Archive for the 'Misc.' Category


Trailers for Sale or Rent: Reviving a well worn original back to road worthy.

Of course everyone knows the title of this post to be a part of the lyrics from Roger Miller’s “King of the Road”.  If you don’t know this song…you should.  It’s great when driving on vacation to just drive along and belt it out when it comes on the radio.

I digress..

When we last left the 1958 Lyman project, we had the hull coated in primer.  The project has moved along despite a looming, and thankfully now passed surgery.  So we needed to perform some surgery of our own on this old trailer.

The trailer is the same one the original owner purchased for this boat in 1958.  It was made by Gator Trailer and is the tubular steel, tilt-type found so commonly under such a craft.  There really wasn’t anything wrong with the trailer…except the springs had lost their springiness.  The springs also were in the 30 to 31 inch range from eye-to-eye…which are not common.  So they needed to be replaced.  To do that I turned to good friends Scott Parish and of course Sonny Clark.

Scott is a bit of an interesting guy.  He works for an auto parts manufacturer and he is very meticulous in his approach to such matters.  He does it everyday at work building rear axles and such.  Sonny is a retired machinist…so problem solving is his thing!  They are both brilliant when it comes to such issues as this trailer.  So we convened on a Saturday morning to do the work.

I was still post-op and hurting badly so I contributed NOTHING to this project.  In fact we arrived around 10am and by that time the guys had been at work and had the trailer pretty well torn down.

Now decisions have to be made.  There were two goals to be accomplished.  #1. Replace the springs.  #2. Extend the trailer tongue a couple of feet. (Scott had remembered a few other issues on my “wish list”…and he addressed those too!!)

So the issues with the springs is…the old spring hangers were not where we needed them to be to accommodate the new 27 inch off-the-shelf-springs.  We went to off-the-shelf so if there was a failure, they would be readily available on the road while traveling.

So the job is…either mount new spring hangers or Which are welded in place.  So either way there is a lot of work.  But after discussion it was decided to mount new hangers and abandon the old spring hardware entirely.

So here’s how Scott and Sonny did it with assist from Steve Shaltry and a tad from me.

Measure twice…cut once!!  We measured more than twice, and had long discussions about how to place the axle correctly to prevent the trailing from “crabbing” down the road which would wear bearings and tires out quickly.  (We actually found the original spring hangers to be off by a 1/2 inch or more!!)  So Scott marked the spot…ground paint away to bare steel…and we were ready to weld new hangers to the trailer tubing.

Scott is self-taught as a welder!  He does a great job though.  We were fortunate the original front spring hangers were about 3/8 of an inch from where we wanted the new spring hangers.  So with the help of a shim placed between the old and new hangers, Scott welded the new hanger in place.  Then he removed the old spring hanger and ground down the remains smooth.

The old tube had a spot that got our attention where it appears to have been welded…poorly…at some time previously.  Scott built this area back up, then chamfered the edges of the tubes to get a good solid bead between the old and new tubing.  He also inserted another tube inside the new tubes to add some strength at the joint.

One of the problems with a tubular trailer is a bow-stop and tongue jack are not easily mounted without concerns of them “swiveling” around the round tube.  In fact most trailers of this era didn’t have tongue jacks.  (That is why there was rot in the bow of this boat.  All the water would run to the lowest point when the trailer was at rest…in this case…sitting down on the trailer tongue.)

So Scott knew I wanted my tongue jack to be more secure and used the correct sized muffler clamps to make a pad for the jack to mount to. Smart!!

So after all that…8 to 10 hrs of work…Sonny hauled the trailer to a local man who will sandblast, prep, prime, and paint the trailer in fresh yellow paint. So she should be better than new when finished.  We’ll need to rewire the lights, re-carpet the bunks, and make some fine adjustments to accommodate the boat.  But it will make for a nice finished restoration package when done.

Next up…and update on the boat herself and how we painted and began some varnish work. So long for now!



Never Say Never Again: Another boat project!!

It is said to be a thing of legend…the fights the Fabulous Dorsey’s had!  I’m talking about Jimmy and younger brother Tommy.  Both fiery Irishmen from Pennsylvania…they we’re brother’s who were musical geniuses.  But they had many, many disagreements…that by all accounts led to fights.  Drummer Ray McKinley who played for them confirmed this when I interviewed him years ago.  He stated when asked about the topic (in his Texas drawl)…”OH maaannnn.  Their fights were legendary!  They would start to argue and then the bus would pull over and out the door they’d gooooo!  They’d roll around in the dirt along the highway until it was resolved!!”

The brothers ran a combined jazz orchestra and one night when Tommy was conducting he counted off the tune “Never Say Never Again” at a tempo that Jimmy felt was wrong.  The older brother called the younger out on the bandstand…and Tommy stormed of to start his own big band.  History was made!

Yes many years later the brother reunited and had a really fine swing orchestra.  Tommy directed mostly, older brother Jimmy was featured.  Both had volumes of hit tunes to draw from.  But since they did reunite…they found out you can “Never Say Never”!

So after the last boat project…I swore I’d never restore another boat. I’ve done several and this is boat number 11 so far as ownership.  Everyone one of them needed work.  So I was through…I thought!  But as the Dorsey’s found out…you can “Never Say Never Again!”

In a previous post seen here we made mention of our purchase of a 1958 Lyman 15 runabout.  While she appeared to be in great shape and we had no real plans to do a full restoration…we are doing a full restoration.

Here the deal!

We noticed at the end of last season that she was taking on quite a bit of water when we were out running in October with the Maumee Marauders…a sub-group of friends from the Michiana Outboard Boating Chapter of AOMCI.  This is a group who goes out informally and works, on or just runs our old watercraft and motors.  The wives are involved in it.  We might go for a few hours…or the whole day.  Here is a video of the trip.  This concerned us a bit, but there had always been a slight leak at the bow near one of the garboard planks.  But it seemed to be getting worse.  The other issues with the boat were largely cosmetic, such as paint and varnish.  Hardly a reason to tear the whole boat down.

However after reflection and some discussion with Scott Ramsey of Ramsey Brothers Restoration and my friend and Lyman guru Sonny Clark…Missy n me discussed it and decided a full restoration made sense.  My fear was that we’d paint the exterior this year, then decided to do varnish next year and the stripper would seep out between a plank and louse up the new paint outside.  So we “pulled the trigger”.

Sonny offered to assist us and give us his knowledge by letting us use his big inside heated shop.  His knowledge is based on restoring four Lyman’s, including a 13 footer he split down the middle and replaced almost everything on the boat.  He calls her “Kindlin'” ’cause she wasn’t much more than that…ready for the burn pile.

Also my feeling was that if we had to basically take the hardware and windshield off anyway…might as well do the full boat!  And so we did!!  I also figured we’d get to the bottom of why the leak seemed to be getting worse.  We did!!!  More on that later!

And so we finished the season and took the boat to “Sonny’s Lyman Emporium” to rest and be refitted.  Nearly every weekend we make the early morning trip 101 miles west to Sonny’s where he is usually waiting with his coffee…and an update on what he has done through the week.  Sonny has largely done a lot of mind-numbing and time consuming tasks such as removing all the putty on screws and clinch nails and replacing the putty.  He did the keel work, and a lot of the stripping too.  I can’t possible be there every day.  So we stay in touch by phone and plan our next weekends activities.

So here is where we begin the restoration.

When we left Sonny’s all the hardware was stripped off the boat and stored.

When we came back the next week, Sonny had stripped her decks and removed all the furniture.

So we set about stripping her in the week following.  The varnish that had been applied by the previous owner came right off.  (At least he tried to maintain her!)  But the original varnish was tough!

