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  1. #1
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    Default J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    After reading very informative threads here on iboats.com, I hope to request your advice on a unique situation I find myself in.

    Here is the story: I have been looking to buy a used boat for trolling on small lakes around my residence. Because we live in farm country, we always hoped we could find one for cheap – you know, those small aluminum boats sitting along the bank of the farm pond.

    My search for a cheap boat finally came to a halt when a friend revealed that there was such a boat sitting outside a barn for many years. The 13'8” aluminum boat was covered in pine needles, ice, and leaves. Upon closer inspection, I was amazed how well the boat was made and its condition.

    It appeared to be very old and no hull identification number was found. So I called the Ohio Coastguard to see what needed to be done. Since no HIN was found, they requested that the boat be physically brought to Ashtabula so that they would identify its origin and assign it a new HIN. This process normally is 'quick', said the manager.

    I brought the boat in and what should have been quick jaunt through the paperwork, became a fun hour-and-a-half of “what's this gem?” The inspector, like me, was amazed at its construction and condition. He had never seen this boat model before. I showed him the manufacturer seal in its original condition at the stern of the boat, which he said was authentic. I told him I could not find any information on this boat by searching Google nor Yahoo for hours.

    The tag reads: J. Studebaker Boat Company- Number 323 – Model 33, and it was designed for a motor of up to 40hp.

    We did find a few Ohio stickers. One was from 1974 and the other 1989. We also found the name Cardinal 40 on the sides in sticker form. However, the inspector feels like that was an add-on by a previous owner and not its original name.

    They said their computers in Columbus would reveal its humble beginnings, yet when ran through the database – nothing. Nothing except a small reference to a pontoon boat made by J. Studebaker in 1959.

    Only one reference to the possibility of origin? I am hoping maybe someone here has came across one of these boats. We know at least 323 of them were made around 1959. It was quite interesting seeing the Coastguard taking multiple pictures of this boat since they've never seen this boat before.

    My new registration reads: 1959 model 33 J.Studebaker Company. I guess my boat is very rare and any information I can glean from you fine folks would be appreciated.

    Also, I want to restore the mill finish and replace all iron screws with aluminum of its age. A previous owner put a few things on with regular screws. Your advice is very much appreciated.

    D







  2. #2
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    One more with the benches.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    I know nothing about the boat, but it looks like a neat project. Good luck and keep us posted.

  4. #4
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Looks like a neat old boat- Worthy of a restoration.

    I've never heard of J. Studebaker... I don't have my reference materials handy, either, to see if it's listed anywhere. There were HUNDREDS of small companies building boats at that time, all trying to cash in on the big boating boom that was sweeping the nation at the time.

    She looks well built!

    -Andrew

  5. #5
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Thanks Bheff and Andrew. I still am not sure how to start cleaning the boat (outside the green mold). I have been reading through many threads here.

    Looks like drywall sanding block and compound will be the way.

    Put the boat in water today..................No leaks. This boat is sound.

    By the way, I payed $150.00 for it. Hope I did not take a beating on it.



    D

  6. #6
    Lieutenant Junior Grade kend301's Avatar
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    You never mentioned the name BETTY LOU or the OH 0984 AR that shows in the photos ? ... Any luck checking them ?

  7. #7
    Petty Officer 3rd Class fishmonster13's Avatar
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    this is all i could find on them they were made in topeka ,kansas until 1960.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Quote Originally Posted by kend301 View Post
    You never mentioned the name BETTY LOU or the OH 0984 AR that shows in the photos ? ... Any luck checking them ?
    No. They had no record of such. Weird that the database did not have info on the Ohio 0984. I have to keep the number 0984. I also will keep the name Betty Lou. I don't know why, but I just love that name.


    D

  9. #9
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Quote Originally Posted by fishmonster13 View Post
    this is all i could find on them they were made in topeka ,kansas until 1960.
    Thanks Fishmonster.


