We extend to you a cordial "WELCOME ABOARD !" Come on in, make yourself at home, we are a friendly group of enthusiasts, and we also appreciate the classic Chris Craft Roamer, Corsair, and Lancer boats too , as they are all on the same family tree and share much in common !
I'm in the process of restoring my 1972 Chris Craft Lancer and I thought you all might enjoy seeing my progress. I have been a silent observer of this forum for the past few months and I owe much of my success so far to the posts detailing "Swift's" progress. For that reason, I feel compelled to share my work with anyone who might benefit.
Seeing the gleam off the gel coat and the clean outdrive are the first hints this is one survivor that was well cared for. Even the interior is in remarkable condition. Looking forward to seeing more pics and congrats, nice score.
Chad, guys, I'm liking that tractor too! A tip for anyone with a tractor.........if you hook up a trailer hitch ball on the front of your tractor, as I have, you can put a boat and trailer into places that would be impossible to reach with something like a long wheelbase tow vehicle. The front wheels of the tractor are right there at the ball, and it is very easy.
Paul, Justin and All:
Justin, you have yourself a winner! (And I am envious of the tractor, too!) It seems the nice thing about your Lancer is that you can begin to restore it piece by piece and still keep it in the water during the meantime. The seat boxes, for instance, just beg for a nice mohogany redux. Intrument panel, etc. Keep the pictures coming, we all want to know.
Jerry - Swift
I have to echo the sentiments of the others, you scored a very nice condition foundation upon which to build. As a matter of fact it looks pretty much like a runner now so yes you got yourself one nice classic Chris Craft. Seeing one up on a trailer like this really shows off that hull.
I continue to think boats of this calibre will retain lots of their value over the years. As the next 5 to 10 years roll around, I think there will be a much healthier appreciation for the 23 Lancer and of course its 23' Commander cousin too.
You may have seen I'm in the middle of refitting a 23 Lancer Overnighter including a new interior. As an option, here is the seat base, engine box and side panel done in Wilsonart Nepal Teak laminate w the original real teak trim, varnished.
And very impressive. Question - Did you do anything other than varnish for the prevention of water penetration? When I visited with Dr. Jerry earlier this year, he showed me how he epoxied the heck out of his wood, then sanded, and finally varnished. Seeing these wood seat boxes brings back memories of my first boat where the builder didn't do anything for the wood and everything rotted.
Curious about your methods because my 31's cockpit (when I get around to it) may need a treatment like this.
One thing we must always do is use marine grade plywood. You can get it in a fir base and don't have to go with a mahogany plywood if it is structural in nature like seats or motor boxes, but if you use the non marine stuff you can paint it all day long and use epoxy, etc., and in the end you may wonder why you didn't use marine grade.
I replanked the bottom of my 1968 Chris Craft 35' Sea Skiff with 1/2" marine fir-based plywood. The stuff was incredible. I used it for my Skiff engine box recently too. In the past I used an exterior CDX for seat bottoms and one day I stepped right through one, it dry rotted on me.
I left a piece of the marine plywood out by my wood pile years ago, it is still there unprotected and believe it or not there is no rot and I guess it could still be used for something. It is an odd size piece so I'll just use it as a backer or something someday or burn it.
Thanks. Like Paul says, used only marine plywood then laminated w a good Formica type matl just like they came from CC w a couple of addl steps; laminated the bottom edges of the marine plywood to stop any wicking action, and varnish coat the interior facings for a nice look and as a sealer. The original board was still sound except the bottom edges in places and some delamination of exposed panels so took those queues to make the addl steps.
The teak trim pieces are original except they have been triple sanded/varnished instead of oiled. Joined sections w original marine hardware and epoxy based adhesive. I used a small cabinet shop and am glad I did, he was meticulous. Now I just need to get busy and get it all reinstalled as soon as the hull is finished.
Hi Justin, this exotic laminate is readily available by ordering through Lowes Home Improvement stores nationwide. The manufacturer is Wilsonart who also has other teak finishes in varying shades of color and darkness. This one is lighter than the original walnut finish laminate in our Overnighter and where I took slight exception to the CC designer's choice of finish color to complement the Wimbledon White topdeck and yellow vinyl. I hope this is helpful.
