Project Focus – Refinishing 1929 26′ Chris Craft Upswept Runabout “Marlo Jr.”

My Grandfather had a sister ship to this boat that he used to take people for speedboats rides on the Vermilion River and Lake Erie (that story deserves its own post at some point).   We were extremely excited when the owners of “Marlo Jr.” approached us to refinish the boat in preparation to bring the boat to market.  They had already removed the engine and hardware when they brought the boat to us in June 2012 in time for the Antique & Classic Boat Society’s North Coast Chapter Spring Rendezvous at Moes Marine and Vermilion Boat Club.   “Marlo Jr.” found some esteemed company alongside in the shop with Dad’s 1927 26′ Dodge Watercar Model 826 that was undergoing a full restoration.  We wondered what they said to each other inside the shop… the stories they both could tell!

We started by removing additional interior components so we had full, clear access to all the brightwork.  We sanded… and sanded… and sanded… and then applied several coats of varnish to build up a base.  We used the roll & tip method for this varnish application using Captain’s 1015.  The hull sides turned out fantastic (we were actually surprised as there was almost no dust) but we could not get an equally dust-free finish on the deck.  We turned to 3M’s Perfect-It III compounding and polishing system to remove the dust.  We were extremely pleased with the results!   After polishing we painted the seams white (they were filled with epoxy in the original restoration) and then installed the parts we removed from the boat.   You can see photos of the project in process below and see photos of the completed project on this page.


Marlo Jr. in the shop at the start of the project.


John and I applying the varnish using the roll & tip method.


Coming around the other side to finish up the coat. The floor is wet down to reduce dust in the air. The two of us working together could apply a coat on the hull in about 20 minutes working steadily (not rushing).


Looks great! Except a bit too much dust on the deck…


… time for more sanding to prepare for compounding and polishing!

I know you would like to see photos of the compounding and polishing steps, but in looking through my archives we didn’t take any!  Next time we do a similar project (most likely on the Dodge deck) we will make sure to take some.


About Mike

I pinch myself every day... I can't believe I'm back in Vermilion working at the boatyard! I grew up spending afternoons and summer days working at Moes Marine. I moved to Boston after college and met my wonderful wife, Maura, while living life in the big city and working at Boston BoatWorks. We traveled and volunteered abroad for 9 months in 2009 and then found our way back to our families in Ohio. We are now living in downtown Vermilion with our son, Owen, who visits the boatyard daily at coffee break!