Missy, Sonny and me worked for a full day stripping her inside.  We found one rib that looks suspicious, but not damaged, possibly from water that sat in the boat.

The forward seat planks were butt-jointed together.  needless to say they eventually will give out…and did.  So Sonny splined them and glued them up with epoxy.

While Sonny worked on the benches…I began sanding the inside of the hull.  This is a tedious task working around all the ribs and the remaining furniture.

The end result is pretty good for a cursory sanding.

The following week we rolled the boat over and were surprised that she was in really good shape.  There are some issues we knew about, and then some usual things, but we determined pretty quickly that we had a situation at the keel that was at the root of our leak.

First the good news.  This boat had some work done that is necessary in most Lyman’s.  Her knee was replaced at some point.  The knee is a structural member that connects from the stem to the keel.  It is a rather large timber with some complex joinery that also involves attachment of the bow planking.  If you look at a lapstrake boat, they seem pretty simple, but look closely at the bow and stern and you find that the planking “flattens” out on both ends via some pretty unique joints.  So they are complex in this way.

So while the knee and two planks had been replaced at some point (Again a sign the previous owner loved his boat and cared for her!!), she certainly had a problem just aft of that repair.

Now that the boat is upside down, we can see what I already knew was an issue.  The keel had something going on at the garboard planks.  What I wasn’t sure, but we needed to find out and make repairs.

In the top photo left…after removal of the caulking you can see there is dry rot at the keel.  Our only option was to cut this area out to see what was involved and then set about repairs.  Top right, we cut the keel out for about 12 inches and began probing the area.  Much to our amazement the timber was in pretty good shape, and the damage was somewhat superficial.  Fortunately the garboard planks were still rock solid!

Upon finding the dry rot, we discussed several options.  The most invasive would be cut the timber out which would involve springing lots of planking and making a new part.  However the timber was actually in pretty good shape.  So we decided to chemically stabilized it and keep it in place.  To repair the damage we used a rot killing epoxy which not only hardens the wood, but also would encapsulate and kill the rot spores.  Then we filled the area with wood (Oak) dust and epoxy.  Smoothed it all out and epoxied a new keel in place.

After splicing the new piece of oak in…Sonny profiled the keel to match the original.  It will certainly be as structurally strong as before…or better in this case since the rot is mitigated.

Now…here is the reason for the rot.  This boat sits on her original Gator Trailer.  The trailers of 1950’s vintage were not equipped with a dolly on the tongue.  So after a trip…whatever water is in the boat…bilge…if allowed to stay in the boat will run to the bow and settle in the area affected on our boat.  The water just sits in the dark humidity of the enclosed bow and eventually it will become a breeding ground for rot.  Had the boat trailer had a dolly on the tongue the water would have settled across the entire bilge or toward the transom and being in open air, would have had little affect.

So now the stripping begins.  This was a tedious and tough process.

The week between Christmas and New Years slows down for me at work, and Missy was off for a shut down, so we spent most of three days bunking in at Sonny’s place to start stripping the boat of her white paint.  Once again, it became obvious that the man who owned this boat must have loved her enough to take care of her.  He had painted and varnished her.  And while not  particularly neat job of it…he did it!  And that probably has prolonged the life of the boat.

You must remember that boats of this vintage were expected to sit out all summer with the sun beating down on them.  There were no UV protectants in paint and varnish really in those days.  So the sun was hard on them.  The rain sitting in the bilge.  Sitting in the water all summer long at the lake cottage, etc.  That’s hard service!  Thus they were expected to live 5 to 10 years…then off to the burn pile.  Our boat is nearing 60 years of age as of this writing!!  So her rotting keel is pretty minor!!

Of course of the lapstrake styled boats out there, Lyman’s were well respected as being well built…and maybe in our boat’s case…OVER-BUILT!  There were others who built good boats, but Lyman’s were, and are well respected.

So back to the stripping of the paint.  The original owner had painted her, and the stripper took that paint off fairly fast.  But the original paint from the factory was HARD as NAILS!!  Three and four coats of stripper were required.  In hindsight I should have simply stripped off what I could, sanded everything.  Feathered the edges and primed and painted over the original paint.  Two reasons for saying this!  1. If old paint is still sticking fast to the surface…work on top of it.  2. Lyman’s paint covered the grain of the plywood planks beautifully.  Its going to be tough to get the grain to not telegraph back through the paint.

But alas we did strip her down.  This also meant uncovering every screw and clinch nail by removing the putty that was placed over them.  Not a job for the faint at heart.  Sonny and Missy did most of this work…I’m glad to say!

What you see above is about a half a day of progress.  The original paint is very tough and the store-bought strippers hardly touched it until several applications had taken place.  Our pile of paint flakes would grow many times over the next few days.

So while Sonny n me went about the process of stripping paint, Missy was doing battle hunched over a workbench stripping varnish off all the furniture parts.

All the furniture and the windshield parts are piled up awaiting their turn at Missy’s table.  The residual varnish was collected in a bucket.  Several buckets!

The paint pile continued to grow…and grow.

So that was it!  23 hrs of time just spent stripping paint and sanding her hull.  I did most of the sanding with my Dewalt Orbital Sander.  It finally seized up in the last hour of work.  But we got the boat ready to go back the other direction toward the water.  We had a basically clean pallet from which to proceed.

Upon return to Sonny’s a week or so later…varnish was continuing to be stripped, and Sonny had stained the transom and gunnels in preparation for final sanding and prepping for primer.  He had also finished up work on the keel repair.

Sonny has worked on the boat as a winter project.

Somewhere along the line I had seen a Lyman with varnished oak spray rails adorning her flanks.  This gave me an idea to follow suit.  But remember the tough…HARD paint from above.  Well it was also covering those spray rails.  Oak is by nature more porous than mahogany.  So naturally this could present a challenge.  But my resident stripper…uh…that is…Missy seemed up to the challenge as seen below!


Now my wife has no hatred toward anyone or anything that I can identify.  But this day…I suspect she came close.  The paint was not only hard…but it was down deep inside every pore of the oak.  Sonny proclaimed…”I bet you end up painting those back.  There’s no way you’ll get that paint off there enough to varnish them!”


Missy did and outstanding job using coat after coat of stripper and then a small wire brush to get the paint out of the grain!

So…after another week went by…we started back to work…

And Sonny sucked and sealed.


Missy stripped…

I stained…


Cans stacked up.


I mentioned Sonny sealed…and he did…using a clear penetrating epoxy sealer…CPES.  We used a new product line from Jamestown Marine called Total Boat which is their house brand.  Sonny applied two coats or so.  What does it do?

It is a very watery…runny…epoxy that soaks deep into the wood and once the solvents flash out and evaporate, it leaves behind a cellulose fiber attached to the wood while sealing it in epoxy to protect it from future issues of rot…or at least minimizing it.


All the furniture and windshield parts are stained and will get varnish.

After a week of setup time, a thinned 50/50 mix of varnish/mineral spirits was applied to every piece to seal the stain.  next four or five build coats of varnish will be applied before sanding and starting to do finish work.  You can’t have enough room for everything.  We improvised!

In  the two weeks since our last visit (We celebrated Missy’s Birthday!) Sonny prepped the boat for primer.  The keel was caulked and he actually put one coat of primer on the wood following the CPES and faired the hull and filled all the screw and nail holes.  Again…not a job for the faint at heart.

Upon arrival I wanted to go over the boat/primer to try and knock down some of the grain from the plywood planking.  I had spoken to Dave Ramsey at Ramsey Brothers Restorations who was kind enough to offer some advice.  So while I doubt I’ll get all the grain out…and the planks smooth…sanding is a good start.