Thank you everyone, I appreciate all of the positive feedback!
Unfortunately the red tractor in first photo belongs to some other lucky guy who lives west of Minnesota. After almost a year of searching for the Lancer via (www.allofcraigs.com) this turned up in Lexington, Michigan. Using the website (www.uship.com), I located a local shipping company called BandDTrucking. He had some extra space on his trailer and was already planning to drive through Minnesota on his way to deliver that tractor.
This next series of pictures was taken after removing most of the interior.
More to come...
This message has been edited by jsbotham on May 23, 2012 12:17 AM
Your 1972 looks like it had a happier life than my 1973, here are similar details on the one I am working on now, or shall I say "now and then".
As you can see my project is deteriorated quite a ways and I decided to surgically remove all the deteriorated wood, and will soon replace it with a curved precut piece of marine plywood overlapped with fiberglass cloth and saturated with resin just like Chris Craft did. Obviously this piece of wood was subject to lots of end grain moisture if the boat was left out in the weather, as the water would drain down and find that cutline on the plywood and wick in, thus the delamination and rot in my photos. Once I get done with mine there will be virtually no trace that this repair was ever done, with the exception that my work may actually be a little highter quality than what CC was able to do on their production line. Time will tell.
Good job on yours, by the way, glad to see you are willing and capable of tearing into the boat and fixing things properly. This model you have is very worthy of restoration, and I like the fact that it has the simplified dashboard layout rather than the more complex layout we see each year as this model took on more styling issues to denote each model year.
support the helm and shot gun seat fiberglass over hang
May 23 2012, 4:59 PM
I removed the bulk heads just like you have. Once those are removed i would butt some 2x4 to keep everything in line. There is alot of weight under there. Your project looks like my boat did a few months ago. Great work!
Re: support the helm and shot gun seat fiberglass over hang
May 24 2012, 9:56 AM
You make a great point. I cut out the new bulk heads and I tried to dry fit them before sealing and varnishing but they didn't fit! I lined up both the new and old pieces and they were the exact same size. It took me a while to figure it out but I realized the dash has sunk a good inch and needed to be propped up.
Doesn't look like anyone would ever know that was a formica laminate unless you told them. I'll definitely have to keep that in mind when my Coho interior gets redone. It definitely seems cost effective
'71 33' Catalina Coho Sedan under restoration
'85 Bayliner Capri 19' cuddy 3.0L OMC, new deck and stringers
'87 Kawasaki JS650SX
'70 Amphicat 6x6 AATV (future Coho tender)
Thanks Philip. The new laminates actually have a more realistic grain embossed on the surface to enhance the effect. It seemed a logical choice to retain the original construction while saving money up front and time down the road by being virtually maintenance free. The factory laminate lasted 34 years and was still serviceable; that told me something. I'm also respectful of the fact this is a rare example of this era in boating that can still bring great enjoyment, in fact perhaps more if I show a little restraint and stay true to the orignial build and design as much as possible though reinstalling the "disco fur" headliner in the v-berth is still under debate.
Once the interior components were removed I started my search for a quality marine grade plywood. At first I thought ACX would be just fine but after reading enough posts online about the large number of voids, imperfections, and lack of consistency in ACX, I was able to justify spending the extra money on a good marine plywood.
Having narrowed my search to only "marine grade" plywood, I still had plenty of options to pick from. The local Menards store had the best price by far at $89 a 4x8 sheet of 3/4 Fir, but they had to special order it. This meant I had no control over the number of knots and imperfections in what was shipped. After checking a number of options in town, I settled on buying the wood from a local company called Midwest Boat Appeal. The owner was extremely nice and helped me decide what type of wood worked best for my project. He had a huge selection of wood species to choose from including Okoume, Mahogany and Teak but I settled on a Meranti.
Theses next few pictures are of my father and me cutting out the seat bases, engine box and bulk head panels.
All of the wood components have been cut out and assembled. These next photos are of the stained wood with two coats of INTERLUX Interprime Wood Sealer 1026 Clear and two coats of EPIFANES High Gloss Clear Varnish Extra UV-Filter. The wood has a nice base but I'm still planning to apply 3 to 5 more coats of varnish before its complete.
