Steve Says – It’s All A Matter Of Perspective


Bottoms-Up-Shop-22 Steve Bunda loves working on wooden boats and has been involved with them his entire life. For Steve, who has lived on Okauchee Lake for more than 30 years, what started out as a passion for wooden boats eventually became his profession, when he opened Bottoms Up Antique Wood Boat Restorations in Crandon, Wisconsin. For many years now, Steve has made a living restoring and preserving antique & classic boats at his 6,000 square foot boat shop in northeastern Wisconsin.

Bottoms Up has worked on many different marques over the years, but specialize primarily in Chris-Craft utilities and runabouts, with a passion for pre-war boats. Steve & Laurie’s personal daily drivers include a 1936 19′ Chris-Craft Custom and 1937 Chris-Craft 22′ Triple Cockpit Runabout.

Steve’s motto: “You are guaranteed a pleasant experience restoring your boat with excellent communication and customer involvement in important decision making.”


Bottoms Up Antique Wood Boat Restoration Facility

Today Steve Bunda offers up his “no-nonsense” take on the wooden boat restoration business, based on his many years of experience and involvement in the hobby. For our viewers who are new to the hobby or considering taking on a wooden boat restoration project of your own, this is valuable information.

It’s All a Matter of Perspective
by Steve Bunda

Now that you have your new project wood boat at home it is time to make some decisions on what is needed to do a proper restoration. A multitude of questions come to mind. What needs to be replaced? What level of restoration do you want to achieve? The first thing I ask my customers is how they plan on using the boat. Will it be used at the family lake cottage? Do they plan to trailer the boat to shows such as the 100 point concours show? Is it meant for pleasure and to become a family heirloom? Will the boat be exclusively for investment purposes?

All these questions preclude the question of boat restoration vs. boat preservation. Do you prefer an old deck and side planks that show their age from pier dings to cracks or do you want perfect decks and planks that are copies of the originals? Do you want an old original bottom that must be soaked up before use or would you prefer a new bottom that requires no soaking? These are all decisions to be made prior to beginning the restoration process.

Chris Crafts with total restoration needed, the question is what should or could be saved and still be an original boat.  1928 cadet and 1937 25 foot  custom

A Chris-Craft with total restoration needed, the question is what should or could be saved and still be an original boat? – 1928 CC 22′ Cadet.

Boat Owners

Most wood boat owners fall into one of the following categories or groups…

Boat Owner 1 – Enjoys sharing his or her boat at concours shows judged by a point system. This boater may pay any expense to achieve factory condition, including matching numbers of all components.

Boat Owner 2 – Becomes actively involved in local boat clubs and attends shows judged by fellow boaters. This owner wants a boat to be as original as possible without breaking his or her pocket book.

Boat Owner 3 – Wants a comfortable, original looking boat. He or she attends few or no shows, as the boat is for personal and family use. With little worry over clubs and shows, this owner will not fret over slight modifications from original equipment.

Boat Owner 4 – Purchases a boat to turn a profit. He or she may or may not choose to restore to any standards.

The Boat Restorers

Boat Restorer 1 – Believes that a boat should leave the factory at 100% authenticity. Every modification other than refinishes will decrease the authenticity percentage. This restorer will replace wood that is structurally deficient but will retain as much original wood to the boat as possible, while maintaining the boat’s presentation. Hardware and gauges may require a little cleaning up, along with puttying of small plank cracks or pier dings. The fewer changes, modifications, or replacement of parts the better. Restorers on the PRESERVATION end of the spectrum are purists.

Boat Restorer 2 – Will take a boat and replace any and all wood that is deficient or has any imperfections. All hardware and equipment is completely rebuilt to the highest and best standards. This restorer can also be a purest and produce what some refer to as museum quality. He is preserving a boat and a piece of history but unlike Restorer 1 the wood on this boat is new and a copy of the original, thus decreasing the factory quality authenticity percentage. Sometimes the hardware and equipment may not be originals from this hull, but are fitting replacements or replicas.

Boat Restorer 3 – Works on a boat for Boat Owner 4. The main goal is to make a sleek looking boat quickly and get it on the road.