Sonny had masked off the gunnels and transom.  These things don’t seem hard…and they aren’t.  But prep is 90% of a good end product…and 90% of the work.  The primer and paint are easy!  So I block sanded the primer and removed much of it in the process.  But this will hopefully yield a smoother final finish.


Here Sonny has also meticulously taped of the transom which will be varnished and masked it to keep the primer off.


After block sanding the entire boat with 80 grit by hand, I took a break while Sonny vacuumed and Missy wiped the boat down with spirits.  You can see how much primer I actually removed from that undercoat.  Once this was done…it was time to prime the hull.  This is the first time I felt like we were going back toward the water!

The primer we used is a two part epoxy primer from West Marine.  It is their house brand which I think has been discontinued.  So why did I used it?  Simple!

We dropped in one day to look at paint prices.  I looked down and saw it was on sale for 69.99.  Primer of this type is normally around 129.99 for the gallon kit.  I asked the sales person who made it for them.  (Let’s face it…West Marine doesn’t have a factory where they make varnish, paint, and primer. Someone makes it for them.)  She said Pettit made it and they West Marine was dropping it from their line.

Great!  I’ll try it.

This stuff is made for steel, fiberglass, and aluminum boats…but is commonly used on wooden craft too!  It falls right in line with the CPES and other such products.  However this is not easy stuff to work with.  We were going to spray it rather than brush it.  I sensed Sonny was apprehensive about that idea, but I bought some epoxy #97 Thinner from Petit for dirt cheap and it laid down and flowed out very well.  Spraying also make short work of the entire boat.  I used a fairly inexpensive HVLP Paint gun.

Sonny mixed and stirred.  I sprayed.  Be sure to wear a suit and PPE.  Respirator for sure!!


I took my time and sprayed the whole boat in under an hour.  The toughest part is getting the bottom laps coated.  You have to reach over the boat from the opposite side to do it well.


Coat number 1 was done by 11am.  We started the day at 9-ish.

So the plan was that we’d let the primer dry for about three to four hours and in the meantime I could be working on varnishing the brightwork. Missy helped by bringing the parts to my work table I brought from home.  I varnished and moved the parts back to the storage tables.

All the brightwork/furniture got a quick coat of buildup varnish.

I hope to push and challenge myself on the varnish and paint for this boat.  I’d like to do it once and not have to mess with it again.  So there will be many more coats applied.  But right now I’m just concerned with building thickness so I can safely sand without “burning” through to the stain.


There are a number of parts made from plywood for seat supports and such.  These parts will get an oak stain…then varnish.  They were probably made from scrap pieces at the factory that otherwise would have been pitched or burned.  So while this is not beautiful wood (since it is made from the same plywood as the planking!)…it will still be seen.


So after a bit of down time and idle chit-chat…we did a second coat of primer.  It’s not easy because you’re shooting the same color over top of each other. If we hadn’t gotten such a great deal on this primer…I would recommend buying two different colors to overlap each other to more easily see the coverage.


After the primer was applied above we had lunch and then went out after the cloud of primer cleared and did another build coat of varnish.  Notice the gloss is starting to build up.


And with this bow-on shot, you can see we are done for the day.

So our plan right now is that Sonny will do a little more fairing and filling and sanding.  When Missy n me make the trip next weekend…we’ll prep the hull again and shoot a final coat of primer in the morning.  Then we’ll kill time a bit and within a few hours shoot the first color coat of white.  More on that later though.

So for now…that is where the project sits.  We’re hoping she’ll look nice when we’re finished.  I doubt she’ll be a “showstopper”, but I have hopes of her looking like the real lady she is.  She has been an excellent source of fun and we have certainly put some miles under her in our first season.  We are honored to be her stewards moving forward.

Until next time…so long.


Falling in Love Again: A story of Missy n Me…

The story of Missy n Me started more than 30 years ago.  30 years.  Where does it go?  It is a simple story about true love.  Does anyone ever forget their first true love?  I doubt it.  I never did.  In fact there have been studies about first true loves, and apparently it is something not too many ever get past.

Our story began innocently enough on a summer day around 1984 at a Civil Air Patrol encampment based at the airfield outside of Springfield, Ohio.  We were camping on the green right in front of the terminal building.  Squadrons from Xenia, Dayton/Kettering, and our scrappy bunch of cadets from Squadron 706.

I remember the damned searchlight going round and round all night.  Some of the cadets stayed up into the wee hours…talking…playing cards…and generally just trying to be as adult as our age would allow.  I was 16-ish years old, and had never dated…let along really been in love.

Then as the song says…”I was walking along minding my business…when out of an orange colored sky…FLASH…BANG…ALA KAZAM!”  Love came along and hit me right square in between the eyes!

That morning as we were preparing for the days training session…there she was.  I still remember it like yesterday.  Dressed in nothing but green military fatigues, the most adorable young female cadet I’d ever seen walked by.  I felt my heart pound…alternating pulses of hot and cold though my veins. It was far worse than the feeling of getting detention…interim reports…or bad grades…and knowing the punishment that was coming.  This was the same…but different.  It was amazing!

I watched her walk by, and later found out she was “dating” a guy who was a Master Sargent!  He was nearing completion of courses to Warrant Officer!  Oh God!  I was a lowly Airman!  How could I compete!?!?!?

I couldn’t!  She was beautiful…and was dating a guy with MORE STRIPES!!!  UGH!!!

I was sunk.

I watched her from afar.  Even clad in nothing but green she seemed to exude such warmth through her big smile, her eyes twinkled when she smiled.  She had a cute little nose that caught my attention.  Her face was gentle and kind.  But she was with another guy.  I’d never cross the line to try and steal another guy’s girl…and how could I?  He HAD MORE STRIPES!

At some point I was asked to take something to her where she was working in the terminal doing clerical stuff…I guess.  I approached and she smiled as I reached out to hand her whatever I’d been asked to deliver.  I swallowed hard…took in a big breath…and when she said “Thank you”…I mumbled something that undoubtedly sounded like I had gas from the can of Spaghetti-o’s and soda I’d eaten for breakfast.

That was the end of it!  I was done!  She’d never speak to me again…and god willing she’d never remember what had just happened.

So the timeline gets fuzzy here, but at the end of the year was our annual C.A.P. Banquet.  I had been asked to deejay the event since my buddy and I had started a business spinning records.  So we showed up…set up…and were ready to go.  Dressed in a tux…I was the front man…and Jimmy spun the records and attended to the technical stuff.

As things got underway…and folks began entering the room, alas I saw her walk in with a… friend.  Hey!  Wait!  Where was old what’s his name…the Warrant Officer?  Strange.

After the awards were passed out following dinner, Jimmy and I were introduced and began our shtick…which was “under development” still.  We were novices. As I stood nervous on stage back selling songs and trying to keep things going forward, my nerves were not owing to the performance.  It was “What if I fail in front of HER!?!?”.

As the evening wore on, my dreams were answered.  This young cadet I’d been watching from afar came up with an envelope from her “friend” of whom I’d been acquainted, yet disinterested in.  She introduced herself…as if I’d never noticed her…and handed me the note…which I believe I stuffed in a pocket or read quickly and dismissed.  I had something more important to do right then.  With every ounce of guts and determination I could muster…I blurted out “Would you like to dance?”.  She said “Sure!”…and there was that smile again.  Her “Pepsodent Smile”!  I could have passed out.

So I told Jimmy to keep playing slow stuff for a bit…and Missy n me…we did the “High School Hangs”.  My feet never touched the ground the whole time.  I was flying higher than anyone could imagine.  Me…dancing with HER!  WOW!

