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1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Framing, planking and fairing. Repair, or reconstruction. If it's hull related, you'll find it here.

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pseif1
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1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by pseif1 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:56 pm

So I'm kind of at an impasse for my boat, the bottom has been in not great shape since I inherited it from my grandfather. The first year he bought the boat he drained the oil into the bilge :( ... that was in the late 80s. Since I would say probably 2002ish I have pulled the floor boards and scrubbed it every spring to try to get the remaining oil out (still), in addition to keeping "PiG mats" in the hull.

The plan was to slow the deterioration enough that I could graduate from college to decide the necessary plan of action. Well last fall my dad decided the boat house was too damp and ran a dehumidifier in the boat house for most of the fall and much of the spring. My boat was the driest I had ever seen it, I was worried I wouldnt be able to get it to float, when I put it in the water initially I could see waves in the hull! After spending the better part of 2 days soaking gradually and strategic sump pumping it finally floated, but its not the same as it was.

I used to be able to cruise to the bottom of our ten mile lake and all the way back up without even needing to turn the bilge on. Usually in the spring I could quick lap it in the bay (no soak) to get the oil warmed up for a change and still only have a few inches in the hull. Not so any more, some of the caulking (packing?) has fallen out of the bottom planks.

Basically I dont know where I am at or what I should do, if I could reseal it and paint it to get a few more years out of it (3-4, long enough for me to secure somewhere to work). Or if I should yank it out this spring and shop for places to have work done over the summer. The issue with that I guess is that I would still like to retain the plank bottom it has now or do 5200 and plank and I need at least 3 years to save up the funds, and ultimately I would like to get it into show shape and get it out more, my grandpa always wanted to and never really got to it.

Anyways... Pictures!
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kjhoffman
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by kjhoffman » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:12 am

Hi

I have the identical 1937 19 ft custom. I wish my grand father had left me one as nice as yours since mine is a total pattern boat. Looking at your pictures it appears that there is some caulking in the seams. You could put a product called slick seam in the gaps of your bottom planks before lunching it will squeeze out as the planks swell. Buy all means put in an additional bilge pump with an automatic float switch on both. When the time comes for you to do the work get a copy of Don Danenburgs book. Don't be afraid to take the project on your by yourself and by all means reach out to your local ACBS chapter for advice and help.

Good Luck
khoffman

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Doug P
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by Doug P » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:43 pm

It looks like the caulking may be the problem. If you want a temporary fix, you may wish to remove the caulking, I use a tile grout remover, rout out larger gap, and recaulk. For a more permanent fix....5200 bottom. (nice boat)

joanroy
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by joanroy » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:18 pm

Probable had a restoration somewhere along the line. If the bottom is not rotted and the fasteners are good and holding tight I'd caulk the bottom with Pettit underwater seam compound and bottom paint just prior to launch. The seam compound remains flexible and excess will squeeze out. It'll hold up and paint better than Slick Seam. If you leave her in the water she'll swell tight and shouldn't leak much. If you trailer the boat you'll eventually want a 5200 no leak bottom. Good Luck and Happy Floating!

jfrprops
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by jfrprops » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:42 am

Like Joanroy said!

John in Va.
1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)

pseif1
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by pseif1 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:57 pm

Sorry for the delay in response, thanks for all the replies. Owning this boat was one of my grandpas dreams and he definitely achieved it. I consider myself lucky to be a steward of the boat and plan to keep it in as good of shape as I can and own it the rest of my life (26 right now). It was restored sometime in the early 80s, but I dont know to what extent, as I dont have any photos of the restoration, and the fellow who did it had passed away. (Though I could likely find his name in the paperwork we have, I know he was out of Wisconsin.)

Re: kjhoffman: I have one bilge on a float in the boat right now with another one waiting to be installed, would running them into the same outlet cause an issue? Do you have any photos of your boat? What does your dash and steering wheel look like? (I think my boat isnt supposed to have a banjo wheel)

Re: Doug P: When you say rout out a larger gap, you mean with a router? What kind of bit/depth/caulk?

Re: Joanroy: The fasteners are definitely holding and tight, I will get under there with a pick and poke around when I am up there in Thanksgiving to look for soft spots. Pettit seam compound was what I was kind of thinking would be the most viable option from what I have read, since paint wont stick to slick seam.

