"The Building of Miss Thriftway!"
Hull Construction Log
Go to the Newest pictures

May 26, 2007
Test day moved to June 7th!
Yes...we've been given an additional week to make sure things are right. June 7th will be the day we'll find out if what we've been THINKING is going to work really IS going to work and let all the elements of what is now Miss Thriftway a chance to prove us right or wrong! The past month has been verrrrry stressful on the crew. So many little things to do and just when you think you're done, Chief says, "What about THAT?" Damn! Forgot to clamp it! OK "Git 'er done!!!!" BUT...the list is really short and we'll be getting her wet on June 7th at Stan Sayres pits on Lake Washington.

This is going to be the last entry in the "progress" section. I will be modifying the website to give you more updates as to what displays, events and demonstrations we will be participating in. Chief, Larry, Rob and I, along with Stuart, Alan and Peter would like to thank all of you who have supported us through the build and really look forward to showing off our work. Please don't hesitate in introducing yourself if you are at an event where we have the boat, we'd love to give you a "tour". Our first "official" display is next weekend (June 2nd) at the Thriftway store on Vashon Island. We will be there from 9am-4pm. June 7th is TEST DAY! June 8-10, Miss Thriftway will be on display on behalf of the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum at Lake Sammamish State Park for the 11th annual Tastin' and Racin' event. In July, we will be participating in a demonstration run in Tri-Cities, Washington at the ABRA Columbia Cup race. In August, Miss Thriftway will be on display at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent, Washington celebrating Bill Muncey. Keep checking the website for the updated schedule.

Again, we thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you!

Steve "Chief" Payne
Larry "Lars" Fuller
Rob "Scooter" Wheeler
Steve "Woody" Compton

May 19, 2007
No new pics this week, just a lot of very time consuming work. Wires and hoses are being run and clamped into place. The final hook-ups are being done. Chief, Larry and Rob worked hard this past week just getting it done...throttle and mixture linkage, main oil hose, fuel relays, battery cables, fuel lines, more water lines,... Steve worked on a few structural pieces of aluminum and finished them up Saturday. Lots of last minute thrashing to get her ready for next Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed!

May 12, 2007
Pete Bertolotti, original Slo-Mo IV & V and Hawaii Kai Crew member, came by with Bruce Dayz to look at our beauty. Pete seemed to enjoy himself and he kept walking around, looking at various things we've done.

On Friday, Peter came over and just about finished up the wiring. Chief got more hoses done, The battery slides were installed by Rob, Larry started buffing out the bow so things continued to move along.

As I write this progress update, it occurs to me that after 4+ years of spending Sunday mornings reviewing what's been accomplished the day before, we are near the end of this portion of the project. The next step is to start running, displaying and demonstrating our pride and joy. The next few weeks will be spent putting the finishing touches and final hoses, linkages, polishing, touchups on Miss Thriftway. It won't be too apparent from the outside appearance, but these are the internal workings that's going to make her go. There will still be updates posted as to where our displays will be, where we'll be running and overall activity with her. Many of you have been asking about a test date. Right now, there is a tenative date of May 29th at Stan Sayres pits. We still have a lot of little stuff to finish up and we have not even thought about trailer firing the engine in the boat yet. That is still a week or more away. Peter will be back on Monday to finish up the wiring, Chief, Larry and Rob will be putting the engine back in on Monday so Peter can do his wiring to the engine, more hoses still need to be made, battery cables need to be installed, reinforcing for the frames that were cut out need to be bolted in, etc, etc, etc...

It really struck me yesterday afternoon as I was climbing out of the engine bay to get a drill when I looked around and saw six people all doing something different. There is a lot left to be done. We are confident we'll make it, but still, is everything going to work the first time? It's a race boat...Probably NOT!!!! We don't want to dissappoint people, but we just want to cover everything we can think of (that's Chiefs main forte!) We'll keep plugging way...

May 8, 2007
Two more days on Vashon for Steve and between the 4-5 of us we got some major milestones behind us. Steve brought the trailer over Monday and by Monday afternoon the hull was on the trailer. We got a few more hoses fabricated and installed along with the guy wires for the tail. This morning (Tuesday) Chief was concerned that the tail was going to hit the overhead gantries, so we hooked up the F550 and started to slowly pull the boat out of Larry's shop. For the first time since January 2006 Miss T saw the outside. It was a beautiful day and the sun was out so we really wanted to see what we had...take a look at the hull photos!

May 5, 2007
Busy week again!
Richard came over and put the finishing touches on the U-60
Steve Came over Wednesday to help out, Larry took some time and Rob showed up and here's what we did:
Fabricated and installed all but 2 water lines
Fabricated and installed both fuel tank vent lines
Fabricated and installed the large Oil lines
Installed the Fuel and Oil filler spouts and caps
Ran the ground wire required when we fill the fuel
Peter came over and put a full day in on the wiring (still needs another day or two)
Fabricated and installed the gearbox vent line on the engine
Finished fabrication of the battery tray
Did final install of seat mounts and got the seats
Did final alignment and install of steering linkage
Rob fabricated the foot petal throttle
Oh yeah, did I mention we installed the Strut, intermediate strut and stuffing box TODAY!!!!!
We are having Scott Baker work two props for us and they are close to being done.

As you can see, things are getting checked off pretty fast. Monday, Steve will bring the trailer over and we'll move the boat onto it. We'll install the engine and start the final stages of plumbing and wiring.

April 28, 2007
During the week, despite being sick, Larry got the tail painted, Richard came over and got the U-60 on and Chief and Stuart did the final install on the tail, rear cowling and dashbord cowling. Once again, it was hard to get started Saturday morning because all you wanted to do is walk around and stare! BUT...work we did!

Steve and Larry got the rub rail trim installed
Alan fabricated the mounting brackets for the tail struts
Rob made the alignment bolts for the engine
Chief installed the kill switches and fabricated brackets for more electrical connectors
Stuart cleaned up and polished the transom
This week, Steve will take the latter part of the week off and help Chief make and install the hoses for water, oil and fuel. We're hoping the seat is done so we can start working on the throttle linkage. We'll install the fuel and oil fill spouts on the deck. The steering tube will be done and we'll get that installed. Peter is coming over to work on the wiring, and Richard is going to make one more trip to put the finishing touches on the U-60. Alan is coming over Friday to finish up and install the strut brackets. If we can get the shaft back, we can then get the Strut, intermediate strut and stuffing box installed. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock...May is approaching!

April 21, 2007
What a difference a week can make! WOW! I couldn't even start working yesterday. I just had to walk around her and stare, and marvel at how beautiful she looks. My love affair with this particular boat started when I was 5 years old. A neighbor had built the Dumas model of her and I thought that was the most beautiful think I had ever seen! I got that feeling again yesterday when seeing the stripes for the first time. OK, so we're bragging a little, we just hope she RUNS as good as she looks!

One of the cream stripes was a little off, so Larry and Rob got it ready to fix. Chief and Steve worked on laying out the tail so Larry will paint it this week and Rob fabricated the trim tab bracked that holds the trim tab at the correct offset angle. We called Richard to let him know he can "U-60" her up so the "look" will be complete verrrrry soon.

Alans prop checked out and is being finished up. Ike Kielgas has loaned up two props which we'll get checked and balanced so we should have a few options when we test. Test day is at the end of May...exact date has not been determined.

Prop shaft may be back next week, the stuffing box will be picked up so we're hoping with the paining done, we can get back to installing her components.

April 14, 2007
Steering linkage cut and ends attached
   (to be welded this week)
Prop shaft marked and pulled out
   (Alans prop will be magnafluxed this week then will go down with shaft for taper and keyway)
Bench seat fabricated. Both seats to be taken in for uphostry this week
Intermediate strut support was glued and bolted in

More pictures will follow this week as Larry sends them to me on the stripes progress. Peter will come over and finish the dashboard wiring.

April 7, 2007
Rear and dashboard cowlings are ready for paint
Seat brackets were fabricated and mounted
Seat bars were fabricated and attached
Stuffing box was milled and now fits
Intermediate strut was located and holes were drilled
Shaft alignment was finalized
Larry is almost done with sanding and buffing the finish.

This week Peter is coming over to wire the instruments. Don Mock was called and will come over next Sunday to start the stripes. Chief will be putting the final coats of varnish on the tail and trim tab so they can be sanded and buffed by our resident finisher (Lars). Steve will be taking the stuffing box and bearing inserts to get anodized.

Now that the prop shaft is where we want it, we need to get it cut to length and tapered. We're very lucky in that we have a number of props available to try to see which one will work best. Once that is determined, we may have one made (way in the future!)

March 31, 2007
While we're all anxious to see the stripes put on, Larry discovered another way to give the finish a furniture look. He's sanding it with 600 wet/dry then buffing it out. The area he did was spectacular! It's going to take a little longer, but man, is it going to be worth it! You'll see stripes soon enough...

Chief and Stu finished up fitting the cowlings so Mr. Epoxy (Rob) laid up a lamination to attach the two pieces together. Orange paint is in the near future.

We started on fabricating the seat attachment today. We've seen a number of ways to do this, but the Museums Hawaii Kai III has the easiest one we've seen. Since we don't have a lot of room to work, we need to be able to remove the seat quickly. This design allows that!

Most of the morning was spent working on the prop shaft alignment. The stuffing box tweaked enough during the welding process to where we need to make an adjustment on the base. Lou and Rob will take care of that this week and we should be able to mount it. When we're happy with where it's located we'll send it out for anodizing.

March 24, 2007
Rear cowlings are just about done
Seat is ready to send to get upholstered
Stuffing box is out getting welded
Engine rails and bolts are installed
Intermediate strut reinforcing was fabricated
Shaft alignment plates are done
Reinforcing plate for strut was fabricated
New towing vehicle was purchased
To say that it was a busy day (week) would be an understatement! Lots still left to do, but things are getting checked off pretty fast. Corky Peterson and Ed Karlsen dropped by to see how we were doing. Ed was kind enough to give us some insight on propeller theory...verrrry interesting. Oh yeah, we were fortunate to have a situation come our way to where we now have a brand new F550 to tow the boat with. Take a look at the hull picture page.

The stipes had to be put off a week. Don is planning on coming over next week.

March 17, 2007
Only one photo this week because all the stuff that happened wasn't quite done, or it didn't seem like there would be anything new to show...NEXT WEEK, HOWEVER...
So, to recap:
Larry sanded and put another coat of varnish on (one more to go!)
Chief made the backing plates for the engine rails
Steve is fabricating the stuffing box...we fit it on Saturday and it looks verrry close.
Rob fabricated the steel plates that the motor mount bolts will attach to
and Alan fabricated our alignment plates. These are used to make sure the engine and shaft are in perfect alignment to avoid shaft vibration. (Yes, pictures will follow when we do the alignment!)

March 10, 2007
Richard came over during the week and finished the name on the sides. For someone who hasn't done much in the way of signage for over 14 years...I guess it's like riding a bike; once you've got it, you don't loose it! It couldn't be better!!!!!

Larry got another coat of varnish on. It looks so smooth it almost hurts your eyes. Another couple coats to go then it's stripes time!

Chief and Stuart have been fine tuning the back cowlings. The right side is done and the left side is almost done. Should get them wrapped up in the next few weeks. Then they'll get ORANGE!

Saturday, Ron came over and we got the engine rails positioned. Once we got the string located, they went right in place. Then we set the engine on them, and with a minimal amount of shimming, the prop shaft went right in. We then located where the stuffing box needs to go and so we can now proceed with fabrication.

March 3, 2007
I go to Whistler on our annual family vacation, and so much gets done when I'm gone, I spend over an HOUR processing all the pictures Larry took! I added 23 new pictures just in a two week period! So, to recap...

