Half and Half, A Restoration Demonstration Project - Tim and Jeff Caught Stripping Beside the Souch's Garage! - May 2018
Not quite as interesting as the title might imply, Tim Jackson and Jeff Souch spent a couple of days recently stripping 66 year-old varnish off the Half & Half project. Stipped varnish smells OK but I can hardly wait until the fresh coats are applied. Several hours with the heat gun and scrapers were followed by an application of Varnish Stripper and a quick spray with the power washer. Since we had to turn her over to drain the water out, we stripped again, sanded, and applied two coats of bottom paint. A close look and the starboard side revealed the need for a new splash rail that virtually crumbled as we tried to remove it. The king plank needs replacement as do both combings and the inner and outer gunnels. Repairs to the transom will be superficial rather than structural.
That's it for now! Come and see the progress on May 26th at the Spring Workshop!
Back in the fall, we told you about our Half & Half project boat. Well the Half & Half project is half started – the interior half of the half we are restoring. Over the winter months, I took the seats, supports, and floorboards down to my basement workshop to begin the Half restoration.
As with any boat restoration project the first step was to remove layers of old varnish. As you will see in the “before” pictures, the seats were in pretty sad condition – prime for the restoration project we have in mind.
There are two methods typically employed to remove old varnish. 1) Liquid Paint and Varnish Remover or 2) Heat gun and sharp scraper. For the task at hand, I chose the heat gun for two reasons. First of all, I find the heat gun to be way less messy and secondly, the paint stripper needs to be used in a well-ventilated area and I didn’t want to open the window to the -30-degree wind chill outside. The heat gun and scraper worked very well for this application and the varnish came off in neat strips that were easy to sweep up and dispose of.
Once the varnish was removed, the stripped areas were sanded with 120 grid on my handy palm sander. After that a further sanding was done by hand with 120 to get out any marks that the sander might have missed or created.
Now – to replace the varnish, I chose Minwax “Helmsman” Spar Varnish for the build-up coats. Partly because I had a part can left over from a previous project and partly because it flows very well and is fast drying. The first two coats were thinned and the next four were full strength, sanded with 220 between coats.
For those that might not know me – the first thing I usually do when I see a wooden boat is sniff the freshness of its varnish. I must say this project had my basement smelling absolutely heavenly.
The flooring was also sanded, top and bottom with 120 on the palm sander. Since flooring typically sits in a damp/wet environment, it was treated with a liberal coat of Boiled Linseed Oil. (It smells almost as good!)
Well, that’s it for now. Half the interior now awaits final varnishing and re-installation.
How it all Began
In August of 2017 the club was offered a 1952 cedar Strip Lakefield boat, the Seminole model. This offer was made by Phil and Lenore Anderson of Havelock, ON. They were given the boat by Ab Vass, son of Leonard Vass who bought the boat new from Lakefield Boats Limited. Before the boat was given to Phil and Lenore it spent its life on Clear Lake not very far from where it was built.
Often we get asked if an antique or classic boat found in an old barn, garage or field is worthwhile restoring and, if so, what it would take to complete that restoration. The club has accepted the boat from Phil and Lenore which they had been keeping in their back yard on wooden blocks under a tarp. Over the years the elements and snow load had taken their toll but we decided it would be perfect to use it for a restoration demonstration project.
The idea is to fully restore one complete side of the boat from front to back and leave the other side just as it was at the start. We will also do the same with a similar vintage Johnson outboard motor that would have been on the boat when originally purchased. We also felt that we could do the same with a trailer as long as it was road worthy and could be restored to meet all of the required safety standards. We will fully document the restoration process and post photographs and a written description on our web site. When the boat is finished we will take it to public events to show people just what can be done and hopefully encourage them to undertake restoration projects of their own and get involved in the antique and classic boat community..
The project team is comprised of Murray Parnell, Jeff Souch, Tim Jackson, Darryl Bissett and John Gullick with technical and historical assistance from Prior Smith, the club’s resident expert on Lakefield boats who has restored three Lakefield Seminoles
Here are photographs of the boat and motor as originally found: