24′ Chris-Craft Holiday Roll-over

We moved a new boat into the shop in the last few weeks, a 24′ Chris-Craft Holiday. The boat is coming to us for a no-soak 5200 bottom, minor frame repair, refastening, stripping, and refinishing of the hullsides, and new decking. When the hullsides are removed and refastened, they will be installed with 3M 5200 … Read more

Chris-Craft 1936 Special Race Boat Update

We have reached another milestone in our restoration of a rare 1936 Chris-Craft special race boat. The installation of new decking and a new transom is completed and the photos have been added to our current projects page.  There were only fifty-one of these racers originally built, and as a result of lightweight construction and … Read more

Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club Online Archive

A great resource for antique and classic boating enthusiasts is beginning to take shape at the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club website. Bill Basler, director of marketing and membership for the club, is spearheading an effort to make the club’s entire archive of historic documents and photos available online in a searchable format. When this archive is … Read more

Wooden Boat Magazine Write-Up.

If you haven’t received the July/August issue of Wooden Boat magazine yet, head over to your local newsstand and check out pages 16 and 18. Tom Jackson, editor of the currents section of the magazine, has included a write-up about The Wooden Runabout Co. and our current restoration of an ultra-rare 1936 Chris-Craft 19′ special … Read more

1938 Chris-Craft 19′ Custom Barrel back–Hull number 1!

We just received a new boat in the shop, a 1938 Chris-Craft 19′ Custom, commonly known as a 19′ barrel back. Some of you may be chiding me that the 19′ barrel back was not introduced until the 1939 model year, which is technically correct. This boat, however, is somewhat special. It rolled off the … Read more

1953 Riva Ariston Water Test

Kirk and I spent this past Monday afternoon water-testing a 1953 Riva Ariston that we recently helped Macatawa Bay Boat Works restore. Our restoration work on the boat included replacing all bottom framework and about 1/2 of the deck framework as well as installing a new plywood bottom (as per original) and new hullside and … Read more

Chris Smith visits the shop

Kirk, Chris, and RandyChris Smith stopped by the shop last week to check how the restoration of the 19′ 1936 Chris-Craft special race boat was progressing. Chris is the grandson of Christopher Columbus Smith, the founder of Chris-Craft. He grew up in the Chris-Craft plants and if you ask him, he’ll tell you stories not only about working in the shop at an early age, but also about driving wooden boats practically before he could see over the bird’s-eye maple dashboard. Just as Chris learned the craft of building wooden boats from the generations before him, at The Wooden Runabout Co. we continue to learn from his lifetime of experience with wooden boats. In fact, when Kirk was still in high school, Chris was teaching Kirk the details of lofting as they both worked to loft the first boats at Grand-Craft.

Read more

Top Ten Pre-War Chris-Crafts

It seems that lists are the in-thing on blogs these days, so here is my first attempt at a top-ten list. Here are my ten favorite pre-war Chris-Craft designs. (It should be noted that this list is highly subjective.) (It should also be noted that if your pre-war Chris-Craft did not make the list, it may be possible to influence the judging by bringing your boat to our shop for restoration. I’ve been known to fall for most of the boats I work on.)

Without further delay…

10. Chris-Craft 29′ Express Cruiser: 1939-194229-express-cruiser.jpg

Many purists will scoff at this boat making the top-ten, but they can write their own lists. Chris-Craft was ahead of it’s time with this little express cruiser, which had fairly modern looks for a pre-war boat. Painted hullsides, wood deck, navy top, open cockpit, what more could someone ask for in a little cruiser?

Read more

Don Danenberg stops by for a tour.

We had a pleasant surprise at the shop on Monday afternoon. Don Danenberg, the man who literally wrote the book on how to restore wooden runabouts, stopped by the shop for a tour. Don and Kirk worked together on the restorations of numerous wooden boats during the 1990’s.  Don looked over our current project, the … Read more

Splash: We’ve Launched!

There’s always a bit of fear in my heart the first time I launch a boat I’ve worked on. Will the bilge be dry? Will she float on her lines? Will she handle the way I imagined? I’m experiencing a similar feeling as I write these lines. This is the first entry in the web … Read more