Richard Rutledge came over and, as promised, put his skill as a sign painter to work and hand painted the name on the sides of the hull. Miss Thriftway has now got her name on! Richard's skill was very apparent as he sat down and very professionally lettered her name. We can't thank you enough Richard! Larry and Chief continue to add coats of varnish to the deck and tail pieces because Don Mock is scheduled to come over around March 23rd to paint on the stripes.

Chief and Larry found a wrinkle finish spray paint that is tougher than nails and got it applied to both the dash and steering wheel. It is perfect to kill the glare! In addition, Chief installed the sponson water pickups and hoses.

Our engine rails came back so now it's time to think about getting the engine set. We had a birthday party for Lars after our work session on Saturday so we just spent the morning getting the engine slung into the engine bay and played with the shaft alignment. This is not going to be as much "fun" as we thought it might be but...it's a HUGE milestone.

February 17, 2007
More varnish was put on. The sides are starting to look like Broyhill Furniture did it. Lars used his waterbug and wet sanded them and that put it over the top...smoooooth.

Finished the tail and trim tab...they got stained. Rob and Alan started making the seat. The seat back will be 5 laminations of 1.5mm Okoume.

Lars & Steve wet sanded the deck to get ready for more Varnish!!!

February 10, 2007
During the week Chief and Lars got two more coats of varnish on the sides, Richard reported he's got the template for the name ready to go and will be getting the paint this week, and Woody finished making the trim tab.

Today, we attached the support pieces onto the tail and fit the rear cowling pieces. Chief and Lars said they'd stain and varnish the tail and trim tab this coming week in addition to getting the final coats on the sides.

While Woody and Lars were making sawdust and shavings, Chief, Scooter and Aldo worked on permanently installing the water distribution block and oil cooler. This allowed the fabrication of the hoses to connect them. Another big step! The engine rails should be back next week so now things are really moving forward FAST!

February 3, 2007
This week Chief and Peter finalized the dash, got it cutout, installed the instruments and attached it to the fiberglass cowling. Next week it'll be wired up. Larry took the engine rails over to cousin Georges shop and they milled them, then sanded then to get ready for welding. Steve worked on the tails trim tab and it should be done this week.

One of the milestones on our list is getting the name hand painted on the sides. One of Steve's customers, Richard Rutledge of Fall City, was a sign painter for 30 years. Richard came over today and looked the boat over and will come over in a couple of weeks to get started! Richard builds wooden boats in his "spare time" and was thrilled to see what we were doing. He can't wait to get started. The next couple of weeks, Chief and Lars will be sanding and applying many coats of varnish to get the sides ready for Richard!

January 27, 2007
During the week, Lars and Chief applied two coats of varnish. That took the chocolate brown color of the raw stain and brought out the red. We compared the sample piece from the original hull with the result and...WE GOT IT!!!!! You can be assured that when you see our boat, it IS as close to the original as you can get!

Also during the week, Steve was able to get the strut and intermediate strut cadmium plated and so we were able to bolt it in place, slide the shaft in and see if the engine fit. So, with the deck sealed up, we papered it, then it was time to introduce the engine to the hull. Once in place, Rob marked where the mounts were, measured the angle (which was really, really close) and we spent the rest of the day fabricating the engine rails.

January 20, 2007
Well...the “Little brown Thriftway” is now REALLY the little Brown Thriftway. After spending most the morning walking around the hull a minimum 12 times, we decided we've puttied, sanded, scraped and fussed enough. It was time to stain! We ate an early lunch then got to it. The entire process only took two hours, but man, you should have seen the number of rags we used! All in all, it came out just as we had hoped. There are a few areas where the hysol and/or epoxy didn't let the stain penetrate as deep, but a light wipe with a damp rag took care of that problem...

Peter came over and laid out the dashboard and helped keep an eye out for problem areas during the staining. He needs the dash on the boat to make sure the steering wheel doesn't interfere with critical gauges and lights, so we'll get that worked on after the stain has dried and Chief and Larry can get a couple coats of varnish applied.

January 6, 2007
Major progress was made today!
Chief had the water tube welded into the strut so we were able to locate and drill the holes in the bottom. The reinforcing plate is 3/4" thick so we wanted to drill that on a drill press. In order to do so, we needed to remove it then we could use Hysol when we re-installed it. That took about three hours. After the holes were drilled, we installed the last two deck pieces. NOW the deck is DONE!!!!

During the past few weeks we've been tweaking the stain color. This last week, Chief applied two coats of varnish and when we compare it to the original piece, we can't tell the difference. So with a few more pieces of wood to attach to the deck left, some more puttying and sanding, we'll be staining before too long.

December 30, 2006
Wind and Christmas...
Steve and Alan weren't able to make it over on Dec 16th because the windstorm that blew through Seattle on the 15th left some "cleanup" to be done. Then, Christmas weekend came and went, so now it's back at it!

Just because Steve and Alan didn't make it over, didn't mean things ground to a halt! Chief, Larry and Rob kept moving forward. Larry got the oil tank, Chief got the flash pans, Rob and Stu came over and they got everything fitted and bolted in. Steve got the strut back from the machinist who made the hole round again (it gets warped during welding) and the welder fixed the cracks we found (he dye checked it and found 6 more tiny ones and fixed those too). This week we located the strut holes then Rob went and milled them along with facing where the bolts go so now we'll get it plated. We needed to add a screw line down the airtrap to just give a little more strength so we added 122 more screws to the deck! After the screws were done, we rolled the boat over so we could work on the strut.

We would like to extend our THANKS and APPRECIATION to Gary Jensen who fabricated the oil tank. Gary's work is outstanding so if you would like to contact Gary, his business is Triad Fabricating Corp - Phone: 425-514-8363

December 9, 2006
Detailing, attaching doublers and getting the dash portion of the cowling ready to attach have been the items we've been working on for the past few weeks. The doublers under the deck curves needed to be built up to 1-1/8" for added strength and to give support for the 1" wide aluminum trim piece that will go around the shear. Larry put the final sizing on the shear so the 1" piece will fit. Chief was assembling all the parts for the dashboard cowling and getting them fitted. Steve finished the main tail section and will be working on the trim tab next. Alan has been sanding up a storm. The whole deck has been detailed (puttied and sanded) and we're just waiting on getting the stain color just right. We got 1 gallon, but the color is not quite right. Steve will be trying to tweak it this week.

November 25, 2006
There were some adjustments made on the tail measurements from the template so Steve brought the tail over to confirm the new ones were right. Well, you just know we couldn't resist putting the cowlings back on. This was the first time we got a chance to see the components all together. It really looks like a hydro now!

After we were done drooling over how she looks, Steve and Larry worked on cutting and installing the doubler pieces under the deck curves. Alan and Stu spent their day applying putty to the joints and screw holes. Chief has been working hard on the dashboard and it is finally at a point where he's happy so he made the attachment brackets. Everything just slips on and fits like a glove. Larry got our prop shaft back, so now we're starting to think seriously about how to get the engine rails done...

Next Saturday is the Museums annual meeting so we'll have a short day.

November 18, 2006
The last deck piece was fit and dry screwed down. This gives us the opportunity to start fabricating and dry fitting the support pieces for the dashboard and tail cowlings. We cut and fit the two pieces for the dash and got it set up. Next will be the tail and tail cowl. Steve will work on fabricating the tail over the next few weeks.
Alan and Stu got busy with the putty and filled most of the 900 screw holes in the deck. By the end of the day, it was hard to tell there were any holes!

During the past week, we were asked about how we were going to “finish” the boat. We had not yet decided, but it came to light that the original had been stained. Famed hydro photographer Bill Osborne had constructed an EXACT scale of the 1955 Miss Thriftway back in the early 80’s and had done extensive research in how the boat was constructed. His information came from Ted and Ron Jones, and Les Staudacher so I guess you can say it was as reliable as you can get! Bill also had in his possession a piece of the deck that came off in the 1956 Gold Cup. He came over today and is letting us borrow his deck sample. We were quite surprised as to how Red the color was. BUT, if that is what it was, that is what OURS will be!

November 10, 2006
Steve Greaves brought our Keller speedometer over today. The original boat had a gold faced Keller, this one is a black faced. The black face will match the rest of the gauges and will be easier to read so we're happy!
We installed the next two pieces that are next to the engine bay and cockpit. After they were down, we took the last sheet we have and sized it for the back right piece. It got drilled and sized, but will not be installed until we have the strut and other running gear in place. It will be a lot easier to install that stuff without a deck on it!

November 9, 2006
WE prepped the two pieces that complete the engine well and 3/4 of the cockpit. We got the word that our speedometer will be delivered by Steve Greaves of Portage Bay Systems. Steve worked with Keller to pull all the parts necessary to supply us with an exact replica of the Keller speedometer used in the

November 8, 2006
Chief came up with a good idea, he suggested we NOT put on the right sponson and get BOTH sides ready to go so we can use the opposite side to clamp the compound curve while we fit it. So we spent Tuesday getting the right side ready, and Wednesday prepping the left side and installing them both. WOW! We think it looks pretty good!!! (We're TRYING to be humble!)

November 6, 2006
The first piece of deck was put on today!!!!
A little more fairing was necessary, but then things were ready! The glue was mixed around 6:00pm and by 7:00, it was done! While Steve was putting the finishing touches on the deck piece, Larry was busy doing the final drilling and polishing of the lifting eyes in the cockpit and got both of them installed. Chief re-designed the tee connector for the fuel and made the mounting bracket. More deck tomorrow!

November 5, 2006
Last week Ron was able to make it over and we went over the process for installing the deck. After he left, Larry made a bracket for the fire bottle and he and Steve got that installed. During the week Chief mounted the fuel pump.

This weekend we've been busy, to say the least. This is going to be a pretty special week! Steve Compton is staying on the Island all week and he, Chief and Larry will be working on putting the deck on. We spent Saturday, installing the butt blocks and the rest of the joining pieces for the plywood. We're using 5'x10' Okoume plywood so we minimize the number of joints. Sunday was spent fairing all the butt blocks. Alan stayed over and worked on getting all the lifting eyes prepped and ready for final polish and install. In addition, the battery tray and rails have been made and will be fitted to the boat. We need to wait to permanently install it until all the fuel and water lines are in place, in addition to the strut. We've discovered what looks like a crack in the weld of our new strut so we need to get it checked out. That may delay getting the engine rails mounted. Updates may be posted later this week so keep checking back.

October 21, 2006
Steve finished the fairing of the deck battens. Ron couldn't make it over this weekend, but should be able to next weekend. We're ready to apply some decking! Steve is also working on the battery tray...it should be ready next week also.

Chief has been working on the dash cowling and just about has it. We'll need to attach a few more reinforcing battens along side the cockpit combing to lend support for the pieces that the cowling will attach to. Alan has been detailing the spoiler. He finished up today. Rob spent most of the day filing on the shaft log.

October 14, 2006
Shaft log liner was installed.  Chief worked on the dashboard and front cowling piece.  Steve & Rob kept making more sawdust by fairing the deck battens.  We’ve invited Ron to come over next week to help us finalize the battens and give us direction on the best way to lay the deck!  Steve also started working on the battery mount.  Our idea is to have them (3 each) mounted on a sliding tray system so we old guys don’t hurt our backs trying to maneuver 100 lb batteries in tight quarters!

October 6, 2006
Last week the "fall bug" hit both Steve and Rob, out sick...
Alan was up in Port Angeles helping Jerry and Greg Hopp clinch the ULHRA National title (UL-1) for the FOURTH year in a row (Fourpete???) Congratulations to the Hopp Team!
But THIS week, we were all together and got a few things done. Peter came over and we kept tweaking the engine. Started it up again. After making some changes, we all came to the conclusion that what it really needs is to be in the boat and run under load. She's starting really easy and just keeps running. Chief has just one more little oil leak to take care of and then we'll put her away for the winter.

