50 year old sled restoration

Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
1

50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

Hello everyone! New member here (also new to online forums, really) so please bear with me while I try to figure out posting and photos.

Some backstory-
In 1970 my grandpa purchased a “mini sled” that was part of a custom run of four boats based on a wood design. My dad, uncle, cousins and I all grew up fishing in that boat. While he loved it, it’s small size and inefficient design didn’t allow him to take more than one person at a time. In 09 he traded it for a bigger sled and the person he traded with passed away. His kids inherited the boat and we lost track of it for years. Last year I tracked it down, convinced the son to sell it and I am just about done restoring it! (Though we are never really done, right? Haha) anyways I’ll try and get some photos up.

I’m a west coast guy, seems a lot of folks on here are from other parts of the country. This site continually popped up while I researched info helping with the restore and I figured you guys would appreciate this one off mini build!

Here is few shots of pops and I on a rare sunny day in the NW :LOL2:
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Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
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50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

A few more old pics.
The boat is 12’ long, 44” bottom, 64” beam, powered by a 79 Evinrude 25/18 and as you can see used to have a pretty sweet paint job.
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Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
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50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

Catching salmon was a blast in this little guy!
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Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
1

50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

Here is how it sat when I tracked it down. Rattle canned blue, plywood floor was rotten, trailer rusted apart, motor had been ran dry so the impeller and housing was shot. The hull was in surprisingly good shape. Still no dents or cracked welds after 50 years.
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Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
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50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

I tore all the hardware and what was left of the floor out and started stripping the hull.
I wanted to have it sandblasted inside, but
A. The cost was high, and
B. None of the sandblasting shops around here would return my calls.

So I bought a sander and started on the inside shooting for a brushed aluminum look. If you’ve ever tried that you know it was about two beers and a square foot later and I realized it was going to look TERRIBLE. I gave up on the brushed look, decided paint on the inside was fine and got to work sanding 50 years worth of house paint, spray paint, and zolatone.

I thought the inside was a challenge but the real bear was the exterior of the boat. I cleared a small patch and found it was still polished underneath the paint, I wanted it polished when I was done. The blue rattle can must’ve been a 20 year old batch sitting on sale at our local hardware store. It fell off with only the threat of paint stripper. My true adversary was whatever primer they used under it. That stuff was amazing. I would tell you how many hours I have into stripping that stuff- but I’m honestly ashamed :LOL2:
After weeks (yes weeks) of stripping that primer off I had a nice shiny boat. I have many, many pictures of this process but they’re quite boring so we’ll skip a lot!
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Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
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50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

After I finished stripping life got in the way and I had to move my belongings from another state. Progress was stalled for a little bit but picked back up in my new place. Like the sandblasting predicament- I wanted to have the inside zolatoned but it was cost prohibitive and I‘m sure finding a shop would’ve been a nightmare.
I have used spray paint on aluminum with bad results so I knew I didn’t want to go that route. Zolatone or epoxy paint was too expensive and hard to schedule. So I waited around and let some ideas stink in my head. I was at work admiring a tool that I had used spray plastidip on. It had been well over a year out in the sun, rain, sleet and snow and it looked brand new. I researched a lot online of the pros and cons and decided that plastidip was my (temporary, at least) solution. I know it won’t last forever but I think it’ll make the first few seasons, at least. So I bought out my local Lowe’s and Home Depot’s and got to painting or “dipping” as the cool kids call it. This was also a slow boring process, I’d tell you the number of hours and cans of plastidip it took, but I’m ashamed of those numbers as well :LOL2:
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Fernhopper
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Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
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50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

The plastidip has been on a few months now while I’ve been clambering in and out, dropping tools and dragging extension cords and it has held up fine so far. One thing I overlooked in my research and a great tip if you ever plastidip something. DO. NOT. dip multiple layers on the same masking tape line. You have to spend hours meticulously cutting each tape line with a razor.
Lesson learned.
ONWARDS and UPWARDS.
Now that she was painted it was time to worry about hardware and a floor. Most of the hardware in the boat was perko stuff. It was 50 years old and in beautiful shape so I reused it. That perko markup is worth every penny. The only issue was my grandpa had used a lot of stainless to mount everything. After so many years this had caused dissimilar metal corrosion in almost every spot something was mounted. I mounted everything except the oarlocks with aluminum rivets to avoid furthering the issue. It needed a new transom saver and because of corona I could not find one. I fabbed one up and also put some protection on the inside of the transom.
I remembered putting a few floors in this boat and I also vividly remembered hating that job. I went to the local industrial supply place and picked up a sheet of 1/8th aluminum diamond plate for the floor. Boy that is nerve wracking cutting the DP and drilling the holes for your rivets :shock:
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Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
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50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

Forgot to mention the “mill finish” diamond plate I bought was surprisingly shiny, so I ran some Brillo pads over it to dull it up a bit. One season and it’ll be weathered in nice.

At some point in between all those projects I had purchased a “rebuilt” mercury 25/18 after I decided the Evinrude wasn’t worth the money to rebuild. I waited months for a 25 horse jet to come available and missed out on 2. One was mint and I told myself I wouldn’t miss another chance. The merc came up for sale and I made the 5 hour drive to pick it up that night. It ran great in the tank, had a fresh paint and decals, and the cylinders looked mint. One thing I noticed was the carb throat looked so small compared to my Evinrude- but I had missed 2 chances already and made a 5 hour drive after work, so I pulled the trigger. The next day I had the numbers on the Welch plug ran at our local mercury dealer and the guy I bought it from either lied or honestly didn’t know- the motor is a 20 horse. I mounted it anyway and plan on doing a 25 horse conversion. I have read you can swap the carbs and get almost the same HP as the 25. If you have any knowledge of this PLEASE fill me in! Outboard is mounted, though. I built a small lift block to get (what I think) is the correct height and a splash plate to keep spray out.
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Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
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50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

At this point I felt comfortable calling it a boat again, and every boat needs a trailer! I started looking into the cost of rebuilding the current one. Prices for trailer parts were absolutely horrendous. It would’ve cost almost double the price of a new EZ loader to rebuild the old trailer like new. So I started shopping around. Again, corona made this incredibly difficult. I had to sacrifice and buy a model smaller than I wanted but it works for now and I don’t have to worry about it crumbling as I go down the freeway. The bunks weren’t set up for a flat bottom boat so I built some new ones. I also installed a trailer jack because the model I had to buy doesn’t come with one- cheap SOBs!!!
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Fernhopper
Posts: 10
Joined: 13 Aug 2020, 14:59
1

50 year old sled restoration

Post by Fernhopper »

Now we’re caught up. This week I picked up all the random little stuff you need before a shakedown run. Spare plugs, fuel filter, anchor rope, fuel tank and lines. Last night I finished installing the fuel lines, fixed the anchor box, and strapped my fuel tank down. It’s ready for a shakedown to see how my motor height is and see just how awful the 20 horse does. I’ll keep posting updates and asking questions in here as I go on.
Things I’d still like to do
-25 carb swap
-new oars
-fish finder

I know my posts are long winded but I figured some of you would enjoy! Thanks for reading if you stuck through and I look forward to some constructive criticism!
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