The Okauchee Lake resident has turned a passion into a profession, making his living restoring the timeless mahogany boats at Bottoms Up, the business he runs from his home. Chris-Craft was established by Chris Smith, one of a long line of boat builders, and was originally called Chris Smith & Sons Boat Co.
The wooden boats were produced until 1942, when the Navy’s needs during World War II turned the company’s efforts to making suitable landing for the Armed Forces. The last wooden Chris-Crafts came off the assembly line in 1963, a fact that contributes to the mystique of the boats today.
The planks must be planed to fit flush against each other, relying on a thin layer of bedding compound to retain the fit. Only after each hole is bunged by hand can Bunda begin the equally demanding tasks of sanding, paint colors and a special spar varnish that is resistant to ultraviolet sunrays. Each coat must be fully dry before Bunda begins the refitting process, putting back the trim, seats, wheel, gearshifts, etc.
The labor intensive process is why Bunda takes on no more than three boats at any given time.
The long lives enjoyed by so many Chris-Crafts are actually testimony to mahogany, not man.
Boat lovers, especially of these increasingly rare examples, treat each boat as a treasured individual. It will come as no surprise that these old and lovingly restored and maintained Chris-Crafts have appreciated markedly in value. Internal plank walls, called seating planks, give a smooth finished look to each cockpit’s sides. Sierra Boat is one of the oldest and largest Antique and Classic Boat restorers in the country.
Of course the quality restoration of wooden boats includes the fine craftsmanship and finishes, but it is much more than that.
Finally getting settled in after last weekend want to make sure I say thank you to everyone at Sierra Boat Co. Hi folks, my name is Dexter Barnett and I'm a third-generation sailor and woodworking boat craftsman.
There are many who can appreciate the classic look of a wooden boat and are advocates for wooden boat restoration. The amount of work that wooden boat restoration requires depends on the status of the craft. If you happen to find a particular person that offers the best tips on your wooden boat restoration project you can check out their profile and send them a private message asking for more information.
Antique wood boat restoration and haunt Bottom’s upwardly laurels winning return and repair twin custom Contents. By 1924 the company was making a 26-foot –long double cockpit runabout, the original Chris-Craft, bearing the distinctive dashed name in script typeface, which would become the company’s standard. Wide bodied, shallow hulled, true pleasure boats, designed much less for speed than for comfortable cruising and conversation.


Sleek, shiny rich wood grain glows through layers of carefully applied varnish: they are truly crafts, vessels made with great care and workmanship. They run off Chris-Craft’s own 6-cylinder flathead engines – often originals – so the engine may be as old as the boat. The dashboard has a few basic easy-to-read gauges and the steering wheels look like they come from vintage cars. The boat’s body is screwed together, hundreds of screws connecting the sleek exterior to the internal frame. As well as repair and maintenance, I also assist with locating available Chris-Crafts,” he said.
While it’s common to put an entirely new bottom on an old Chris Craft, the sides and deck may be in good enough condition to require only stripping, sanding, staining, and new paint and varnish. His 22-footer, named Laurie Beth for his wife, won first place in the antique and Classic Boat Society event held In Lake Geneva.
Using serial numbers, you can find out when the boat was made, how it was originally equipped, who signed off on it and what its original destination was. The seats are leather benches snugged into cockpits, which are rimmed with matching leather padding. It is our belief that once a boat has lost much of its original wood, it has also lost its soul.
In order to restore a boat properly; you must research the boat as to correctness of wood, finish, upholstery and mechanical details. I'm lucky to have an opportunity to combine my love of sailing with my love of woodworking into a business of restoring old boats.
Some of the best wooden boats that offer the most beauty happen to be those antique ones that were brought back to life through wooden boat restoration.
One way to find out how much work is involved in the wooden boat restoration of a particular craft is to take a photo of it and post it in a forum. Macatawa Bay Boat Works LLC Saugatuck MI Builders and Restorers of Fine outmoded and Classic Boats wood boat restoration. The boats are made of imported mahogany planks, which must be kept at the proper degree of humidity so they are neither too loose nor too tight. The boat, which listed for less than $2,000 in a contemporary Chris-Craft catalog, is now worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000. Also, runabouts tend to be worth more than utilities, because there’s more deck surface and more fittings,” said Bunda.
In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript! In fact, Sierra boat which was established in 1952, has always worked on wooden boats because that’s what boats were made of in 1952. For this reason, we tend to preserve as much of the original boat and structure as possible.
Because our shop is able to provide all of the aspects of restoration under one roof, we can control the quality of the project from stat to finish.


The slip accommodations were fantastic and best of all, the boating conditions were unbelievably good. It's almost like working with a piece of history as I strip away the old varnish and slowly begin the process of bringing the old beauty back to life. Fiberglass boats just will not show off what the wonders of maritime adventures have to offer. Wooden boat fans hang out on the internet and they are eager to reply with posts that show how much they know about wooden boat restoration.
Having someone with great knowledge about wooden boat restoration on your team can make the work go by quickly. From there you can complete your wooden boat restoration project by sanding down the old finish, filling in any cracks, and applying the varnish and sealant.
It’s a simple, beautiful boat, whose only purpose is to take you out to enjoying the water. We have always had qualified staff to work on old woodies, so with over 50 years in business and over a century of combined staff knowledge, why would you take you boat anywhere else. So, join me while I post some of my articles and photos and we take a journey together -- restoring boats! The truth is that wooden boat restoration is not a hard project; it just takes having the right information. They can tell you every single thing you need to do for your particular wooden boat restoration project.
They may even refer you to a professional who can give you a quote for the wooden boat restoration work.
As testament to our work, our boats have garnered more awards at the Lake Tahoe Concours, arguably the toughest in the county, than any other restorer. And, especially it’s about the sound,” said Bunda, firing up one of the Chris-Crafts he’s been working on. We utilize the latest technologies when reconstructing a bottom and take great care with is most important aspect of the boat. Chris Craft, Gar Wood, Hackers, Century and the largest assemblage of Rivas in North America. Most important, our bottoms are built to last with some of our earlier work being over 40 years old and still going strong. These boats are a great guide in helping us to correct antique and classic boat restoration.
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