Steve and Alan cleaned up the shaft hole and sealed it with epoxy and faired the deck battens some more. Next week we'll install the liner and get THAT  done.

September 23, 2006

OK...maybe not as we had hoped the FIRST time, but after "tweaking" a few things, the engine was starting to run smoother. As Chief stated, this is the first time all these different parts were working in the same block, so there are going to be some issues. If you view the video links on the front page, you'll see that we cranked it up early in the morning and she was loping pretty good. After multiple starts, plug changes and a carb exchange, the second video is later in the afternoon and she's sounding a whole lot smoother. A few oil leaks, learning about some venting, starter and carb issues, overall we feel pretty good about it! The first time starting and getting warmed up and NOTHING BROKE!!!!!!!

Back to the hull work next weekend!

September 16, 2006
Last week was spent finishing up the fitting of the cowlings and tail. Since it was pretty much the same as the week before, I decided to forgo the update. THIS WEEK HOWEVER...
was spent mounting more hardware, installing the corner blocks in the engine compartment and cockpit, cutting the bottom ribs to make way for the stuffing box, and cutting the aluminum insert we will install in the shaft log hole.

Next week will be another MAJOR milestone for Vashon Unlimiteds. After almost THREE YEARS of waiting, we will start the engine!!!!! Barring any major disasters, we'll bring the video camera over and make some noise and smoke!  

September 2, 2006
All day was spent working on fitting the parts that define the “look” of Miss Thriftway, the cockpit, cowlings and tail.  By the end of the day, we all felt we had done what we set out to do and Ted Jones would have given his nod of approval! 

August 26, 2006
Ron Brown re-worked our scavenger oil pump shaft and Steve picked it up during the week. Chief and Peter will get it installed and THEN, we can get out engine to fire! (Video will DEFINITELY follow!)

During the races, Steve,, Rob and Alan had an opportunity to see how the worlds fastest Piston Hydroplane mounted their Allison. In a lengthy conversation with Mr. Cooper, we have decided to follow his lead and use 1/2" 4"x6" 6061 T6 Aluminum for the engine rails. I've included a photo of the U-3's rails so you can get an idea of where we're going with ours. The material was picked up this week so we'll get the configuration marked out soon.

Since we don't want to ruin our deck, we attached some scrap plywood to the rear section of the boat so we could start to fit the fiberglass cowling pieces. We need to get these set in order to finish up the cockpit configuration. Once that's done we can measure and set the steering, dashboard, seat, etc...

Like I said last week, things are starting to move quickly. There aren't too many "big" jobs, just a bunch of 1-2 man projects so we can break up into smaller groups and work on 3-4 things at the same time. Exciting times!!!!!

August 20, 2006
Back at it!
Alan was still helping out the Hopps at the quicksilver race this weekend, but Chief, Larry Rob and Steve got to work and got some decisions made! Rob brought over some Aluminum and the lifting points were figured out so he, Larry and Chief shaped and cutout the aluminum for the lifting rings. Meanwhile Steve brought the deck plywood over and was busy fitting the plywood layers that will form the deck corners in the engine compartment. We sanded (faired) the battens a little to see how much work THAT was going to be (start warming up the shoulders guys!)

August 2, 2006
So, I thought the activity level would slow down! Steve C, Alan and Rob went to the Gold Cup three weeks ago, and last weekend Steve and Alan helped out Jerry and Greg Hopp on the UL-1, Mikes Hard Lemonade/Happy Go Lucky at Tri-Cities (Larry and Karen were busy selling Mikes merchandise!) You'd think Miss Thriftway would be feeling neglected. Not so! Sometime between their hectic work schedules, Chief, Larry and Rob have attached the deck battens! With Seafair this weekend, and car shows and Annual Summer Parties next, it'll be a few more weeks before the whole crew will be back on the boat. BUT...once there, things should be flying!

July 1, 2006
So we got delayed a week...TODAY was batten day! We laid all the battens in place to see where we were at after Ron established the shape and guess what? We're so close, we decided it was time! Now...where are the screws? I thought YOU had 'em, no...I thought YOU had 'em, where's Wheeler? Hey Rob, do you know where the screws are? NO...I thought Compton had them. Uh...you know, I THOUGHT I brought them over, maybe I didn't. Anyone coming into town next week? Larry? OK, swing by the Lumberyard and I'll give 'em to you. Darn, can't really put the battens down then. Hey Chief, grab me a beer, will ya?

Yeah, we're getting closer. One of the things that we WERE going to do was insert a plywood section where the fuel fill tubes were going to go. Ron nixed that idea, so we needed to scarf in a section we had cut out for the plywood. That's what we finished up so next week (after Steve gives Larry the screws) the battens will go down for real!

It's race season and I'm going to be attending the Gold Cup, Tri Cities and Seattle. Per past years, the activity level will decrease a bit, to start up hot and heavy in mid August. Chief, Larry, Rob, Alan and Stu will still be working on things, but vacations and trips will be slowing us all down. I'll get updates on, as they develop. Have a great Summer!

June 24, 2006
When we left last week, we had in our mind we would start putting the battens on. During the week Compton talked to Ron Jones about our strut, and mentioned that's what we were thinking of doing. Ron very diplomatically suggested we NOT, and get the shear line established FIRST! The invite was issued and Ron, again, graciously came over and set us straight and established the shear line for the entire boat! It's really hard to "help" him when all you're doing is watching a Master working at his craft, but I think we managed to keep things clear so he could "get 'er done!"...and he did! NOW, we need to fair the frames so the batten will just lay in place. This way, according to Ron, we'll have minimal fairing to do.

June 17, 2006
Last week, Rob finished the engine stand and we put our engine on it so Peter could have the test stand back. Chief finished the new signature wall (if you visit, you must sign!).

Today, we installed the engine and cockpit combing pieces and cut the foam we're using for floatation in the bow. Once the floatation was in place, Larry went to work on dry fitting the center batten because we need to cutout for the bow cleat and install reinforcement for the bow ornament.

June 3, 2006
Today we spruced up the shop and made the engine well and cockpit combings. Steve, Larry and Rob worked on shaping the combing pieces, Chief and Alan (with Rob's help) laid out and painted a graphic on the shop doors. Most of the painting was done today, but the orange stripes still need to be done. Chief sez he'll get it done...

Steve and Larry worked on the combings. They got the wood shaped and the aluminum brackets fabricated. Next up would be the corner "knee" pieces...

Next weekend is the opening of the Unlimited Lights at Lake Sammamish (Tastin' and Racin'). We'll be down there (just like last year) so next week will be a bye week!

May 27, 2006
Per plan...masking and spraying the final interior coats were the order of the day.
The product used was Sherwin Williams "Polane". Polane is a catalyzed Poly urethane that is used by the marine trade to seal the inside of cargo holds. Again, we rely on the expertise of those who have been doing this a long time and this is the product Dixon Smith used on his '62 Bardahl.

May 20, 2006
The bottom is 95% DONE! We've done all we can do up to this point. We're waiting for Ron Jones to finish our strut, we'll get our stuffing box, get our shaft bearing insert made, THEN the bottom should be complete. (Is it really EVER complete!?) Next week we'll mask her off and shoot the final seal coats on. Then, get busy and install the systems.

May 13, 2006
Same ol' stuff this week...polish, polish and more polish. We continue to work on finishing up the bottom. Steve brought the aluminum tube that will line the shaft hole. It went in like a glove. Chief and Rob worked on finalizing the design of the stuffing box.

May 6, 2006
Polish, polish, polish was the task for today. Steve and Larry worked on the front section, Stuart was obsessed with the transom, and Chief was working on the rear non-trips. We still need one more work day to finish it up, but that's well within the range of reality.

Rob spent most of his time welding up a roll around engine stand for when our engine is out of the boat and not on the test stand (like it is right now). Most of the basic welding is done, just a few minor items to finish it up.

Dixon is having a new trailer made by Corky Peterson. It's close to being done so Dixon asked for his roll around dolly’s back. Steve made a set for Miss Thriftway so we had to transfer the boat over to our new ones...that took about an hour! After the transfer, we decided to put the skid fin on. It's not quite straight so we need to adjust a few things. We're only out .065" but at 100+MPH that could prove to be a lot. We'll get it dialed in the next few weeks.

April 29, 2006
We got Ron to come over so we could punch the hole. After doing some basic layout from his plans, then doing some geometry to calculate the proper angle, it was time to do some drillin'! Our thanks to Jim Harvey who lent us his 193? "Monster" drill. This sucker weighted a ton, but had such torque it just ate up the hole...just like we needed! Of course, we can't forget to thank our "Cuz'" George Compton. George lent us his "worlds longest hole saw" that did the job!!!! All this took most of the morning and into the early afternoon. We finished the day up by starting to polish the bottom and sponsons.

To do list while upside down:
    Finish polishing
    Attach skid fin
    Attach primaries
    Install shaft tube
    Install reinforcing plate around hole

April 22, 2006
Busy day! Chief spent the week drilling more holes in the boat! One goal we had was to minimize the number of hoses that would lie in the bottom. We want to run as many as we can in a conduit so Chief spent the week figuring out and cutting and fitting everything (?) we're going to need. After we were shown all his hard work, it was time to get "rolling". We're ready to put the final seal coat on the interior, so we now need to drill the shaft hole, install the skid fin and primaries and put the final polish on the bottom...so back on her top she went.

April 15, 2006
Sand, sand and more sand. We got it 99.5% sanded (Chief would never be happy unless it looked like furniture)...Chief says he'll put the finishing touches on during the week so next week we'll roll her over.

This week, in addition to the sanding, we drilled some more holes and fit some ABS "conduit" so our hoses are supported and won't chafe. The deck battens have been finished so they are ready to install when all the systems are prepped. During this next week, Steve will have the skid fin and primaries anodized.

April 8, 2006
During the week we discussed, and decided, we wanted to get the perimeter planed down close to where it's going to be. Between the hand planes and the power plane, we got it really close. Steve had to bring the battens over so we could get out reference points. He's almost got them all sealed up and ready to go. Our plan is to finish sanding the interior, then roll her back upside down. We can then drill the shaft hole, mount the skid fin and primaries and put a final polish on the bottom.

April 1, 2006
Did a lot of sanding on the interior getting ready for the final seal coat. We mounted the skid fin to make sure everything fits and got the bolt lengths figured out to be sure we have enough. Chief, Larry and Rob located and drilled the thru-hull holes for the water intake and discharge brackets.

March 24, 2006
Larry got back earlier in the week with our "new" parts. Chief and Larry have been stripping the old paint off and getting them ready for the second engine. They have also been re-arranging the shop again! Chief reports that things are better organized so we can bring our engine to the boat shop. The significance here is that this will be the FIRST time that the engine and hull have been together in the same shop!

This weekend, the Seattle chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society is having a Garage tour at Ike Kielgass'. Ike just finished his "Garage-mahal" and is combining the tour with an open house. This is where Barb Carpers Century21 will be staying when it gets back from New York in June. Chief, Steve and Alan will be attending.

March 18, 2006
We final fit the remaining battens, then removed them all. Chief and Steve tested removing the oil cooler (the largest component next to the engine) with all the battens in place and we've got plenty of room to do so. Steve will put the roundover on the corners of the battens and seal them. THEN...all the batten will be run through a thickness sander so they will all be the same size. This should make fairing the deck easier.

Last week Chief and Rob put the skid fin on the milling machine and got it to the final profile. Steve will polish it and get it, along with the primaries, anodized.

March 11, 2006
Just a really long day dry fitting the deck battens. While Steve & Larry worked on the battens, Chief and Alan were busy stripping the paint off some engine parts, preparing them to be used on the second engine. During the week Peter came over to the shop and he, Larry and Chief went through all of our parts to determine what is needed to complete the assembly of our second engine. With list in hand, Larry is going to L.A. this week and visit Joe Yancy. He'll do some horse trading for some of the parts we need.

