Crackerbox Boat - Damage

Damage one day at the lake

Results of oil and moister on plywood after about 30 years will take there toll

A large hole developed in the bottom skin one day. Possible submerged debris could have contributed, or it could have just given way due to the high speed pounding the hull takes. This boat was obviously not properly cared for during storage sessions. Water and oil were allowed to collect in the bilge. These elements combined with the lower quality adhesives and sealers available at the time, all took their toll.

The below images illustrate the loss of some structural integrity during a fast lake run. Apologies for the picture quality.

Here, the engine and hardware have been removed and the hull flipped over. You can see the hull void on the far side of this image.

Aft. Here and below, we see what happened as the void opened and peeled back the fiberglass on its path of destruction.

Ugh! that looks depressing. Almost unsalvageable


The hole on the left is accompanied by a patch of bondo in the center. Another indication of repairs made by someone with no business repairing a boat.


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I had two options. Trash it or fix it. As mentioned, I was gearing up to build a Glen-L when I found this one for sale. And with plenty of mentoring and previous boat building experience under my belt, I decided to fix it.


Destruction ensues - At this point, I have removed the bottom layer of fiberglass, and parts of the bottom plywood skin. The signs of oil infiltration are obvious. Full keel, batten replacement, and obviously, bottom skin were replaced in order to bring the boat back to its former glory.


Here we see a close up of the rotted out breast hook. Fortunately, the breast hook was made of a three piece laminate. I needed only replace the first 1 inch thick layer. The stem, however, was in awful shape and needed rebuilding with 1/8 thick layers of plywood, laminated with marine epoxy. Then, using the belt sander, I reshaped the stem to fit.

More of the same

Side view of the bottom skin removed



In early spring of 1996 I started rebuilding this Crackerbox. The project was completed in September of 1996, only through a very intense schedule which included every weekend and weekday nights. The project probably cost in the range of $2000 and about 6 months to complete.


I started by removing the engine and getting the hull flipped over and placed back onto the trailer. Then, I had to remove the fiberglass covering the bottom of the hull. But there's a problem here. The whole boat is glassed. To do this I took a Dremel tool with a cutting disk, and cut through the class all the way around the hull. The cut was located about a half inch from the bottom - onto the side. This would leave a clean cut in the glass, and allow me to remove the remaining bottom skin of plywood.



With the glass removed, I proceeded to remove the plywood bottom skin. One section at a time. A section is about a 1 foot square area between each batten and bulkhead. Screws had to be removed one at a time. Even though the screws were stainless steel, the rust and corrosion of 40 years made removal of each screw very tedious. I had to chisel enough wood around what was left of each screw in order to clamp some Vice Grips and turn them out. I calculated about 400 screws to be removed this way.


Once the bottom was removed, I proceeded to remove the keel and battens. The chine was in good shape, but the breasthook at the nose was rotted out and needed to be rebuild. To rebuild the nose section, I used marine epoxy to laminate layers of 1/8 inch plywood, and then hogged to shape with a belt sander.


I replaced all the other removed members, glassed. At the same time, I did an engine rebuild. The engine was running at idle when it went under, so I was concerned that I could have a bent piston rod. The rods turned out fine, and I replaced bearings, rings, and all that stuff.


Once everything was back together, the boat is as good as new. Since then, there's nothing in this boat that hasn't been inspected, and replaced. Even the trailer wheel bearings. The exhaust was also redone. The trickiest part of that was finding a muffler shop that would work with me to build the custom pipes. Most shops wouldn't touch it. Everything on this boat that can wear out has been gone over and replaced. Better than new.


  Copyright(c)2005, by Scott Hares, All Rights Reserved.