Everything is a matter of perspective when it comes to wood boat restoration. But there is one thing that boat owners, restorers, hobbyists, researchers, collectors, and family boaters have in common, the wood boat. To better understand the terms preservation and restoration, they must be defined.

Preservation: to keep in the same state and save from harm or destruction.

Restoration: To bring back to a former, original or normal condition, renew and restore anything taken or lost.

A 1937 25' Chris-Craft Custom which requires a total restoration - again, what should or could be saved and still be an original boat.

A 1937 25′ Chris-Craft Custom which requires a total restoration – again, what should or could be saved and still be an original boat?

In My Opinion…

There are no absolutes. Every boat is different and will require a different approach and solution. Today we cannot expect to trailer them down the highway at 70mph. Get them wet once a month or so. Keep the boat in dry garages and expect the boat to stay stable and perform like a new fiber glass boat. Not every boat should be restored to exact museum standards, the cost can be excessive and may never be recovered because every time you use the boat it is wearing out all over again. Enhanced traditional bottoms make a wood boat more forgiving and usable for owners, on and off the lake.

Safety modifications are smart. Lots of varnish is overkill by 1930s and 40s standards but really protect your investment and allow the boat to show nice. Every single board, screw, hardware, equipment, interior, and so on will always be a matter of perspective. This is the fun part of our hobby. Discuss it, scrutinize it, compare it, but please always keep an open mind and look at it from other’s perspective and then make up your own mind. Based on the above outline, you need to develop a realistic set of objectives for your wooden boat restoration / preservation project, which fit both your personal use and budget. Those objectives need to be carefully conveyed to your restorer for a successful outcome.

Possible categories on boat judging.

• General levels of work done on a restored boat
• Boats operate and float
• Boats restored to authentic factory quality
• Refinishing of wood boats (as general maintenance)
• Boats have factory hull numbers.

22project1922 003 - Copy
SURVIVOR BOATS: Original Bottom Boats

Level 1 – boat has refinish, boat retains original engine, interior, unrestored gauges, hardware, etc.

Level 2 – boat has some wood replacement from accidents or light rot, less than 10% wood plank replacement, refinished, original restored equipment.


Level 1 – less than 50% plank replacement, refinished, original restored, rebuilt, engine gauges, rechromed hardware, new interior, etc.

Level 2 – More than 50% plank replacement, refinished, original type restored equipment.

RESTORED REBUILT TO ORIGINAL: Boats with Much Wood Replacement.

Boat started as grey

Level 1 – new bottom, substantial replacement of frames, keel, planks, all parts and equipment were original to the boat or original type replacements, engine, gauges, etc.

Level 2 – complete wood replacement, boat may or may not retain a couple of wood parts. Everything is brought back to new as it left the factory. May have mostly original type replacements, engine, gauges, hardware , etc.

In conclusion: The boat owner should seek out all the information possible in order to decide the best plan of restoration for their individual needs. There is loads of print and picture documentation available from books, magazines, researchers and internet sites.

The Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club and The Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS) send out an excellent magazine to all members and have fine web sites. Classic Boating Magazine is published bimonthly (they don’t offer a website) and is also an excellent resource for all wood boating enthusiasts. Many hard cover and soft cover books are available, some dedicated to a specific model and type while others are more general covering many types of wood boats, one of my favorites is the Bob Speltz – The Real Runabouts series.

Internet sites cover the complete spectrum including, boats for sale, boat restorers, boat clubs, boat forums, eBay just to name a few. Try to attend a wood boat show, look at the wood boat types and models, talk with boat owners, I have found that they are very willing to share their stories. Visit a few boat restoration shops and see wood boats in various stages of restoration and repair.

Bottom line – “Do your home work and know what is involved to be a wooden boat owner and a member of a very limited and special club.”

I Quote one of my mentors Jim Andersen of Pine lake Wisconsin, who said – “What would you rather do, see the entire lake in two minutes while driving a high powered fiberglass speed boat, or take your time and spend all day enjoying the summer day and lake in your wood boat?”