Rob has been putting in a lot of OT at work, so he hasn't been able to be at the Saturday sessions. BUT...he finished up the water pickups and WOW! are they pretty!

Ron Brown finished the parts we needed for the main engine. When Larry gets back, we'll move the engine into the boat shop and get ready to start it up!

March 4, 2006
During Steve's "break", Chief, Larry, Rob and Alan were busy and "got 'er done!"
So we tilted it to see how everything set. All looked good so we lifted the hull off, pulled the trailer out and set her on Dixon's roll around dolly’s (more room in the shop now!) Got her perfectly leveled and started dry fitting the battens. Rob finished up more systems brackets so things are moving pretty fast right now. We'll finish the battens next week, this will give us an idea as to how difficult it will be to service the systems components and give some more thought as to where they need to be mounted.

February 11, 2006
More Trailer work. Gott'er almost done!!!! (Chief sez he'll "Git 'er done!")
Cut the bunks to the correct shape, drilled more holes, Chief picked out the stain for the sides...Rob cut and re-welded the steel frame and attached the hold down brackets. We put some parts in to see how they will fit, Chief and Alan stripped the oil cooler it's pretty much ready to go. Larry and Chief are finalizing the oil tank configuration to send to Gary Jensen for fabrication. Moving forward!

There won't be any updates for the next 2 weeks...Steve's going on the family's annual Whistler vacation...see ya March 4th!

February 4, 2006
Today we needed to get the trailer right! Corky Peterson, the person who built our trailer, came over and we discussed what his design was and how he wants to see us do our modification. Pretty simple, just a lot of work! This gave us the opportunity to give Larry’s gantries a workout! Larry and Karen are in Phoenix enjoying some sunshine so Chief, Rob Steve and Alan got busy and tore the trailer apart. In order to do so, we needed to lift the boat off. As everything has gone with moving the hull so far, it worked like a charm!

January 28, 2006
During the week, we discussed about getting Ron Jones Sr. to come over and help locate where the shaft hole is going to go, so we put off working on the trailer. We mocked up an engine block with an accessory housing and gearbox so we could lower it into the hull and see how things were going to fit. Steve made up the deck battens and got most of them marked out so we can finish rout a round over corner on them and will put a seal coat on. Rob and Chief worked on finishing up the water pickups and brackets, Larry did the engine mock up and re-arranged the shop so we can move around easier.

January 21, 2006
We applied a seal coat of epoxy on the interior today. Lots and lots of square footage to do. This SHOULD keep her pretty clean and make it easier for cleanup. We'll get her off the trailer and roll her back over then shoot multiple coats of an epoxy paint to really do it right. As you may notice in one of the photos, the trailer bunks need to be adjusted. That's what is on the list for next week. This is so we can get the boat off the trailer and onto Dixon's roll-around dolly’s where she'll be a lot lower and easier to work on and give us more room. Steve will take the trailer back to Sammamish and store it until it's time to move her again!

January 14, 2006
Today was spent settling into our "new" location. For 3 years we were familiar with Rob's shop but now it's time to get things set at Larry's. First thing is to check out the parts of the boat that we haven't been able to see very well and see what needs to be done. The most obvious was to sand all the glue drips and put a seal coat of epoxy on EVERYTHING so things don't get all messed up. We didn't put this much effort into Miss Thriftway to have her look "messy"! Larry and Chief have worked on her during the week and today Rob, Alan and Stuart came over and there was a whole lot of sandin' goin' on! Next week we'll put another "to do" list together so we can get our direction defined.

January 7, 2006
Steve Payne, Larry Fuller, Rob Wheeler, Steve Compton, Alan McDonough, Larry Vanderhoef, Peter Orton, Stuart Jones, Steve & Dane Sorensen, Dixon Smith, Mike Matheny and many others were on hand to help and watch us move Miss Thriftway from Robs to Larry’s shop. A special thanks to Dixon Smith whose 42 years of Unlimited experience gave an air of confidence as we moved and rolled the hull with ease. Peter has a great saying..."Proper preparation prevents poor performance". How true that is. The whole event took less than two hours to complete so I guess we can assume we did "proper preparation".

December 31, 2005
It was a short one (we left around 12:30), but a very exciting day! Two main events took place. First, we finished the spoiler Alan has been working on...the aluminum was attached. Second, we removed the assembly fixture and set Miss Thriftway onto Dixon Smiths roll around dolly’s. This will allow us to roll her 6-8 feet towards the door before we have to lift her. To actually MOVE the hull for the first time is a milestone for all of us!


December 24, 2005
Merry Christmas everyone!
Chief and Rob worked on the boat today, Steve is putting the finishing touches on the trailer bunks and getting the primaries polished and anodized. We wanted to be sure our plans for lifting the front were going to work so Rob finished fabricating everything we needed to make a test lift. Chief reported that all went according to plan! Stuart is going to have a New Years blowout, so we're all going to "rest" up for the 7th...we'll take a break to make sure we haven't forgotten anything and spend next weekend finalizing the procedure.

December 17, 2005
Things are still moving forward towards making the big move to Larry's shop. Steve Compton is making and installing the bunks on the trailer (YEA!!! Back to working with WOOD!), Alan has fabricated the aluminum for the spoiler, Rob has fabricated both the front and rear roll over fixtures, Chief is painting them, and Larry is finishing up his restoration of a 1955 GMC one-ton flatbed to clear his shop. With Christmas next week, we are looking at one more week of prep work (New Years eve) then we'll be starting 2006 off by making the move (providing the weather cooperates!)

December 3, 2005
We put the finishing touches (filing) on both primaries and have decided to have them clear anodized to retard corrosion. We're going to follow Dixons suggestion and not permanently install them until we've run the boat a few times to be sure we don't need to make some minor adjustments. There are over 120 screws in each primary, so we're pretty sure they won't come off!

Alan was finally able to see the fruits of his labor...we put the plywood on the spoiler. Now Rob can do the final fabricating for the roll over jigs.

Larry came over briefly then decided he'd better get back and work on the 1955 1 ton flat bed he's been restoring 'cause now the pressure's on!

November 19, 2005
We got the left side recovery on today along with permanently attaching the spoiler ribs Alan and Stuart have been working so hard on. The left primary was roughed out enough to locate and drill the pilot holes. All we have left to do is finish filing the inner non-trip and recovery piece. Rob needs to finish fabricating and weld up the roll over brackets.


November 12, 2005
Two more items checked off and moved to the ...DONE! side! We fabricated and installed the inner non-trip today along with installing the reinforcing angle at the sponson transom. Alan was busy getting the final coat of epoxy on the spoiler pieces and since most of the work is done on the interior portion of the sponsons, we can now get the spoiler permanently installed. We need to have it in place so Rob can fabricate the front roll over device around it. Dixon Smith has generously agreed to let us use his low-boy dolly so we don't have pressure to build one in order to move the boat.

November 5, 2005
We got the aluminum finished and installed on the left air trap so two more items are now marked "DONE!" Chief and Rob worked on the left primary while Alan and Stu did the final prep on the spoiler pieces. We have not installed the spoiler yet 'cause it will be in the way as we are finishing up the aluminum skin on the sponsons.

Today, Alan brought his son Layne over. During the course of keeping Layne from being too bored, Layne was making a name plate for his room. The chisel slipped and...well, you may be able to guess, but Layne has now learned the lesson of keeping your fingers out of the way. After we cleaned up the wound, Rob took Layne and Alan over the Vashon General where Layne is now the recipient of 8 stitches...thus, his new nickname of "Stitch".

October 29, 2005
The general consensus is...WE DON'T LIKE ALUMINUM!!!!
It takes sooooooo much time to make it perfect AND...it NEEDS to be perfect! This is the skin, the armor, the final pieces. Everything we've done up to this point is covered with aluminum. I guess we're running out of patience, but we're just so anxious to get her rolled over. Oh well...

The bottom line on this report is that we were not able to mark "DONE!" on anything this week. Just more head scratching and prep work on the left side. (heavy sigh) However, during the week Chief and Rob got together and put a seal coat of varnish on the sides and sponson transom so last thing we did today was sand and apply a second coat.

October 22, 2005
The right sponson is done! We attached the reinforcing angle on the sponson transom, and prepped the primary to where it will be glued and screwed first thing next week! The left side, where the skid fin attaches, is still giving us a brain drain, but we think we've got it figured out and should be able to start making some major advancement.

October 8, 2005
We had the full crew today. The recovery on the right sponson was fabricated and installed. The reinforcing angle for the left side was finished up (countersunk and fitted) then the boat was drilled. The left side air trap pieces were finished (countersunk) and final fitted.

It's hard to believe it's been two years since we took the assembly table down and started to assemble Miss Thriftway. I guess this just goes to show how much work it takes to put one of these boats together. We were talking yesterday about how much MORE appreciation we have towards these machines. Nothing is easy...every part is custom. One of the common questions is, "When will you be done?" One of the consistent answers we've given is, "Well...we're ahead of schedule!" meaning there is NO schedule and she'll be done about a month after she's done...Of course, we're very anxious to see her in the water, but it's more important that she's done right! With all that being said, we're taking a bye next week due to multiple reasons so we'll see ya on October 22nd.

October 1, 2005
Dynamic! That's a real good word for hydroplaning. Family issues came up that prevented Chief, Steve and Larry from heading over to Lake Chelan. During the week, it was discovered that we would need to mount the skid fin backing plate and through-bolt it at the same time we install the left side air trap and alum angle piece so...we needed to locate the bolts for the skid fin (meaning we needed to make our skid fin template) and fabricate the backing plates. We agreed to only work a half day so that pretty much took up the half day. Stuart came over and he and Chief got the angle aluminum for the air trap reinforcement sized, formed and drilled so it's pretty much ready to go.

September 24, 2005
Everyone was back and we got two items moved to the "...DONE!" side of the list! The right side air trap and angle reinforcement pieces were installed. Larry and Steve started prepping the left side air trap pieces. MOTS (More of the same)

Next weekend is the Museums annual Lake Chelan trip so we'll be off. Rumor has it that the Hawaii Kai is on its way back from New York and Rob is talking about a Thursday night work party to give her a once over before she heads over on Friday.

September 17, 2005
Rob and Alan are in San Diego watching the season finally after they had helped out displaying the Museums Oh Boy! Oberto down in the San Diego area. Steve brought a load of steel over that Larry had purchased to make up the two permanent gantries Larry will be fabricating and installing in his shop. This will allow us to be able to roll Miss Thriftway over anytime we need to, in addition to being able to pull the engine.

After the steel unload, we all went over to Robs to do MORE aluminum. During the week, Chief went over to the Museum of Flight and down to the Hydro Museum to look at how the angle aluminum ends at the bow. He looked at the Miss Burien, Dixons 1962 Bardahl, the '67 Bud and the '58 Bardahl. THEY WERE ALL DIFFERENT! We decided on using a modification that Dixon had done. We did a mock-up and agreed it would look the best. THEN we figured out we needed to install the aluminum on the bow first in order to determine where the angle needed to end...so that's what we did. Make the template, find the pieces of aluminum that are most efficient from the scraps, transfer the template, cut it out, eat lunch, precision fit it, locate the screw pattern, drill the pilot holes, re-drill a larger hole so the screw will fit through, countersink them, rough up the back, mix the Hysol, Screw it on, clamp the bottom area, clean up the spooge, drink a beer, go home...

We can hardly wait for the aluminum portion of this to be done!!!!!

