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frenchyd UltimaDork
7/28/21 12:29 p.m.

I have always had a sweet spot in my heart for Wood Chris Craft Cruisers.  There is a 1952 DCFB 50' Cruiser sitting in a barn in Wisconsin  the owner is willing to give me free if I come and get it.  
     This is classic elegance that last I saw it only needed a good cleaning and revarnishing.   But that was more than 25 years ago.  The owner reports some planks stove in by a runaway tractor.   Plus who knows how much decay. 
     I had to turn him down because I recognize I don't have it in me to repair/ restore it anymore.  

Mr_Asa PowerDork
7/28/21 12:33 p.m.

Now that'll be the world's most expensive boat.  Not really, but definitely more than mine

11GTCS Dork
7/28/21 12:52 p.m.

I owned a 1964 19' Cruiser's Inc. outboard for close to 20 years, it was given to me (less the engine) by good friends who were basically my "adopted" grandparents.   They couldn't keep up with the cosmetics anymore and bought a newer aluminum boat and put the engine on that.   The boatyard was going to do them a "favor" and burn it, that's when I got the call. 

I did a lot of mostly minor repairs and complete stripping / refinishing of the paint and varnish, they got to enjoy seeing it in almost new condition for the rest of their lives.   I met a lot of people with boats similar to mine and some with classic runabouts, great people and a great hobby.   

With all that said, I was maybe 25 when I first got it (and poor) but had the energy and time to work on it.  Once family and other adult responsibilities took over it was harder and harder to keep it looking the way I wanted it.  Once we bought the 22 cuddy (also Cruisers Inc. ironically) it sat on the trailer in my garage so it wouldn't disintegrate.   I sold it around 2005 and bought a '17 Boston Whaler that still has the classic vibe but takes less time to keep looking sharp.

Don't be hard on yourself for passing, that's a very large boat with an extremely limited audience these days.   Getting it back to safe operational condition would likely take years of effort and a lot of money that would have essentially no return on the investment.

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/28/21 2:09 p.m.

I do a search for wood boats fairly frequently. 

I'm not brave enough to buy one though. That's a commitment that is never-ending. 

APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/28/21 3:04 p.m.

Sometimes it sucks to be a responsible adult.  Or so I've been told.

SaltyDog HalfDork
7/28/21 3:11 p.m.

That boat in perfect condition is a lifelong commitment of time and money.

That boat after sitting in a barn for decades would be a HUGE money and time suck.

There are people out there who could bring it back, and some are located in the northern U.S with the contacts to transport the boat and put it back on the water.

If you're not one of those people, you don't want to try this at home!

wearymicrobe PowerDork
7/28/21 3:14 p.m.

I love these thing and I have space and th emoney to maintain one but putting it in saltwater which is all we have around here would kill me and keeps me from pulling the trigger. I have a brand new bongo sailboat sitting at a friends how that we can share which is indestructible and way more fun 

frenchyd UltimaDork
7/28/21 8:07 p.m.

I had a wonderful 1947 Chris Craft runabout that needed a hole in the block fixed and Varnish. 
   Most older Chris craft engines used to be Hercules. Commonly found on combine and other farming equipment.  Mine was the KBL which has 3 downdraft carbs and a really serious camshaft. 
    With the 6 inch brass exhaust you can imagine the idle sound. 

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/29/21 7:46 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

That is not a free boat.

67LS1 Reader
7/29/21 10:52 a.m.

A 50' wooden boat in a barn? The cost of moving it will be more than it's worth. And the cost of restoration will be far more then it will ever be worth. WAY more.

The marina where we keep our boat recently instituted a no wooden boat rule. Two boat owners were asked to remove there wooden boats from the marina and no new wooden boats will be allowed. The marina states it's insurance and liability driven. I have no idea where these two owners will find berths

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/29/21 1:15 p.m.

In reply to 11GTCS :

Classic Boston Whalers are so cool. My dream is to retire to the Chesapeake Bay somewhere and have a little whaler to run around in.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/29/21 1:21 p.m.

Yeah... I also love wooden boats. Then I ride past this one in the local marina and reality snacks me in the face:

It's at least 40'. The truck and trailer are at least 30' closer to me.  Other than the tarps that used to cover it, it hasn't really changed much in the past 5+ years I've been riding past it.

914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/29/21 1:38 p.m.

Offers like that remind me of going to a free buffet.  You go through the line loading up your plate and when you sit down you look at it and say "What have I done?"  It's frustrating, but a wise man will walk away and let the young and hungry work their magic.

And yes, this is a recent epiphany for me....

ultraclyde GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/29/21 2:19 p.m.

I love the look of wooden boats. In my recent boat searching I rn across a couple of Lymans in good operational shape in the 20' range. I drooled over the photos until I thought about the maintenance. It was like that point in a horror movie when you see the monster the first time. 

The thought of dealing with a 50' wooden boat almost gave me a panic attack.

I was reading some actual history of the Caribbean pirates recently. No one ever talks about how often they beached, burned, or abandoned  ships because of rot, worms, and decay. I'm convinced without major OCD level care wood boats have a lifespan slightly better than tissue paper. 


wearymicrobe PowerDork
7/29/21 3:12 p.m.
frenchyd said:

I have always had a sweet spot in my heart for Wood Chris Craft Cruisers.  There is a 1952 DCFB 50' Cruiser sitting in a barn in Wisconsin  the owner is willing to give me free if I come and get it.  
     This is classic elegance that last I saw it only needed a good cleaning and revarnishing.  

