Archive for the 'Johnson Golden Javelin' Category

01
Sep
10

The “New Deal”: An Alumacraft “FDR” restoration part four: Just in time…

Work stalled on the Aluma Craft “FDR” for a good part of the summer months.  She was used as a test bed for motors that were repaired or restored.  But a vision came by looking through the windshield I acquired at an AMOC Swap Meet in Constantine, Michigan.

I was wandering around the swap meet, hoping to find a windshield, but with little hope of finding one the correct with.  This Aluma Craft was to have a typical late 1950’s Taylor-Made plexiglas windshield.  Taylor-Made has stopped production on these vintage windshields…and they were expensive anyway.

After walking around the for a bit, I saw a windshield in good shape sitting next to a trailer.  It was too wide, but generally could be bent slightly to reduce the width and should fit the boat.  I asked the price and was shocked the vendor only wanted 20 bucks for it.  Whata deal!

With the Taylor-Made windshield, the boat no longer looked like a fishing boat.

 Other hardware came by way of a derelict old Shell Lake fiberglass boat that I scrapped out due to the hull being cracked. 

Now with a new view through the windshield, I had a vision for finishing the boat before the Toledo Antique Boat Show on August 27th, 2010.  So the work commenced in earnest.

My neighbor contributed a bundle of teak strips from her father who had passed away.  Upon getting this little gift, I decided wood slat floors would look nice, and it would be easier to walk on.

After cutting to length, the teak floors were screwed and epoxied together, then routed with a round-over bit on all edges. Sanding and varnishing followed.

Seats were next!  My local fine wood dealer was kind enough to glue up some choice mahogany planks for me.  I then used a wood strip to create and trace an arc on the wood that would compliment the lines of the boat.  Then cut out the middle of the front seat to replicate the original design of the seats.  Then as always…more sanding and eight coats of varnish.

The depth of the mahogany is really brought out by the varnish.

While each coat of varnish was drying, I had time to sand, buff, and polish the hull.  YES…SAND!  Starting with 220 grit and working my way down to 1500 grit, the sides of the hull were sanded to get rid of the “dock rash” from years of use.  Also those pesky little aluminum warts at the end of scratches were sanded away.

The tools for the job are a variable speed angle grinder/buffer, 3M heavy-duty buffing compound, 3M polishing compound, and coarse and fine wool bonnets, foam bonnets, and microfiber cloths.

The power plants for this vessel will be twin 1954 Johnson QD-14 10hp outboard.

These two outboards will provide the power to drive the "FDR".

The seats were installed following varnishing and wiring the boat.

A view from the rear.

The teak floors were installed in the cockpit. Also note at the bottom of the photo the dual Johnson Shipmaster Throttle to control the twin outboards.

In honor of my lover of jazz, and my working on the railroad as a bridge tender, a name came to me while working on buffing her out.  I wanted a musical name, but then the idea of reflecting my job just seemed natural.

The Aluma Craft "FDR was christened "Swing Bridge"...combining two musical terms, and the type of railroad bridge I work on was a natural.

At 4pm on Friday August 27th, 2010 the “Swing Bridge was finished just in time for the Toledo Antique Boat Show.  I pressed my 1957 Johnson Javelin into service due to not having time to test the 10hp Johnson’s beforehand.

She was unveiled for public view on Saturday August 28th, 2010 at the Toledo Municipal Marina.

Basking in the sun, the "Swing Bridge" sits at the Toledo Antique Boat Show.

Aside from having some chrome hardware refinished on the 1957 Johnson Javelin and the deck hardware, the “Swing Bridge” is a fast and fun running boat.  She rides well and doesn’t leak…and attracts looks as she travels up and down the river.

05
Jan
10

When Sunny Get’s Blue: bands, boats, and outboards…

I always try to think of a nice old musical standard to use as a title for each post.  Or at least paraphrase a lyric or title.  In the case of this post…”When Sunny Gets Blue” has multiple thoughts that are conjured up.

Firstly, my wife recently bought me a nice set of Music Minus One Play-a-long music books that includes this old gem.  However, I can’t help but to think of the version the Count Basie Orchestra recorded around 1969 or 1970 with the great trombonist Buddy Morrow filling in on the record date.  Mr. Morrow was called upon to play the ballad.  Indeed he did…with great style…and the Basie Band was oh-so briefly featuring a trombone sound never heard with that band before or since.

The great Buddy Morrow still leads the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 2010 at age 91. Buddy played in the great T.D. band of 1938...the band that produced many hits for Dorsey!