September 10, 2005
Larry is in San Diego with Dan Sorensen displaying the Museums Oh Boy! Oberto in preparation for next weeks ABRA unlimited race. Rob and Alan are back in New York with Peter Orton, working on the Hawaii Kai. Rob's the crew chief and the Kai has been back there since the St. Clair race last year. There is an antique boat event where the Kai was to give a display run and she needed some attention to get running. The report is that there was a leak in the intake manifold gasket and once that was addressed, she started right up! Alan and Rob will be heading to San Diego for next weeks race and should be back in the U-60 shop by the 24th. That only left Chief, Steve Compton and Stuart Jones to make aluminum shavings.
So...here's what we did:
Right air trap pieces were completed, then we fitted the angle aluminum that attaches the bottom to the air trap. Both items will be glued at the same time and we hope to have them done next week.

The "to do" list was modified yesterday as we discussed getting the hull over to Larry's shop. We've decided that the spoiler can be put on over there so that's just one less item that needs addressing before the move.

September 3, 2005
Left Secondary was applied and the right side air trap pieces were fitted, marked and pilot drilled. Our countersink wasn't working too well so we weren't able to finish until next week.

August 27, 2005
Hysol was mixed! Aluminum was applied!
We also got the left secondary fitted and the screw layout done. The aluminum that will go on the air traps was polished and will be the next to get prepped after the left secondary is installed. Compton made a template for the left inside non-trip and Alan and Stuart put the final sanding on the spoiler frames.

Chief discovered a broken bolt on one of the sponson battens near the sponson transom and was concerned that because of the pounding it would take, we needed to "beef it up". He spent the day making support pieces from angle aluminum, fitting and installing them. (see photo in the "Hull" section)

August 20, 2005
Reports from Vashon this weekend are that Chief, Scooter, Lars and Aldo made some headway!
Chief reports that the drilling on the right secondary was done, the drilling on the left non-trip was done, the plywood was installed on the bow AND the plywood pieces on the spoiler were completed and the supports removed and readied for hysol. No glue was mixed this week, but from the sounds of it, next week you'd better not wear your good clothes!

August 5, 2005
Pictures of the Turbine Miss Thriftway

July 23, 2005
Well, this will be the last update for a while...time to go and watch some racing! Tri-Cities is next weekend followed by Seafair, then Chiefs annual auto show over on Vashon the weekend after Seafair and Larry's picnic the next day. It's possible we will be back in three weeks, but we're planning on August 27th at the earliest!

With all the aluminum pieces being cut out, we started with the non-trip on the right sponson. We got it applied, and then fitted the right secondary. Man, this aluminum is going to be a slow process! We thought it took a while to get the plywood to fit just right! That was FAST compared to the aluminum.

Larry built his garage extension during the week and Steve delivered the material for Larry's garage doors. By the time we were done with the aluminum on the boat, Larry had assembled both doors and was putting the track system together. He'll probably have the doors up by end of Sunday.

July 16, 2005
Between last week and yesterday, we got all the aluminum pieces cut out and now we're starting the slow process of fitting and installing them. Alan put the final fairing on the spoiler so it's getting close to be skinned.

Also...Larry figured out he can put a 14' extension on his garage and we could put the boat and trailer inside for the winter time! All in all, it's going to be pretty simple and when we were done at Robs, we all went over and installed the steel truss so he can put on the extension. Last thing he said as we were leaving was "I'll have the roof on by tomorrow night!" Knowing Larry, that will be the LEAST that will be done!

July 2, 2005
We had Ron come over today to take the measurements for cutting the shaft hole in the bottom! Over the next few weeks Ron will supply us a drawing to make the guides for keeping the hole saw at the correct angle. We also completed the final size and shape for the skid fin.

After Ron left, we went back to getting components onto the boat. We all worked on making a template for the bottom shape. We'll use it to cut the aluminum piece for the inside of the air trap, AND for the bunks on the trailer. Alan started the final fairing of the spoiler, Chief installed the bolts to hold the outside chine solid on the right sponson, then applied a seal coat of epoxy. Steve and Larry skinned the left sponson.

June 26, 2005
OK! OK! OK!!!!
I guess I didn't realize how much the updates were being missed by all of you!
Yesterday, I was told to get an update done so the guys quit getting calls...so here you go!

For the past two weeks we've been finishing up the sponsons. Last week we did the final fairing on the right sponson, cut and fit the battens for the primary running surface, and glued the outer battens in place. On the left side, we got all the plywood pieces cut out, lap joints prepped and did the rough sand on the battens up front. This week, we attached the rest of the right primary battens, attached the entire left side primaries and planed the inside of the left sponson to "soften" it so it won't catch in the turns.

Alan setup the spoiler pieces so they can be faired right on the boat. He installed a piece of 1/8 door skin to protect the aluminum and now we can gouge without hurting the bottom.

The engine was taken over to Ron Browns shop to have a drive shaft that runs the oil scavenger pump fabricated. Since we have two engines and gear boxes, we are making both sets identical so everything will be interchangeable. Altho we hope the situation will not come up, we want to be ready to do an engine swap in the pits so we don't disappoint the fans who come out to watch us run (not to mention US!)

June 11, 2005
Tastin' 'n Racin' was held at Lake Sammamish this weekend (that's where you found Chief, Alan and Steve). The Unlimited Lights and Lighter than Lights series were run for both Saturday and Sunday. Larry was in Sacramento, CA. showing off the '67 Bud with Dane Sorenson at an Antique Boat show. We heard a rumor that the "Governator" was going to make an appearance! Rob took the opportunity to do some work around the "home".

June 5, 2005
Bill Black has come into town to pick up some wood and his cowlings for the Gale V. Bill came over to Vashon today to give us a hand on getting the sponsons closer. Steve brought the .080 aluminum over, he and Bill laid out the pattern from the plywood onto it, then glued and screwed the plywood down on the right sponson. Larry, and Bill worked on getting the plywood ready for the left sponson while Alan continued to get the spoiler finished up.

May 28, 2005
We're at a point where there's a lot of work, but it doesn't show. For that reason, all the photos I took this week look like the same ones from the previous two weeks so I didn't add any more this week. What we did was:    finish fitting the plywood skin for the right sponson, but then needed to take it off so we could clamp on more battens (another clamp farm pic?...not again!). Larry and Rob faired the left sponson so now it's ready for plywood fitting. We need to transfer the shape over the .080 aluminum that will be the final skin. We need to locate the screw pattern so it looks good when we're done...just more fussin' and fittin' but it's getting there!

May 21, 2005
Larry, Chief, Rob and Stu finished the back cowl components for the three boats and laid up the first dash component Friday night. Larry will pop it out of the mold on Sunday and between next Wednesday and Friday nights everything should be done!

Saturday was another good day on the hull as we put the finishing touches on the battens and chines for the right sponson. We fitted and scarfed the plywood for the non-trip so it can be applied. The last batten layer for the left side front primary was attached and the first layer of the back primary was cut, fitted and glued on. (see the photos with the "clamp farm")

May 14, 2005
When we put the battens on the right sponson non-trip, we decided to laminate them because of the compound bend...it was just going to be easier for a bunch of old guys! Well, it turned out that the additional strength the laminating process gave us was so much better than a solid piece, we decided to do ALL the battens that way. Of course this means an additional step for each batten, slowing the process, but in the long run we KNOW we'll have a better product. So...we put the final layer on the right primary and the first layer on the left primary. We were also able to cut and fit the battens and plywood for the right running surface. Alan continues his work on the spoiler, fussing and fitting. He cut some holes in the mahogany to try to lighten it. We are trying to keep the front as light as possible so there is more weight on the prop. (suggestion by Ron Jones, Sr.)

During the past three weeks, the crew has gotten together over at Larry’s shop and laid up the cowlings. We are making three sets, one for us, one for Alan (Miss Wahoo) and one for Bill Black (Gale V). At this point we have completed five of the nine components. Each set has a dash/cockpit piece plus two for the rear/tail.

April 30, 2005
Lots and lots of detail/prep work done on the left sponson to get it ready for the battens. After Ron finished fairing in the chines last week, we needed to come back and do the final routing to get the frames at the correct angles based on the chines. Larry and Steve worked on that. One of the things that needed to be applied were the cleats for the battens to land on. We got all the cleats in place for the non-trip and the step block (a.k.a the Compton block 'cause it took Steve 3 attempts to make it when he gave up and told Wheeler to do it!) for the primary running surface fabricated. Rob says he'll try to get that done this week. Larry said he'll try to get over and get the non-trip battens in place. (Couldn't do it today 'cause there were too many clamps in the way on the batten for the secondary)

Alan got busy and was like a man possessed! Steve brought the wood over for the spoiler and Alan just dove in and laid out a grid, took the measurements and cut out the ribs for it. At the rate he's going, he'll have the spoiler done before we get the sponsons done!

Chief wasn't just sitting around either! When he realized we're going to be able to have the spoiler dimensions, he grabbed some aluminum pieces we had to make the backer plates for the roll-over jig and fitted it to the airtrap.

Lot's of different stuff going on right now!

April 23, 2005
Very exciting day today! Ron finished shaping the left sponson, designed and made the templates for the spoiler and guided us on the sponson planking technique so we can move forward and finish up.

April 16, 2005
We really have made some. The right sponson is just about battened up (?) and will be ready for plywood by next week. During last week Chief, Larry and Rob attached the two main chines on the left sponson so when Ron arrived, we were ready for him to fair them so we could attach the remaining two chines. We are now starting to think about the front spoiler, strut and yes, even the shaft hole.

March 19, 2005
So...have you ever heard the saying "it takes a little longer to do things right"? When Ron arrived, he spent the first 15 minutes just looking at the sponson we've been working on. Something didn't set right with him, and he couldn't understand what it was until..aha! One of the chines didn't land where he though it should. For the next hour we reviewed his plans versus our dimensions, and discovered that some of our work went in the wrong direction! (Should we REALLY be admitting this?!) Oh well, at least we had the good sense to bring in the man who would know! The rest of the day was spent remaking and installing the chine we THOUGHT we just needed to drop in, glue and screw before we put the battens on. After the chine was set, THEN Ron was able to do the final fairing so we could install the battens. While it was a little frustrating not getting as far as we thought, it was sure nice to know that the right sponson was now correct! Live and learn!

March 12, 2005
More right sponson work today. Ron came over and put his magic touch on the chines and made them all come together just where we needed them so the lines will be correct. After watching him eyeball the lines, it becomes clear that you are really watching a master performing his craft! We would have had ALL the chines in place and faired today if one of them hadn't split! Oh well...this is really the first piece we've had to re-do because of failure...not bad! We also routed where the battens will go and should be able to get them all in place next week! Get ready left side, here we come!

March 5, 2005
No broken bones for Steve, no sunburn for Larry, the Chief made it back from Daytona and poor Rob got sick and couldn't go to Utah to ski, so we're all back in town and ready to get back to work! During our "scattering" Rob, Larry and Alan managed to get the bow shelf doubler and the last two pieces of the bottom on so now it's sponson time. Since we've been struggling with them, it was time to get Ron Jones Sr. back over and get put back on the right path again. After a full day of measuring, adjusting and cogitating, we discovered some dimensions were off and we needed to adjust our sponson angles. Ron will try to come over for the next few weeks so we can make sure everything lines up!

February 12, 2005
We finished up the prep on the next two sheets and got them glued and screwed down. We started working on the layout for the last two...they should go pretty fast since they only cover 4-1/2' of the bow! Before we can get them down however, we need to get the bow shelf doublers from Lou. He said we should be able to have them next Saturday.

Chief and Steve are going to be gone next week...Chief to the Daytona 500 and Steve to Whistler for his annual family ski week. Larry, Rob and Alan plan to finish up the front pieces so when we get back we can rock and roll! The following week, Feb 26th, Steve will still be gone, Larry's going to be in Cabo San Lucas, Rob's going to be in Utah so it was decided to take a "bye". We'll be back at it on March 5th!

January 29, 2005
Finished the transom...routed off the excess bottom, filed, sanded and sealed the edge.
Installed the butt blocks and prepped the next two 12' sheets for install next week.

