My wife and I are notorious for doing things that would outwardly seem to make no sense at the time.  But, life is short as they say, therefore we’d just assume enjoy it now while we can.

We recently purchased a 1950 Thompson TVT cedar strip runabout.  They say a boat is just a hole in the water for money…and THEY are right.  One day I will get to meet “THEY”, and hopefully in the course of conversation become a little wiser.

I digress!

Our boat was brought to Ohio by a musician friend of mine who moved back to Ohio to care for his mother.  He decided restoring it would not be in the cards for him, and so it sat in his garage.  He cared for it by opening the garage up in all seasons to let the wood “breathe”.  In doing so the boat stayed in excellent condition…I am told by those who are wiser than I with respect to such boat related issues.

Below are a few pictures to tell the tell.  I will attempt to update the progress as we go through the restoration of this old girl, and maybe include a few thoughts as well.


Here is how the boat looked upon our visit to see if we even liked the vessel.  I thought it was cute, but it was certainly not a Chris Craft.  However, as I looked the boat over she really grew on me.  All the parts were there except a motor and trailer.

From the rear she had classic lines and the interior showed very little wear.  I had my reservations about the less-than-wonderful paint job.  I also had fears upon closer inspection of rot so common to old wooden boats.  What would await us under the paint?  Let face it…this would be a total restoration…not a slap-some paint-on-and-lets-go-to-the-beach-and-launch-this-thing job!!!

I looked at my wife, and she knew exactly what I knew.  Buying this boat and restoring it would be expensive, time consuming, hard work, and none of that mattered.  We were going to do it any way!

On June 23rd 2003, we began a fateful trip on a long, long tour.  We tentitively agreed to purchase the boat from its owner.

What lay ahead we had no ideal.   Below are a few more photos.

Well as bad as the last photo looks, we found the boat was pretty sound and while I wondered if this was rot, I was pleased to find out it was a stain.  More to come…

16 Responses to “Our Thompson Brother’s 14′ TVT cedar strip runabout – Part 1”

  1. 1 vin mcmaster
    August 3, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Would like to hear your further progress on the 14′ Thompson runabout. I am have just acquired a 10′ Thompson runabout of similar age and construction and am trying to locate pictures and insight into similar Thompson runabouts from the 30’s and 40’s

    Would appreciate any further pictures/insight that you could share


    Vin McMaster

    • 2 conductorjonz
      August 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Vin!

      The Thompson has been done and its progress is on my blog in multiple parts. It’s a great boat! Very solid and fun to operate!

      Last weekend, as usual, some jet skis were jumping in my wake, but the Thompson’s will turn on a dime…so I began to chase them. They had a ball watching this little boat make every move they could make except jump out of the water.

      You may want to check our where they have a forum that can assist in your restoration. Also please feel free to contact me if you need to. I’m no expert, but I may be able to help here and there.

      Take your time, do the work once…right…and enjoy the boat when it’s done.

      Thanks for checking in!


  2. 3 Craig Thrasher
    February 7, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    How is the restoration going? Any more photos? A good friend is midway through a Thompson and is interested in your work.
    Craig Thrasher, President
    Niagara Frontier Chapter ACBS

    • 4 conductorjonz
      February 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm

      She is finished and in service, except I began re-varnishing the interior which should be complete in the spring. Other chapters of the progress are on my blog as she was a multi-part restroation.

      Thanks for checking in!


  3. 7 nancy
    May 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

    A fellow just left my shop and is looking to sell a Thompson TVT that he has had for 9 years.
    It has a 25 hp Evinrude motor with elec. start. when not in use, it has been kept garaged.
    It is usable as is. The wood appears solid, but it should be stripped, recaulked, repainted and varnished.
    I would appreciate any insite to pass along to him.

    • 8 conductorjonz
      May 18, 2010 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Nancy!

      The Thompson TVT’s ride very nice for a small boat, and can handle a fair amount of abuse…not that it is desireable to do so. They are relatively odd as many ended up burned in a bon-fire owing to rot. They are, in my opinion, a great boat to restore and worth the money to do so!

