began to make our way back to Dane’s cabin on Bay Lake.

1959 Spitfire

Dane Anderson’s beautiful 1959 14′ Supreme Spitfire fiberglass runabout.

En route to the cabin we noticed an old wooden boat parked on a trailer adjacent to the highway with the typical hardware store “For Sale” sign attached, and we simply couldn’t pass by without further investigation. Armed with nothing more than my iPhone, what we discovered was very interesting (although my craigslist quality photos are borderline at best).

Model 100 - 1
We quickly determined (and later confirmed) that this was a 1930/31 Chris-Craft 20′ Runabout – commonly known as a Model 100 in 1930 and Model 200 in 1931, one of only 291 built by Chris-Craft in those model years.

Model 100 - 2
Although some of the wood looked a little rough, for an 80 year-old boat it appeared to have all it’s original hardware and running gear, except for the windshield frame and one gauge from the original instrument panel.  Dane opened one of the engine hatches to confirm that it did have an engine, although we didn’t take the time to confirm if it was period correct. There was even some blue colored upholstery under the weathered seat covers (according to Jerry Conrad’s book, these boats were originally shipped with blue upholstery).

Model 100 - 4

Model 100 - 5

Model 100 - 6

Model 100 - 7
The very complete 20′ runabout still had the correct Protect-O-Seal fuel filler cap as shown below.

Model 100 - 8
This particular Chris-Craft is probably not a candidate for a “preservation” project due to the age and condition of what could be 80 year-old wood – or is it?

I often get confused about the meaning of the word “preserved” as it relates to the classic boating hobby. Over the last few years, the subject of “preserved” vs “restored” wooden boats has become a hot topic throughout the antique & classic boat hobby, because of the words definition and acceptance in the hobby. To me, the word “preservation” has taken on a wider definition than in other classic transportation hobbies.

However, I respectfully appreciate that organizations such as the ACBS put a great deal of emphasis on “preservation” – and features “preserved” boats as the pinnacle of the hobby each year at the annual ACBS International show. As we all know, it’s extremely important to preserve the history and fabric of the hobby for future generations, and thankfully that’s what the ACBS stands for. The annual ACBS International show in Skaneateles, NY is just a few weeks away and the preserved class boats will take center stage.

But is the word (or term) “preserved” becoming misused or misunderstood in the classic boating hobby? – I’m not sure, that’s why I am throwing this out for discussion today, so please don’t kill the messenger here. There are many other people within the hobby (and new to the hobby) that are asking the same questions, asking for clarification between “preserved” and “restored” and frankly, I don’t know how to answer that question properly.

For example, if what started out as an original wooden boat gets:

– A new 5200 bottom (and wood to the waterline);
– Some new hull side and deck planks where required;
– Some new frames or structural replacement / repairs;
– A completely rebuilt (period correct) engine, transmission and drive line;
– All the original hardware re-plated or replaced with period correct hardware;
– New upholstery and interior;
– New wiring and electrical;
– New fuel tank / lines;
– Rebuilt gauges and / or instrument panel;
– 20 coats of polished varnish, etc;

Does it just come down to how much original wood (or a pre-calculated percentage of wood) is still remaining on the boat to determine if it qualifies as a “preserved” or “restored” boat?

Is there a premium on “preserved” boats vs “restored” boats in terms of value, show presentation or marketability when it comes time to either show the boat at a premier competitive event or sell it to the next owner?

Are some boat owners intentionally directing their restorers to re-use aged, original wood that could be potentially unsafe and / or well beyond it’s intended service life simply to keep the boat as a “preserved” antique or classic boat? (Master boat restorer Don Danenberg did an extensive study / report on the estimated lifespan and reuse of aged wood related to classic wooden boats which was published in Classic Boating magazine a few years ago)

Or does this only make up a very small percentage of the hobby and the rest of the hobby really doesn’t care one way or the other?


Is The Word “Preserved” Used In The Vintage Aircraft Hobby?

Oshkosh 1
In July I traveled to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to take in the 2014 EAA AIRVENTURE event – the largest air show in the world featuring thousands of vintage aircraft of every size and era. 

Oshkosh 9

Wittman Regional Airport hosts the annual EAA Airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This year over 2,600 show planes were on hand for the big week long event.

This years Oshkosh event saw attendance exceed 500,000 people for the 7 day show, approximately 5% to 6% higher than last year.

– Total aircraft: More than 10,000 aircraft arriving at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin.

– Total showplanes: 2,649 (308 more than in 2013) – including close to 1,000 homebuilts, 1,050 vintage airplanes, 303 warbirds, 122 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 91 seaplanes, 40 rotorcraft, 38 aerobatic aircraft, and eight hot-air balloons.

Oshkosh 10

As you can imagine, every type of vintage aircraft is represented at Oshkosh, grouped together throughout the huge Wittman Airport facility. Once the participants arrive, many of them camp under the wings of their planes in small tents, it’s an impressive site to see.

