I thought I'd quit working on old boats, but I dunno....

Kismet

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I went to pick up a Johnson 3 hp that I'd had a friend rebuild from impeller to block, from carb to condensor. He'd had issues with a supplier who had gotten a bad batch of coils and had to send 2 sets back before getting ones that were reliable. The motor had been running for 45 minutes straight by the time I got there, just because he wanted to make SURE it was ok to go.

We settled up on costs and labor and he said, "By the way..." (cue ominous music)

and showed me a very tired old boat. VERY tired.

"It's mid-50's Alumacraft 12 footer, one I've never seen before."

and so it was. Turned out to be an Alumacraft RB, 11'8", made in 1956, 57, and 58. (Maybe earlier and later, but those three years I'm sure of.) Weighs 139 pounds and is 54 inches wide...54 inches wide!

Alumacraft had two models: a much more rare model "R" and the "RB." The "R" was a little speedboat, with the rear bench moved forward a foot or so, and a steering wheel and throttle controls on the right side, the Wheel mounted to a console, with a passenger bench up front, and a cowl at the bow.

The RB images that I've seen don't have the cowl, but this boat does, as well as having a mount for the side throttles and some tension springs in back for a remote steering set up. Other sites indicate the "RB" was a tiller steered boat, but this one must have been converted, or ordered special.

It was last registered 22 years ago, in 1993. It has been badly painted many times, and the hull was severely damaged along the right hull skid, to the extent that about 18 inches of the skid were sheared off. Some welds, and some JB welds have marked the unsightly repairs.

Above the water line the hull seems in fair shape. The transom needs replacing of course. The cowl is dented a bit, but not severely. It seems odd to have it there, for it sits right over the bow seat, rendering the seat absolutely useless. Just...odd.

Oh, and the friend, the marine mechanic, said, "I know you like Alumacraft boats. I got it from a customer, and this can be your next project."

I SWEAR I'm swearing off. :?


(This has too much bottom hull damage to be a real fixer-upper, but I can tidy it up, paint some stuff, and keep it or, probably, sell it. Dunno. It's a neat little boat; as wide as my Alumacraft model F, and rated for an 18hp motor. We'll see.) #-o

Alumacraft RB 12' first look 001.jpg

Alumacraft RB 12' first look 002.jpg

Alumacraft RB 12' first look 004.jpg

Skid rib sheared site on bottom
Alumacraft RB 12' first look 010.jpg

The rare and neat Model "R" (Google search image)
AlumacraftModelR1.jpg~original.jpg
 

DaleH

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I LOVE it! I think I'd keep it and rig it out as a "Rat Rig" .. you know, where those auto buffs take an old rusty beat up truck, paint clear coat over the entire rig to keep the 'old patina fresh' and then add a huge Hemi under the hood (aka 'Rat Rod')!

'Rat Rig' ... I like that :D ... you heard it here 1st folks :wink:
 

bobberboy

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Kis,
How can you not do it? I too am feeling that I shouldn't have given up my project boat and there are so many out there waiting to be worked on. Here is a local Alumacraft R for sale near me...

 

Johnny

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Before Dale posted his take, my thoughts were along the same line . . .
put all the parts back, without showing any repairs and use it "as found"
with the correct vintage '58 Johnson remote motor.
RAT BOAT !

Get You Some of THAT !!!





.
 

Kismet

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Naw. This old sweetie deserves better than rat status.

I just registered it on line. I love Wisconsin..a phone call and $26.00..and the decal is in the mail, never mind that it was last registered 22 years ago.

I've got the 1956 10hp Johnson SeaHorse lying around waiting to be sold, but think I'll just use the 1964 5.5 Johnson, which is easier for me to handle.

I called a guy who used to have a heated water pressure washer. He may still have it and I'll rent some time if he does. There's too much effort to bring this craft back down to aluminum, but with some surface prep and a little conscientious painting, in addition to the transom and (maybe) the cowl wood work, it'll clean up to be a pretty little thing. It is 54 Inches Wide!!!

I'll see about the leaks. I just got a much-too-big Shorelander trailer for a little over $100, so the parts are coming into place. I think I'll replace the 13" 5 lug wheels, with 4.80x8 ones. They are cheaper and easily available.

The oar locks are oddly positioned, very close to the rear bench, and a bit too far from the center bench.

I got time.


BB? You should buy that R boat up near you. You have the skills and that boat is 90% done!.
 

Kismet

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Response from the nice folks at Alumacraft

Hi Bill,

Thank you for contacting Alumacraft customer service. Your boat model RB serial number 305 was built in 1956. This model was built from 1955-1960 with approximately 1,452 units were built during that time frame. the model RB was the same as the model R with the exception that the RM model did not have the forward deck. I have attached a picture of the RB model from our 1956 catalog for your reference.


