Wooden Boat Restoration Requires Proper Housing & Dozens of Tools, According to Antique Boat Center Expert

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At a Recent ACBS Restoration Symposium/Workshop, Antique Boat Center Expert Says Multiple Factors Contribute to Wooden Boat Restoration Success, Including Proper Housing of the Classic Boat and Use of Dozens of Tools Needed for Deconstruction, Assembly, Upholstery, Engine and Finish Work

antique & classic boat restoration

Antique Boat Center's team of craftsmen restore classic boats to their original beauty.

At the Antique and Classic Boat Society’s Restoration Symposium/Workshop recently held in Cincinnati, OH, Antique Boat Center President, Dennis Ryan, presented several factors that determine success when restoring a classic boat. Along with Service Manager and event instructor Joel Terbrueggen, Ryan shared the following restoration principles and techniques with attendees of workshop.

The most important first step in wooden boat restoration is finding a place to house the project. A garage, barn, tented structure – any enclosed area to protect the boat and equipment from weather is the workshop you need. Allow enough space to move around the boat with long pieces of wood. Next, you must secure access to the proper equipment: Power tools, jigsaw, circular saw, planer, drill press, and band saw will enable you to complete most woodworking needed. A cordless drill or two will make the job of fastener removal and replacement easier. A digital camera may be the most significant tool you need, since documenting the disassembly will help with reassembly some months later. Taking as many as 300 pictures will pay off time and time again when reassembling hundreds of parts.

Upholstery, engine and finish restoration also require specific tools. Upholstery work requires sewing equipment, layout tables, a power stapler, and sharp cutting equipment. Original type fabrics include cloth and burlap as well as leather and vinyl.

Engine rebuilding requires sophisticated machining; an engine shop can help. Engine assembly requires a mechanics set of wrenches and sockets, torque wrench and some specialty equipment. A wire wheel proves valuable in cleaning older parts.

Applying finishes requires quality brushes, foam rollers, wet or dry sandpaper and a low dust, temperature controlled atmosphere. Most surfaces will require a minimum of three coats and quality varnish work has at least ten coats. Using marine specific finishing products will always give the best durability for the harsh marine environment. Using the tools and equipment correctly as well as managing dust and solvent fumes is extremely important to your safety and the safety of those working with you. Protect your lungs from dust created with sanding, your eyes from flying shavings or liquids splashing, and your skin from solvents that can be absorbed. Dust masks, cartridge filter masks, safety glasses, and rubber gloves are a must for any restoration project.

Safety is a part of the wooden boat restoration process; practice safe work procedures and enjoy a long life of rewarding fun and friendship by preserving the antique boat heritage.

About Antique Boat Center
Established in 1990, Antique Boat Center is one of the largest antique and classic boat sales/brokerage firms in North America. The company’s 22,000 square foot indoor showroom in Cincinnati, OH displays 60 - 80 vintage boats for sale and includes a full service wooden boat restoration department for serving the classic and antique boat marketplace. For a quality wooden boat trailer, contact Antique Boat Center at 513-242-0808 or visit the website at: http://www.antiqueboat.com.

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