Oshkosh 3

As expected, there was a large gathering of vintage Piper Cubs on hand at Oshkosh, flying in from all over the USA and Canada. Many were perfectly restored both inside and out.

Oshkosh 7

One of my favorites was this vintage 1946 Piper Cub J3C-65 from Pella, Iowa. These guys value documentation & factory records just like we do for our classic boats, and for reasons of air safety the documentation is much easier to source and acrchive. This Cub was built on October 16th, 1946 in Ponca City, Oklahoma. It weighs 713 pounds (empty) and is powered by a 65HP Continental engine. The owner flew it 6 hours from Iowa.

Although I was a newcomer to the Oshkosh event, I did have the opportunity to see and talk to a lot of small, private aircraft owners, and learn about their particular restorations – it was amazing. But usually (at least what I experienced) they referred to their vintage planes as being “restored” or “original” and the term “preserved” was not commonly used in reference to their planes.

The term “preserved” is not that common in the vintage car hobby, and when it is used to describe a vintage collector car, it’s usually refers more to a car that is extremely original, and unchanged from the factory. But it’s also fair to say that cars are usually not made from wood and don’t rot like vintage boats subjected to water and the elements, cars just rust.

Another term that is starting to be used more in the antique & classic boat hobby to describe “preservation” or “restoration” projects these days is “as delivered from the factory” – that one needs some clarification too…

Let us know what you think on the subject of “preserved” vs “restored” – your opinion counts.


Oshkosh 11

A Common site at Oshkosh, a fellow vintage aircraft owner preparing dinner on a camp stove next to his family and beloved Cessna, with the tent under the wing. They managed to get a prime parking spot right along the edge of the runaway where all the action happens from early morning right through to dusk for a week. Portable showers and facilities are always nearby and well maintained for the participants and spectators during the event. Very impressive and well run event.


Tuesday, September 2/14.

For purposes of clarification, here is an excerpt from (courtesy of) the ACBS website. I probably should have posted this in the original story, as it offers some additional information on the subject of “preservation” vs “restoration” – at least from an ACBS perspective. – Texx

A. Policy

The basic standard of the ACBS judging System is to judge a boat in its present condition against what it was like when it was originally delivered by the manufacturer or builder (except Contemporary boats). Properly preserved and maintained originality is encouraged and will be rewarded. Points will not be deducted for high quality repairs to original wood. Restorations requiring major wood replacement are encouraged only when the original material is beyond repair.

Evaluated by this standard, three factors may be considered:

1. Authenticity: Components which came on the original craft as well as exact reproduction hardware and engine parts along with well maintained original wood is the highest standard.
2. Workmanship: A quality level that is equal to original.
3. Maintenance: A completely original vessel may score100% for authenticity and workmanship; however, there will be points deducted for poor maintenance as described in the judging sheets.

B. Preserved and Restored Boats

ACBS defines preserved boats as those containing at least 60% of their original deck and topsides material and are constructed using the same methods and materials as the original. Bottom replacement is expected in order for the boat to be serviceable but the method of replacement must duplicate the original. The use of plywood as the inner bottom when not used by the original builder will cause the boat to be classified as restored.

The choice of bedding compound or sealant between the plies of the bottom is immaterial; any suitable material is acceptable in preserved and restored boats—bedding compound and canvas, “5200”, epoxy or anything the restorer and owner select. Similarly, the use of plywood underlayment in decks or topsides will also result in the classification of the boat as restored. Boats with less than 60% of their original deck and topsides material or restored using non-traditional methods or materials are defined as restored. It is strongly recommended that there be a Best of Show award for both the best of the preserved and restored boats. It is further recommended that awards for the best of the preserved and restored boats be given in as many categories as practical.

For a boat to be considered restored, its owner must, at the request of the judges, provide photographic evidence of the existence of the original identifiable boat and of the various stages of the restoration demonstrating that the original boat was always together as a single entity, sufficiently to be clearly recognizable. At no point should two boats exist – i.e. a pattern boat and the new boat even if the pattern boat is subsequently destroyed. Building a new boat using some wood from an old one will not qualify as a restoration. Such a boat will be classified as a contemporary. The amount of original wood in a restored boat is not determinative. For example, the USS Constitution has essentially none of its original wood but we believe no one would consider it a replica. It is Old Ironsides.

Courtesy Antique & Classic Boat Society Website

74 replies
  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    No one flies a “preserved” plane for long and lives to brag about it. In the aircraft world, safety comes first and that means suspect wood is always replaced, as is the fabric covering, corroded or damaged metal, any worn parts etc. Judging for awards is not obsessed with factory originality and there is recognition for one offs, replicas, custom mods, custom builds etc.

    I get the preference for retaining and preserving the above the waterline wood if it is in good condition, but can judges really tell which wood is original and calculate percentages? If planks from another period boat are used as replacements is that still preserved? Could judges tell?