It nearly wrecked the gig as I wanted to keep going on slow music, but the other kids wanted something…well…more up-tempo.  Finally I had to succumb to their wishes.  It was a non-paying gig after all!!

The night went on…and I was in love!  Though I didn’t know how much so right then and there.

At the end of the evening she gave me her address or phone number, and we were going to stay in touch.  Problem was she lived in Springfield…me Englewood some 30 miles distant to the west.  I had no car…no drivers license…not a single luxury.

So thus began one of the great letter writing campaigns in history.

We wrote sweet innocent love notes by the mailbag full.  Back and forth the postal truck roared along I-70 carrying our precious cargo.  Some weeks there’d be 5 or so letters between us.  Sundays were pure hell!  Through rain, sleet and snow…but not on Sunday by God!

Everyday I would meet the post man…a grumpy old guy in a jeep…at our curbside mailbox in hopes of another letter from my long-distance sweetheart.  The mailman got on to what was up.  I suppose they see trends and back in those days they knew everyone on their route.  So he’d put all the mail in the box…rather than handing it to me.  Then I noticed he would sit in his jeep sorting the next batch of letters…while I perused our posts for “The LETTER!”.  He would see my face grow long if nothing was in the pile of junk mail…and like a genie out of a bottle…”Oops!  I musta missed this one!”…or “Hmmm…this was on my dashboard!”…or the old classic play “Darn it…I guess I dropped this one!”…as he handed me the LETTER of my dreams.

I would walk calmly into the house…but with a quicker step than normal…and head for my bedroom to read my latest post from Springfield.  The letter would usually go to school with me the next day and during study hall…a return letter drafted and sent back across I-70 to Springfield.  This is potentially why I was such a bad student with such lousy grades.

Finally it was my Senior Prom! 1986…theme…Sailing.  (Yes the Christopher Cross song!)  I asked Missy to accompany me…and she said okay.  But having no car…etc presented issues. So I enlisted a friend who had wheels to double date…then after-prom…then King’s Island the next day.  We were set.

We went to pick up Missy…all the way in Springfield and came back to my folks house to take photos, then off to prom.

Yup…same tux I wore for the Civil Air Patrol banquet.  Missy looked beautiful like a princess.  I looked more like an anemic Jimmy Stewart!

We danced…slow dances at prom.  Talked a bit.  I was still nervous and scared.  She was sweet as usual.  The next day we headed off to King’s Island where Mark’s date tried to get Missy to take off with some guys they met while waiting in line for a ride.

But alas, she stuck around with me.

However, eventually not having wheels to get back and forth got the better of us, and she called it quits.  I remember the letter telling me we don’t see enough of each other.  I remember going out to get the mail…and seeing the postman’s perplexed look when there WAS NO LETTER.  After a week or so…he got the picture and as grumpy as he was said “Sorry kid!  Nothing today.”  I think what he meant really…but didn’t know how to say was…he was sorry.  He no doubt saw the look of lost love on my face.

So what to do?  Get a license and a car! So over the summer I did.  Then fall rolled around.  And somehow I still couldn’t get Missy off my mind.

Again…mustering all the courage I had…I gassed up my trusty new/used Pontiac J2000 and drove all the way across I-70 to her high school.  I arrived as 7th period was wrapping up and waiting hoping to see her leaving so I could ask her to go get an ice cream or something.

My heart was pounding as class let out…and suddenly there she was…heading toward me.  She didn’t see me at first…but I stepped right out in front of her and said “Hello” or something equally romantic.  She greeted me looking perplexed, then a surprised look filled her face.  I wasn’t sure what to make of it!  It seemed odd and strained. Surprised was to be expected, but slightly shocked…or horrified was not.

I asked if she would like to take a ride in my car…and amazingly she said yes…but then she said “Just a minute…I need to talk to someone.”  She went over and spoke to some fella standing with his friends…and then returned, and away we went.

I guess never in a million years had it occurred to me that maybe…just maybe she might move on and start dating someone else.  It truly didn’t occur to me until a day or so later…that guy she spoke to…was her now ex-boyfriend.

Well we went to the mall and walked around.  We grabbed a snack…and shopped a bit….then I took her home.  We sat in the driveway talking for a time…then I had to go.  This is when a most uncharacteristic thing occurred…I leaned over the center console and gave her a kiss.  I was stunned.  I did that!?!?

She smiled sweetly…probably seeing the shock and embarrasement on my face…and then she got out and went inside.  I on the other hand had to drive home while suffering a near heart failure while asking myself…”What the hell did I do?  Do I have no self control!?!?  Was it good for her?  It was good for me…all 3 seconds of it…WOW!  Oh god…she’ll never want to see me again…WHAT HAVE I DONE!?!?!?!?”

But we did see each other again.  Often!  So much so over the next couple of years her father threatened to write me off his taxes as a dependent.

So this was the beginning of our real love story.


Missy’s Senior Prom was coming up too.  The theme was “Sailing”…it was 1987 and yes…it was still the Christopher Cross song by the same name.  My prom was held in a banquet hall…Missy’s in the high school gym.  We walked in and it was amazing.  The gym was decked out with a false tunnel of streamers leading to the tables and chairs and the dance floor.  She looked amazing.  Her strapless gown with gloves.  Me again in my white dinner jacket with black tie this time.  We danced the night away…slowly…then went out to the local reservoir and sat in my car.  We watched the stars and the water…then with all the romance of the day…I am told by her…I fell asleep…in my drivers seat.  She sat quietly until dawn.  Then we took off for King’s Island again.

Romance.  HA!

We stayed steady for what seemed like for ever.  But it must have been shorter than I thought.  As I look back though, her 1987 Prom pictures are the first time we looked like adults.  The first time we looked happy.  And as I look at the photos below…it is easy to see how in love we were.  And we were!  My first true love.

This must have been my birthday.  I’m perched on a new bike which Missy remembers us riding at the reservoir a lot. In the second photo, you can tell…we were so happy…and in love.

scan_20161225-7I love this picture.  We were building a new disc jockey set up to go on the road with.  I’m sure she’d rather have been doing something else, but she was always willing to help.  The reason I love this photo is this is the smile I fell in love with.  Big and warm…she looks like a rainbow could shine from behind her.

So after working all day…we finally got this new project done.  We set it up in the garage and she was a great sport through it all.

scan_20161225-11It’s Christmas time, and we have just arrived at my folks house.  I wore a leather flight jacket long before Tom Cruise and “Top Gun”…and yes I’m sure the fashionable headgear was inspired by a different movie.  But…here is Missy…with that smile!

scan_20161225-13We both are old souls.  I loved old music…big band and jazz…she is more of the 1950’s faith.  Thus Missy got me a replica Philco Model 90 and I got her a miniature Wurlitzer Jukebox that played little tiny tapes.

scan_20161225-17Yup…spring has sprung and we took a road trip to Indianapolis Union Station.  It had been converted into a shopping mall.  I guess there’s always a train around me somehow.

Standing on the back porch at my folks…we must have been ready to go boating.  I must be happy…as they say a happy man gains weight.  I must be happy here judging by the spare tire forming!  We used to go boating with my family.  Ironic since it is still a past time for us.

scan_20161225-20My second favorite photo of us.  This was kind of us in a nutshell.  I loved Missy deeply and intensely, which would present issues down he road.  But some good natured hamming nonetheless…and yet I would guess I was still being very sincere.

scan_20161225-24These are special photos.  This is my Grandma Stubblefield…mom’s mom.  She was a wonderful character.  Warm…and fun loving.  And that little Pontiac Fiero in the background was my undoing.

scan_20161225-25Grandma Stubblefield loved Missy.  Missy was very kind to her.  but Grandma had never driven a car in her life.  But being a fun loving person…I think she would have tried if we’d let her.  Simply a favorite photo for both Missy n me…Grandma with the keys in hand…ready to go cruisin’!


