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Starting to restore pond yacht.

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I'm starting to restore a "pond yacht". It was reportedly built by my father but it is nicely done and I never saw him build anything that would require this level of skill. Guessing it was built in the 30s, he would have been a teen. I thought it was scratch built but perhaps it was a kit.

Hull and deck are intact, sloop rig needs gooseneck, boom, and jib boom.  I plan to repaint the hull, the deck was varnished (shellaced?) my question is should I refinish it bright or leave the patina?

I also need sails. I have the originals but they are only good for patterns. Is there someone who makes custom sails?


Approx. Specs.

LOA 41 inches, LWL 27 inches, mast 57 inches. Modified fin keel.


Thanks for your help,


Walter Hobbs



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  • 4 weeks later...

The value of most pond yachts built ninety years ago would be severely impaired by repainting and refinishing. It's all about the patina acquired over the years. If one "restores" an antique to 'like new" condition, it's not going to be worth much more than what a new one would cost.

Edited by Bob Cleek
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If spars are missing, or too damaged to repair, fix that.  Do it in a way that matches.  I totally agree with Bob,  refinishing is not the wise choice.  If this model was ever intended to sail in an actual pond,  it is not probable that shellac was used as a clear finish final coat anywhere on it.  Shellac loves water.  It loves it so much that it grabs it and turns white.  In the 1930's a water proof clear finish would be vanish.  Traditional varnish - boiled linseed oil cooked with shellac in mineral spirits or terp.  Carefully remove any dirt and muck condensed on it from the its environment - look up restoration cleaning methods.  Give it a home that protects it from dust and temporary gaseous goo like tobacco smoke and frying oils.   If something bright and shiny for you to sail is your original goal, I suggest that you leave the old girl in her retirement and build a new one yourself. 

Edited by Jaager
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