  2. don vogt
    don vogt says:

    Excellent question, Texx. I think the distinction is ultimately somewhat arbitrary, although as Matt notes, the purpose of this is laudatory. For example, Jennifer II has original hull sides, but a new deck and transom, so it is considered “restored”. If the fore or aft deck were also original, it would have been “preserved”. I think ultimately the judges rely on the honesty of the owner in putting the boat into the correct category.

    Maybe there is a better way to not incentivize owners to replace reasonably good wood with brand new?

    • don vogt
      don vogt says:

      I should add that virtually all of the framing, motor including accessories, hardware, are original. So the preserved/restored distinction only affects one aspect of the total boat.

      Also, who would want to run a boat with 80 year old wiring? or run a boat with a bottom feeding tank and 30 gallons of gas? From a judging points perspective these are recognized, as the safety exceptions. Nothing clear cut the way this has evolved.

  3. Sean
    Sean says:

    “Preserved” is pretty clear. Not replaced. That’s why there is such a premium placed upon the condition. Many boats in their preserved condition may not be as pretty as their restored counterparts or even be sea-worthy. But, they are 100% original. Truly a rarity.

    The vast majority of our boats are restored. as soon as you replace anything not considered a regular wear item (seals, gaskets, light bulbs etc… all okay) it is no longer preserved. But, this is not a bad thing. Restoration keeps the vessel in use, appealing as it was new and safe.

    What I find more disturbing is the ACBS term “restored” has now come to accept 100% replacement of all items from wood to upholstery and even engine as long as the vessel resembles a boat at all times. All of this “replacement” can be done concurrently without the boat leaving the shop or seeing the water. It just takes a big chequebook to destroy history and fake it at the same time. sad really.

    • Don Ayers
      Don Ayers says:


      You saying that this, and or all gray boats should be destroyed rather than restored back to original? I take issue if there are two boats when done. In the end the population did not increase.

      • Alex
        Alex says:

        Don, I agree. I have 2 25’SPs. One is all original wood except the bottom, and has modern 8.1 Crusader power (awesome). The other is mostly new wood – bottom, sides, most decks, interior, wiring, etc – but retains it’s original Scripps motor. Both boats are, in my view, original, REAL Chris-Crafts. Neither is a reproduction. And when I drive them, I know in my heart I’m driving 1948 and 1949, not 2014.

        I can’t really explain it, but the thought of a restored, rebuilt, or even re-created original is so much more emotionally engaging than a new boat. And I know in my heart that what I’m so fortunate to be driving is in it’s heart, the real mccoy, because it started its life when it left the Chris-Craft factory.

        Perhaps the ACBS rules do need some tweaking in their definitions. I’m not qualified to suggest how. But I believe they are on the right track.

      • Sean
        Sean says:

        Don, I think all boats that can be restored should be. But if it is too far gone… that’s a fact of life and maybe it should be an exhibit in a museum. Not every boat can be returned to the water.

        100% replacement in one project is a re-creation or replica. Call it that and it’s all good. Call it a Historic, Antique or Classic and it’s dishonest.

        100% replacement in a single project destroys the original boat and is an expensive way to make a re-creation. I have no problem with an increase in wood boats as long as you don’t try and call the new one original.

  4. Gary
    Gary says:

    Having done both a biplane and several woodies you have to consider the FAA gets heavily involved with the planes and all we get with the boats are the politicos.
    On another note has anyone noticed this year the for sale sections of CB & WB have been pretty slim? According to one restorer friend the woodies are not selling. Could it be saturation or simply the economy?

  5. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    When I look at the definitions of ‘Preserved’ vs. ‘Restored’ I would say that my boat would qualify as ‘Preserved’. But it is only 54 yrs. old. Still how do I document that? I don’t have complete records or even know how many owners it has had as there is about a 12 yr. period where it’s whereabouts and ownership I haven’t been able to determine. It is the period that is the longest back and the boat would have been the newest so I’m fairly confident that it is original wood. It has been kept in covered storage most of its life that I can find so it is reasonable to make this determination. My Boatwright believes that it is all original.

    So how can older boats or any boat with a gap in records make an accurate determination. I suspect there are more boats with gaps in records than there are those with complete records. I intend to use my boat when finished (I’ve not had to replace any wood and the Hull is intact and sound) so even though I will think of my boat as preserved by these definitions I don’t really know about what the Clubs/Judges will think of it.

  6. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    I own several boats that are considered to be “preserved” and one “restored” that are all winners of some awards. Aside from the ACBS definition, which as all such definitions are is somewhat arbitrary, I try to keep as much of the boat and its’ compoenents “original”” as possible. When I did Barnwood with Mike Mayer, I did not restore the gauges, I rebuilt the original engine, retained the original bottom and retained all the lether seat cushions and seats from new. I did not even strip the interior stain and varnish in the under the cabin areas. What needed to be replaced in order to be usable and most inportantly safe was replaced. Several planks needed to be replaced but that was about it. Such a level of preservation in boats is simply not frequently possible – that is inarguable. I would suggest that as soon as you start sacrificing otherwise otherwise usable parts or components of the boat due to aesthetic concerns, the line is being crossed.