Possibly my favorite photo of us.  Stubblefield family get together…nearing the end of our run together.  I’m still in love…but Missy is nearing the end of “US”.

So all good things must come to an end.  The Fiero was perplexing to me…and came to be a symbol of Missy striking out on her own.  I was 19 or 20 and very much lacking in confidence under the surface.  She was growing and finding herself.  We had talked of marriage by this time.  It scared me to death.  We spoke about marriage and having children, which Missy very much wanted…and I did not.  I wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting which was not promising financially…especially starting out and raising a family.  And she was working full time.  Her father and I were beginning to have issues, as I was trying to get his daughter away from him, and he was trying not to lose her to someone he viewed had no future.  It’s an old story.

It finally ended…supposedly on, or around my birthday.  Missy came to the house.  We were talking. I knew things were not good…and hadn’t been for a while.  And she ended it despite my pleas for working it out.  Ultimately…she was right.  We were heading down different paths.

I died a little that day.

No more sweet smile.  No more twinkling eyes.  No more road trips in my pick up truck.  No more getting to hang out with her and her two sisters…her parents, whom had become part of my life.  I sobbed for hours.  It hurt.  Damn how it hurt.  My first true love had ended.  I had ruined it in large part…by being so insecure…so I blamed me mostly.

I lost track of Missy after that.  I was mad at her.  Years later I found out my mom, with whom she had bonded deeply as well…kept in contact with Missy for a while after we ended it.  Mom even sent Missy gifts when her first two children were born. When I found out, I was aghast.  It’s not like it hated her…really.  I was worried she was dead in a ditch or something.  It would have been nice to know she was okay.

But life moved on.  I dated…but no one came close to “the standard” set previously.  I married…and loved her too, but in a different way than a first true love.  It’s possible to love more than one person.

However over the years with the advent of the internet I had kind of “searched” for Missy on and off.  As the internet improved…the chances of finding out ow she was improved too.  One day I found her dad in my search.  The database said he was 55 years old.  I remember thinking how odd that was.  The math didn’t make sense.  Then the reality hit that he had passed away.  My heart sank.  I started thinking of her mom…sisters…and of course Missy. He was actually a smart and wise man.  He had a deadly sense of humor…and a laugh I can still hear in my head.  It was infectious!! So

I clicked away a bit and found Missy had married another guy from Civil Air Patrol who had been a life long friend with her family.  I felt relieved.  I remembered him as a decent and generally good guy.  They had 3 kids.  Missy got what she wanted and deserved and I was at peace with that.

But she never really left that special place in my heart for a first true love.  I carried her along with me.  For many years I was in radio, I thought our paths might cross as I did a number of 50’s/60’s formats.  Right up her alley.  But it wasn’t to be.

We came close though!  In fact closer than we imagined!!

I tired of radio.  I’d gone through several mergers.  I’d been in a management role a number of years…and decided to change careers.  I left and went to work for a Class 1 Railroad in Hillard, Ohio at a big hump yard.  One day while shoving a train out into the old yard tracks near Scioto-Darby Road…I was “flagging” a crossing to stop traffic.  Suddenly out of the string of cars approaching, a lady with some kids drives over my foot.  I remember it clearly as day!  I looked into the car and thought…”WOW!  That looked like Missy!”.  Well I had a train to put away and I did so.  Little did I know that Missy and her family were living in Hilliard at that time.

She denies it happened…or it was her.  I have my doubts.

So move ahead another decade plus and 2013 rolls around. Technology plays a role.  This time not the U.S. Postal Service…but the internet.  She came searching to see what I was up to.  She mustered all the courage she could to hit “send” and I received a message asking how I was.  It seemed pretty thinly veiled and it appeared to me her life wasn’t going well either…or why would she contact me?  I’d just be a faint memory if everything was “swell” with her.

I was honest.  “NOT GOOD!  Can’t find work…marriage is ending.  How are you?”

Her reply was honest too.  She’d been married to a police officer.  Thank god they do what they do…but it usually costs them personally.  She had 3 grown kids.  She was calling it quits too.

We sent messages back and forth for a bit and decided to meet and just go over old times I guess.  Besides…I was frankly still a little hacked she ended it almost 30 years ago!  I wanted to tell her so.  So we met.  We talked.  I told her I was older, grimmer, greyer, tired…and fatter.  She said she was felt alone.  I wanted to still be mad at her.  I tried being as frosty as I could, but I melted.  I was not surprised…at all

We talked so much we forgot Missy had packed lunch.  And we talked…and talked.

Eventually the writing was on the wall.  We still had that little spark between us.  It was just an ember.  But it was more than either of us had at home.

We kept in touch, and the emotional affair began.  The marriages had ended years before really. I think we were both deeply concerned about whether this was just two old fools trying to relive the past.  But it just didn’t feel like that to me.

My heart still pumped like the old days when she would smile, she still had that sparkle in her eyes.  I felt her warmth and sweetness when she talked of her kids.  All the old feelings were still there.

I went home and researched a bit about “First True Loves”.  It seems some psychologist had done a study on first true loves who get back together later in life.  Most fit our very profile.  Older, previously married…and know what they screwed up in prior relationships.  In fact…those who got back together had a more than 80% success rate.  That’s a helluva a lot better then most marriages.   Maybe there was something to this.

So we agreed to give it a go.  Fairly straight forward.

And we did.

We still have fun.  We still road trip.  We laugh…and despite being older and heavier, we are both less grim, grey, and tired since we got back together.  We enjoy spending our time together.  She still makes me laugh.  If I get riled up and start cussing or ranting…she just laughs.  I feel a little foolish…then laugh along.  She’s been wonderful for me.  I hope I am for her.

So we got married on September 19th,2014…at the courthouse in Columbus.  I was horribly sick in fact.  But we had set the date previously so there was no going back on it.  Besides…it looked like I may need a live in nurse.  We had a quick ceremony in the 3rd floor of a Bail Bonds building across from the courthouse.  And our wedding dinner was at Taco Bell.  Following that we loaded up the truck and boat and went to North Webster, Indiana to and Antique Outboard Motor meet. I drove as far as Wapakoneta, Ohio and nearly passed out.  Missy drove the rest of the way.  Amazingly our friends from the AOMCI heard what had transpired and threw us an impromptu reception.

There was cake, dinner, and champagne…none of which I could taste since I’d lost a sense of taste while sick.  But Missy took care of me.  She nursed me back to health.  And we take care of each other now.

She still makes me very happy.  It was amazing that no one really seemed surprised we were getting back together 30 years later.  Her family…my family…our mutual friends all kind of guessed it when we each broke the news.

We take time to enjoy each other…and look after one another.  She still has that twinkle…the warmth…the sweet smile.  She still sends my heart racing when I see her laugh.

So Falling in love again…it is possible.  It can be a most amazing adventure!  And so it is.

As a post script…the more things change…the more they stay the same.

Instead of disc-jockey gear…this time we’re working on restoring our 1958 Lyman 15 foot runabout.  We enjoy going to Classic Boat shows and just traveling local waterways in her.


20160427_184441So long for now.


The Summer Wind: The End of the season, and a new boat…

Well…it’s been a year.  Hard to believe really!  Much has been going on and I’ve wanted to get back to this business of blogging.  I hated that I’d left it on what some could consider a sour note…the last post…that is.

So in actuality things have been moving along rather nicely.  I’ve been working hard at work and was privileged to get a promotion.  That has kept me busy trying to get back into the swing of a management role.  I enjoy the job a great deal and have a pretty darn good team with which I work.

