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The ultimate Woodie accessory


NewOldWood
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I have been building wood cars since the early part of this century but actually got started in custom woodworking back in the late 80s building wood sportfishing boats. I built a handfull of Mahogany runabouts before I got into cars but haven't done one in quite a few years. This is a 1937 Gar Wood, on the surface it looks pretty good but underneath is a completely different story. The owner wants many years of trouble free use so that being the case this is going to be a pattern boat. The boat came without an engine and will be repowered with something modern, but that will be the only deviaton from original. Just imagine how cool this would look hooked to the back of your Woodie!!

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Garfield Wood, (Garwood) was famous for his boat's, but he made his fortune as the inventor and patent holder of the first hydraulic lift for dump trucks. When coal was the major source of heat in America, coal trucks used a hand crank dump body. His invention was such a success that every truck in America converted to hydraulics and made him very rich.

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1 hour ago, 46 woodie said:

Garfield Wood, (Garwood) was famous for his boat's, but he made his fortune as the inventor and patent holder of the first hydraulic lift for dump trucks. When coal was the major source of heat in America, coal trucks used a hand crank dump body. His invention was such a success that every truck in America converted to hydraulics and made him very rich.

 

Little known but true!  Also a founding partner along with Chris Smith in the Chris Smith & Sons boatbuilding company, later know as Chris Craft.

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2 hours ago, 46 woodie said:

When you say that the boat will be re-powered with something modern, what does the owner have in mind?

 

You're making me feel old........Maybe "more modern" would have been better. It will be a small block Chevy, if I ever get it, was ordered several months ago. Interesting that the SBC was introduced 18 years after this boat was built, which was 66 years ago, and that I can still order a brand new one today. Obviously the one I will be using is a significantly updated version, but still.......

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Oh yeah, the small block Chevrolet will go down in history as one of the greatest engines of all time. You can probably get parts for them in your local hardware store! If you need a little more horsepower there is a huge selection of speed parts available almost everywhere. Good choice.

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  • 1 month later...

Gar Wood planked his boats with African Mahogany, so that's what I'll be using. For the frames and other structural parts I am using Ash. As usual, the worst of the decay is hidden below the surface, the bottom frames were rotted badly in quite a few places and had also been subjected to a number of questionable repairs. The keel came out in four pieces. I've seen worse, but this one was definately beyond use or repair.

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Very interesting thread!   How much wood are you going to replace?  How will you paint/finish the bottom when you are finished with the repairs?  I have watched some videos of how they make wood canoes. They cover them with fiberglass fabric and resin. Will you do that to this? These are non boat guy questions. 

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16 hours ago, Tom Boehm said:

Very interesting thread!   How much wood are you going to replace?  How will you paint/finish the bottom when you are finished with the repairs?  I have watched some videos of how they make wood canoes. They cover them with fiberglass fabric and resin. Will you do that to this? These are non boat guy questions. 

 

I figure that wood car guys are both car guys and wood guys, so might find this project interesting. All of the wood will be replaced. Not all of it is bad enough that it has to be replaced, but enough of it is that the owner would rather have it all new. The bottom will get an epoxy barrier coat followed by a coat of anti fouling bottom paint. On a couple other boats I have built I have fiberglassed the hulls from the water line down, but will not be doing that on this one.

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On 12/16/2021 at 8:25 AM, Tom Boehm said:

WOW !  Fascinating thread.   When you are finished, the boat must weigh as much as a car. All the new solid wood looks heavy. 

Not as heavy as you might think. Not any heavier, and maybe still lighter than a modern glass boat of the same size, and definately lighter than an early glass boat. Also, anything you might have heard about a wood boat having a softer ride than a glass boat is definately true!

 

Glad you like it. I'm in the process of planking the bottom now, here are a few shots of what it looked like up to that point.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The first layer is on, it's about 3/16" thick and runs roughly 45 degrees from the keel. The second layer is about 1/2" think and parallels the keel. Everything is glued and screwed together, it will be a completely water tight bottom.

 

 

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Again, WOW.  Question about the planks parallel to the keel: Is the entire underside  and edge of each plank coated with glue before it is screwed down? Is it the glue that makes it watertight or is it the precision fitting of each piece? I always wondered about how these boats were put together and how they were watertight. Again, great thread. 