    I read the “Bring a Trailer” car site every day and they frequently list cars that are preserved or called survivors but have been repainted, or have new upholstery. How is this question handled in that world? Things wear out- wood especially with rot, so at some point, and in order to be used and protected from further deterioration some replacement is usually necessary.

    While not perfect, I think the ACBS rules are a reasoned stab at preventing the wanton “restoration” of otherwise preservable boats in the name of the perfect better-than-new show winner, and they are also an attempt to preserve originality in appearance and performance – for better or worse. They also encourage using the boats, and that to most of us is critical. There is always a subjective component in the creation of these standards, so questions will always prevail but I personally think the engine and amount of original wood remaining are the baselines to look at. I love the patina on my BB, though it is not as “perfect” as one that has been totally replanked. With original engine and all original wood above the waterline, it is just right for me- patina especially. It was also not perfect when new, either.

    The “preserved” or “survivor” class in the biggest car shows and the car hobby in general seems to be all the rage these days. Are people getting tired of over-restored perfection in the car hobby? How about the boat hobby? Personally I don’t get to worked up about it, as long as the boats get used and enjoyed – though my personal preference is very strongly on the side of preserved boats.

    In my view, it would be totally impossible to present the subject boat today in the “preserved” class as the amount of wood that would need to be replaced to make it usable, let alone safe is far too extensive. Good discussion here.

  7. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    If you do not change construction methods it really does not matter… so a two layer planked bottom should be a 2 layer solid planked bottom. Batten seamed bottom or sides should be batten seamed bottom or sides.. But at the end it is what it looks like finished… A 100% restored boat that started out as a rotted piece of junk is still as much fun to use as a boat that was in perfect original shape… Actually more… I’d be more worried about damaging an original boat than damaging one that has been re-built.. But in the end it really does not matter… they are all beautiful boats.. As long as they look proper… (sometimes they are even beautiful when altered but in many cases not)

  8. Alex
    Alex says:

    “En route to the cabin we noticed an old wooden boat parked on a trailer adjacent to the highway with the typical hardware store “For Sale” sign attached, and we simply couldn’t pass by without further investigation.”

    Dane and Texx, THAT was your first mistake. “Noticing.” As in the sy-fi classic, “Day of the Triffids,” just looking makes people go blind. Tho in this case, to reason. I know this from experience.

    May I suggest you each buy one of these. Then, just keep driving…

  9. Grant Stanfield
    Grant Stanfield says:

    I’ve loved PRESERVED classic cars and boats since long before it was cool to say so…they’re only original once…

    Buy the very nicest original piece you can scout out and afford, and as long as they are safe and drivable/seaworthy, enjoy them just as they are and always share them with others.

    You’ll be very surprised how much attention an unrestored relic will grab at classic boat and car shows …it’s eye-opening and really gratifying!

  10. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    I think the ACBS does a pretty good (not perfect) job with the judging classifications and setting the standards for recognizing preservation and restored boats. I have been a member and active in the hobby now for 18 years and have seen it evolve over time with much time and effort put in by people who love old boats and everything they stand for. In my opinion they all should be saved as a part of history, used and passed down for the next generation. Some boats are so rare it would be a shame just to burn them because they are to some too far gone. I have done a couple of boats that would fit in that category I am glad to be able to save some history. When we do boats like this we take the time to get it as historically correct as possible. One reason we do this is to preserve history so the next generations after us will know how the factory built the boats and what materials they used. Yes it takes more time and money but I am glad that there are people in the hobby that it means something to them to help keep these beautiful pieces of art afloat. These are boats that need to be called restored and are as close to the factory appearance with the use of some modern materials. Some of the interior materials are just not available anymore and we have to do the best we can with what we have.
    We just finished a great example of what I would call a restored boat. It came to me with almost nothing left of the original hull and what was there was rotted or eaten by some animals. Century only made about 12 to 15 of these boats and only 1 or 2 of them exist today. It went through a 2 year restoration and a lot of time was put in to getting everything historically correct. The reason it took the time it did was to get everything just as it would have come from the factory. It is a very important piece of history for the hobby and I am glad the owner recognized that. Almost all the wood had to be replaced, only the stringers and some framing was able to be saved. But we used all of the materials that would have been used at the time and stamped serial numbers and other information just as they did when it was built. It is definitely not a preserved boat but to say it was not restored I am not sure I would agree with that. We have the chance to save these boats and enjoy them as long as we can, what a great hobby.

  11. Grant Stanfield
    Grant Stanfield says:

    If you’ve ever caught an episode of ‘Antiques Roadshow’ this might help explain:

    Occasionally I chuckle when the Keno brothers (high-end appraisers) casually mention that if so-and-so had RESISTED the urge to refinish their 18th-Century Chippendale highboy it would be worth oh…$1/4 MILLION or so MORE. Then I smile and watch the owner’s face go ashen…

    Think of yourself as a responsible steward of the rich stories and hard-won patina that your collectibles have gained over the years.

