JS-930  Tinker

A Jersey Speed Skiff

Owner/Driver - Bob Mueller


First - some background information:

During the summer and fall of 2005, The Vintage Race Boat Shop completed a Jersey Speed Skiff reproduction built for Gerri Prusko. This reproduction was done "in the spirit of APBA vintage" and looks like a Jersey Speed Skiff of the 1950's/60's. It is a legal APBA vintage boat and will be run this summer on the APBA Vintage Race Boat Circuit. These boats are safe and fun to run, and with a stock warranted motor, will provide for many years of fun boat rides!



Click here for project photos of "My Precious"


That was a fun project, the boat ran extremely well, and we wanted to do another one. Then in the fall of 2005, several conversations with Bob Mueller lead to a handshake and our second skiff project. This project would have special, ribbon striped mahogany deck and transom, and the motor would be installed and rigged at the Vintage Race Boat Shop.

These photos were taken on 2/3/2006, showing the stringers being laminated. They were left in the jig overnight, then cut to shape and attached on the next day.


On Saturday, 2/4/2006 the Bender mold was prepped with gel coat, and on Super Bowl Sunday the full crew came in to actually lay up the hull. The last step was to insert the stringer assembly and glass it in, making it an integral part of the hull. And how about that gel coat color, will look stunning with the mahogany deck and blue upholstery !!!




Then the core and stringers were glassed in place.




These photos show the bulkheads being fitted, and the (special order) board of 1/4 sawn sapelee mahogany. This beautiful wood will be used for the gunnels, dash boards and cockpit combing. The deck will be "ribbon striped" sapelee mahogany - stunning !!!


On Friday 2/10/2006 at 1PM - Tinker was popped from the mold. The boat came out of the mold easily and the mold was then covered up and put away in it's storage tent.


The bulkheads were then fitted and glassed in, leaving them blonde and applying several more coats of resin to make them smooth. After the bulkheads were installed, the hull sides were sanded and then white gel coat was applied, down to the outboard side of the stringers. This is the look we wanted, and we are very happy with our results.


The nose piece and gunnels were cut, fitted and installed next, followed by cutting the bulkheads to shape. The third photo shows the dashboards and combing pieces, please notice the grain of that beautiful sapelee mahogany!


Another update on 2/20/2006 shows the deck frame completed, and the sapelee mahogany dash and cockpit side boards installed. Time to order all the hardware for the running gear and the cavatation plate. The fuel tank is already ordered, and if things keep plugging along, The Obsession Boys just might be able to pick up Tinker on our way back from Mt Dora !!!


Tinker was not quite ready for pickup after Mt Dora, but the sapelee mahogany deck and transom were installed on 4/14/2006.


Another update on 4/24/2006 shows the running gear, cavatation plate assembly, steering assembly, and fuel tank installed. Yup - Tinker is just about ready for pickup and transportation to the Vintage Race Boat Shop for motor installation, rigging, upholstery, stain and varnish work.


Special thanks to Shaun Berry for making the bonsai run to pickup the completed hull in Thunderbolt, Georgia, and on May 3rd, 2006 "Tinker" finally arrived at the Vintage Race Boat Shop in Wolfeboro, NH. Shaun did an excellent job ensuring the boat was double "shrink-wrapped" to protect the unsealed wood, and drove through torrential rain storms on his way back to New Hampshire. The boat was immediately moved inside the shop, the shrink-wrapped was removed, the boat was inspected, and several "wet" areas were dried with towels. Yup - thanks to Shaun, the beautiful sapelee mahogany was unstained and ready for final sanding, sealing, and many, many coats of Epifanes varnish. This is gonna be a fun project - we can't wait to begin !!!


These pictures were taken on May 3rd at the Vintage Race Boat Shop, within minutes of Tinker's arrival. It took a while to remove the double layers of shrink-wrap, being careful not to scratch the unfinished wood. These are good pictures of the Tinker "as we got it", and shows a very well built boat, with special Jersey Speed Skiff running gear and steering installed. The ribbon stripped sapelee mahogany deck was nicely done, solidly bedded with 3M-5200 adhesive and stapled down nice and tight. The thick sapelee mahogany planks used on the dash and side panels also add strength to the deck, and are solidly attached to the deck stringers. This boat is strong and solid !!! 




On Monday, May 8th we started to remove the deck and transom hardware and then thoroughly hand sanded the deck and transom with 120 grit paper. The trim was then painted, using our favorite "Colonial Red" Ben Moore oil based paint. 