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On 1/7/2022 at 9:30 PM, Tom Boehm said:

Again, WOW.  Question about the planks parallel to the keel: Is the entire underside  and edge of each plank coated with glue before it is screwed down? Is it the glue that makes it watertight or is it the precision fitting of each piece? I always wondered about how these boats were put together and how they were watertight. Again, great thread. 

It's a combination of glue and fit that seals the bottom, and yes, all wood surfaces are coated with glue. In this case I am using 3M 5200 as the adhesive but I have used epoxy in the past. I have also added a layer of fiberglass from the waterline down on other boats but will not be doing that on this one. Modern adhesives obviously were not available throughout most of the wood boat era. Most but not all boats were built with double planked bottoms, The common practice was to put a layer of canvas between the two layers and soak it in a bedding compound. The bedding would wash out in time and I have read that the manufacturers recommended that the outer layer of planking be removed and the canvas rebedded every other year. I have never heard of anyone actually doing this. Boats back then did not come with trailers. The practice was to put the boat in the water at the beginning of the season and leave it there. At launch they would tend to leak pretty badly and would need to be allowed to "soak up" before they would hold water well enough to be useable. My father had an old Chris Craft when I was born, rather than pay to leave it in the slings he would start it up, take it somewhere convenient and beach it. It couldn't completely sink but would be low enough for the bottom to stay wet and swell up. After a while he would pump it out and he was good for the summer.

 

When this boat is done it wont need to be treated any differently than a fiberglass boat. Back in the 30s varnish was a twice a season chore. This will get sprayed with an automotive clear which is really about as durable as a gelcoat finish. Kind of the best of both worlds, the look and ride quality of a wood boat without all the trouble and maintenance of the original boats.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Right side up again. The process here will be similar to the bottom, replace the framing and then the planking, except that this time I am going to install as many of the mechanicals before the planking as I can, while I stilll have good access. Climbing in and out of the holes in the deck after the planking is on gets old fast, and I'm not as young as I used to be... Still a few pieces of old wood left in the deck, they will all be replaced.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Got the deck framing done except for the engine hatch, wanted to set the engine in first to make sure I didn't have to build around anything. Turned out that my problems were underneath the engine, I did not have room for the steering shaft. The rear mounts that came with the engine were too low so had to source some different mounts. All is good now, have room for everything and have the engine close enough to it's permenent position that I know I will be able to get a good shaft alignment. Exhaust is plumbed and have control cables ordered for throttle and shifter. Fuel tank is installed. I am going to try to get as much done inside the boat as I can before I plank the sides, so much easier to do now.

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N.O.W., I have a couple of questions if you don't mind. I have never seen that type of exhaust tubing, what is it? Also, how many gallons is the fuel tank. Beautiful job, I hope we get to see the finished project!

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1 hour ago, 46 woodie said:

N.O.W., I have a couple of questions if you don't mind. I have never seen that type of exhaust tubing, what is it? Also, how many gallons is the fuel tank. Beautiful job, I hope we get to see the finished project!

 

Thanks! The exhaust is made of stainless tubing and marine wet exhaust hose. I was hoping to be able to get from the engine to the transom with hose, but even the soft walled hose (some of it has a reinforcing wire, soft does not) wouldn't make the bend so I had to use the stainless elbows. The tank is 33 gallon, a copy of the original.

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  • 1 month later...

Engine hatches are built and deck is faired and almost ready for planking. The cockpit corners need to be rounded but the shape is determined by chrome trim that should be coming back soon. Strut is mounted, so shaft angle is now permanent. Control cables are done. The throttle is pretty straight forward but the transmission is more complicated. The original transmission was all mechanical and the gates and stops were built into it while the current hydraulic Velvet Drive does not have them. I'm not sure how other people have dealt with this problem but this is my solution, works pretty well.

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3 hours ago, Tom Boehm said:

Does all that wood structure on the inside get sealed or varnished?

Everything on the inside will get painted. I have been painting some of the harder to get at places as I go, you can see green paint in a few places.

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