Missy and I had been in the market for a boat a bit bigger than my little Thompson Lake TVT that is featured elsewhere on this blog


Our 1949 Thompson left to make room for a new vessel.  She went north to Marblehead.

So here’s how this all came about.

We’d been looking for a slightly larger vessel…vintage of course.  We hadn’t found much, and in speaking to our friends at various times we’d let it be known to keep a look out.  Low and behold my friend Sonny Clark…a bit of a Lyman enthusiast…was perusing the Lyman Boat webpage and stumbled into a nice deal clear down near the bottom of the page.  It was a 1958 15 footer with her original 1957 Johnson 35hp and Gator trailer.  Sonny sent an e-mail along with a caption…”Will finance”.


Sonny knew we were trying to get back on our feet after the divorce…moving…taking a new job that paid okay, not great, and taking on expenses after a long illness.  But Missy and myself were plodding along and doing okay starting our lives over.  Still…I was perplexed at this “offer”.

Frankly when I got his e-mail I was swamped at work and forwarded it to Missy and didn’t even get to look at it until later in the day.  The boat looked decent.  Looked solid enough.  I was intrigued.  Missy sent back an e-mails saying…”WOW!!”

So I called Sonny that evening and he said…”Well…I might as well tell you that you’re under no obligation to me, but I all ready bought the boat and we’re driving up to get it this weekend.  But if you don’t want it, I can flip it and make money.”  I was stunned.  So we talked and he told me he was going to buy the boat (His 3rd Lyman) and if we wanted it, come look at it and we could pay him back as we were able.

Again…I was floored.  What an act of kindness.

I asked what the “ransom” was…to which he said bluntly…”2000.00…I’ll do the title work and get the State to give it a hull ID.  I’ll register it.  You can pay me for all of that too.  But it shouldn’t be too much more.”

Total: 2175.00  ALL IN!

So we went over on Memorial Day weekend and had a looksee.  I was shocked!  I’m not really a Lyman fan, but this was a really nice solid boat.  I was quite familiar with them since you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one here in Ohio.  They were made in Sandusky after all.  Beside that, having worked closely with Ramsey Brothers Restorations in Toledo, I knew enough to be dangerous.

In fact after Sonny gave me the low down, I called Scott Ramsey and told him about the boat.  He told me the 1958’s were indeed great boats, if not over-built.  Earlier versions had a pattern of 3 small ribs and then a larger rib…then repeat.  Our boat had all 7/8″ (large) ribs, thus making it a really tough little boat.


This is out prospective Lyman sitting at “Sonny’s Lyman Emporium”.

Her original 1957 Johnson RDE19 was in AMAZING condition!  What a survivor!!

Lots of extras were included too!  Her original Wilcox Crittenden hardware was all present.  Her pennant staff an extra Michigan Wheel bronze prop, 3 OMC pressure tanks (2 were original to her) and a box of assorted goodies.


And one of the coolest features was side steering in the rear seat.  At first I thought this odd.  It was really a Lyman inboard thing.  But I conferred again with Scott Ramsey who said he had seen it on small runabouts occasionally.  It wasn’t rigged when we got the boat, but I just had to try it.  So we hooked it up when we re-rigged her.

Overall the boat needs cosmetic issues worked on, but structurally…she’s a creampuff.

Her story is along the lines of…Her original owner and his wife split at some point, and he had a daughter from the marriage.  So he purchased the boat to go fishing, and to take his daughter skiing.  This is what they did together.  (Thus the rear side steering…for fishing)  He babied the boat.  This was obvious by the paint and varnish that adorned her.  While not a professional job…at least he tried to keep her up!  He must have loved her too.  I’m told he had her stem and knee replaced at the bow (always an area of concern on a Lyman) and her motor had a new head gasket.

Upon his passing, his daughter held onto her Dad’s boat where it sat in a garage since 1991.  She decided that she and her husband of 50 years were not going to be able to use it, nor do much with it, so it went up for sale.  Sonny made a deal with her, and then with us.

We couldn’t be more grateful.  We’ve done little to her other than a few maintenance coats of varnish on her decks and a tune up of her motor.  And this summer, we put close to 4 or 500 miles under her.

Missy and I completed a round trip run on the Muskingum River from Zanesville to Marietta, Ohio.  The Zanesville Yacht Club sends along a lovely certificate for completing that run or 85 miles.  All you have to do is have the Lock Tenders sign a paper, mail it in and your certificate comes in the mail!

Last year Missy and Chelsea (Missy’s daughter) and I loaded up the Thompson and made part of the trip.  It’s an amazing chance to go back in time and traverse not only some lovely scenery, but also lock through 11 HAND OPERATED LOCKS to get from pool to pool as the river drops into the Ohio River Valley.  Here is a video from last years run!

Running on the Muskingum River

We also had some fun in other runs below:

Maumee Marauders at Alum Creek State Park

New Chief of the Boat…Meet Molly McGee

So then…that brings us to our new “Chief of the Boat” Molly McGee.  Molly is a black lab/Terrier mix we found waiting patiently for us to take her from the Franklin County Dog Pound.

I swore I’d never do another dog after Remy was put down.  He was my buddy, and was game for anything…as long as it was with me.  He made sales calls when I was working in Toledo.  But time heals us…and the time had come to consider a new companion.  I also swore I’d never own another black dog because of Remy.  He got so damned hot in the boat.  But…when you find the right one…what can you do

Molly is of course named after the wife of Fibber McGee (Which incidentally was the name of my Thompson that I’d just sold).  So we kept the theme running.  She is sweet, but we were sold a “bill of goods”!

They said she was 2 years old.  I’ve never had a puppy.  But we now think she is a shade over 1 year old!!  She’s a lot of puppy.  But I love her to death.

Most days I come home from work and I have to take a deep breath before entering the front door.  Some days are not too bad, but at least one day I came home to something resembling Bob Crane’s crime scene!  Only thing missing was blood splatters and a tripod!  Good lord!

But…I can’t resist her!

Then of course there is Missy.  I can’t say too much about her just now.  She makes me very happy.  I hope to blog about that story soon.  But she puts up with me.  When I start grumping (more often than not) she just laughs at me…then I start laughing at me.  It’s silly really.  But we have a good time! She likes to go out boating.  She has been quickly accepted and loved by my friends across the board, for which I’m very grateful!  We take little day trips.  We go antique shopping.  We hang out and do nothing much really at all other times.  But we enjoy each others company.

Aside from that…life is good and the election is over.

Hopefully the country can put aside differences and move ahead in a positive direction.  I can tell you I liked life better when I didn’t know my friends political leanings.  Thanks a helluva lot Facebook!

So with that…I’ll leave you.  I hope to be more active at blogging in the coming winter months.  We plan to do a lot of cosmetic work on our Lyman.  IE; Paint on her hull, some varnish, and maybe new electrical wiring.  So I’ll try to take pics and update if possible.

So long.  Have a great Holiday Season!!


Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Six!

Ten and one-quarter hours spent working on this little motor so it can run…hopefully…another 50 years.  So far we have torn down the power head, the motor leg, repacked the lower unit, replaced the clutch dog (shift member), stripped all parts and primed and painted them…as well as decaling the hood.  Now the power head is going to be rebuilt and the final assembly of the motor finished.

Let’s get underway!

Power head components....EVERYWHERE!

This piston is pretty scratched from carbon getting stuck in the cylinder between the piston and cylinder wall.

Crankshaft bearings must be looked over with a critical eye. O-rings should always be replaced. These o-rings had given their all a long time ago!

