Race Boat Shop
A beautiful and rare
foot Chris Craft
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Then the varnish build coats began,
and after six coats
of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish, the results were absolutely
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