Feather Craft Vagabond Part Four: The work begins…

Today 3-9-09 the work began in earnest on the restoration of the 1955 Feathercraft Vagabond.  Saturday evening I had a little time to begin stripping off all the hardware and windshield.  The steering components and helm were removed to allow for easier access to the cockpit.

This afternoon, the plywood flooring was removed.  Oh the nasty things I found were many!  A wide assortment of nuts, bolts, screws, dirt, leaves, and general rubbish was lurking under the flooring.  The drain plug was put in the bilge and the garden hose unrolled to fill the boat for both cleaning, and to identify any leaks.

Leaks were minimal if any, dirt was plentiful.  I would swear a plow and horse were needed to break the sod up enough to wash it out the bilge drain



The bilge filled with water to let the “debris field” drain.

In order to get a nice mirror shine on the hull, an acid cleaner must be used to clean and etch the aluminum to rid it of impurities and grime from the last 50 years.  The boat had been used for the original “stern-cell research” over the years.

I found the chemical 5  miles from my house at a place that supplies car washes and detailing shops with chemicals.  20 bucks well spent.  This stuff got rid of a lot of dirt and grime. 


The boat has been cleansed with an “environmentally friendly” brightener.  For once something that is touted as not being harmful for the environment…WORKED!  The appearance of streaks is water that has not dried yet.


Again the streaks are water.  The hose is filling theboat to check for leaks and do a bit of tidying-up.

Next is the joy of using an angle grinder and wool bonnet to “compound” the aluminum before buffing and polishing.

All the hardware has been removed and will be cleaned and reconditioned before placing it back in the boat.  this included the bow light, stern light, all stern handles, the bow handles, and the windshield will be back dated to an older style dog-leg bracket style such as our Thompson TVT Lake has, but slightly larger.

A new steering wheel will replace the old one owing to the fact it was cracked beyond repair.  An original 1956/57 Johnson electric start control plate and solenoid box and Ship Master simplex control was bought at the local boat bone-yard.  This will match our 1956 RD 18 30 Hp outboard.

Next…out comes the buffing compound…so more to follow.


2 Responses to “Feather Craft Vagabond Part Four: The work begins…”

  1. 1 Gary West
    September 2, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Hello, very nice boat, I am impressed at how your project is coming along. I recently baought a Feather Craft Clipper, and have no idea what I’m doing on my project. If you email me I will sent pictures. Sincerely Gary W.

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