CHRIS CRAFT COMMANDER FORUM ® .......A photo-intensive technical reference file and ongoing newsletter regarding the original fiberglass Chris-Craft Commander series. This is an independent not-for-profit and non-commercial web site, not affiliated with the Chris Craft Commander Club ~~ or ~~ Chris-Craft Corporation. Our mission here is to "have fun and share information" about the Commander series (and those associated fiberglass boats on the Chris-Craft family tree) for your individual personal use, and by doing so help promote the good name of Chris-Craft, and help preserve, restore, and appreciate Chris-Craft boats. The main reference feature is the ever expanding MASTER INDEX File which contains what we believe to be the world's largest collection of documentation photos and technical information on the Chris-Craft Commander line of boats, (like these original brochure scans, featuring the iconic first 38 Commander styled by Fred Hudson, and many of the great Dick Avery renditions that followed) , (a huge collection of Chris-Craft 427 tuning and specification information), and a few words about how to use the forum.

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Re: Introducing my 33' Coho project and I

October 27 2011 at 10:15 AM
Paul  (no login)

Response to Introducing my 33' Coho project and I

Hey Philip,

You are to be congratulated for jumping into the boating hobby like this. You obviously have the bug and the ability do do some or all of your own work and in these times that makes a huge difference. You will eventually be able to get into a cruiser for pennies on the dollar doing this, but it will still take cash and a LOT of work.

The Commanders have no wood in the wet zone, although engine stringers are wood for fastening engines to, they are mounted on tall fiberglass box beams above the water zone in the bilge. In fact, much of the reinforcement in a Commander hull is from these hollow transverse and longitudinal fiberglass box beams, and that is a very strong and durable way to build. There is no wood core in the wetted hull. I do not know if this same thing can be said about the Coho, but we can (and will) find out. The Coho has a nice look to it, and it has a HUGE interior space and utility, so this should be one heck of a fun boat to have when you are done.

Working on a boat you MUST not ever use an inappropriate wood type because it is likely to deteriorate before you ever get the boat in the water. Much of the support on some of the early Commanders like my 1966 38 is built with solid mahogany lumber. The entire galley support is built of mahogany lumber. Since doing that today is going to be nuts because of the cost, I would recommend a white oak, it is durable and weather resistant enough to have been used in the bilge of the Chris Craft Sea Skiff boats. Natually, sealing this wood is important too.

Headliner is easy......once can do all the work you need to do and then call in a pro to put a new one back for you. This is one job I would not do myself, because the pros have the tools and the knowhow to seam and tuck, etc., and they will do it like a new boat.

I suppose you can use pressure treated plywood in some areas, but I don't like the stuff on boats because I think it has salts in it to preserve the wood and that can get into fasteners and wiring, and I think you are just better off using marine plywood. You can get the stuff at most big plywood supply houses, just ask for fir based marine plywood, you don't have to use the mahogany stuff for structural issues.

When it comes to woodwork around the helm, you can (and should) bite the bullet and get some mahogany marine plywood, refinish the entire helm and use the plywood to replace any deteriorated pieces, stain and varnish everything at the same time and it will look like it was built that way. There are many examples here in THE FORUM to show how this can be done properly.

The Square D panels are original, I just took the faces off mine, sanded and primed them, and sprayed them with a nice original color gray and now they look new. Inside there was no deterioration.

When you get to the engines and transmissions then there will be a day of reckoning. On many CC motors the only thing they recommended to do was to drain ALL of the drain points, including those on risers, blocks, pumps, EVERYTHING. By doing this CC knew they designed the drains to avoid freeze pockets in the boat, but I must not speak for your particular installation because it may be different, so you must look and be very careful about how you do this. I would drain the oil in the motors, chances are the oil is still in there and since oil floats on water if you put the drain tube at the bottom of the sump you will soon know if there is any water in there. The good news is if there is a little, since it may be just limited to the bottom perhaps it did not get into the pickup and cause any rust. I guess I would replace the oil too and certainly seal off the tops of the motors to assure you are not getting water seepage into the intake manifolds. If you drain everything down and use a little antifreeze too, you should be good. Beware, antifreeze is toxic to dogs, and it only takes a lick or two to kill one. Use the non toxic stuff.

Some of the generators of this era had a recall for the exhaust manifold, be sure to look at yours to be sure it is in good shape. Also, ANYONE running a generator MUST have a carbon monoxide detector on board......don't ever run one without it. Monoxide builds slowly in the blood stream and then when a person really is not aware they get sleepy and never wake up.

So you have yourself a real project, and I admire your adventure. Go for it. The project may take a year or three, but in the end you'll have a cruiser that is loads of fun and we have many experts here on this forum who can give you assistance on every inch of the boat.



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