    Another example: New tires; new battery; fresh fluids & regular greasing; tuned by old pros; detailed to death…aside from that I fully enjoy her but leave her the hell alone!

  12. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Another thing that stands out to me… While Piper Cubs are almost always maintained and restored in their iconic cub yellow, note in the picture of the classic round tail Cessna 170’s that we can see 7 tails and no two are finished the same. Does the lack of factory originality take away from the display, or does the variety add to it?

  13. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    I love both of Alex’s boats, equally, no matter what they’re called. The important thing is to use them. I just finished a glorious Labor Day weekend, where I went through two tankfuls, giving friends and relatives rides around Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. One asked me, “Why isn’t anyone using those other woodies on the lifts and in the boathouses.” Good question.

  14. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    I always smile and shake my head at this discussion – there is no real answer, just as there are no two people who are exactly the same in this world.

    That said, I believe it is important to save these boats, and any way that can be accomplished – preservation/restoration/storage – what have you – is preferable to destruction and loss of the vessel. For the past 25 years I have been saving/storing/preserving a 1936 20′ GarWood “Streamline” Sedan Utility – the first year of the model, one of three known to exist. I want to restore it, my spouse is not interested in it, so it sits in my garage waiting… for what, I’m not sure, but one thing I do know is I will not let that boat disappear.

    “Sindbad” is an interesting point of discussion in that it is an entirely original hull – bottom, frames, planking and fasteners as built in 1937-39 by a hobbyist in the San Francisco bay area as his interpretation of the CC Racing Runabout of the day. The second owner (who was involved in the original build) removed the orignal deck and changed the boat around a bit at some time in the 50’s – then put it in storage. I returned it to a split cockpit configuration, lofting a new deck and interior, and using modern power. (though I still have the 1939 Cadillac V8 Flathead that will return to the boat at some time)

    I took it to Tahoe for an ACBS annual meeting and asked that the boat be judged – not because I expected any award, but to learn and to share the boat and it’s story. That proved to be an interesting dilemma for the team, as no one knew what to judge or how to classify the boat. Ultimately, it was classified a “restored replica” and I learned that had I used slotted rather than phillips screws to secure the trim and hardware I would have gotten a few more points – as that was more appropriate for a pre-war boat. The judging team in the end appreciated the history of the boat and the originality of the hull – and thanked be for bringing it to the show.

    But with all of these boats, the best thing (and the point of it all) is to get out on the water and use them! For that to happen they must be sound, safe and functional.

    Whatever it takes, that is the ultimate aim. 🙂

  15. TommyHolm
    TommyHolm says:

    There are few restored old boats. Mike green,s efforts on that old century is commendable, but that boat is a replica in my opinion. He could have saved his patterns made from the original and guess work where nothing existed and gone into production – just like the factory. Those boats are replicas not restored.

    • Mike Green
      Mike Green says:

      I have to disagree, when a boat is a replica it is a copy of an original with no hull number from the factory. How much wood has to be there for it to be restored? I think if it came into the shop as hull number 113 and you do everything you can to make it as factory delivered, safe and last another 70 years then you restored the boat. So what if owned the boat for 50 years and replaced almost all the wood over it’s lifetime would it not be then the same boat we started with, or now a replica. The dictionary defines Restoration: the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. I think the key word is returning. I returned that boat back to it’s factory condition and retained as much wood as i could use. Believe me it would have been a lot easier to build a new boat from plans as a replica.

    • Don Ayers
      Don Ayers says:

      But he didn’t…

      Tommy, you telling me if you found the rarest Century in the condition pictured you would just burn it? Give me a break and jump down from your high chair (in jest, you know I love ya).

      Seriously, anyone can build a replica or a new boat that looks like an old one. That is not the topic. The subject is should original boats be destroyed because of the wood condition? Why is there no value placed in other original parts etc.

      Same ole story, a Hatfield vs McCoy, Have’s vs Have not’s.

      Green has integrity, maybe that is what this is about?

      I was the second person to save that Gar Wood in the pic and if it ever gets restored and I heard someone calling it a replica they might lose a tooth. That boat was a time capsule, it just had a tree growing out of it.

    • Sean
      Sean says:

      Tommy, I agree. It’s not about destroying old grey boats. Time and weather have already done that. By virtue that nothing useable is left the opportunity to restore them is gone. Re-create? sure. That keeps the history, building methods, materials etc…alive. Why do the grey boat remnants have no historical value? The actual bones left are what is real. But, We’ll replace those in a heartbeat to say we have a genuine floating antique. There’s nothing wrong with making a recreation and calling it as such. It is commendable to build one… just don’t throw away the bones of the real McCoy.

  16. Grant Stanfield
    Grant Stanfield says:

    “Hmmm…to preserve…or go for a full restoration?”

    It gets complicated…only YOU can decide.