After a second vacuuming and tacking, Wednesday, May 10th was "show time" - as we applied the stain and sealer coats. We used Pettit dark mahogany filler stain on the mahogany transom, and Pettit clear sealer on the ribbon striped sapelee mahogany deck, dash boards and side boards. This is perhaps the most dramatic step in the whole project - when the rich woods actually change color as the stains and varnishes are applied.






After the first coat of sealer was hand sanded with Scotchbrite Pads, the photos below show the second coat of Pettit sealer being applied, which helps to fill in the grain of the mahogany, and provides a firm bond with the first coat of Epifanes varnish.




The second sealer coat was again hand sanded with Scotchbrite Pads, and then the first coat of Epifanes varnish was applied - full strength. Twelve coats of Epifanes varnish will be applied, sanding with 320 grit paper between each coat. And with each coat, the boat gets smoother and smoother, actually fairing the boat with varnish.



Special attention is focused on the transom area, ensuring a good wood, sealer, varnish "bond", because the lower part will be submerged below the water line. Each coat is hand sanded and carefully prepped, and the two coats of sealer and twelve coats of varnish will protect the mahogany, and provide a stunning backdrop for the polished stainless steel cavatation plate assembly and the four inch exhaust ports. And with each coat of varnish, the color gets deeper and darker.



The underside of the engine hatch also gets special attention, as the sapelee mahogany gets sealed with two coats of Pettit sealer, and then many coat of Epifanes varnish. The wood frames members were painted a rich colonial red to nicely setoff the rich, varnished mahogany.


After several meetings, much discussion, many designs, and many emails, the correct lettering/font for 'Tinker" was finally decided, and then Jerome from JC Signs applied the transom lettering. The first step was to properly position the lettering, and apply the mask/glue that will hold the metal leaf. Then the metal leaf was applied to the mask/glue. This was allowed to dry overnight, and then a coat of varnish was applied. Then next step would be the outlining for the lettering.



After a nice thick coat of varnish, Jerome returned and outlined the lettering by hand, using dark blue paint they will match the upholstery. Donnie Mclean and Tony Coco also fabricated the shinny polished stainless steel plate under the pillow blocks of the cavatation plate assembly - and the results-stunning !!!



Very exciting stuff - on 6/9/2006 the motor arrived, and our friend and neighbor, Kevin Young and his trusty forklift helped us unload the motor from the back of the Federal Express truck. This brand new, Marine Power motor was purchased and shipped from Jerry's Marine Service in Lakewood, NJ. I enjoyed working with Bill Massa, who gave me a prompt quote at a very good price and kept me informed of the delivery status. I highly recommend these Marine Power motors, and Bill is the guy to call at Jerry's Marine Service - 732-901-8404.




After our new overhead hoist arrived from Jay Berry, we hoisted the new motor from the shipping pallet and positioned it into Tinker. The new hoist made the job very easy and very safe. Check our Trading Dock for Jay's ad for these hoists, they are very well built, very strong and we have used them for several years now in our shop. Our new one came with black paint and a custom sign - nice touch !!!



After a few more coats of Epifanes varnish to protect the transom lettering, the cavatation assembly was installed. This is the fun part of the project, hanging hardware and polishing. The rest of the custom hardware was also ordered and every day was like Christmas - when the UPS god arrived - what fun.




And here is the dash bezel and Stewart Warner Gauges - very nice.



But all was not well, for after the motor was lowered into place it was apparent that the shaft angle was not correct, not even close. Very upsetting, but in the words of ace mechanic Donnie McLean - "we can fix this". Yup, a minor setback for our tight schedule/deadline for our July 4th launching ceremonies, so we spent a late evening at the shop removing the strut and shaft log, and then grinding the shaft log hole. Even Shaun Berry helped out - with his favorite tool - a large hammer !!!




The seats were next, made out of half inch marine plywood. Many hours were spent matching all the complex angles, to assure a nice tight fit. These bench seats will have five inches of dense foam on the bottom and thick wrap around bolsters on the sides and back, all rolled and tucked, making them very comfortable and providing the look of a 1950's/60's era skiff.





Here are some final rigging photos - as we thrash to get ready for Clayton !!!






Finally - launching ceremonies and successful sea trials - August 15, 2006



We made it, the following photos were taken at Clayton, NY. After attending the Driver/Rider Clinic, Bob was were ready to rock & roll on the course.



Click here for the next chapter - a name change and more coats of varnish


Click here for a history of Jersey Speed Skiffs

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