January 22, 2005
Today was the day that we've been waiting for since November (when we laminated the aluminum skin to the plywood)...we attached two of the six bottom pieces to the boat! One sheet had 252 screws, the other had 348 so 600 holes had to be located, piloted, drilled out, countersunk, transferred to the boat, pilot the batten, THEN you could put in the screw (but only AFTER you had mixed and spread the glue). The adhesive mix was quite interesting too! We use 3 different adhesives to stick the bottom down. West Systems epoxy is used on the keel, Hysol is used where the plywood is extending past the transom at the extension angle, and Weldwood Plastic Resin is used on the White Oak...to be continued!

January 16, 2005
We actually worked today, SUNDAY! Yesterday, our enginemeister, Peter Orton, left the single life and entered a new era...marriage! He and Susan tied the knot and, of course, we couldn't let him leave his 61 years of bachelorhood without a proper farewell! So during the reception, the team decided we could work on Sunday which is the first time in TWO YEARS we have done that!

So what did we do? We continued to prepare the back two bottom pieces for final attachment. The holes were drilled, and countersunk...the alignment was checked, holes that needed to be tapped were tapped and overall, the fussing and fitting was checked, double checked and tripled checked. When we left today, it was decided that next week would most likely be it! We'll be a-mixin' some glue!!!!

January 1, 2005
We got all the bottom pieces over to the shop today and laid them out on the boat. WOW! Are they shiny! AND...that's not the final polish. We were going to dry fit everything first, but after trying, it was decided that there were too many pieces to arrange, so we've changed our plan of attack and are going to work from the transom towards the bow. We final cut the back two pieces that were already drilled and will attach them in the next couple of weeks. THEN, we can work on the next four!

December 19, 2004
As you know, things happen. Last Saturday (Dec 11th), we decided to help the Museum out by trekking up to Monroe, Washington and transporting 8 pallets of Allison Engine parts down to the new location in Kent. A few years ago, Peter Orton struck a deal with Jerry Hopp and purchased Jerry’s old Allison parts. Now most of the parts had something wrong with them, but with today’s modern technology, MOST of them can be repaired. $$$$$$$$. Needless to say, that means I didn't get any pics of the bottom and we didn't make any headway on the Miss Thriftway. We did however, help the Museum out which is ALWAYS a good thing!

However, YESTERDAY (Dec 18th) we DID make some headway 'cause Chief, Larry, Steve and Alan got together over at Harold, Art and Eric Foss' place and got the last 3 bottom pieces pressed up. As of this writing, they are still in the press being kept nice and FLAT! We'll pick them up tomorrow, trim them out to get them ready to go. Meanwhile back on Vashon, Rob and Lou got together and worked on finishing up the computer program for the bow shelf doubler. We made the pieces earlier in the year, but Lou hadn't quite finished the tweaks to put them on the CNC. Since the bottom pieces will be installed soon, we're going to need the doublers in place to finish the bow.

Since Christmas is next Saturday, we won't get back to it until New Years day (providing the hangovers are minimal!)

December 4, 2004
We got the two bottom pieces fitted and drilled. After some discussion, we decided it would be best if we got all 6 pieces of the bottom fitted before we started final attachment. This follows the same philosophy that we've used all along. Next week we'll get the rest of the pieces glued up at Foss Furniture then get them fitted.

Sorry to say that I forgot my camera this week so there are no new photos...

November 27, 2004
The Vashon boys came over to the mainland today and we got to press up two of the six bottom panels at Foss Furniture in Ballard. Thanks to Harold, Eric and Art Foss for the use of their 5'x12' press! It sure makes a better job, and assures the bond is right! Afterwards, we trekked over to Redmond where Dixon Smith showed us his 1962 Miss Bardahl. What a piece of work! We know we're doing a good job on the Thriftway, but Dixon, brother David, Skip Shott along with Mike Hanson did a beautiful restoration of Ole Bardahls Green Dragon. This was the first boat Dixon officially crewed on back in 1962, and he just finished his 42 years of Unlimiteds association with Miss Budweiser.

The main thing we wanted to see was the systems Dixon has installed. Since we need to start thinking about them, it's a good time to see how an experienced racer does it!

November 20, 2004
The press we were going to use to attach the aluminum to the plywood for the bottom has a broken hydraulic hose and is in the process of being repaired. So...we decided it was a good time to mix up a bunch of West System epoxy and finish putting the seal coats on the inside area. We also cut the hole in the transom where the steering linkage will be coming through to attach to the rudder.

November 13, 2004
Rob and Alan finished installing all the glue blocks so the air trap section is water tight. Chief and Steve installed the rudder to locate where we need to drill the hole for the steering linkage.

November 6, 2004
Preparation continues for installing the bottom. This weekend we (Larry) sanded, while Chief checked, the high spots to get it ready for the skin. Alan and Rob worked on installing glue blocks inside the sponsons/airtrap to make the seal that will keep the water out when the sponsons are wet.

October 31, 2004
Check out the new pics in the hull section. BOTH sides were installed and the rudder we had Ron Brown re-work for us was finished. All the reinforcing aluminum holding the rudder on was final fitted, so the Chief is putting the final coat of sealant on them so they can be installed. Our next step...the bottom. Ron Jones told us to "lock" the hull together by installing the bottom BEFORE we start working on the final fit of the sponsons. So, stay tuned...the BOTTOM is next!!!

October 23, 2004
During the course of checking all the battens so we could put on the sides, we discovered we needed to do a little more planing, sanding and fitting. We also discovered a few voids that needed to be filled so water doesn't settle in and cause problems down the road. After we did the final fit, it was lunch time so by the time we got back from lunch, we were running out of time for the glue-up so we'll get to do that first thing next week (I hope).

October 17, 2004
We cut out and fit the plywood for the sides, sealed the battens in the area we won't be able to reach once the sides are on, Rob planed the bow sheer to final angle and we are getting closer to finishing the bottom sheets. Once all these components are on, we'll need to mock up the engine/gearbox locations so we can start to think about using George Compton’s worlds longest hole saw to cut the shaft hole.

October 10, 2004
I thought we were ready to get going and the next thing you know, BAM! This piece didn't work, that measurement was wrong, (scratch head and look puzzled) add a spruce shim piece to build it up just to plane it down...man, how frustrating! Let's go work on the trailer!!!! Unlike last year, it appeared some plugs were fouled in the VU (Vashon Unlimiteds) machine, but I'm happy to NOW report, we're getting back on track and working on the HULL!
(P.S. the trailer is now 100% DONE and is being stored over at Compton’s)

Last weekend we were over in Chelan where our engine guru, Peter Orton, decided it was time for him to abandon his bachelor status and join the land of the committed. He proposed to Susan Echols while taking her for a ride in the Miss Burien. Steve Compton had taken his boat over to use as a patrol boat (actually he wanted to watch from inside the race course!) and was able to witness the magic moment along with his wife Mary and Larry’s wife, Karen. So now...on to the update!

Last week, Steve C scarfed together to make 2 pieces of 30' white oak for the inner sheer clamp. These pieces run the full length of the boat where the side meets the deck. They fit into notches that needed to be cleaned up so that took most of the morning, but by lunch one piece was complete and the other was ready for final fitting. At the end of the day, both pieces were glued, screwed and bolted into place. Next step, the sides! We're going to invite Ron over next week to help us clear up a design issue we ran up against that has got us stymied!

Sorry there are not any photos this week, I forgot my camera.

September 4, 2004
Well, after a very busy summer, we've started right were we left off. Ron Jones Sr. was invited over so we could finalize the CORRECT angle of attack on the sponsons as well as getting our heads back into the project! We also had taken delivery of the special order screws (100 degree angle on the heads) and got those installed in the non-trip. We got the left non-trip trimmed out and will drill, countersink and install the screws in that one next week. We'll also continue to work on putting the initial polish on the bottom aluminum as we work towards getting the bottom ready for install. Next item tho, the air trap sides on the back half of the boat!

Gold Cup 2004 Report and Photos

May 22, 2004
As you may have guessed from the lack of updates, there has not been a lot of forward movement on the hull recently. On May 7th Ron Jones came over to give us some insight on the sponson chines. We were close but not exactly where we needed to be, so he gave us another drawing to help us out. Other projects have occupied our time, including helping get the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum ready for the Grand Opening next Saturday (May 29th). Larry has finished constructing our test trailer for the Allison and mounted it onto the trailer. We will be displaying it at the Museums opening. Today, Steve and Alan spent the day at Compton Lumber getting the 6 bottom panels ready so we can laminate the aluminum to the plywood over the next few weeks while we anticipate the arrival of our custom screws that will fasten the bottom on. Rob reported that one of the non-trips got glued into place. When the screws arrive, we'll get them installed! Next week we'll be at the Museums opening so we'll take a break.

May 1, 2004
The left side mock ups did not fit the way we anticipated so we're going to finish the right side first, make angle templates and transfer them to the left side to see where we are off. SO...While Chief and Alan were outside detailing the moulds for the cockpit and cowlings (they keep finding tiny pin holes that need to be filled and sanded), Rob and Steve drilled and bolted two of the four right side chines into place. Long and slow process, but we can guarantee you that they will NOT be coming loose!

April 24, 2004
The White Oak sponson chines were final fitted for the right side today. We mocked up from the drawings some pieces out of Pine, then we used Bondo to mould the actual form at the frames so when we cut out the White Oak pieces, they fit perfect! We spent some time and made small wedges to fill in all of the gaps we could find so there would be no pockets where water could work their way in and do future damage. We then took the pine mock-ups and set them up for the left sponson. Compton will cut them out this week and next week we should be able to attach BOTH sides, fair the angle to get ready for the sponson battens.

Chief and Alan found a few more defects that needed attention on the cowling moulds so they fixed those. Sometime this week Rob will coat the inside with West Epoxy to smooth it out and soon we'll work on laying up the cowlings!

April 10, 2004
Larry has been working on cleaning up the plugs (forms) for the fiberglass cowlings so we could lay up the cowls. Steve C is on vacation with his family in Fort Lauderdale this week so we're going to work on laying up the cowling pieces...it ALL needs to get done!

April 3, 2004
Today we made some major headway! Chief, Alan and Lloyd got 4 drain holes located and drilled in the transom, Steve and Rob mocked up the sponson chines out of pine and moulded some of the gaps for fill in later, then the whole crew worked on marking and trimming BOTH non-trip chines. We've decided to go with some special screws that will need to be fabricated so we're going to work on that this week. We'd like to express our appreciation to Harold, Art and Eric Foss of Foss Furniture - Seattle, WA for pressing the aluminum onto the plywood with their veneer press. What a time saver, and what a way to make sure things are FLAT!!!!

March 27, 2004
Between last Saturday and today, the aluminum pieces for the transom/rudder attachments were fabricated and appropriate shims were made. Today we attached the battens for the right non-trip, and attached a "support" piece under where we will locate the trailer bunk. The bunk will support the back of the boat when it's up on tilt and this piece will keep the skin from becoming "wrinkled" which is common among the older hulls. Next, we all turned our attention to mixing glue and installing the angle aluminum pieces that attach the engine stringer to the transom and rudder bracket. By the end of the day we were able to drop the rudder in place and see where the steering arm was going to be. We had fear the bracket was too tall and the steering arm was going to be above the deck...not the case! (photos attached in the hull section!)

March 13, 2004
The Friday Night engine sessions have all but come to an end so until we need to re-activate them, this will be the last report. As stated below in the Feb 28th report, the engine is complete and the next step is to fabricate a test stand. The plan is to build a trailer that can be transported to various shops for use. It will contain a fuel cell, an oil tank, batteries, and an ignition console. The trailer will be versatile to accommodate Allisons and Rolls. When we test fire our Allison, I will post a clip in the Engine section.