    Choose wisely:

  17. JFunk
    JFunk says:

    Technically, by ACBS rules if you wish to abide by them, a preserved boat is no less than 60% of original wood from the waterline up…with all original hardware, gauges, etc., and original-type bottom construction (no glues). If it were up to me, and it isn’t, I would tighten up even those guidelines to something like 80%-90%. Perserved boats are very rare and special ladies…seldom used on a regular basis. Personally I prefer restored boats more as they seem to be more fun as users. If you break them they can be fixed.

        • Texx
          Texx says:

          Thanks John – I just updated the story with an excerpt from the ACBS website that will hopefully clarify a few of these details.

          By the way, congratulations on the successful re-launch of your 1930 Chris-Craft Model 100 today! – Texx

        • Cobourg Kid
          Cobourg Kid says:

          Hmmm …. everyone knows that any boat that had factory installed plywood in it also has glue in it . Oddly I know a mid 1930s boat that had one of the first factory installed plywood bottoms… the remainder of it is Mahogany ( about 90% original) . Perhaps I am wrong but I’m thinking the no glue rule ( with amnesty for 5200) was not particularly well researched and drafted.

  18. TommyHolm
    TommyHolm says:

    I like to know just how much original wood is left in that restored boat, mike? ( not really).
    I have seen restored boats with one piece of sentimental wood left. These are not restored boats, they are replicas. Heck, you could take all your patterns and make numerous boats, just place a silver or two from the bone yard original. Heck we could go to Manistee and gather up some sawdust, build a brand new boat, throw some 60% sawdust on it and call it good. It’s not a high horse it’s a definition . It’s not about saving or not saving, it’s about brand new boats with modern techniques being past off as an old boat. Pshaw.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Tommy – There are stories about this type of thing actually happening. Guys starting out with nothing more than a few pieces of mahogany (not even a pattern boat – but a hunk of wood), and what they say is original wood and a hull number and passing the re-constructed boat off as an original.

      No word on if it was ever classified as a “preservation” or “restoration” or “as delivered from the factory” though…

  19. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    That would just be dishonest to call something with a sliver of wood an original. That’s your best argument… please! The key is the hull number it is what it was. The stringers some frames and a couple of other pieces are 100% original on the boat. I have heard years ago that someone took a hull card from the archives and then built a boat to try and pass it off as an original. He was caught. If it has significance in the hobby then the word gets out an its really hard to hide of fake it in this small community. For those following this Tommy and I are good friends, just keeping it real.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Doug – Does the above updated information from the ACBS website address your question, or should this be addressed by a non-wood expert? (Probably the latter)

      • Doug P
        Doug P says:

        The latter

        I have assumed that “Museum Standards” would be in effect as that applies to galleries, etc….. But every museum has different standards, so there I am, assuming 🙂

  20. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    Wow , what a day! I missed a lot! I think this is going to spill over to tomorrow. Unless ineda APart shows up to the party. Hope to see some of you at the Buffalo show this weekend we can continue this discussion at the bar!

  21. thomas d.
    thomas d. says:

    more important is what was the price on the old chris craft boat and where is it located. would this one be preserved, restored or a replica.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thomas – We didn’t speak directly with the owner (although we had the phone number from the For Sale sign) but according to a local source the owner was asking in the range of 20K -ish.

  22. Sean
    Sean says:

    Okay, buddies 97 point, 1969 Camaro show car is stolen. By a twist of fate it is recovered from a lake 5 years later, Stripped, pancaked, burnt and twisted and he manages to get the rusted scrap shell back.

    The original engine & tranny were still in his basement (not in the car when stolen) and he had all the original papers, manuals, build sheet and ownership. Every part for that car was available aftermarket.

    He built the car mostly from aftermarket parts (produced offshore) and some good available used parts. He was careful to use parts with correctly dated part numbers. He installed his numbers matching original engine and transmission. He took the stamped serial numbers from the original destroyed chassis and transferred them to the new parts.

    He now has a documented, numbers matching 1869 Camaro. Or, does he? How would you feel if you just bought it?

    Boat hulls are more than number plates.

        • Sean
          Sean says:

          Texx, the point is the proof is there. Original documentation, engine, transmission and a beautiful vehicle. If you didn’t know the story… you’d never know.

          Boats are no different. A hull plate and hull card with an original engine and some hardware does not make an original boat. It helps make a re-created one more accurate.

          If you change any part that is not considered regular maintenance then it is not really preserved. If you fix a surface it is restored (as in the sentence “restored to new”). If you change the upholstery it is restored.

          But, to be restored, some significant structure of the original must still exist. I will not argue percentages but, it’s somewhere north of a board or two. If there’s no original structure it has to be a re-creation.

  23. Dane
    Dane says:

    Maybe we try to define too much. “Originality” is a scale, “Preservation” is the goal and “Restoration” is what we do to make our boats useable and to look nice.

    • Chad
      Chad says:

      Perhaps we should define a class between the two?

      I believe my boat to be a “RESTERVATION”

      I kept at least 90% of my original wood intact. However, I decided on a 5200 bottom, 12V upgrade, rubber fuel lines, foam seat cushions and a gazillion coats of varnish. It scores well at shows and is one hell of a user boat.