Obviously I have some options that need to be weighed out and alot of reading to do. I will be delving into our Classic Boating articles when I get up there to see what I cant find for pertinent technical articles. I have never done any refinishing or wood work on this boat, just cleaning and mechanical maintenance (oil changes winterization, valve lash etc). So this will be a new endeavor for me so in that regard I am looking for all the information I can even in terms of repainting the bottom. I have restored me own car and done all the body work on that as well as built motors transmissions and rear ends but this world of wood is rather new. Most wood work I have done has been of the 2x4 variety.

joanroy
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by joanroy » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:18 am

You've got a great boat there in really nice shape. Maintenance is easy and fun! Just have to keep up with it and do a little each year. As far as the bottom goes, clean it up and if your recaulking clean the old dried up caulking out of the seams first. You dont want to use a router. Just a scraper and a tool with a polnted hooked end to get into the seam gap to scrape em out. Enjoy!

kjhoffman
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by kjhoffman » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:18 am

Hi,

My dash has been modified so is not original. As to the Banjo steering wheel would I would be happy to trade you the one on my boat. Yes it is original on a 37 model. As to bilge pumps I would install one in the stern and on in the bow with their own outlet. The most common way for a boat to sink is at the dock over night when a bilge pump fails. My hull # is 48248 shipped to Seattle in July of 37.

KJ Hoffman

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Don Vogt
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by Don Vogt » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:49 pm

there is an extensive discussion here about epoxy vs. 5200 bottom. Dont be too hasty about a 5200 bottom without reading that discussion. imho epoxy has the best of the argument.

As for the steering wheel, i cant tell by the pictures what you have , but i believe the correct wheel for the '37s was the 5 spoke banjo wheel.

also early on in the 19' runabout series, it was called just that, i believe at least thru '36. I know by '38 it was called a custom runabout but not sure exactly when they made the change off the top of my head. your hull card should say. Can't rely on what it says in the conrad book.

good luck.
1938 Chris Craft 17' Deluxe Runabout "Jennifer II"

jim g
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by jim g » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:27 pm

I would use Boat Life Life Caulk. It should take around 3 tubes for a caulking gun.

https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/u ... o?pid=2770

Clean the seams when the boat is dry and caulk them. Then swell the boat up. You can then go back and slice the squeeze out off with a razor blade. Life Caulk stays flexable and is not near as hard as 3M5200 so it will not push the bottom apart.

Also not to get in to a debate again on 5200 vs epoxy bottoms. But I have repaired far more epoxy bottoms then I have 5200 bottoms over the last 20 plus years of being in the business.

pseif1
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by pseif1 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:31 pm

Re: Joanroy, I know, I have maintained the boat for the last 10 years, just never really needed to delve into refinishing the wood until now. I didnt think you meant an actual power router, but wanted to clarify, I understand what you are saying now.

Kjhoffman: I dont know if I am ready to trade just yet haha, just more of a curiosity than anything. Im not real wild about drilling more holes in the boat than what it already has, as of right now the one outlet is in line with the rear seat. Sinking isnt really a worry of mine, the boat never spends over night in the water, and when it is in the water it is over a dolly, so it could never truly "sink". It lives in a boathouse. My hull is 48236 shipped in June of 37, so just 12 hulls and a month apart, kind of wild, I dont know the original delivery destination of the boat, but I havent contacted the maritime museum yet, just based off of what is in the registry here, but I believe that information is populated from the same source so who knows, KEN-DON was the original name, whatever that means.

Don: I am thinking the banjo is correct too, but my grandpa always claimed it wasnt... hence the curiosity I guess, I have a lot of reading to do before I decide on a path, for now I need to center in on the best caulk to use to buy me time while I formulate a true plan of action. As far as what its called, my hull tag says 19' Custom Runabout.

Jim: Thank you for the suggestion, added to my lists of caulks to research (along with slick seam and pettit) and I appreciate your input on "the argument"!

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Don Vogt
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Re: 1937 Chris Craft 19' Custom Runabout Bottom Woes

Post by Don Vogt » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:04 am

I believe both the 35 and 36 19' runabouts had the 4 spoke plastic wheel. generally, i think the '37 wheel was the banjo.Perhaps there was a switch to it sometime during the model run in'37? If this were the case, then perhaps your grandparents later switched out the 4 for the banjo? That may be why they said the banjo was not original? just a guess.
1938 Chris Craft 17' Deluxe Runabout "Jennifer II"

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