getting this finished. After the seats were installed, and the front
and rear dash pieces, I started on the hardware and wiring. All of the original
hardware was aluminum and intact, just needed a little cleaning. I mainly
used 320 grit sandpaper, and a little polish, to clean up all the aluminum.
The hardware was then mounted using Boat Life caulk on the bases, and new
aluminum screws. The original Duotrol steering wheel and helm got cleaned
and was installed the same way. I had to replace the steering cable, but
the pulleys were fine. I added two new cleats (aluminum to match the others)
for hanging the rear fenders , and a new removeable light pole in the back.
The lights and horn were re-wired and matching replacement switches were
Time to get the motor on. I had run the 1957 Evinrude Lark 35hp. in a tank a few times to check it. After some adjustments, it ran fine. I had to add a mounting block for the controls on the inside of the plywood so the levers would clear the trim. I didn't want to screw through the side of the boat, so I epoxied it in place.
The original windshield was installed, and she was ready to go. At least until I stood back and looked at the seams in the side mohogany plywood, they really stood out. I tried to let it go, but just couldn't. I resanded the seams and filled them with more epoxy to try to hide the mess. Unfortunately, that only made it worse, so I left it alone (for a while anyway).
The 1st trip out was a great day! We took the boat to the launch with a friend and his boat (just in case). The Lark fired right up and away we went. What a feeling! That first time running wide open throttle down the river was more than can be described. We got about 20 minutes out and the motor stopped, AARRRRGGGH!! I played with the carb for a while, then ended up getting towed back in. A sad ending, but still a good day as far as I was concerned. I rebuilt the carb, re-checked the timing, and tried it again a few days later. This time it ran great all day!!
Now for the BIGGGGG screw-up on my part. Remember a few pages ago, I said that the epoxy developes a "blush" when it cures? Well, this powdery coating makes it real hard for anything to stick to it, including paint. After returning from the trip to the river, I was checking the boat and noticed some of the paint had peeled on the edges of the bottom. On closer inspection, A LOT of paint had peeled off the bottom! If you've never made a mistake this big, you can only imagine how I felt at the moment when I realized why the paint had peeled off.
Back to the workbench! I had to remove all the topside hardware again, roll the boat over, sand the entire bottom AGAIN!! I added an extra coat of epoxy while I was there. This time I remembered to wash the epoxied surface with water before painting it. I also chose to use Petit "Hard Racing Copper Bronze" bottom paint this time. There was no particular reason for this choice, just something I did.
I used the boat for the rest of the summer, then picked up a '57 Mk55E that became the standard motor for regular use and also started my obsession with the Mark series Mercury motors. The rest of the motor story is in the "Motors" section.
Eventually I also got tired of looking at the horrible seam in the side plywood. I added 3 diagonal "slash" stripes on each that covered the seams, 2 black stripes with a green (matches the motor) stripe in the middle. This is how the boat project ended and how it still looks today.
For a 1st timer, this may have been more than I would've gotten involved in had I known just how much work the boat needed, but I'm glad I did it. I had a complete restoration lesson right from the beginning and now I'm not intimidated by "basket case" boats or building from scratch. The best part is the feeling I get every time I run the boat, which is quite often! Knowing that the 40+ year old boat that I brought back from the dead will last another 40 because of the time and care I put into it is quite a feeling of accomplishment. It's not one of the other "popular" brands that are soooooo desireable and known to even those who know nothing about boats, still, everywhere it goes, heads turn. That gives a sence of pride in workmanship that is hard to equal . Someday, others will enjoy this small piece of history and that's what life is all about.