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The Jaws Boat Resto

aka...'Glass from the Past

1961 Crestliner


4/25: Ok, I gutted the inside of the boat and took off all the hardware. I checked the transom, mainly because it looked like someone had repaired it at some time I started cutting strips of the 'glass off 4" at a time, hoping that the whole thing wouldn't be bad. By the time I got half way down, I decided to just take the whole back off. It turns out, it had to be done anyway. Water had gotten in between the layer of glass and the transom wood and rotted from top to bottom about 1' wide (arrrgh!). I've already started rebuilding it. I removed all the rotted wood, sanded down to fresh 'glass on the inner transom skin, epoxied a piece of 3/4" plywood in, then a piece of 1/2" over that. It's a little thicker than original (about 3/16"), but I used what I had and that'll be fine. I also cut a notch in the center of the new transom so I can run a short shaft motor on it. I'll make a removable  insert, for the notch, that can be bolted in to convert back to a long shaft motor. Unfortunately, at this point, I ran out of epoxy ( West System again) and it started to rain. So, I need to make a run to the supply store and wait for nice weather. The ball is rolling now, so keep  checking back. I'll update as often as I can. Happy Boating!

  5/1: I got the transom 'glassed,  one more sand and a skim coat of epoxy should finish it off. I also got the whole topside sanded and coated it with a thin coat of epoxy to fill in the small hairline cracks that would bleed throught the paint. The roof of the cabin has the 1st coat of paint on it, once the rest of the top is ready, I'll 1st coat that too. The finish coat will go on after everything else is done.
     Here's some pics of the jaws boat as it is now. The only "as found" pics I have are on video, so they'll have to wait until I get an A/V card in the pc.
    Jaws boat #1
    Jaws boat #2
     This one is a shot of the gutted interior. When I took it, I had most of the interior still inside, so it looks like a pile of garbage.
   Ja ws boat #3 

5/17: Busy, busy. Not much time (or days without rain) for working on the boat. I did get some stuff done, though. The transom is about finished and I sanded and put the 1st coat of paint on the rest of the topside. The whole top of this boat was going to be Petit "Bikini Blue", that I got from an old marina that was selling all of their old paint stock, but I found a can of Petit "Ice Blue" that I also got at the same time, but forgot I had. Now the top of the cabin, the deck hatch and a lot of the interior will be Bikini Blue, and the deck/top trim will be Ice Blue. The Ice Blue is a very light shade that will make a nice transition from the bright Bikini Blue cabin to the white hull.

5/28: Ok, where to start. The transom is done, primed, and ready to paint. I sanded the sides, primed and put on the 1st coat of paint. I put the floor back in ( I had to pull it up to replace the transom), stripped, primed, and 1st coated the whole interior (outside the cabin). The original interior trim was shot, so I ripped it all out and replaced it with scraps left over from the Trojan ( 3/8" mohogany plywood). I wouldn't have pieced together the trim if this was going to be a complete restoration. I've gone farther than I originally intended already. This boat is going to be our main user boat now, so it's going to get beat up, and I'm not going to be upset if I can see seams in the trim.
         I stripped, trimmed to fit ( because I lowered the motor notch to use the short shaft motor), primed, and re-installed the motor well. I stripped, primed, and re-fitted the rear bench. I also installed the new bilge pump while the rear end of the interior was apart.
       I also made another pass over the entire topside with spot putty, filling  in small cracks and air bubbles.
        Just as a note, I'm trying a different type of primer on this project. For some reason, no one had the marine primer I usually use in stock. The new stuff isn't marine, but an exterior primer/sealer. I've had a lot of success with other products from the same company, so I'll let you know how this one works out. It's cheaper than what I normally use, and seems to give more coverage per/qt.
        Lots of work in 2 days!  She's moving right along now. Hopefully, within the next few weeks it'll be finished.