Thanks,
Alumacraft Customer Service Support

On Fri, 25 Sep at 2:05 PM ,

At 70 years old, I thought I was done rehabbing older Alumacraft boats, but a friend just presented me with an Alumacraft RB, 11'8" old sweetheart, that has been rode hard and put up wet. (and painted and repainted by idiots.) I won't be able to take it down to original, but I can make it presentable.

Transom id# is RB 305.

It has the cowl in front and vestiges of the panel for the steering wheel and the mount for the original remote controls for the engine, but it IS NOT an "R" model—the rear seat is not set forward.

If you would be so kind, could you please send me as much information about this little boat, as well as the year of manufacture? I'm thinking 1956.

I appreciate your courtesy.
 

Kismet

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So...I got this trailer, see? The guy said he'd meet me before work half-way between my place and his. It was six or seven hours before dawn. OK, maybe not, but it was REAL early for my idea of the right time of waking up. Basically, I wasn't awake.

And the trailer looked ok for the price; it needed new wiring and the tires were tired--good tread but side checkering. So we talked. I was ready to go home and back to bed, but we worked out a price, hooked the trailer up and off I went...back to bed.

Got up later in the day and went out to look at my new acquisition and imagine the boat on it.

Errr....hmmm. Seems like a big trailer to me; somebody should have been awake when they bought it.

Horsed the boat and then the trailer around; pushed the tongue of the trailer up and managed to get the prow of the boat on the back. Scurried up and pulled out the winch line to hook it on the boat. Strained a bit, but got the boat on the trailer.

Errr....hmmmm. Hurt my back.

Oh, and it looked like a Tonka toy on a flatbed truck.

rb on trailer1.jpg

(Never, EVER, send your dumbest laborer to buy a trailer.)

Sheez.

A week later and a bunch of phone calls made, and I traded the new trailer for a much older one, but within manageable size range. My back is still sending sciatic distress signals, and I'm shuffling around like an old lady carrying a tea tray. (darnit) Pheasant season is a few weeks away; I got an old boat to do some initial tidying up on, and I'm still training the 18 month old puppy I got 7 months ago. (Grrrrrr.)

I KNEW I should have stopped with the old boat rehabbing.

RB on trailer 2.jpg

I did manage to move the winch and remove some attachments to shove the boat back to the end of the trailer. Initially, it would have had to have the motor sticking down between some rails when traveling.

This isn't fun right now. Lower back pain can really hinder all movement.

I used to be smarter. :?
 

TexasLoneStar56

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She's a beauty, Kis! A diamond in the rough! :mrgreen: You know I am kinda fond of those old 56's. 8) Can't wait to see what you do with her.

So sorry about the ole' back giving way on ya. Ouch!

I like the look of the older, smaller trailer, as well.

Congrats on your find! =D>
 

Kismet

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Got the back-breaking(for me) stuff done: Removed as much of the accumulation of dirt, paint, and atmosphere on the exterior hull. Then I painted it 3 coats, and did partial trim paint. I'm waiting for new registration number decals, so I did as much as I could. Then took 3 days to scour/wire brush the multiple coats of paint over most of the interior. It's amazing how much paint a small boat can accumulate in 59 years. #-o Most of the work is done.

Took the trailer apart and shortened it, painted it , and secured an insecure tilt function. Lights are funky still, but I'll try one more time and then take it to a "guy." Good news is that the tires are the same size as the ones on my 14 Alumacraft Model F, so I don't need another spare.

Had the boat out at the lake before painting. For about 45 minutes it motored along with the 5.5 Johnson on the back. Not going to break any speed records, but a really stable little craft.

Spotted about 5 leaks I patched, but expect to find more. Nothing major, but the accumulation of the small ones add up.

I've got the word out for a pair of oars and am still considering using either my '56 10hp which is for sale or waiting for a 15 to show up on my horizon, or just use the 5.5hp which is as dependable as a burro.

I'd initally envisioned painting the interior after removing the decades of previous painting, but may just let oxidation grey out the scoured interior and just paint the floor.

Dunno what to do with the cowl. I could hand sand it and leave it aluminum color or wire brush it and paint it either the grey of the hull or the blue of the trim. Just don't know.

The simple stuff...the wood for where the dash was and the transom and motor plate replacements won't be any issue and doesn't need to be done outside. I keep on reminding myself that I'm in Wisconsin in October, and the warm days we've had are a gift (for which I fully expect to pay sometime in the Winter.) I'll touch up the bits of trim and edge work when the new registration #s arrive.

wire wheel and most paint alumacraft RB on trailers 003.jpg

wire wheel and most paint alumacraft RB on trailers 004.jpg

wire wheel and most paint alumacraft RB on trailers 006.jpg

wire wheel and most paint alumacraft RB on trailers 008.jpg

Now I wait, maybe take it out for more leak checking, and search around for wood for dash, transom, and maybe a swivel seat for the rear.
 