  24. Chad
    Chad says:

    Wow, sensitive topic. Sorry I’m late to the party.

    Thomas D, that one would be called a boat. 😉

    I guess it really doesn’t matter that much (to me). Fix the darn things, anyway you see fit, and go boating! Save them all! Even if it’s a wheel sticking out of the dirt.

    • Alex
      Alex says:

      Hear hear! Said the ADD guy who really doesn’t care whether it’s preserved or restored, yet appreciates the rarity and novelty of the former (BarnWood and “Queen Patina” (Wise’s boat) come to mind.

      Start from scratch reproductions leave me cold. Even tho they may be outstanding quality. (In cars, an AC Cobra comes to mind. Reproduction ones, even if faster and better handling, are copies.)

      No offence to fine boat builders, but I’d much rather buy or see built a totally fresh, original design, not a copy of old.

  25. Texx
    Texx says:

    Sean – I agree with your comments above regarding the difference between original and restored cars. In the classic car world, original means “original” in terms of paint, engine, non-repaired surfaces, etc.

    That’s why I prefer to see the DNA of the car (photos and documentation from the day it was delivered new to date) to ensure it’s originality.

    Where we run into problems when comparing 80 year old boats to cars is the original materials. For example – park an all original (never restored original paint) 1932 Ford beside an all original (never restored – original wood) 1932 Chris-Craft and there will be a world of difference due to the metal vs the wood.

    That’s where the rules and definitions become murky… After comparing the two side by side, you can drive the car away – however the boat may not be ready to float away without some serious “preservation” or “restoration” work…

    • Sean
      Sean says:

      I agree Texx, that the 1932 CC will probably be in dire shape compared to the car. It’s the nature of the beast. Why do we need to change the definitions? It just means there are really few preserved boats.

      But, there ARE some out there. There’s nothing wrong with a restored boat. There’s nothing wrong with a re-creation either. We just have to “man up” and be truthful.

      I became passionate about this when taking some friends to their first ACBS show. It was difficult to explain why the 1930’s boats were in better condition than the 1960 and 1970’s boats. Many of the beautiful ’30’s boats were replicas finished within the past 5 years. it was confusing for them.

      Then I showed them some real preserved boats. We’re lucky in Muskoka because the boathouses are a great place for wooden boats and there are still quite a few with original decks and bottoms. These preserved boats showed some nicks and gouges. they were not perfect but they were real.

  26. tim george
    tim george says:

    I have been restoring transportation for 20+ years. I have so much more respect for someone who restores a “gray” boat. Call it a replica if it makes you feel better. I don’t care but a person fully recreating a beautiful item in their garage from rotten bones is usually more challenging than it was to produce it new in a factory full of specific patterns and custom made tools etc. I love you guys who do these complete restorations. If someone “Clones” a perfect replica of Grace Kelly one day from her bones I will take my hat off to them just like I do for the people who recreate rotten boats. You probably have more passion than many of the factory workers had in the old days who were just collecting a check. Bringing more art to the world, even in replica form, is more impressive to me than simply preserving original art. Patina often means junk.

  27. Texx
    Texx says:

    Chad – I like the idea of another new class “RESTERVATION”

    Do you think we still have enough time to get this class introduced at the upcoming International show in Skaneateles, NY? “LILY” would fit right in…

  28. Mischevious
    Mischevious says:

    For those so inclined. I have a boat for sale(2 hatches) with hull numbers intact. The boat(hatches) is a 1927 CC Cadet. For those with deep enough pockets I can restore, preserve, or replicate the boat whatever be your choice. Maybe that’s what wrong with the hobby. Instead of judged shows lets have cruise ins display our boats take people for rides and expand the hobby. The next generation is waiting lets dress up the hobby and make it affordable.

  29. Sean
    Sean says:

    When I restored my Greavette I replaced the hull and transom. I didn’t have to do the bottom but, I wanted a worry-free user boat and didn’t want to do all this twice.

    It was all put back just as the factory made it with the exception of some Sicaflex. I then put in a modern motor and drive so I could use the boat the way I wanted with performance and peace of mind for reliability. I changed the colour of the interior and altered it some. There’s more than 60% original wood but, its a restoration. A modified one.

    I call it a resto-mod. Something the auto hobby has embraced for some time. You can’t really tell till I open the engine hatch (or blow past you over 50+mph). Younger people love it.

    Despite my modifications there’s enough original boat there to place well on judging day. I wanted a boat to use, not to show. I make no apologies. I don’t care if I don’t win anything…. But, I do not purport it to be something it is not.

  30. Texx
    Texx says:

    A great comment from Rob Cassell on the Woody Boater Facebook page.