In a recent e-mail Steve noted: “You should see the blond Chris-Craft boats we are currently working on all at once, hope to have them all lined up and refinished at once in the next few weeks. A 1955 CC Capri, 1955 CC Continental, 1959 CC Capri, 1959 CC Continental, and a 1959 or 60 CC Sportsman.”

“Any way, here are some picks of what is a good example of a boat that is excellent for preservation. This boat is from it’s original owner, a 1936 Chris-Craft 18 foot runabout, with original H, we will make the necessary corrections to include installing a correct steering wheel, remove extra key switch and the boat will keep her original bottom, and we will not re-chrome the hardware.”

1936 Chris-Craft 18' - 1

A perfect candidate for preservation – a 1936 Chris-Craft 18′.

1936 Chris-Craft 18' - 2

1936 Chris-Craft 18 - 3

1936 Chris-Craft 18' - 4
“This preserved boat will be used and not sent to a museum. Preserved boats with original bottoms must live in a humidified environment such as a wet boat house, on a boat lift, or near he waters edge.” – Steve

On the other end of the wooden boat restoration spectrum, here are a few examples of what we have experienced over the years which is also important to share with folks new to the hobby.

Copy 1

22 foot Chris-Craft Cadet, 8 year old new bottom, enhanced traditional, canvas with bee’s wax, on old painted frame work – “FAIL”

Copy 2

Wooden boat completely glued together with 3M 5200, had to cut it apart with a Milwaukee sawsall – “FAIL”

Copy 3

New epoxy bottom on 17 foot Chris- Craft Deluxe, southern boat moved to midwest, bottom – “FAIL”

Copy 4

New bottom installed on frame work that was stretched almost an inch wide, framework sister-ed in Lew of proper correcton – “FAIL”

Copy 5

Stainless screws for deck refastening causing black oxidation stains (halos) around all bungs – “FAIL”

Copy 6

Replacement steel fasteners in stringer causing it to explode! – “FAIL”

Steve BundaBottoms Up Antique Wood Boat Restoration

Thanks for sharing this story with us today Steve. All valuable information that we can all leran from for sure. For our viewers out there – Agree? or Disagree? Let us know with your comments, that’s what we are here for.

It’s a small hobby and we can all learn together, and never stop learning. I can say from first hand experience, what you learn (or don’t learn) now, will pay big dividends later if you are considering a wooden boat restoration project, big or small.

For more information on Bottoms Up Antique Wood Boat Restorations you can Click Here to go directly to their website.


36 replies
  1. Randy Rush Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush Captain Grumpy says:

    Steve: Pretty much hit it on all the points. Im a NFW im going to spend 4k to get an extra 2 points at a show kind of guy. Im also probably the cheapest person around. Ive got a guy , I should say chraftsman working on my $300 boat right now driving me crazy. he is doing it right but im sure no one will notice or care when its done.

  2. Troy
    Troy says:

    Very well worded. Fitting mostly in category 3 I sometime feel a little like an impostor around all the purist 1 and 2’s. This article helps me feel welcome and accepted for who I am and what my goals with wood boats are.
    Thanks Steve for writing it.
    Thanks Matt and Texx for bringing it to us.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I have yet to see any evidence that real work has ever been done in Steve’s spotless display room…I mean work shop.

    It is impossibly neat and clean, as if he has a team of velvet elves to clean that place 24/7. Can we get some ivestigative reporting to look into this mystery?

  4. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    Where are the photos of Laurie sweeping up the rot from the boats you flipped? Still looks WAY too clean.
    I’m hanging with Jethro by the cement pond today.

  5. Kevin Callihan
    Kevin Callihan says:

    I know the article is well founded simply from learning from past mistakes with nice wooden boats. This article will be kept in a file for templates of one’s point(s) of view. Thank you. Your opinion is appreciated. Kevin Callihan

  6. Drwoody
    Drwoody says:

    Bah, this is a bunch of bunk!! I took my boat here to fix or restore some dock rash. I have a user boat that is not a “show” boat. However it is solid and a level three boat, like a cruze night car with some bondo. After leaving I was made to believe my boat was junk and that I had been taken advantage of originally. I then went to some other reputable restorers and they restored my faith. I did not pay show quality price and each said the boat was a solid level 3 boat. Perfect, no, usable, yes. I did have the dock rash fixed and then redid the interior and some other odds and ends. I feel back in love with her.

