A beautiful and rare 1929, 28 foot Chris Craft

Hull number 3032

Owner - Mark Howard

The photo is a family favorite and shows my father and brother (Matthew) slowly moving through the water. It's an interesting shot as it was taken from astern and so clearly shows the name and even both flags are flying. As I recall, the photo was taken in the fall a number of years ago. Hopefully this summer will see Cornelia in the water again.


Cornelia was delivered in 1929 as the Camp Kabeyun boat. She served in that capacity for many years shuttling campers back and forth between Wolfeboro and Alton Bay, the location of the camp. Her history with the camp isn't well documented, but she ended up at Goodhue & Hawkins boat yard and was eventually sold to Bruce Barnard, who in turn traded her to the Howard family back in the late 70's. She's been in the family ever since.

Mark Howard

After many years of storage and non-use, Cornelia was refinished and during the winter of 2003, and launched that Spring. But alas, the boat actually sunk in the boathouse that summer. The boat was quickly re-floated, the motor was flushed and re-fired, and Cornelia was then put back in storage. Then in the summer of 2004, Cornelia was transported to the Vintage Race Boat Shop, to have have new bilge pumps installed, the ignition system upgraded, and to return this magnificent vantage boat put back into prime condition.



A complete MSD ignition system was installed, along with two new Rule bilge pumps, hot wired directly to the battery, and a new 4-blade prop. Then Cornelia was then re-launched, swelled, and readied for sea trials.




After a week of swelling, Cornelia was taken out for sea trials, and although the boat ran well at high speeds, the motor would not idle down, and was difficult to handle at slow speeds. So we replaced the intake manifold and carburetor.


After the upgrade, the motor ran great and idled down quite nicely, but the boat was taking on water. So we pulled the boat and found the leak, at the end of the stem. We thought the damage was caused by previous trailer encounters, but the leak was not too bad and we ran the boat all summer long, with the two bilge pumps keeping the bilge nice and dry.


Then in the Fall of 2004, Cornelia was transported back to the Vintage Race Boat Shop, for some bottom wood work. And to put her back in prime show condition, a major refinishing project was scheduled - including stripping, staining, and lots of coats of fresh Epifanes varnish.




First, the bottom was aggressively sanded, to expose and wood issues.





The next step was to begin stripping the many layers of varnish and to also remove the deep filler stain in from the mahogany. After experimenting with all kinds of strippers, we found that they all removed the varnish pretty well, but none of them also pulled the filler stain out of the mahogany grain. Then we finally took the advice of Travis Hickman, and tried #148 Kwick Kleen, and as the photo below show - this stuff really works. It removed the many layers of varnish and with a little scrubbing, also pulled the filler stain from the mahogany grain. We were very please with the results and perhaps the best part - water cleanup and no fumes. Check out the Kwick Kleen Website -

First, we applied the Kwick Kleen #148 stripper with a cheap bristle brush, and kept the applying additional coats as the surface started to bubble and dry out.



After 15/20 minutes, the finish was all bubbled and ready to be scrapped off. This was done with a putty knife.


Once the varnish layers were scrapped off with a putty knife, we applied several more coats of stripper to actually pull the filler stain from the mahogany. This was then scrubbed with a Scotchbrite stripper pads and finally washed and cleaned up with terry towels and warm water.


We were very pleased with the results - the mahogany was ready for light sanding and fresh filler stain !!!


Then we started on the hull sides, that young kid helping me is Ken Sandhage.




After the stripping was completed, we started experimenting with stains in an effort to match the very unique, original walnut color. First we tried many colors of Interlux filler stains on test boards, and found #1643 to be very close, so we prepped and stained the transom. After staining, we applied a seal coat of thinned Epifanes varnish.




The color was close, but not correct, so we stripped the transom again, and then we started experimenting again with Bartley Gel Stain colors.


Finally, we got a very close stain color match on our test boards with the Bartley Gel Stains using "Golden Oak" for the planking and "Jet Mahogany" on the covering boards and king plank. To test our stain color selection again, we stained the transom again, and sealed it with Petit Old Salem sealer.



The color match looked real good, so we continued on the port side planking.




Finally the stain was approved by the owner - Mark Howard !!!



The next step was to strip and re-stain the aft deck.




Then the varnish build coats began, and after six coats of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish, the results were absolutely stunning !!!





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