    D

  10. #10
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Unless you just like the sanding block, I would check around and see if there is someone local who can use a media/soda blaster on it...if you plan on painting it, and who wouldn't want to spruce up Betty Lou? Nice find, she'd look and go nicely with a late 50's OMC Big Twin 35 hp or similar era Merc 30 or 40 hp. Keep us updated as you go along.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Fine find. What a great opportunity to restore a unique aluminum boat. Sounds like the boat found an owner that will do it justice. Look forward to seeing your progress.

    Albert

  12. #12
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Thanks Captain and Albert. I will have to look into that Soda thing. Not familiar with that. However, I really don't mind sanding it. It will be a fun project with the kids. I just hope sanding it is the preferred standard of restoration for the DIY. Will the boat sustain damage or aluminum loss from a light sanding?

    From what I have gathered, I need to buy drywall sanding blocks and Mothers Mag. I first gently sand the oxidation and stains off, then apply Mothers?

    I also read info here on using Sharkhide? Some say it is good - yet it is not a wax? Closest dealer is 168 miles from here...lol

    Well, I have more research to do here before we leave today to purchase some products to start the job. Any tips or links to tips before we start would be very welcomed.

    D

  13. #13
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Here is a YOUTUBE video I made of the boat just before I restore it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDlomg5npD8



    I used night vision so the quality of the picture is not as good as daytime.



    D

  14. #14
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Looks nice... That trailer looks vintage, too- They'll make a nice package

  15. #15
    Lieutenant Commander Alpheus's Avatar
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find



    1969 StarCraft Chieftain, 4.3 Mercruiser Alpha One Gen II

    Link To Restoration Page


    ----------------------------------------------------

    Its What I Don't Say You Should Be Worried About...

  16. #16
    Chief Petty Officer DukesFin's Avatar
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    You mention on the video, towards the end that you will remove "all the metal screws that the previous owners used and replace them with aluminum screws"...

    Are you sure aluminum screws will go in without stripping right out? It's pretty soft stuff! Why not use stainless screws?

    I'm sure that boat is going to be great though! Other than re-finishing the aluminum, what else are you going to do to it?
    1990 Cabo 204 Centercon Yamaha 150

  17. #17
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Quote Originally Posted by DukesFin View Post
    You mention on the video, towards the end that you will remove "all the metal screws that the previous owners used and replace them with aluminum screws"...

    Are you sure aluminum screws will go in without stripping right out? It's pretty soft stuff! Why not use stainless screws?

    I'm sure that boat is going to be great though! Other than re-finishing the aluminum, what else are you going to do to it?
    Yeah, the boat has some metal screws holding a plastic reflector on the back. Also, most of the cables are held on by small screws that are staining the aluminum. Even that glass light up front is held on by 3 old screws that are staining.

    You can also see next to the 1974 sticker - 4 distinct rust stains from 4 small screws that held on a reflector. For whatever reason, someone put two bike reflectors on the back of the boat...lol

    The aluminum screws would be for cosmetic reasons. I don't think they would have a supporting role in the boats activity, other than closing the gaps left by the removed screws. If their is a better product that would look better I am very interested.

    However, if I did go with stainless steal, would that corrode the aluminum? I never done this before and your advice is needed.

    Once we get the boat shinny and all stains removed, we were going to ask iboat members for further suggestions as to what to do?

    I do love the mill finish. But if painting it makes it more stable for the future I will consider it.


    D

  18. #18
    Chief Petty Officer wrfalpacas's Avatar
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Nice boat! I would agree, go with stainless screws, the corrosion really wont be an issue. I am on my 2nd aluminum starcraft restore, and that is all I will use. As far as the sanding, you won't take off too much aluminum unless you break out the grinder
    Must gonna be one o them high class restores, usually we see beer cans/bottles in the pics not wine glasses Seriously, looking forward to your restore and be glad to help as you go along.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Thanks Bret,

    Ok, so stainless screws it is. Good to know I won't be taking to much aluminum off the boat just using a drywall sanding block.