    The entire time I was there and my boat was being degraded, I was being sold that I needed a 90K project triple and he just happened to have some. I see from the pictures that the triples are still there and no one else has bitten

    I find it ironic that now this article comes out and it’s content. I guess they did not match the restoration job to the boat nor user, but instead to the pocketbook.

  7. Alex
    Alex says:

    Interesting read. I can add this. Never ever cut a corner when it comes to safety, whether it’s to save money, to defer spending it, or to maintain “originality.” Whether the intent is preserved, restored, trailer queen, or user… doesn’t matter. Above all else, it’s gotta stay afloat and not blow up. The rest is all elective.

    (Also, nice Retriever in pic 5.)

  8. Tom H
    Tom H says:

    Who installed the bridge crane runway? there does not appear to be any lateral bracing of the columns or runway beams. I’ll bet a $ 100 that was not permited. nice clean shop though. I coat my shop floor with big globs of expencive epoxy not that shiny slipery paint.

  9. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Ok Tom, Are you an engineer? crane is built to lift double the chain falls , that is 4 times 2 tons = 8 tons times 2 is 16 tons. the average 22 foot boat is 2 tons. Much less undressed for flipping.

  10. Howard Lehman
    Howard Lehman says:

    An excellent read. I think Steve made all valid points. One thing I learned by taking my wood boats to various shows and reading the many articles in wood boat magazines and books….there are quite a number of opinions on what is “the right thing to do”. How a person wants to restore her/his wooden boat is like considering Shakespeare’s famous question….”To epoxy or not to epoxy….”To 3M 5200 or not to 3M 5200….that is the question. Same with original or modern power, “factory like” interiors or custom, etc, etc. However, as Alex pointed out, safety is most important. Seek out people like Steve who have lots of experience with wood boats. If a person is new to wooden boats, they must consider all the things he wrote about. I’ve always found Steve to be a great guy who does great work. And yes, his shop is incredible!

  11. Texx
    Texx says:

    Thanks for your comments Howard.

    I like the headline “To 3M 5200 or not to 3M 5200….that is the question.” An ongoing debate in the hobby for sure, which can get rough…

  12. Tom H
    Tom H says:

    I sell and install bridge cranes so any cranes I see in a photo catches my attention just like a missplaced peice of hardware does to some of these boat guys.
    I have no problem with the crane itself. My issue was with the runway and the lateral bracing of that system. In all of the pictures I saw there was no bracing to the building and with those columns positioned the way they are it needs some as there is not enough of an avaliable moment connection with the small baseplates you have for adequate support.

  13. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Paul, do not take this wrong, you can see in my last picture the unpainted box steel 45 degree to the building. This was done on both sides. My only experience with overhead bridge cranes was many years ago when I was involved in the tool and die mold making field. I worked at a number of first class shops and operated huge cranes to load machine tools and to flip very large injection molds. Some of this tooling was the size of today’s small cars. So forward to the boat shop 15 years later, I longed for a nice bridge crane ,so I called the professionals and had one engineered for the shop. The crane you see is completely engineered for the application on deep concrete footings. This was not a easy task because the shop also has over a mile of pex water tubes in the concrete floor. In addition to the concrete , the floor has 2 inches of Styrofoam under the concrete and proper steel mesh. Anyway back to the crane, it is made of American steel from New York, has a serial number that is registered and is over built. If I have Won the $100.00 wager that you brought up, I do not want the money , but Please donate to , paypal will work. thanks, steve and laurie

  14. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Troy if you want heated, go to CC boat buzz under hull construction, author/ SCAMP, now that’s heated, wish I had experinced Steve’s hospitallity, I would have had a much better experince.

  15. brian t
    brian t says:

    In the article above, regarding the top photo of WS7197CM, with all due respect, I would be a bit ticked off if that was my boat because I clearly see that the chain holding that baby up in the air is just left to scratch and ding up up the deck.

    Why not have the excess chain contained within a small bucket which then sits on a clean shop towel – to keep the deck finish clean and scratch free ?