Oddly, that dovetails with the fact that word is the Count Basie Orchestra is under “new management”.  It is a wonderful orchestra that has continued to carry on since its leaders passing in 1984.  Currently under the leadership of William Henry “Bill” Hughes, the band has fortunately made a handful of recordings but traveled very little.  The management has apparently fallen down on the job.  Mr. Hughes has done a good job of leading the orchestra, but bookings are slim in this economy.  With the new management in place perhaps the band will get back to travelling 30 or so weeks a year…like they used to.

Bill Hughes with the Count Basie Orchestra during rehersal in Flint, Michigan.

And that dovetails with boating.  Not only does Sunny Get Blue…but so do I during the winter months.  It too cold for many of the activities I enjoy the most.  Working on the boats and outboards are suspended until warmer weather comes about.  Thus I’m getting a little stir crazy.  Cabin fever…ya’ know!?!

This being the first part of January, it dawned on me that as of this writing I am slightly less than 90 days away from shipping season on the Great Lakes.  Also, weather permitting, launching a vessel of my own.  However, much work must be done to get ready.

Our 1949 Thompson Lake TVT has its interior stripped of her varnish and sits covered in the garage under a blue tarp.  I need to get to work sanding, sealing with CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) and laying down several coats of varnish, revarnishing and installing the seats and the steering and controls.  This is a good solid month of work.

The Alumacraft “FDR sits on saw horses awaiting much-needed sanding, buffing, and polishing.  Then seats will need fabricating, electrical and steering installed, and a motor placed on her restored transom.

And that brings us to the next dilemma.  Outboard motors.  So many motors and so little time.

1957 35hp Evinrude Big Twin

 The 1957 Evinrude “Big Twin” is a nice 35 horsepower outboard that was given to me for services rendered on another outboard.  This motor has “kicked” throughout the restoration.  Broken bolts, nasty mouse nests, and house paint on the entire motor.  YUCK!

Seems as if every 3rd bolt broke off upon efforts to remove them.  The power head is in the shop to have the cylinders honed…and new rings and one new piston will need to be installed.  The lower unit has some issues that will necessitate replacement as well.  Suffice to say, this was not a motor that had been cared for.  But I do believe it will run again.

Next up is this little gem that was obtained via a trade for a Martin 200 I bought for 25 bucks.  I didn’t realize at the time what I had bought, but the Martin…turns out…is fairly sought after by outboard enthusiasts.  I had no intentions of doing anything with it, and had a nice offer to trade for a 1957 Johnson Golden Javelin 35 hp outboard.

1957 35hp Johnson "Golden Javelin"

Perhaps considered one of the most attractive Johnson’s of the 1950’s, this motor came with much-needed controls and electrical connections that will be used on the 1959 Alumacraft.

This motor is in very good shape and needs really just a basic tune up and some cosmetic work, including re-chroming the shiny parts, some of which need gold plating.

All-in-all, this should be a fairly straight forward restoration.

Unfortunately, the week of New Years brought about a late “Christmas Gift” from the local boat restoration guru’s, Ramsay Brother’s Restorations.  I was summoned to the restoration shop, and shown a 1959 Evinrude Lark 35hp outboard.  It too is basically complete, but dirty as hell, and will need more effort to make it serviceable.

1959 35hp Evinrude Lark.

This motor puts fear into the hearts of many postal employees owing to its mailbox styled cowling.  More than one of these hoods has ended up on of post in front of an outboard enthusiasts home.

Open front and insert mail?!?!?

This motor is the same motor for the most part as a standard 35hp Big Twin, but the lower unit and hood are designed for noise reduction.  This too is a good candidate for restoration with some new paint, and tune up.  It seems to have good compression and likely will see service as primary power on our Alumacraft since they are the same year.  This also has created the need to do a “proper restoration” of the Alumacraft FDR, and to be as faithful to it as possible.  This 1959 boat and motor combo would be a real “period piece” or slice of family outboarding history.

Included with the Evinrude Lark was a real gift.  The “brothers” also threw in a 1950 vintage Goodyear Sea-Bee 5hp outboard I had been desiring for a while. 

1950 Goodyear Sea-Bee 5hp outboard1949 Gambles Hiawatha 5hp outboard.

1949 Gamble's Hiawatha 5hp motor.

You’ll notice a similarity in the two outboards above.  Yes they are the same motor.  The Gale Division of OMC created many department store or “house brand” outboards.  You could walk into a Gambles store, a Goodyear Tire store, or any number of department stores and get one of these little motors.  They share very little with the Johnson and Evinrude OMC brands, but are still fine little motors.  Both of these will get full cosmetic restorations and mechanical tune-up and work as needed.

So once the weather gets a bit nicer, work can resume on these projects…and I won’t be so blue anymore.

 So until warmer weather…stand by.