    I have been hoping for a day above freezing to get started. We have had a solid week of below freezing temperatures. Today is no different with a high near 29. Need water and bleach to take off that green algae. I might have to go out and buy a propane heater if our patience runs out...lol

    As regards the wine. Well........It's to cold for beer. Plus I make my own dry organic wines for fun.


    D

  20. #20
    Lieutenant Junior Grade kend301's Avatar
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdoug View Post
    No. They had no record of such. Weird that the database did not have info on the Ohio 0984. I have to keep the number 0984. I also will keep the name Betty Lou. I don't know why, but I just love that name.D
    Very interesting as the laws in NC state that a boats reg number never changes , Is this why you had to keep oh 0984 ? if so there are some records that they have not told you about .. Also I am a firm believer that changing a boat name is bad luck , Good move on keeping the name and I wish you well with it , Should be an awesome boat when done !!
    Please keep posting progress !

  21. #21
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Our laws are similar to NC. Boat number remains. Only 4 digits then. Today it's 11 digits or mixed alphabet.

    My kids are going to help and will receive extra credit from their school for learning how to restore an old boat. So we are trying to document their work in pictures and text, as well as what I am doing to the boat. It's quality time with the family either way.

    Here is an updated YOUtube video of what we did today.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfdrO13fum8






    D

  22. #22
    Petty Officer 1st Class JimbC's Avatar
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    bigdoug Very nice find sweet Ole' Boat. Don't use sand paper on that gem. Use steel wool and stainless steel brush(in the hard to get crevices) and a aluminum polish and cleaner. Here is some links for references. The sharkhide looks like some good stuff it has a cleaner and a polisher. Also on the holes left from the unneeded screws why not get them welded?
    http://gordsaluminumpolish.com/
    http://www.********.com/modperl/prod...owse&aID=601L1
    http://www.chemical-supermarket.com/...aner-p365.html
    http://www.sharkhide.com/acinfo.html

  23. #23
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Quote Originally Posted by JimbC View Post
    bigdoug Very nice find sweet Ole' Boat. Don't use sand paper on that gem. Use steel wool and stainless steel brush(in the hard to get crevices) and a aluminum polish and cleaner. Here is some links for references. The sharkhide looks like some good stuff it has a cleaner and a polisher. Also on the holes left from the unneeded screws why not get them welded?
    http://gordsaluminumpolish.com/
    http://www.********.com/modperl/prod...owse&aID=601L1
    http://www.chemical-supermarket.com/...aner-p365.html
    http://www.sharkhide.com/acinfo.html
    Thanks Jim,

    I just bought some mothers mag at walley world. I already have an orbital buffer and pads that have a gentle cycle.

    As regards not sanding with drywall block: Is it harmful to the metal? Would steel wool embed into the aluminum?

    Thanks for the links. Gords looks like a great product as well as does Sharkhide. I just thought they looked to good to be true. Elbow grease has no substitute

    However, I would love a short cut


    D

  24. #24
    Chief Petty Officer wrfalpacas's Avatar
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    I used 120 grit to strip paint, 180-220 to prep for polishing, 400 grit and Flitz polish to finish up. It won't take too much aluminum off. I think you would be spending forever with steel wool trying to get 50 yrs of aluminum oxide off that boat. I have used this on big as well as small projects. For example, A couple of steam engines I built from Bar stock and finished this way.

    Regards,

    -Bret

    Converting a 1940 US Navy Lifeboat to a Steam Launch
    http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=453972


    1968 Starcraft StarChief - 120 Mercruiser I/O
    http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=316643

    1957 Starcraft Ski Champ - 1956 Evinrude Lark 30 Hp
    http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=352569

  25. #25
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    Default Re: J. Studebaker Boat – A Rare Find

    Wow Bret - that looks great! Thank you so much for the experienced tips.
    It looks like we might get above freezing tomorrow for about two hours, so that I can scrub the boat.

    From what I read here, just use bleach mixed with dawn soap.


    D

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