Old Man South Fork Skiff Update

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So it’s been a while since I updated everybody on the South Fork Skiff we (and by “we” I mean “not Steve”) have been restoring. The interior gelcoat is done, and as you can see, it’s a pretty major improvement. The boys over at Towee boats did a sick job on this aspect, and I can’t speak highly enough about those fellas and their skills when it comes hand laid fiberglass. Instead of rebuilding the front pedestal seat, we decided to give the South Fork a wee bit of modernity and function. The remnants of the front pedestal were decked off, and we plan on strapping a 35-qt. Yeti in and place the seat on the Yeti. That way we get the cooler built in and won’t have to take up valuable floor space with a floating cooler. I’m still trying to decide what kind of seats I’m going with, but I did find these online and think they might be the answer:

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They’re actually canoe seats, but I think they’ll work and save me a ton of time fabricating. I’m not quite sure on the durability of the wicker, but it’s splined and easily repairable, or so the website said. Next up is fitting all the wood gunnel rails and plates. Then final paint and assembly. The last of the wood is finally leaving the shop this week after I had to scramble to get the second half of the order milled by another shop. My buddy who started on the job had a baby in the middle of it, and as we all know, nothing will ruin fine woodworking quicker than a baby.

I’m hoping to have everything on the boat wrapped up and on the water by the end of summer, so that means sometime in the year 2018 I should be good to go. Stay tuned…

– Dave

Old Man South Fork Skiff Update

Welcome to another edition of This Old Boat.

When we left her, I was just starting the long, tedious process of sanding down the interior prepping for new paint. With all the wonderful winter weather we’ve had in Western North Carolina this February, this has turned into a game of “hurry up and wait for good weather.” Yesterday the sun shined, the thermometer hit 60, and fiberglass was flying.

Old boats are like scary onions, the more layers you peel away, the more horrified you become. I found some bad gel coat spots that will need to be filled, along with some joints where the side trays hit the floor that have separated. Nothing major, but enough to take a few more dollars out of my wallet. The main challenge I found on this last round of work is the floor, and more specifically the Rhino Lining that is adhered to the floor. I’m not really a fan of Rhino Lining for the interior of boats, as it adds significant weight and if not done professionally, in a booth, can turn out looking like dog shit after a few months of abuse that the floor of a drift boat takes. What I really don’t like about it, is that it turns out to be the nuclear option.

I tried 40-grit sandpaper, a metal bush wheel on a grinder, and I stopped just short of going all mad scientist on that mofo with acetone. Apparently, once a bed liner is in, it doesn’t come out short of a nuclear holocaust. The boat is now at the stage where my meager skills leave something to be desired. Luckily on this one, I know a guy. The Skiff is heading over to McMinville, Tenn., for Todd Gregory and the boys at Towee Boats to love on her for a while. Fiberglass, gelcoat, paint, and a new front pedastal box will all be done in what I’m sure is a timely manner. While the boat’s in Tennessee, all the wood pieces should be done, and I will get them pre-stained with 8 million coats of varnish. Keep an eye out for the next post, Fiberglass 101.

– Dave