    He said “Preserve when you can. Restore when you have to. Respect the history. Don’t forget to have fun. See, that wasn’t hard…”

    • Ed F.
      Ed F. says:

      That is well said Rob, and thanks Texx for bringing it here. The words “as it left the factory” are so far from the final product judges seek out today that we have lost sight of what that really means. A factory fresh boat from the ’30’s ’40’s ’50’s etc would be reduced by the judges for mis matched planks, light or dark colored bungs, thin varnish 3-4 coats, with no shine, non perfect castings and chrome, etc etc. that it could never win an award under current judging philosophies. Wood boats today, whether restored, preserved or recreated or so much more highly finished than they ever were originally that at a show, most people would walk on by wondering why that boat was being displayed. Fuzzy black and white pictures from the 1929 New York Boat Show show this to be true. You can see what are considered defects today in what were the best of the best in 1929. The truth is that these treasures of today were not built by artisans or in most cases even craftsman. They were built by farmers and ordinary folk who needed a job and went to town to supplement their income. Today’s “standards” are way higher than they ever have been and thankfully so. Why shouldn’t these boats be treated to the best methods, materials and procedures that we can provide. Had those processes been available or even conceived by the original producers you can bet they would have used them. To do any less than the best we can do would be a dis service to these wonderful time machines that we love so much. Enjoy them, love them, share them and most important of all use them! Take the best care of them that we can so that 50, 75 or a hundred years from now people can still share the experience.

      • Psaul H.
        Psaul H. says:

        I aggree very much with this. Unles syou own a totally custom built example, or perhaps a Minett, Ditchburn or maybe Greavette (and a few others) from the ’30’s or earlier., your boat was built on some sort of assembly line. Did they ever book-match the wood at the factory, for insance? Doubtful.

        When I prepared my ’48 25′ Sportsman for show, the original dash finish did not need to be touched – though dull it was otherwise perfect. So, I had a single coat applied to brighten it up. At a major show, I was docked a full point for “dash varnish to thin” even though it had one coat more than it left the factory with. All I could do was laugh….but I will still preserve rather than “restore” in an effort to make the boat do what I want it to do – provide a user experience as close to what it provided originally as possible. But that is my personal desire, not everyone else’s.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      But it ignores resto-mods and reproductions. This hobby for whatever reason is struggling with inclusiveness.

      Look at the Airventire show. It is run by EAA, where the E stands for Experimental, yet half the show planes and 80%+ of the planes at the show were non-experimentals. If it flies it is welcome. If it used to fly it is welcome. If it might fly it is welcome. Whatever you do with your plane, they have a place for you.

      Could you imagine an ACBS show with 250 show boats, another 750 boats that show up but are not registered as displays, plus 50,000 visitors? If we achieved that, it would still be 1/10th the size of Airventure.

      • Ed F.
        Ed F. says:

        Iam guessing there are way more boat owners in this country than airplane owners. It’s an interesting comparison. Airventure’s website is really nice!

  31. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    I think all have good comments , I think if we break the subject down into specific categories we will find much common ground as pertains to acceptable terminology , methods, and valuation in the hobby.
    I had to think about this for a few days and came up with no easy answer because of all the different boats, years, and restoration methods. The hobby is like golf, only as good as the players integrity. You know when a boat is a survivor, when it needs restoration, and when it needs complete reconstruction.
    Judging a preserved 1938 hull against a 1959 wood boat should take in consideration the age.
    Restoring a rare wood boat while leaving blemishes, pier dings and patina should be recognized.
    Reconstructing a wood boat piece by piece using the original wood as patterns , should be applauded .

  32. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    The important thing is that the ACBS has provided fairly good definitions for both Preserved and Restored boats with sufficient details that one stands above the other without excluding boats that do require extensive restoration. A Restored boat must start out as a boat, not a pile of rotted wood or a hatch or piece of wood with a name tag or number stamped into it. It must be something that is obviously a recognizable boat, and one that maintains its recognizable boat shape throughout the restoration process from start to finish.

    The bottom line is that ACBS recognizes this as a Restored boat, if you can prove it. There are fuzzy edges on any set of rules but I believe the intent is spelled out clearly enough by ACBS. Call them what you may but ACBS calls them “Restored”.

  33. Al
    Al says:

    Does anyone have any idea what a boat like the specific one in this article, is worth? I live about 45 miles from this boat pictured at the start of this article. I stopped…took photos….then drove in the lot…checked it out…and fell I love. BUT I don’t know…what is it worth? Yes…most of the hardware is there…but the wood is definitely gone…patterns at best. I would LOVE to restore it…but is the investment going to be worth it? I have no idea what the owner is asking. So what do all of you woody owners think? What’s it worth?

  34. Al Monroe
    Al Monroe says:

    just so no one is wondering…yes I own the proper tools and have the woodworking knowledge and mechanical expertise to do a wood boat restoration. It’s the value of the starting project I’m not sure of. Been a boater since I was 5 and currently own a modern 21 foot Four Winns. I’ve loved wood boats since I was a teenager and saw my first ones at a car show of all places. I just don’t know where to start with one in this condition…thinking pretty low…there is really not much to start with. This is new to me…so just want an idea of where to start?

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