This is looking at the back side of the engine box.
This is a great Forum Posting as some of the topics and pictures closely match some of the same issues i have with my 1973 lancer. I Want to ask if anyone knows how to access the nuts and bolts for the captin chair base where it mounts to the floor. My seat tilts back and i notice that it is the bolts or screws that are loose but when I try to tighten them or remove them they just spin in place. I figure there must be a nut on the other side but as far as I can tell there is no way to access it without cutting a hole in the floor. Ialready removed the gas tank hatch and I see that there is a stringer in the boat frame which makes access difficult from that angle.
Also I have the same rot issue with the fiberglassed in wood shelf that runs along the side of the interior. I can see that it needs to be cut out and replaced but I am wondering if there is any advice you can give me as to the easiest way to fit the new peice in.
I know EXACTLY what you are dealing with ( same issue on my 1973 )
July 20 2012, 2:19 PM
I see you have a 1973 and I am presently working on one that probably should be called LAZURUS, because it is coming back from the dead. My boat was left out in the weather, not well cared for, was ridden hard and put away wet. As a result all of the side shelf panels you mention are also rotted out. Chris Craft used saturated fiberglass tabs to hold things in place and you will note there is a fiberglass overlay on top of the plywood.
Also, in the event we have not already done so, here is your official "WELCOME ABOARD", you are among friends, with a huge support and knowledge base here!
I recently cut mine out and I am going to re-install some marine plywood in the same location, and do another saturated fiberglass overlay just like CC did. Here are a couple of photos during the tear-it-out phase. This particular Lancer was lucky to find its way to Nashville thanks to Jerry Namken, and it is presently being given an intensive care program.
The only way to fix this is to get the rotted wood out, and being careful with a sawsall is a tough thing because you can tear up a lot with one of those. In any case I cut out the bad stuff, and I will be picking more pieces out as I go. CC used 3/4" and I see no reason why 1/2" marine plywood would not work. I would not recommend using any plywood on a boat for any reason unless it was genuine marine grade. I plan to get the new shelf propped into position and then glass over it like the original, and in the end it will look 100% stock and function as originally intended too. Along the way I may install some shallow marine grade lockers along the sides for tools or fishing gear if I can find a way to integrate this into the design and keep the original look.
Now onto the seat issue you mentioned.
My seats took about as much or perhaps more abuse than yours did, and a previous owner solved the problem by bolting on an aluminum plate on the port side. This came up reasonably easily. However, on the starboard side the original mounting hardware had long since rusted into position, being expansion type bolts and all they would do was rotate below deck. Just look at all the holes under that piece of aluminum plate I removed, and you can see the pedestal idea at Chris Craft was not fully vetted at the time they decided to install them on our boats. Obviously a little more research would have done a better job here.
I had to tug on those bolts using a visegrip and also using a crowbar supported with a piece of plywood so as to not have the bottom side of the crowbar cause damage on the deck, to pry the bolts and the pedestal upward far enough to be able to cut the heads off with a bolt cutter. During the process I invented a few new cusswords and I think they might be German but so far I have not had them translated.
I purchased nice new helm seats but no pedestals yet. I may be able to reuse the old bases but the pedestal tops are shot. At this time there are holes in the deck as you can see, and my intent is to end up with a boat that looks at good as new so I have some work to do. I don't know whether to install aluminum plates on both sides or what. I could have the plates cut in large circles, beveled and powder coated. In any case the final installation will have to be first class so suggestions are welcome.
Hope this helps you in some way, if not only to let you know someone else is out there suffering the same malady. The good news is (lets be quiet and respectful when we say this) the hull is fiberglass. I also own and love a wood boat, but guys, if we have serious restoration work to do, at least we do not have to worry about what is below the waterline with these classic glass boats from Chris Craft. In addition, Chris-Craft thought enough of the Lancer name to resurrect it for a bran new series of boats, and in the event you have not checked the prices of those boats lately it will make you feel at ease if you spend a few thousand dollars making the one you have look a little nicer (deep into six figures for a new Lancer).