The past few weeks have been spent fine tuning the non-trip chines and making templates for the sponson chines. Today we attached the battens for the non-trip chines and laid out the screw pattern for the non-trip skin. During the week we will drill, countersink the plywood, drill and dimple the aluminum skin then get them pressed together so we can skin the non-trip area.

February 28, 2004
Peter sent me an email stating that with a few minor details, the engine is DONE! The next step is to build a test trailer and fire it off!


February 22, 2004
Spark plug wires completed

Steve C was still in Whistler sliding down the white stuff, the rest of the crew got together and alignment of the rudder brackets was discussed...a few issues arose and we'll need to call Ron Jones to get some info.

February 14, 2004
Friday the 13th found the crew getting hit with illness. Both Chief and Rob were down for the count, Larry had some items he could work on at his own shop and Steve C was getting ready for a week in Whistler. BOTH the Engine night and the Saturday work party was cancelled!

February 7, 2004
This engine thing is getting more and more exciting! Every session now is finalizing different areas and Larry seems to think they're going be running out of things by mid-March. Last Friday, they installed the distributor and magneto, and got it timed. We're waiting on the return of our carburetor and need to finish up the gear box. All the parts are coming together nicely and even Peter is getting anxious now that it's getting close!

Fuss, fuss, fiddle fiddle...that seems to be routine now. The bow shelf doublers (where the sponson sheers attach) was solidly in place, so it was time to align and attach the sponson sheers. This is a real cool step because this is where the front starts to take shape! Larry, Alan and Chief worked on that while Rob and Steve shaped the all important non-trip/side/bottom intersection. We were having all kinds of fun eye-balling the line, shaving a few more strokes, going back and eye-balling it again. Larry had been involved with that portion on the Museums 1967 Budweiser and had some great insight as to how to get to look the way we wanted. Next week, the battens should be attached and the plywood/alum piece will be fabricated...more layers of the sponson sheer will be added (total thickness of 1-1/4") ... things are slowly coming together!

January 31, 2004
Larry reports that more and more items are getting added. The valves were adjusted and we're missing just one part or the distributors would have been installed and the banks would have been timed.

Lou got us the sponson doublers where the sheer chine gets attached so after the glue dries we can start to attach the sheer for real! After Steve & Larry got them fitted and clamped, we all turned our attention to the non-trip chines at the back. After making a mock-up piece, Rob cut the Oak and it fit perfect...drilling, gluing and bolting took up the rest of the day. Steve's son Eric, and his cousin Dixon Schwenk came over to get their hands in on the action. Eric has spent the last two weeks sanding the epoxy sealing coats on the frames so today he got to put the next coat on. Dixon is a professional auto detailer and restores classic cars so his skills of high detail work fits right in!

January 24, 2004

Over the past two weekends we've been trying to figure out how all the sponson chines meet. It's one thing to see one all put together and say " Yeah...? of course, see...that piece goes there, and that one overlaps and you just put the aluminum over there..." then go ahead and try it! Last week Ron Jones Sr came over and we went over how it should be done, and today we started to make some mock-up pieces and now things are starting to become clearer! Chief and Alan spent both weekends making noise at the other end of the boat. They fitted and shimmed the aluminum angle brackets that attach the transom and rudder to the engine stringers. They got that completed...next week it's Hysol and bolts. Lou has been working on the bow shelf doubler. We discovered the bow shelf shape was slightly off so he made a correction template and we trimmed it to the correct arc. Eric Compton (Steve's 14 year old son) came over and spent the day sanding some of the epoxy coating so we can apply more coats around the fuel tanks and bottoms of the ribs.

January 10, 2004
Chief painted the tachometer generator and did some touch-up painting on the banks (they got dinged during installation). Larry & Larry Vanderhoefs safety wired the intake manifolds and installed the distributor and wire looms.

We glued the inside sponson piece in place on both sides. Alan & Chief formed and fitted the aluminum angle supports where the transom will be attached to the engine stringer. (The left side support is where the rudder bolts to!) Rob & Larry faired the notches for the sponson chines and got them ready to attach. Then we turned our attention to sealing the bottom of the ribs with thinned West Systems epoxy. Once the bottom goes on it will be almost impossible to reach that area so NOW is the time to do it.

January 3, 2004
Larry installed the intake manifold. The manifold consists of 3 pieces on each side (6 total).

Chief got the West System epoxy out and proceeded to coat the area next to the fuel tanks that will not be accessible once we start installing side battens. (I think he did a pretty good job of coating HIMSELF too!) Steve and Larry shaped and installed the oak piece that becomes the inside sponson piece. It has about a 16" curve in it so Steve steam bent it a few months back...IT FIT! While everyone was doing these other things, Alan was busy at the sander detailing over FOUR HUNDRED 1-3/4" long oak blocks that were applied to give additional support to the bottom battens. With timing being everything, we were all done at the same time and teamed up on getting the blocks installed!

December 14, 2003
Take last week, add a few refinements and you've got BOTH banks mounted on the block! Steve Sorensen sent another 43 pictures over. See his gallery on the Engine section.

We got a nice surprise visit from Ron Jones Sr today. He came over to see how we were doing and was pleasantly surprised how far we were! We took advantage of the situation and peppered the poor man with question after question, but I think he knows that's going to happen when he shows up like that. He saw a few things we needed to attend to, and made a few suggestions on how to beef up certain areas that had proved to be weak points. What a phenomenal opportunity we have to have the Master advise us, and to have the Museum available to look at other boats to see how they were constructed. Oh yeah...what did we do on Saturday? Answer: bottom battens! Boy, do they a lot of time to get just right! Rob told me he's having trouble leaving the boat alone during the week now. He's always wanting to "tinker" and do just one more thing before he hits the sack!

December 6, 2003
One bank was completely installed last night! Sliding six cylinders 1/8" at a time was a verrry slow process but it didn't matter how long it took, it just needed to go on RIGHT...AND IT DID!!! Peter says the second one should be a little easier...next week!

With the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museums Annual Meeting tonight, we knew today would not be of the high production type, but we managed to fit and dry attach a number of bottom battens. The .063 (1/16") aluminum skin for the bottom and non-trips was brought over and stored.

November 29, 2003
Rings were fitted, measurements were taken and Peter has said it's time to mount the banks! Next Friday night there will be a crowd to say the least. Check next weeks update for the pictures!!!!! (More pictures from Steve Sorensen - click here)

Transom was attached, keel was bolted down, entire hull was detailed to get ready for its first sealing coat of epoxy. With all the handling the components have had over the past eleven months, the finger prints, and little grease marks needed to be removed, then sanded. Next step will be attaching the battens, coat the impossible to reach areas after the skin is on, then the bottom and sponson skins.

November 22, 2003
Final touches were put on the banks (rest of the valves, cam, rocker arms, etc were installed) and the new rings were installed on the new pistons!
See new photo gallery from Steve Sorensen - click here

Bow shelf, White Oak sponson bottom pieces and keel were glued and bolted into place. Fuel Tank mounts were finalized (we didn't have the correct bolts or they would have been in today!) and the transom notches (for battens) were finished. Pretty soon it'll be batten time!

November 15, 2003
The banks are back and they are good as new! Peter had the white glove test done and everything passed with flying colors. One of the banks had the valves re-installed and next week the second bank will be done.

Today we glued and bolted the frames to the engine stringers, hysoled and bolted the aluminum supports we made last weekend, and glued and screwed the airtrap in place. IT IS NOW A REAL HYDROPLANE! There's no turning back now!

November 8, 2003
The guys took Friday night off this week. We're still waiting for the banks, and the spark plug wire didn't arrive.

When Ron was over a couple of weeks ago, he suggested we beef up the frames around the engine compartment with some aluminum angle. We got some 2-1/4"X5-1/4", cut and installed around the four frames in the engine well. After that, we dislodged two frames and set the fuel tanks in place. We got the transom notched for the deck battens and top/bottom ribs glued into place.

November 1, 2003
The final tolerances on the gear box were checked and Larry is still waiting for the banks to be returned. It's safe to say the engine will be ready long before the hull! (see new photos Peter sent over)

I think today is the day we were told about by Ron Jones Sr. He told us back in January when we picked up the plans from him that there will be a day where the reality of building the boat will hit you. After we got the hull partly set on the assembly frame last weekend, we left hoping we would be able to have the back part of the boat bolted in place by today. WE DID THE WHOLE BOAT! As of this report, the frames and main components of the Miss Thriftway are assembled. We are still sticking with our philosophy of dry fitting everything FIRST, so there was no glue applied, but once that was done we checked all measurements and everything is in perfect alignment...we're going to mix glue next weekend in addition to applying the transom.

October 24-25, 2003
THE PISTONS ARRIVED! After reviewing the 36 pistons we own, we decided that the tolerance difference was too much so we decided to have new ones forged. They are all PERFECT! (not to mention shiny bright). Peter reports that NOW it's time to finish up. Larry will be taking the banks in on Tuesday to have them honed then it's time for final assembly! All 24 spark plug wires have been replaced and the started has been mounted.

We built the assembly frame for the hull Saturday morning, and finished it up just at lunch time! Rob made his special pancakes for extra energy, so after lunch we set the parts on the frame for the first time...UP SIDE DOWN. This is the first time it's been up side down so now it's for real. Time to drill, bolt and glue!

October 17-18, 2003
Peter Orton reports:

Saturday brought Ron Jones Sr. over, along with little Madison, and we checked, double checked, asked a lot of questions, got some direction and finally the nod of approval that we were waiting for. We are heading towards PUTTING A BOAT TOGETHER!!!! SO...with massive enthusiasm, we disassembled the hull, spread it out in the driveway for an "exploded" view (see THAT photo in the hull section), took the table down (FINALLY!!!!) and cleaned up the floor to get ready for next week when we'll install the assembly jig!

October 10-11, 2003
Engine night (Friday) ALMOST finished up the distributor & wiring...we were 10' too short! There was SUPPOSE to be enough, but you know how that goes!

Saturday was a long, productive day. We now have ALL of the frames glued, screwed and bolted. We were hoping Ron Jones could come over and give us some guidance on some issues we have, but he was out of town. We hope he can find some time next weekend to come over so we can move forward. The hull is still up on the table so until next week...

September 28, 2003
Friday night engine sessions have re-started and Peter sent some photos of the distributor rewired...see them in the Engine section. We decided to have new pistons forged and they should be here in a few weeks...complete with rings! Once here, the engine will be 99% complete.

Saturday found a whole group over at Robs shop to do the dry assembly. This was the first time ALL of the actual components were assembled together. After some final filing, tweaking and fitting, the main skeleton of the hull was clamped together to see how the lines fell...IT ALL FIT TOGETHER IN ABOUT 2 HOURS! Due to Lou "No faring" Fezio's effort on the computer and CNC machine, it was like putting a kit boat together. Chief gave us the OK to plan to disassemble the table and set up the assembly jig on Saturday, October 11th! Now the fun will begin!!!!
(12 new Hull photos have been added this week)

Next weekend we are all going over to Lake Chelan with the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum for the annual running of the boats on Chelan...the only thing better than building a boat is running one!

September 21, 2003
The last large component is complete! The keel was laminated into one 30 foot long piece, and on Sunday, Rob cut it out! Chief has gotten the rudder bracket and determined what support angle we need. Next week we will be doing a dry assembly of the entire boat before we take the table down and set up the assembly jig...check next week for photos!!!

September 14, 2003
During the week Rob filled in the gaps in the aluminum joints on the engine stringers with Hysol so Chief, Larry and Stu detailed them out and got the final polish done. They were moved next door with the air traps so now....
Lou and Steve cut the bow piece and glued the bottom battens into 32' lengths while Chief and Larry drilled and applied the aircraft bolts into the corners of the rear frames. Next week will be lamination of the keel (30' long) and then...the table REALLY will come down so the assembly jig can be placed!

