I was horribly torn. I love scratch building, but with the economy what it is, the best price point for a given vessel is a good idea. Couple that with the “green” aspect of finishing something that already exists (less waste, less shipping costs, fixed expenses built in, etc), and a GREAT price worked out through months of negotiating, results in a 6 hr drive home from Hood River.


Looks Diminutive, right?


At a full 2 feet taller than the truck, she’s a little wind-prone and takes some gas to haul!

What we have here is a 1994 Clippercraft Mk 1. 1994 EZ loader trailer, 1994 Volvo 3.0GL 4 cyl IO with the SX outdrive. Purchased initally in 1994, the first owner had intentions of picking her up, finishing the boat, and enjoying it. A decade later, he passed away, and it was sold to another gentleman with the same aspirations. There it sat for another few years, untouched.

Plans are starting to come together for a 23′ sportfisher, rigged up for salmon and halibut fishing, with the outside potential for albacore fishing once she is bulletproof.



Volvo SX

Started the mock up process the past couple of days between tasks and other obligations. Its terribly pleasant to have a project to work on, but one that isn’t tied to deadlines or other time-sensitive criteria.

The bilges of Clippercraft boats as built were notorious for collecting junk, holding fresh water, and developing rot. This boat will NOT be one of those boats! The interior of the bilge had some of the BCX exposed where the doubling stringers didn’t cover them, so let’s get that handled, shall we?

The culprit, showing the issue:

And aft:

The solution! Just happened to have a roll of 3.25 oz surfboard fabric hanging around from the Oxford Rowing Shell project, which takes very little epoxy to wet out. I laid waste to the remnant roll, cutting out all the little tidbits I needed for the full length runs of the boat. It’s tedious work, but well worth it.

clippercraft bilge

Aft again:

clippercraft bilge

Now about all that age…

The previous owners did a good job of keeping her inside, but at some point a little water made its way somewhere, and did a little settling here and there. On top of that, being an Oregon boat, the humidity did a number on the raw plywood of the interior. Luckily enough for me, I get to do more sanding! ugh…

Here is a shot that illustrates just how rewarding doing a refurb can be. First, a shot of the side with some areas sanded and others left to show the difference:

Mere moments later, after a little 120 grit and a little love from the musculature:

After the sanding of all the panels, the interior hull sides were bare wood once again, which is never good in a place that has humidity vary from 100% to less than 10% on a reasonably regular basis. I did some detail sanding on some thin spots on the exterior as well, in preparation for a complete plywood coating of the hull sides. As a reminder, we have already coated the most vulnerable areas of the interior with surfboard fiberglass, and the exterior bottom panels have a thick, durable coat from the factory which was still in good shape.

I didn’t shoot photos of the progress because of lessons learned from the previous build Building Nina (Do you have any idea how well cameras dislike uncured epoxy? Not nearly as much as they dislike it when it cures later…). I have chosen, with this build, to preserve both the boat and the camera.

Here she is, fully coated on the panels that received sanding:

The sole supports were in rough shape, and needed some serious maintenance and repair. The two long legs that support the sole beside the engine box were both broken by the previous owner, so they needed to be replaced. The easiest solution I could come up with was to cut them at the cross bracing, glue and screw new pieces on, and trim to fit in the boat. The framing will support the extension without the use of the cross bracing, so I wasn’t too concerned with a scarf joint.

Both sides needed repair, so everything is nice and equal.

On the forward end, the board that would support the sole directly under the helmsman was broken and disfigured. I opted to do a scarf joint here, and backed it up with a butt block as it is not only a critical area, but one that will get by far the most abuse.

Yes, the scarf was a bit of a hack job, as I have no bench to work on and I’m not exactly amazing at long scarfs like this, as I have done a very limited number in soft woods like fir.

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