So yeah I missed the whole 50 foot thing. Keep walking away and don;t look back. I keep looking at the little 19 foot runabouts from the 50's 


Used 1961 Chris-Craft Capri 19', 10001 New York - Boat Trader

KyAllroad UltimaDork
7/29/21 7:31 p.m.

About 19 years ago I sailed from Chatham harbor to Nantucket aboard a 1947 53' wooden ketch.  The man who maintained it for the owner was our host.  He told me that the maintenance costs for it ran about $35,000 a year.  

To bring one back from the brink...?   More than this cowboy has, that's for sure.

CJ (FS) GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/29/21 8:59 p.m.

My bride and I were visiting her sister in Coeur d'Alene a couple of years ago and they happened to be having their wooden boat show.  Lots of Chris Craft runabouts and a few other brands - think I remember a Larson (?). 

Talked a bit to one of the Chris Craft owners.  His was a 17' and had purchased that boat so it would fit in his garage and be worked on.  The boat only got wet when it went into the lake and it never was in the lake overnight.   From the way he talked, the boat was his life. 

It was beautiful, but I don't think I have the devotion - or the cash to pay someone to have the devotion - to own one myself. 

84FSP UltraDork
7/29/21 10:06 p.m.

I get that they are the hugest cost, least useful, and lowest performance option.  I still want one sooooooo bad.

Appleseed MegaDork
7/29/21 10:30 p.m.

Wooden boats make airplanes and horses look cheap.

NickD MegaDork
7/30/21 9:57 a.m.

Kind of in a similar vein, my uncle has 5 cars that have been indoors in storage since the 1980s: a 1958 Buick Roadmaster, a 1954 Buick Roadmaster with factory A/C (super rare), a 1942 Buick Special sedanette with the twin-carburetor option (ultra rare, because it's a '42 and that twin-carb option was '41-'42 only), a 1956 Cadillac with twin 4-barrels and Autronic Eye but a thrown rod, and a '58 Cadillac that's rough but is a good engine donor for the '56. The chrome is pitted, tires are flat, they haven't been started in 40 years, but the rust is very minimal and they're all complete and haven't been vandalized. The guy that ran the storage place died and his nephew is shutting it down and wants everything out sometime in the future, not an immediate eviction but needs to be gone. My uncle has no other place to really store them, he doesn't have the money to fix them, and he's physically past the point of working on them himself. My father's advice to him was to pick one that he likes the most or means the most and sell the rest to fund restoring the one.

My coworker , also a car guy, is trying to encourage me to take one of the cars off my uncle's hands, saying my uncle would probably be glad to sell one to me and then it would stay in the family. My issue: I likely have the money to buy one for a decent amount, but I don't have the space or the time, and I honestly don't want to own a '50s car. I like looking at them, I think they're cool, but I have no desire to own or drive one.

frenchyd UltimaDork
7/31/21 12:09 a.m.

In reply to CJ (FS) :

When I had mine I took it from a rough. No varnish,  blown engine, to a show piece in about 4 months of evenings and weekends.  Apartment living, rented garage stall,   Small tool box,  and a cheap power sander. I got a good running motor from a junk farm  combine. Put the Chris Craft  bits on it. 
    I spent about $300 back in the winter of 1974-75    
   As long as there is no wood rot it's an easy job.  Not much skill required just a lot of sanding. The joy of it idling with the blurb blurb of the exhaust spitting out water.  Wood boats ride through the water instead of on top of it bouncing around. The way aluminum or fiberglass does. 
     Pulling water skiers around  or gently rolling in the waves just above idle. That big Flathead six cylinder loved to bark with deep authority causing everyone to look with admiration as you went by. 
     Sure you could fish off it just like you can haul trash in a Cadillac but you don't.  
 Wood boats just have a romance, an elegance about them you simply cannot get  with new or modern boats. 

frenchyd UltimaDork
7/31/21 12:17 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

If you don't like them don't waste your energy. But those Caddy engines would be perfect in a retro rod. I raced a 1955 Chevy stock car with the dual 4 barrels. It didn't have the bottom end torque the Buick 401's ( nail heads) did but at the end of the straight when the Buick was getting weak I could fly by taking advantage of the openings  the Buick powered cars couldn't. Then getting off the corner and they were fighting for position  I'd take my time and pick a spot to get by the whole pack.  

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/31/21 6:54 p.m.

Here's an interesting wooden boat project...

At least it can look cool sitting in the back yard not getting attention... wink

1SlowVW HalfDork
8/1/21 7:52 a.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

Here's an interesting wooden boat project...

At least it can look cool sitting in the back yard not getting attention... wink

I've seen those things race, they don't spend much time touching the water or going straight. 


My experience helping a friend do the woodwork on my recent wooden boat project made it pretty clear to me that a lot of the time building a new wooden boat is more cost effective and easier than fixing and old boat. 

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
8/1/21 8:08 a.m.

Just watched an old Paul Newman movie and he had a sweet 1937 47' wooden boat.   I can't imagine the upkeep but it was really cool in the movie.  

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