Using a sharpie marker, I like to mark each connecting rod and related cap.

The motor block has been honed and all carbon must be cleaned from the block as well. Leaving excess carbon around cylinders and ports can cause heat issues.

As a matter of routine when a power head is over-hauled, at minimum new (or good) piston rings should be installed, and the cylinders honed to break the "glaze" or smooth surface of the cylinder walls. In this photo you can see the scratches from the honing process.

Used care placing the pistons in the cylinders. You must compress the piston rings so the engage the small dowel in the ring groove into a notch that is cut in the piston ring. Do not force the ring into the cylinder or breakage of the ring may occur.

Using needle bearing grease...or in this case Vaseline...we can now lay the 29 needle bearings into the connecting rods and rod caps. COUNT THEM! These bearings are not caged...there is no cage for the bearings to lay in, so they must be laid in the Vaseline to hold them in place until assembly is complete.

Half of the the needle bearings are in place on the connecting rods.

Once the bearings are install...all 29 of may place the rod caps back on the matched connecting rod. Be sure to torque the connecting rod cap screws to the proper specs.

A low grade lacquer thinner is used to clean grime off all nuts, bolts, and hardware.

All original hardware is cleaned in solvent and readied for installation.

Using a new-old-stock gasket kit the crank case halves are mated beck together using 3M Scotch-grip 847 to seal it. This material is also used on all screw threads.

Final coat of paint has been applied to the lower-unit and transom clamp assembly.

This area was blemished with a drip. It is un-noticable now.

The exhaust leg has been installed prior to installation of the power-head.

Magneto ignitions use magnetic force to derive their power. No batteries needed.

I always clean the magneto plate to make sure it is spotless. This will allow you to quickly see if gasses or oil are coming out of a crankshaft seal later on down the road.

The coils and condensers checked good, so new plug wires were added, and the mag plate cleaned. The magneto is ready for installation.

A front shot showing the shifter and carb. The magneto has been installed.

New ends are attached to the spark plug wires. Neon spark testers are used in-line with the plugs to check for good ignition spark.

The flywheel and recoil have been installed.

The paint on the I.D. tag has faded or flaked off. This needs to be touched up too.

First lightly paint the I.D. tag with paint, then use a razor blade to lightly etch the paint off the raised areas.

With installation of the hood, this old Sea-Horse is ready for action again!

So after an additional two hours we have just under 13 hours of time in to making this old motor ready for action again.  Upon bucket testing and setting the carb jets, she seems ready to run.  Looking forward to spring to let ‘er rip on the river.


Hopefully this six part blog will inspire others to take on a challenge and give life to an old outboard motor.  Thanks for reading!



Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Four!

Nine hours into our project and were sitting waiting on paint to dry.  This is where a project can really slow down to a crawl…WAITING!  Since we have some time to kill, let’s look at masking for multicolor painting.

First there are many kinds of tape that can be used.  Some are not suitable for this type of work due to their adhesive being too strong.  We also discussed proper preparation, and now will get into some reasons you must prepare your surface correctly.

Let’s start there…WHY so much prep?  Failure to prep each part by thoroughly cleaning will not allow the primer and paint to adhere correctly.  That is a very essential elements to keeping the paint where it belongs…your motor.  The bigger issue will come into play, and a lack of proper prep will be obvious when you mask for a second color.  After you have masked and shot the second color…and begin removing the masking tape, if the surface had any impurities that did not allow the primer and paint to stick to the surface, the paint will likely peel off with the tape.  There are ways to fix these issues, but it is best to simply take your time and properly prep the surface.

The sticky business of tape enters into the situation as well.  Yellow making tape is pretty aggressive in how well it sticks to a surface.  Fortunately we now have many options.  Any paint supply house will have green tape, blue tape, and even fine-line vinyl tape for really odd curves.

Green masking tape or the 3M blue tape from the hardware store are suited to masking for this purpose.  I prefer the green since it can be somewhat stretched and snugged down around odd turns and shapes.  It also adheres well to keep paint from bleeding underneath.  Blue tape is cheap and does the same job, but is less flexible, so often it must be trimmed to contours with a knife.

Fine-line tape is used in the auto body business, but has application in our hobby as well.  It is a vinyl based product that comes in a variety of widths.  1/4 inch is easy to work with and will easily go around most compound curves we would deal with.  The blue fine-line tape is for curves, but there also is a green or yellow fine-line tape that can be used for more straight masking and it is no as flexible as blue fine-line tape.  However this type of tape is fairly pricey and I rarely use it anymore for outboards.  (I do use it for model railroad painting though!!)

Now let’s take a look at masking our project…

Our hood has now been painted Sea-Mist Green. It is ready to be masked off and the dull-aluminum painted on the "wings" of the sides.

First while shooting the hood Sea-Mist Green, I made up some sub-assemblies that needed touching up. This is the leg of our motor with transom clamps and tiller handle in place. Most agree that OMC simply assembled their outboards and painted them while hanging from the crankshaft. This is evident from the paint patterns seen when disassembling these motors.  It is my preference to paint everything in pieces first, then sub-assemblies second, and fully assembled if need be as a last coat. (Often I won’t bother because of the risk of getting “shadows” on areas otherwise covered by parts that are in the “line of fire”.)

This lower unit shell had some sags that were objectionable. They were fixed by wet sanding and a quick re-shoot.

Same for the water pump housing. No more drips.

If you have a small dent or ding in a motor, the time to fix that is before painting with the color coat. After the epoxy primer is sprayed, you can use JB Weld on areas exposed to high heat or fuel, or in this case body filler. When it has dried, sand it down and re-prime, then paint.

First step: Place tape along the edges of the area to be shot with another color. Don't worry about overlap in the area to be painted. We'll trim in a minute. However...make sure there are absolutely no gaps where the paint can get through the masking tape.

Using a fresh #11 knife blade, lightly let the blade follow the natural groove of the shape or the hood. Use only enough pressure to go through the tape...A light hand is needed here. You're certainly not required to press so hard as to cut the aluminum! Take it easy and slow.

After trimming the masking tape, burnish the edge of the tape down firmly along the area to be painted to avoid paint running under the tape. A fingernail, un-sharpened pencil, or other similar object may be used for this procedure Cover the rest of the hood, again being sure there are no gaps where paint can get through the masking. Check it thoroughly before painting.

Our hood has had the second color, dull aluminum, added now. While in the booth the other dull aluminum parts were also shot. You can see the exhaust housing hanging in the background.

The other half of our hood and two small knobs hangin up on the rack behind.

And after carefully removing the masking tape, we are left with our finished hood.

So that takes care of painting a fairly simple hood!  Now it is ready for decals!  Clear-coat follows if you wish, but make sure you scuff sand the hood before decal-ing and clear-coating!

So we have about another hour in masking and painting the hood and a few other parts.  This brings our time to a total of 10 hrs to bring this old Sea-Horse around to like new!

Next installment will be decal the hood and discuss methods of application and types of decals.

There’s still lots of work ahead including rebuilding the power-head and some finish work.  I have run into an issue with getting a good piston to replace one that is slightly scratched, also a few o-rings for the power-head and crankshaft seals.  They should be along in the mail soon though!

Hopefully you’ll keep sticking around!  Part Five can be found here: Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Four!



Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Three!

When we parted company in our last post, 7 hours have been spent restoring our old Sea-Horse so far.  There is still much to do!  Paint, decals, rebuild the lower unit and power-head.  We had cleaned and degreased all parts, blasted the paint off all the parts, and cleaned everything to perfection before priming each part with DP epoxy primer.  Now the time has come to do the work that everyone seemingly is afraid to try.  Apply the color coat…the one that will be seen by everyone in the world.