6/17: I got the helm built and installed, the steering hooked up, and the controls and motor wiring all set. The controls are the correct "Single Lever, Full Gear Shift" ones that go with the Merc 400. I found them at a marina, with the original cables, wiring in good shape, and even the key! I got it all hooked up and everything works the way it should. These controls have the ignition and ele. choke right in the case. The cables are a bit too long, but they'll work until I get some shorter ones.
         The steering is the original cable/pulley system that was in the boat. I just got a complete Merc "Ride Guide" steering assembly that's in good shape, but the cable is for '65 and newer motors (the end that goes through the transom pivot tube is smaller on the pre'65 motors). If I can get the right diameter/lenght cable, I'll mount it on the boat. I started framing for the new windshield in the cabin. I'm going to frame  the entire window in narrow (1/2-3/4" thick) wood, in 3 sections (fr, l, r). The side windows I'd like to make sliding ( or at least operating some way ) so they can be opened for ventilation. I thought of taking the boat to a shop to have a curved w/s made, or trying to find one that fits, but for what it would cost, it's not worth it for a "kickin' around" boat. I've said before, I'm already farther into this project than I intended. 
       OOOOOooooo! I also got a presant from a friend, an 18 gal. Kiekhaefer Merc "Cruiser Tank" gas tank. It's in very good shape, and from the looks of the decals, I'd say it's mid to late 60's vintage. It has the same factory Merc gas fitting as the 6 gal. tanks, and the fuel gauge even works. It's about 18" deep, 7" tall, and 39" long, it fits perfectly under the rear seat/motor well. It is also very clean on the inside, no residue, dirt, rust, or varnish at all.
       She's getting close now, once I get the final coats of paint on, I'll put the hardware back in place. Then all that'll be left is the wiring for the lights and the windows in the cabin! Although I may re-cover the cabin seats (they've got some rips in them), I'll use it the way it is for now.
      Oh-boy, almost forgot the mishap with the motor. I was running the Merc 400 in a tank on the back of the boat to check the operation of the shift/throttle  and the wiring, it just popped out of gear and wouldn't go back. My 1st thought was that maybe the prop fell off and it was still in gear, I reached down into the tank to feel if the prop was there (after shutting off the motor 1st of course)and it was. I was getting aggreviated and it was starting to rain (again, jeesh), so I didn't mess with it right away. I didn't get back to it for a few days, when I did, it was very dissapointing. I drained the tank and pulled it out from under the motor, the prop was there allright,  but not where it should be. I use a "Quick Clamp" to hold the hose in the  test tank, it dropped into the tank at some point and got caught between the prop and the gear case. Being a bronze prop, it didn't give much, so the prop shaft snapped, aaaiiiiieeeeee!
After kicking myself repeatedly, and swearing a bunch, I went in search of another gearcase in the pile-o-parts. The 1st stop was a '59 Mk58A gear case that is complete, but the water pump cover is so corroded, it won't come off. I tried it, no water. Then I figured I'd take the prop shaft out of another Merc 400 case that is cracked, unfortunately, the prop shaft retaining nut is just as corroded as the other one and won't come off. I was ready to saw the cracked case in half to get the prop shaft, then found one more. Another Merc 400, but the bottom of the skeg  is broken off. The impeller was good, and it seemed to move well, so on it went. It works fine, but I don't like the broken skeg. Skip ahead to the day I picked up the new motors ('58 Mk55, and another Merc 400), the 400 runs great, but isn't pumping much water. I figure I'll change the impeller and put the whole motor on the boat (it runs better than the one on it now). Unfortunately, the w/p cover on the new one is in crooked! I don't know how somebody got it like that, but there it is. I was thinking maybe it froze and pushed the cover up, but there's no cracks in the case. I would think the case would go before the threaded pump cover would lift on one side. This leads me to believe that someone put it in cross threaded(YIKES!). In any case, I'm still without a 100% good gear case. On a positive note, the new 400 has a very nice 3 blade bronze prop on it that should work well on this boat.

  5/7/01: I started on the "Jaws Boat" again. I knew if it sat around long enough, it would get done! I've changed the motor plans from the Merc 400 to a '59 Mk 78A, so I added a few more layers of f/g to the transom. I ended up using 1/4" birch plywood for the windshield in stead of having a plexiglass one made ($$$$). I'll cut holes in the birch and add some "portholes" before it's done. I steamed the 1/4" plywood to bend it around the compound curves of the original windshield and it sort of worked.
   I built a 30" wide, 4' long 3" high box with a 3/4" x 24" slot cut in one end to put the plywood into. Then I drilled a 3/4" hole in the side of the box and ran a hose from a pot boiling on a propane burner into the box for steam. As wide as the windshield is, I decided to make it in 2 pieces, the 1st side went in great and bent right around the contour of the opening. The other side was another matter. Either I didn't steam the wood enough, or there was just a weak spot in the wood, but it split along the bend. I put it in anyway and ended up cutting the side that worked right with a razor knife so it would split and match. It doesn't look bad, just not as good as it would've if both sides bent right. I got all the wiring straightened out, mounted the bow hatch, the motor controls and the rest of the hardware. The original (when I got it anyway) air horn may or may not work, the compressor is shot, so I put an "AAOOOGAAAHH" horn on that I had around! It's LOUD and sounds neat, LOL! I also added a small light that's aimed down at the helm from the underside of the cabin roof, just in case I need to see something while I'm driving at night. I also replaced the wood in the pedestal seats, no big deal, but they were falling apart. Still need to do something about the bench seats in the cabin, they're pretty well frayed around the edges. I don't have any new pics just yet, but soon. Looks like she'll be in the water this year for sure!
Here's some pics of where it's at now. 

That's it for now...
To Be Continued...