September 6, 2003
We were unable to do any Thriftway work 'cause, as crew members of the Museums 1967 Miss Budweiser, we had to ready the boat for running on Lake Washington next Tuesday. On the 9th the '67 Bud, the Hawaii Kai III and Miss Burien will be taken to Stan Sayers Pits and those who have purchased, or won, a ride in a hydro will get their pay off!

August 31, 2003
Polished up the aluminum on the engine stringers. Larry, Stu, Peter and Alan really got them mirror-like! (see photos in the hull section) Lou and Rob got the pattern for the bow piece cut out and the angles cut on the battens for scaring, Steve C got more frames trimmed.

August 24, 2003
The second (left side) Engine stringer was glued up yesterday. Discussion took place about what we need to do before we take the table apart. We may scarf the battens together next weekend and we need to do the finish routing of the frame supports on all of the front frames.

August 16, 2003
Hi there!!!
It's time we started working on the boat again!!! It's really been busy, busy, busy... We took the weekend of the 4th off, then the next thing you know NOBODY was around so we just enjoyed the sun, summer, Detroit, Tri-Cities, Seattle and the Chiefs Auto show! Last Saturday, we got the right side engine stringer glued up and next week we'll do the left one.

I would just like to take a moment to thank all of you for the kind words about the web site and our project. We knew WE were excited about it, but it's really cool to have had so many people comment to me, and the other team members, how much everyone is looking forward to seeing Miss Thriftway on the water!

July 2, 2003
Well, things are going to slow down here for the next 5-6 weeks. Larry is the Crew Chief and driver for the Museums 1967 Miss Budweiser and it's going back to Detroit for the APBAs 100th Birthday Party. A tribute to Bernie Little will take place and the '67 Bud will be running along side the T-6 as part of the tribute. The boat will come back and be at Tri-Cities on the 25-27th, then Seattle on Aug 1-3. The following weekend the Chief sponsors a car show on Vashon so maybe by mid-August we'll be able to get back into the swing of things and start putting our project together. There are a couple of Saturdays this month we're going to TRY to get some things done, but there have been a lot of interruptions. Chief got the fuel tank mounts anodized and they're ready to go!

June 30, 2003
Engine stringer plywood and aluminum was cut out and ready to glue.
Piston rings arrived!
Last Wednesday, the whole crew went to Jim Harvey’s shop to help put the finishing touches on the U-2 Miss Trendwest. There were 12 people doing various things like installing the instrument panel, vacuuming the access ports and putting the hatch covers on, honing the rudder bushings to make it fit juuuuust right!, fitting the cowling, etc etc etc. We put the boat on the trailer around 10:45PM and I understand it finally got out of Seattle around 3:00am heading to Evansville. We were all so tired that we didn't even get the glue mixed on Saturday.

June 21, 2003
During the week, George Compton approached us and asked if we could help him install his air traps on the Thriftway TOO. His method is a bit different from ours so we said "SURE!" Chief, Larry, Steve and Alan went down to Georges shop and spent the day fitting and installing his air traps. (see the new pictures in the Thriftway TOO section) Steve's brother, Dave Compton, came down and gave us a hand - How many people DOES it take to install a 32' long, 36" wide and only 1/2" thick airtrap!? You need lots of hands to be sure it doesn't break!

P.S. Steve & Dave Compton are not related to George, it's just a very cool coincidence we have the same last name!

June 14, 2003
The air traps got the finishing touches, and now we turned our attention to the engine stringers...we need to add 6mm Okoume plywood to one side then skin it with 1/8" 6061 T-6 Aluminum to give it additional strength. Lou had made another template so all we need to do is route it, but we wanted to check out how the fuel tanks fit first...thinking that would not take too much time, we set the appropriate frames up and guess what!? (see hull photos section) 3 hours later, after multiple tank configurations, we finally put the engine stringers on the table. It had gotten so late, we decided to tackle it next time.

June 7, 2003
Tastin' & Racin' at Lake Sammamish this weekend along with Rob moving kept activity to a minimum...between Chief, Rob and Larry, the second air trap got glued up and that was just about it!

May 31, 2003
Larry says he's still waiting for piston rings before the banks can be installed. More parts were cleaned and painted last Friday so hopefully the parts will come next week.

Today we got the air trap plywood from Lou. We indexed it and got both of them to line up perfectly! Since they were going to take up the whole table, we glued up 3 more frames before we set up and glued the air traps. Unfortunately, the are so big we can only do one at a time...

Ron Jones brought our fuel tanks today!!! Big step because we can't even START thinking about assembling the hull without the fuel tanks...Check that off the list!

May 25, 2003
Not a lot to report this week other than the Supercharger was bolted onto the block on Friday!!! Larry told me he's still waiting on a couple of pistons we're having ground, so that MAY be next weeks report...

We have all of the parts necessary to be sure all the frames line up now, so we got serious and glued six of the back frames yesterday (12-17). Lou took the 12mm Okoume plywood so he can cut the airtraps. Next week we'll scarf the airtraps together and finalize the plywood that skins the engine stringers. While our motto is "We're ahead of schedule"...we really ARE!

May 17, 2003
The "Chief" is off watching car racing back East so we had a light crew this week. Lou had cut out a template for the air trap to see how everything lined up and it looks like we need to tweak a few measurements...Lou and Rob will be working on that this week and we'll check it next week. I couldn't help it, I took some pics but PLEASE don't think we're REALLY going to make the air trap out of Wafer wood...IT'S JUST A TEMPLATE!!!!

The second bank is done and the supercharger is ready to go...see the photos in the "Engine" section. Next step will be to build a stand and system where we can fire her up!

May 10, 2003
The most exciting news this week is the fact BOTH banks were finished AND they put the crank and rods in the engine! Larry told me that they are but a few more sessions away before the engine will be complete!

ALL FRAMES ARE COMPLETE! AND...we were able to get the engine stringers cut out. Lou will cut out the templates for the air trap this week and we'll do a dry run next weekend. If all goes well, he'll cut out the actual pieces and we'll start the final assembly! Up to this point we've just been cutting the parts out and assembling them with screws in case there were problems...thankfully, all went smooth!

May 3, 2003
Last night, the engine crew put the finishing touches on one of the banks and was able to pressure test. Larry reported there were NO LEAKS!!!! Both banks will most likely be ready to go by the end of this week. It looks like the "good" engine will be wrapped up very soon! Now they can start on the "backup"!

We assembled a few more frames today. As we are getting closer to finishing them ALL, we want to be sure the "lines" are falling into place. After completing frames 4 thru transom, we spaced them out on the table and started checking the alignments (see the photos on the "Hull" page). Everything is looking good! We have a few tweaks to make, but those won't take any time at all. Again, we were hoping to cut out the engine stringers, but by the time we got to it, all we were able to do was confirm the template was correct. (That's that brown thing that is clamped to the frames) Following the old saying: "Measure twice, cut once" philosophy, we don't want to be in a hurry to make a mistake!

April 26, 2003
We tackled the toughest frames today...the sponsons! So many pieces of wood and so little time (Chief Payne, Rob Wheeler, Steve Compton and Alan McDonough spent 12 hours...Larry left "early" after 10!) What a job!!!! We completed the four most difficult ones so next week we might be close in getting them ALL finished. Steve C brought the laminated spruce engine stringers over and Lou had made the template. We were hoping to not only get the four frames done, but get the engine stringers cut out. Oh well...I guess we need SOMETHING to do next week!

April 19, 2003
Since none of us have built a boat from scratch before, certain design questions come up and in order to keep with the desire to make this boat as close to the original as possible, we scratch our heads until we finally come to the conclusion... WE NEED TO CALL RON! So, we did. Ron Jones Sr came over to the shop today and once again, cleared up the confusion, and got us going in the right direction again! At this point, 10 frames are constructed (from the sponson transom to the transom) and the material for the front section is now waiting to be assembled. The engine stringers are laminated up and will be taken to the shop next weekend, the air trap plywood will be started and Lou and Rob will be working on the plywood forms for the front section...slooooowly but surely, we're plugging along.

March 29, 2003
More deck ribs...more frames...engine stringers (inner longitudinals if you want to be technical!) ...more sawdust...more smiles!

March 22, 2003
Well...it has really started. We made the first frames today! (See the "Chief" posing on the photos page for the hull!) Lou brought the plywood over and then next thing you knew, people were measuring and laying out, saws were cutting, drills were going and glue was being mixed. As all of us were busy doing something, it was hard to take in the whole process, but I'd bet it looked like a frenzy! Before we left, two more deck ribs were put into the gluing jig, that will make 10 so only 7 more to go! Steve Compton is going to start pulling the engine stringer material together.

Last night, the engine crew installed the bank studs in the block. No easy task as you need to heat each one up with two torches and really crank on them to get them set!

March 15, 2003
Yup, I'm back from vacation so it's time to get more stuff on the website! The crew has been busy over the past few weeks getting ready to start assembling the frames. Rob & Lou have finalized the specs for the CNC router and today Larry and Steve C went over the samples (comparing them to the plans) and gave Lou the go ahead (and plywood) to start making sawdust! In the meantime, four deck ribs have been glued up and sized with two more in the clamps before we left today. All the bottom ribs have been completed so next week might see some actual frames put together.

March 14, 2003
The crank was set in, tightened and plastiguaged out to .004! Larry reports that they then put it back with a film of grease and it turned with a twist of the wrist! EVERYONE WAS SMILING!!!! Peter heaved a sigh and said "Now THAT'S what we wanted!" Things are going to get serious at the engine shop here real soon as our beautiful V-12 Allison will start being put together for real.

February 22, 2003
Steve C brought the Oak & Spruce for the frame gussets and deck ribs along with a few of the laminated bottom ribs. During the past week, Rob & Steve P were trying to figure out the deck rib arches/forms/shapes and it became clear we needed some clarification from the Master himself. Ron Jones agreed to cross the water and go over some of our questions (oh...THAT's how it suppose to work!) We spent most of the day getting notes on plans and showing Ron how we're going to proceed (you know, to get his blessing, etc...) To have Ron's input is so invaluable!

Rob and Lou are going to be ready to cut the frames out on the CNC router next weekend, Steve C should have most of the bottom ribs ready, Rob will be laying up some deck ribs over the next few weeks...
"Chief" Payne received the replacement main bearing for the engine, so next week could see some nuts and bolts starting to be tightened and parts being assembled.

February 15, 2003
HOORAY!!! We got started on cutting frame parts out for the hull!!!!
A special thanks to Jon Steen for coming over and helping us understand the correct way to do the layout! You know how sometimes when you think something is more complicated than it really is? Well, Jon straightened us out in that area and got us started in the right direction! Thanks Jon! Check out the photo section on the "Hull"...more photos as we get them!
Stuart spent his time brightening up our day. He installed 3 - 500 watt halogen lights in Rob's shop so we can now see MUCH better without a lot of shadow lines. VERY important when you're trying to stay within 30/1000th!!!

February 14, 2003
Another successful engine night at the Fullers!. Parts are getting the final cleaning and polishing and pretty soon you'll need sunglasses in order to enter Larry’s shop! Supercharger is coming together and the main bearings have arrived!

February 1, 2003
Lumber list made, construction method discussed.

January 24, 2003
Final measurements taken on "good" engine, getting ready for assembly!

January 20, 2003
Met with Ron Jones to go over and take delivery on Plans!

January 18, 2003
Layout table constructed at Rob Wheelers facility.

Summer 2002
Located and purchased 1 Allison V-12 and the V-24 that was originally in the Scooter Too.

Vashon Unlimiteds, LLC formed

©2007 Vashon Unlimiteds, LLC
Vashon Island, Washington USA

E-mail comments or questions to: Steve Compton