Fear not!  You will make mistakes, but the advantages of using a hardened acrylic enamel is you can wet sand and file drips, runs, and sags to make touch up and a near perfect finish on your motor.  This however is something of an art, and requires patience, and time to do properly.  Of course, since I “always” get the paint to apply perfectly…I will make a few “mistakes” on purpose for the educational value of those reading.

Okay…that’s a lot of bull.  I always make mistakes!  It is inevitable!  However the real fun is in learning to fix those mistakes!  So in this blog post we will no doubt have some opportunity to explore various options on fixing these blemishes.

Let’s go to work!

Just like the primer, the paint gets mixed in a mixing cup.  Each brand has it’s own mixing ratios.  Unlike the DP primer, our Limco 1 acrylic enamel requires three elements to be mixed together.  First there is the paint, which is of fairly thick consistency.  Added to paint is a hardener that will chemically harden the paint within about three hours.  This is the element that is missing from spray paint, therefore the paint from a spray can never really hardens.  Last is a reducer that is added to the mix to thin the paint enough to allow it to flow out of the gun, onto your project, and lay down flat before drying.

This is the Limco 1 Sea-Mist Green from North York Marine. Also seen is the reducer and hardener, which is manufacturer specific.

Mixing cups have many graduations for various manufacturer's paints Limco 1 uses and 8 (Paint) to 1 (Hardener) to 4 (Reducer). This mixture is not represented on this cup, but a ratio that is close to the same is in a 4-1-2 ratio as shown. You can also just measure in ounces.

Next hardener and reducer (thinner) is added.

The paint will now be fairly thin in consistency. Stir well and slowly. Don't worry if the metallic type paints have "swirls" in it after stirring. It will spray out of the gun correctly.

Proper technique is simple really.  First set the pattern and amount you want to shoot by spraying paint from the gun on a piece of paper.  Adjust all those knobs we discussed in Part 2 to get the right amount, vertical or horizontal, and width of pattern.  Once you’re satisfied with the paint pattern…you’re ready to do the real thing on your parts.

Remember you need to stand back about three feet to allow paint to properly atomize with the air before hitting the part being painted.  You’ll need to have paint flowing BEFORE you get to the part.  In other words have paint coming from the gun before approaching the part, and after leaving the trailing edge of the part.  Keep your gun at a 90 degree angle to the part being sprayed.  Take your time!  Learning to allow the right amount of paint to flow onto the part is only achieved by doing this and getting a feel by making mistakes.  Practice on some junk parts if possible.  You can always add another coat, so when starting out you may wish to err on the side of too little…after all…too much becomes a mess quickly.

I shoot paint at about 30psi, standing three feet away and moving side to side at a moderate pace, allowing the paint to give good coverage to all parts.  Always be on the lookout for areas that are too thinly covered.  Undersides of parts are tough to get at…so you may need to hang parts high, then low to shoot all areas.  Turning the part as needed to get paint on every plane of the part is a must.  Be aware that if you have just painted a nearby area, you are adding more paint to that portion of the parts at the same time you’re painting the un-painted area.

You can shoot each part lightly and then wait a few minutes to allow the paint to set, then go back to a part and shoot it again.  Several light coats are better than ONE HEAVY COAT!  But remember, once the hardener is added to the paint, the chemical process of hardening is under way, so you must use the paint.  You cannot save it for a half hour…or use down the road in a few days.

The first coat is applied on all surfaces. Be careful not to spray too heavy or too close to the parts to avoid sags.

Small parts are hanging to dry.

All parts are sprayed Sea-Mist Green.

In this photo, if you look closely at the water pump housing near the middle of these parts, you can see runs forming from too much paint. We'll have to re-visit this and correct those drips later.

These parts were hung at the end of the rack as they will all be sprayed either dull aluminum or Johnson Cream.

Drips and runs…or sags used to make my temper flare, my heart race, and my day go to heck!  Not so much anymore.  After experimenting and consulting some experts, and mostly just doing fixes on my mistakes, I’ve learned this is part of the process.  Besides, after I have not worked on the motor for a couple of weeks, I generally forget the whole drip ever existed.  We have to make mistakes to improve our skills, and this is part of the learning process when doing a full restoration.

So without further adieu, lets fix some drips!!

Drips are a way of life on most old motors owing to the many, many surfaces that must be covered. These can be fixed with some effort.

Again, drip and sags that will be evident and must be removed and wet sanded to flatten the surface out so a touch up coat can be applied.

The bottom shell of the lower unit will often get a run or two owing to the odd shape and screw recesses that can collect paint, then release it to run wild.

Here are parts that pass the drip test.

The propeller was shot with Johnson Cream from Peter McDowell at NY Marine. Since it is tough to mix a very small portion needed for one propeller, I usually keep several spare props in a bucket to shoot with other parts of similar color. In this case I shot four props and a 1956 5.5hp hood.

I shot this hood along with the propeller, but we'll address it later in the blog regarding masking for two color paint work.

This housing will be the first part we will try to get ready for touch up.

This handy tool is a miniature file attached to a wood block that will gently file down the drip until it is flush with the surface. These tools can be purchased at your local paint supply house.

Holding the tool between two fingers, you gently, with nearly no pressure, run it over the drip in ONLY ONE DIRECTION. This will take a few minutes and some patience. Should the tool become clogged with paint dust, simply clean with a wire brush.

After filing the drip down, now we're left with the discolored area where the paint pigments have collected. To prepare for a touch up I usually wet sand the area using water with a drop of dish detergent, and 600 to 1500 wet dry paper.

The water is straight from the tap, but distilled water is better. Also I add a drop of soap just to keep things slippery! However the soap must be completely rinsed and the part totally dry before applying the next coat of paint for touch up.

The wet-dry paper is wrapped around a small hardwood block. Very little pressure is used in sanding the remains of the drip out. Allow the grit on the sandpaper to do the work for you. This will again take some time and patience!!

All of these parts have now had their drips, runs or sags removed. They have been thoroughly washed and will be allowed to dry before painting with another coat of Sea-Mist Green.

Unless there is a good reason to touch up separately, I usually will assemble sub-assemblies to shoot in their entirety...from all angles...with a second coat of color. This part has some thin spots on the back of the steering tube and the port transom clamp. This will get covered by a second and final coat of Sea-Mist Green.

It has been my personal preference to shoot the hoods separately from the rest of the motor.  Reason: I can mix one more batch of paint and give the rest of the motor a good finish coat to fix those drips and thin spots while shooting the hood.

This hood will not be difficult to shoot with paint owning to it’s mostly flat surfaces.  Hoods such as the mid-50’s Johnson hoods can be a challenge because they have so many angles and planes that must be painted.  We’ll discuss that in some detail later.  However this hood is very simple in styling and will be shot quickly and allowed to dry for a day or so before masking for the dull aluminum paint on the trim.

The hood is now prepped and ready for DP epoxy primer. The it will get a coat of Sea-Mist Green with the other sub-assemblies. After the Green has dried, we will have to mask off and paint the dull aluminum trim on each half.

Total time for this work was about 2 hours.  This leaves us with about 9 hours in this motor so far.

The next several steps are what I call the “Hurry-up-n-wait-stage”!  This is where you’ll walk in the shop, shoot some paint, and you can’t do anything else with the motor until the paint has REALLY dried.  In other words, the next day.  That is why I usually keep two projects going at one time…and sometimes a third to do minor work on such as a tune up.

Next time, we’ll have the hood painted and ready for masking and shooting a second color.  We’ll address in some detail the different tapes used for masking and procedures used in Day Four of our full restoration of this 1951 Johnson QD-12.

You can check out part four here: Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Four!