    I am mostly in Boat Owner group #3 EXCEPT that I want our boat to be very original and yes I will freak over any modifications. We do not “own” our boat – I am merely the current caretaker…..

  16. matt
    matt says:

    For the record, kudos to Steve for putting an opinion out there for folks to react to. This hobby needs more conversation like thi to help new folks see what goes on behind the scenes.

  17. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Brian T, good eye on the chain fall, this picture is of a boat that I owned at the time , and it needed a complete deck replacement. At all other times the chain is on a towel when boats are lifted. Since this picture was taken that boat has been completely restored with all new decks. Brian I invite you to my shop and see how we operate, I think you will be impressed.

    • brian t
      brian t says:

      Steve – If I ever venture past Idaho I’ll look you up. I figured that there was a logical explanation. Judging by that clean floor, the great space and the number of boats in the pics, you must be doing something right !

  18. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Someone might have to explain to me how a boat glued together with 5200 that had to be cut apart with a sawzall was a “FAIL”. Looks like the 5200 did its job. Did some wood need to be replaced or repaired from physical damage? rot? poor craftsmanship? then I don’t see how 5200 was a cause.

    Certainly it makes it difficult or damn near impossible to repair but that’s the decision the owner/restorer makes. For what its worth, it would seem more boats would benefit from using it (properly) than not. Just my $.02.

  19. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Floyd, The full story on the boat glued together is , The boat was restored with stainless screws to refasten the old rotten , cracked , thin, dried out and ugly planks back on the hull. I do agree with you the 5200 is fine as a bedding compound, the failure is not using new wood . The stainless fasteners also caused very ugly black spots around all the bungs that could not be remedied. The headache for this restorer is having to cut apart a job that was could have been done correctly by just replacing the old wood before gluing it to the frames. Once the old plank is off and one must reinstall with silicon bronze fasteners, rebung and fair, why use the old wood? So now you say , preserve vs restoration? Thus the reason for the article. More questions? steve

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      Thanks for the response Steve. Looks like the previous shop/owner was penny wise and pound foolish or just taking short cuts. How do these guys stay in business? Don’t understand why owners don’t do more in depth research when spending their money.

  20. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    There are no absolutes in the restoration of a wood boat, every boat is different, every boat owner is different in their needs and wants. There is not only one correct way to restore a wood boat and different procedures are used in various parts of the country with good results. But there are many ways of messing up the project and getting poor results. So many variables including cost and budget restraints , materials , workmanship, time frame, ect.
    It would be nice to talk about these items in a virtual town hall type forum , as much more information can be covered verbally vs typing. Then after all the information is presented and all the questions are answered and talked about , some possible conclusions may result.

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      and putting anything on paper/digital forces you to defend a position that 100 people read but 5% come up with some off the wall interpretation you could have never anticipated. Can’t agree with you more. Applaud your efforts to start the ball rolling.

  21. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Floyd r turbo, that was the reason for my post and my POINT with the post on CC BOAT BUZZ under Hull Construction/ Scamp awhile back. Most times, only a certian club will here about bad work and no one outs these people. They are just glad to get there boat back and they just move on. I have found that’s the dirty little secret that no one in the hobby wants to come out and confront. A lot of times things are subjective and a lot of people new to the hobby don’t ask the right questions and as I have found out now you can ask the right question and be lied to just so they get the work. No way to protect against that, although some may think long and hard before going to Vintage Marine. I hope so. I don’t think I should be ashamed to tell my story with verified photos to back up my statements. There are alot of good restoration guy’s out there, that do great work, and are customer friendly, and there are alot out there that think they walk on water and are not customer friendly. Steve’s concept is a breath of fresh air compaired to what I experinced. And his shop reflects that. As I stated in my BB coment, reserach these guy’s like they are your daughters suitor, and get 5-6 reference before you ever consider ANYONE!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Sean
    Sean says:

    Well, I don’t think I fall into any category….

    I’m sorta #2 and #3. Nothing wrong with what would be called in the Automotive circles a “Resto-Mod”. Old hull, modernized. I pay for quality, but manage all investments for optimum return/utility derrived.

