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Early 50's Thompson runabout restore

Scott Dunsworth

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I thought I had over twenty ribs already cut but only had 7, I cut these about 7 years ago and ether lost some or didn't have as many as thought. Started after they were in the steam box for half hour at 200 degrees. The first one was mid ship and was the most difficult for some reason. They actually got easier the closer we got to the transom. Maybe the longer they were in the box made it go smoother. By the time the last one went in it had been in the box for a hour and half. Used a temporary screw through the rib and into the old spray rail which served as a clamp to put the last bit of the rib tight into the bend.

Over all went smoothly. Post a few pictures tomorrow.

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  • 3 weeks later...
1 hour ago, Scott Dunsworth said:

. . . The more I look at this boat it should have been trashed, but what the heck it's cheap entertainment.

When I had the big shop up and running, I always had a boat like this lying around. The idea was to have something that wasn't very valuable to have guys play with, without concern about a good return, so they could cut some teeth on, try different  techniques, keep them busy on off days, etc. A few of them actually did get finished and a couple of my guys eventually took them home.


I find boats like this all the time, knowing I have to walk away, because I got there too late to save it or make it a viable project, with a reasonable margin. In fact, the vast majority are usually lost, maybe as much as 95%, but every once and a while I'll find one that's simply managable or even spectualar. I once found a 20's era Hacker, a one off racer and winner, including documents and trophies. It was sitting in a good barn, with no leaking roof, out of the sun and it had been there for 40 years. Other than obvious issues with being so dry for so long, she was nearly complete, with the V12 sitting on a pallet a few yards away. The engine almost was toast, but origional and did get rebuilt (at great cost). When I found this puppy, I bought it for more than what the son of the former owner wanted and dragged it home. Two years later I sold it as a finished, nearly origional for many times what I bought it for, but this is the rare exception to the rule.


Usually you barely get a margin, costs eat everything and if you can break even, you're lucky. Most of the time, you can make it up with equipment, engines, etc., which is the "bling" to get a prospective owner to bite. Only the last couple of percent of prospective owners will appreciate a nicely repaired or restored hull, with most looking at reliability, engine hours, drive type, how clean the gauges look as they sit at the helm, etc.


The short of it is, we need folks like you to just entertain yourself, as they'll never get redone other wise. I have a 70 year old runabout in my barn now, waiting until I get time to do something with it. It doesn't need much, but my time. It's not valuable, not built by a major builder and has zero equipment to help sell it, but I'll make it my boat someday and have some fun with it.

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Found some clear W cedar 2x6's today to cut my new planking from, it was a bit pricey but I didn't need much. Going to get a cove & bead bit from duckworks to mill these.

I haven't been to the B&B mess-about for three or four years, going to try and make it this year and bring this pile of lumber with me if I can get it finished.



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   Hey Scott,

   While pursuing a different obsession this evening (airplanes, or more specifically the Boeing L-15A) I found myself reading an online copy of Popular Science from March of 1947 and there is an ad for Thompson Boats on page 48.  The runabout at the top of the ad looks suspiciously like yours.


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