      If his is in good shape and restorable, depending on it’s real condition, it should sell for more than a thousand dollars and less than 15,000.00. Not being sarcastic! I’m saying this is the range I have seen these boats go for. The upper end would be a completely seaworthy vessel with a complete restoration. the low end is for one such as mine when we bought it. The motor is subjective based on use/abuse. While it may run, it may have been overheated causing internal damage that wouldn’t be diagnosed without opening the motor. Has it been tuned up regularly? Are the ignition coils needing replacement, as the original coils always crack? cosmetics are subjective too. These motors can bring from 60 buck (my latest purchase for a 1953 Johnson 25hp.) to 2000.00 for a completely restored, repainted, and mechanically restored motor. PERFECT CONDITION!

      As for the boat itself, check with Andreas at the Thompson Boat website. He is very knowlegeable on Thompson’s, and would be a good place to start. Reach him at:

      Good luck, and thanks for checking in.


      • 9 nancy
        May 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

        Hi Greg
        Thank you very much for your imput. I will forward your site to Tom for his consideration.
        Best Wishes

  4. 10 Tom
    May 24, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Love the pictures of your boat. I am doing some research now that I found the plate at the back of the boat. I believe my is a 1954. It has the original engine with forward controls and electric start. If you’d like to see pics let me know your e-mail address. Mine is Your boat looks beautiful. Tom

  5. 11 roger davis
    October 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

    saw the buddy morrow pic. were you associated with buddy morrow in any way? My uncle played trumpet in buddy morrow’s night train (I believe that is what it was called)

    • 12 conductorjonz
      October 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      I was and am a huge fan of Buddy Morrow. He was a fantastic trombonist and fine lead player. Of course his jazz playing was uniquely his own too. I interviewed him several times and he was always kind and very pleasant to speak with. Whether directing the Dorsey band or his own orchestra, Buddy’s bands were very musical and of very high caliber. Hew was very proud of all his bands and musicians I suspect.


  6. December 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Greg, I stumbled on your site and am AMAZED at your attention to detail. I have a qd-10 I have been using for years and am just now needing to replace the clutch dog, any tips on where to get one or modifying one to get more life out of it? I am skipping in forward on higher throttle. I have never had the foot off of the motor as I am the second owner and I never had to go there. I also am wondering if I should purchase a used motoer for parts vs buying new as parts are pricey.

    Lonn / Jacksonville Florida

    • 14 conductorjonz
      December 22, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Hi Lonn!

      The clutch dog is the weakest link on every full shift motor since their creation. However, the clutch do for your motor is readily available as it was shared with many different models of OMC motors. They are under 60 bucks usually…even from the local OMC dealer. Taking the foot off is not too hard, but get an OMC manual before doing so. The early QD’s are a bit different than the latter model QD owing to a little “u” shaped clevis on the shift rod behind a cover on the lower leg. Since you’ll need to take the lower unit apart, you may as well replace the seals while your at it. They can be purchased through Doug Brooke at Vintage Outboard. He is a great merchant.

      You may want to drop over to the AOMCI website to ask a member section for some guidance, and maybe even find a member near you who can assist you.

      These old QD’s are fine little motors, and most parts are able to be found pretty easily. A parts motor may be un-needed unless you’re having other issues. Rebuild the lower unit and be done with it is my suggestion. The Antique Outboard guys at AOMCI can help.

      Good luck and take care Lonn!


  7. February 8, 2014 at 2:54 am


    I am deep into the midst of a full cosmetic restoration of my 1950 Thompson 14′ TVT Deluxe. So far, I have stripped the hull sides, removed the bow deck planking, stripped and sanded the entire interior. I’m trying to get it completed in time to show in the Keels & Wheels Concours d’ Elegance in Houston, TX in early May 2014. You can see pictures of my boat before I tore into it and during the restoration on Flickr at: It’s a hell of a lot of work, as you surely know, but I think they are beautiful boats and well worth the effort. I look forward to hearing more about your progress.

    North Richland Hills, TX

  8. 16 Kevin Weimer
    July 4, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I recently bought a 14′ Thompson TVT Lake Model, I’m needing some dimensions for the spray rails as mine have been modified by the previous owner, some measurements would help me tremendously. I’m also curious about some hardware I got with my boat and what it’s purpose is. if you can help me kissfan113 at yahoo is the mail address.

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