    I believe in drivers, (and mine is a family boat too). Any punky/questionable wood gets replaced. I don’t have a budget to do this stuff twice. Interior is new and functional but, based on the original styling…improved.

    I’m active in clubs and take my woody to shows BUT, (and here’s the difference) I don”t care what other people say/think…. It’s MY boat.

    Of course , my boat is no Ditchburn …and is on the low end of the “respect meter” from the silver spoon crowd as she’s a late model, plywood construction volume build type boat so, there is nothing financial lost in modifying her.

    I agree every owner needs to know what kind of boat they have and how they will use it. Every boat/owner is different and has different agendas so I’m not a believer in “4 type” pigeon holes. However, I think Steve is on the right path to have the conversation(s) with the owner so the right decisions are made and everyone is happy. I believe this is how you run a successful shop. Kudos Steve.

  23. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    I think some owners may be embarrassed if they’ve been “taken” depending on the “level” of money and the process in which they were “ripped off”. I’m aware of one situation where a restorer dragged the restoration out so long the owner got irritated (which anyone could understand) and had to get the sheriffs involved to get his boat and parts returned but somehow, the restorer slipped away with several expensive components. I only heard the owner’s side but what a fiasco. You just can’t make this stuff up. But one has to acknowledge with all the scams and shoddy work going on in the residential construction and remodeling industry, this is bound to happen here as many restorers come from that and few go thru a true apprenticeship at some accredited school. Some of the best restorers I’ve seen come from the cabinet/woodworking field and they understand wood and do awesome 100 pt work. Others get the work that the very good shops turn down because they won’t take the “piecemeal” job where the owner has short funds and just wants you to do the bottom or some wood work and he’ll “do the rest”. Then they get your work and do a half assed finish and your business gets associated with the poor looking resto work because of the owners half assed work. Of course that’s just one scenario.

  24. Texx
    Texx says:

    Steve Bunda is right on track with his insight and comments on the subject of wooden boat restoration and/or preservation.

    There are many excellent wooden boat restoration companies out there, providing their customers with high quality craftsmanship, solid advice and reasonable value.

    Unfortunately, there are also a few questionable wooden boat restorers out there that are simply ripping off unsuspecting customers, because the customer is either new to the hobby, naive about the process, lacking in terms of knowledge regarding wooden boat restoration work or the unsuspecting customer did not do the necessary (pre-contract) homework on a particular restoration shop.

    Almost everyone we talk to who has been in the classic boat hobby for any length of time has a personal horror story to tell or has had a bad experience due to one of these questionable wooden boat restoration shops.

    Somehow, we need to find a way to expose these questionable, unethical restoration shops to the public, so future customers are aware of thier antics, unprofessional behavior and questionable billing practices.

    In my view, this is will only benefit the hobby in the future.


  25. Tom H
    Tom H says:

    Sorry to distract the topic from your excelant discusion on boat restoration. I have seen several “engineered runways” and they do not always measure up, much like boat restoration. Some know there buisness and have a lot of years of experiance with lot of comon sense and some do not. We are not going to solve this discussion without further information and this is a site for wood boats not cranes so I will kindly put my keyboard aside and go open a can of varnish for those natural mellowing agents.

  26. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Katz was the innovator to offer one year warranty, I would think you guy’s Matt and Texx could figure a window that would open up on the side bar capable of rating boat restores. They even have that in my little town for Doctors. Include owner’s experience in the hobby and rate these guy’s. I dare ya to hike your skirts up and be the first. I know if you set your mind to it you could do it. Make it not so much comments, but a numbers system. Someone eventually will.

  27. Marc
    Marc says:

    Let me preface this by saying that I don’t own a wood boat… yet. I spend a lot of time in Steve’s neck of the woods, and stop by his shop regularly – especially during his busy time in Fall through Spring. Steve takes pride in what he does. He strives for total customer satisfaction by delivering quality results on time, and within budget. He works on five or six boats at a time – rotating from one to the other keep them all moving forward on schedule. The jobs vary from total restorations, to new bottoms, to refinishing. To say he’s meticulous in understatement. Some of the jobs take up to two years to complete. Regardless of project length, Steve makes sure to regularly keep his customers apprised of his progress. A couple weeks ago, a couple came up from St. Louis and Steve spent a couple hours with them walking them through what he’s completed, and what still needs to be done. They were thrilled about how great their boat looks, and they can’t wait for it to be ready for the water!