Johnny

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good find - good job so far.

have you put some thought into what wood to use for the dash ?
Mahogany would be good. . . varnished or painted.
Down here in the South, if we use poplar, pine, oak, etc the dry rot is a problem.

Fortunately, I have a Woodworker's Supply nearby.
LOL well, UNfortunately, actually, as it is more fun to visit the store than the catalog ($$$$).
 

Kismet

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Johnny? I'm not going to put back the steering, this will be a tiller boat, so I will just put some conventional wood to support the cowl arch for the time being. That whole tip of the boat becomes dead space, unless I stash a battery and the anchor and such up there.

Go back to the original pictures; this poor ole thang was headed to the wreckers. Too much damage has been done to justify true "rehab." :( I will be minimizing $ investment.

The motor plate, which looks original, seems to be thin plywood which has somehow survived 60 years of use/abuse. The transom looks to have been pine. I'll scrounge around the sheds and see what I can find.

Spent yesterday, after watching the Packers, contorting myself trying to wire brush the inside back of the boat free of paint. I swear the paint layers had to have been 1/4 inch thick! I'll go into town and see if I can find a longer-shafted wire brush to get into the tight spaces.

I'd thought to take it out today for another leak test, but the weather forecasters are saying wind gusts up to 40 mph today. :shock:

And my back could use a rest.
 

Johnny

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good line of thought . . . keep it simple and economical !!

Speaking of a longer shaft, I tried this 12" extension with a 2" wire brush
and it works okay at low RPMs but fast, it wants to wobble all over the place.
but, for $10, it is nice to have in the tool box.
extension.jpg
 

TexasLoneStar56

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=D> =D> =D> Looking good!
I tend to forget you are in the North, where the winters and winds are ever so cold. It's 90+* here today. 10-15* warmer than avg. My hat is off to you for the hard work of cleaning her up. She is looking awesome! 8)
 

Kismet

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M? You are very gracious, but the RB is looking better, but that is all the 60 year-old craft will ever attain again.

Got most of the leaks, but there is some leakage right at the bottom of the transom and keel that I cannot find. About 2 cups of water seep in over an hour's time. A bit maddening.

Put a temporary transom on for the water testing. We're getting into cold weather and gusty winds, last night it was in the 30's, and soon the dock will be taken out of the lake, so I wanted the boat to have some water testing. It is remarkably more stable than any of the more narrow boats I've had...especially in the 12 foot length. Two other (much bigger) boats were out at the lake; the wind gusts are...lessee... ah..."vivid." :roll: I could use a passenger or some weight up front. I have some traction sand sacks I may put up there; the gas tank was insufficient to hold the front end down when I goosed the little 5.5hp.

Found a weathered piece of wood for the dashboard, but just eye-balling it, it would even further negate any utility of the space at the prow by blocking access. Installing it would be mostly cosmetic. The big stuff is done, but it is the little things that are grinding on me. The replacement decal numbers are still in the mail--2-3 days indeed! I need them to remove the old ones, paint the bow, and then put the new ones on. The small sanding along the gunwale rail will take a little time and effort, but is one of those things that my eye goes to right away, looking past all the stuff I've gotten done.

I need to order some bearing buddy caps, and track down the issue with the left tail light. I may spend some time evening-out the scratches from the paint removal ordeal. Last will be power washing the floor and repainting it, maybe a job for next Spring.

Hope all is well.
 

TexasLoneStar56

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You have a good plan in place. 8) I forgot to mention in my last post; I am rather fond of the blue you chose. Nice! Sounds like you may have scored an awesome piece of weathered wood. I'll be watching!

M
 

Kismet

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Contrast seems off, but with most of the general work done. Still ambivalent about cowl paint/shine.
Er, seems I renamed it, from Alumacraft to Alumacrfat. (sigh)

Alumacrfat '56 RB mostly finished 10-15 001.jpg

Alumacrfat '56 RB mostly finished 10-15 002.jpg

Alumacrfat '56 RB mostly finished 10-15 005.jpg


Oh, and the temperatures are going down to 29 degrees tonight. #-o
 

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Kismet

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Mostly same pictures, but with different camera setting. :?

View attachment 4

View attachment 3

View attachment 2

View attachment 1



You know, if this poor ole thang hadn't been treated so poorly, I'd be tempted to restore the
steering wheel, windshield, and cables. It really behaves well in moderately rough water, which is
all I've had to water test it in.
 

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