    This thread is about the boat restorer listening to the boat owner so that everyone is on the same page with what the appropriate approach should be. In my business, much like any of you, I don’t want to set myself up for failure. I wouldn’t take on a job just for the money. Life’s too short, and my reputation is vital. I’ll pass on projects or customers where expectations don’t line up. I don’t want to put words in Steve’s mouth, but I believe that this is his approach. If there were some sort of a 5-star Amazon-like rating approach on boat restorers, I’m sure that Steve would rate a “5”. Just like this thread, there may be one outlier, but on balance Steve, and the reputable restorers that he collaborates with, are “5’s” who earn repeat business, and new referral-based customers.

  28. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    Missed this first time around. There’s been a lot of implied criticism of Owners and their expectations. But not a lot of consideration for the novice owner who wants to do the “right” thing but doesn’t have a clue of how to go about it.

    My own experience is just one such example. I bought my boat sight unseen on eBay 3000 miles away where I could not inspect it. I did have it surveyed and that was a good thing. I lucked out, by all accounts, but am still very thankful for that Survey.

    When I got my boat I was still in the ‘dazed’ phase and just started in! Before too long I knew I needed more information and help. So I did what a lot of people do and I asked the boatyard guys and was directed to a guy that as it turned out is just great. But I didn’t know where or how to look for others to get any comparison either. When I joined the antique boat clubs and found these forums is when I really began to get good information.

    I learned that I would have been better off actually listening to my Boatwright at the start instead of plunging ahead with what I thought I should do. I would have saved myself some money but mostly I would have saved myself time.

    These forums helped me to slow down and plan my restoration so that I have a much better concept of what needs to be done and the best way to go about it. As an example; I have changed my mind twice now on what to do for my decks and on how to handle my cabin roof.

    Since Boat Shows are how most people get into this hobby I think it absolutely imperative that every boat show have Club reps there to talk about the hobby and the restoration process. I also think it is good to have as many professional restorers their as well. The local clubs would do good to have copies of their newsletters at the shows as giveaways. Most shows will have a tent and lots of ‘store’ stuff but almost nothing on their local clubs. And when someone does join there often isn’t enough outreach effort on the part of the club to pull that new member into the hobby deeply. Every new member ought to immediately get a package of info with resources and contact info for some of the club members who are willing to mentor new folks.

    This factor is where these online forums have filled in the gaps. The only problem of course is they’re not really local. It’s the commraderie that keeps folks involved and there’s nothing like another guy encouraging you on in your efforts to keep you going. I know I get energized every time I go to one of the workshops where I can interact with actual live human beings.

    My boat, by the way, is a 1960 36′ Chris Craft Constellation.

  29. Mark Woychik
    Mark Woychik says:

    Hi Steve

    I am selling a 1937 Chris Craft runabout with try-carbs.
    A man by the name of Dave Janusz reccommended talking
    to you. It is a total rebuild and is missing the back upper deck completely. The transoms shot as well.
    I am asking $2500.00 all the chromes there as far as I can tell the engine was rebuilt in 1974 and stored pretty much since then, I have the tricarb set-up as well.


  30. David Northrup
    David Northrup says:

    Hi Steve,
    I have a 1960 CAA45 0016 Connie. (only 56 made) .I can only find about 4 that is left. 3 are running and mine being restored. I have to replace some decking and the bow is needing a full repair. The last owners, pulled up a couple of deck planking and it shows that the top layer is 5 1/4 w x 5/8 thick x 5′ 1″ long sections. Then under that is a canvas layer, under that are 3 1/2 w x 1/2″ thick individual boards. Then under that is the Plywood. Is this the actual deck or not. If replacing my deck, do i have to undo my house to pull out the entire deck piece or just cut away up to a foot from house. The Mariner Museum is closed till the fall of next yr. any advise would be great. MY picks when i first got her are on this site under Ranger,

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