YES, "Thriftway TOO" IS under construction!!!

The Builder George Compton of Kent, WA. has been working on his labor of love for approaching 2 years now. Nestled in the trees is his "shop" (actually a well constructed barn). Inside, besides his current project, is memorabillia from old boats, including the name and number off the Tempus which he purchased a number of years ago. Georges love for the Thriftway TOO dates back to 1956 when he saw it almost win at Lake Chelan. From the first time George saw Thriftway TOO, it was love at first sight so when he decided to build a hydro, the choice was a no brainer!
See George's Story

Work Party every Wednesday 4:00pm to 9:00pm
Contact Info & Directions:
Phone: (253) 852-9193
Our address in 27434 48th Ave So. in Kent which is just above the Smith Dairy Farm on the West side of the Kent Valley. Turn South on 48th Avenue South off So. 272nd, make no turns and it will drop down into a driveway. Turn left just before the bottom of the drive and look for a big tan barn on your right. That's the U62 shop. Hope to see you there!

Look at the Pictures of the TOO!     Last photos: April 2006


Surprise!! We are still building the Thriftway Too on Wednesday nights from 4:00 PM until 9:00 PM at the same location.

Deborah and I built a smaller home on the same property and lived in a fifth wheel trailer for eighteen months. I don't recommend it with a teenage boy and girl. I stored my computer away and stopped the updates, as we were busy contracting the house.

The crew has been busy building the 34 ft long cowling. Thirty-five gallons of bondo and we are now finished with the plugs, molds and fiberglass cowls. Back to work on the wood. We have been unable to locate the pictures that were on our Thriftway Too Link. Someone must have deleted them. I will see if I can find any old pictures so we can re-construct the Too site.


email George

August 2006
George has re-entered the work force and has had to abandon the Wednesday night sessions. He has moved it to Saturdays and is looking for those who are willing to take on the Griffons. A mechanical background would be preferred, but mechanical aptitude would work also. Please contact George if you are interested in participating in getting the Thriftway Too on the water. Progress is still being made, it's just slowed way down.

April 2006

I have been scolded for letting the website fall behind. After the collapse of our pensions during United Airlines little walk through the bankruptcy courts, I decided that I'd better un-retire and pay the bills. Spent the entire month of March at CDS commercial truck driving school in Tacoma. Eighteen wheelers (747-4000) to those 80 ft long ones on the highway. We are downsizing our home on the same property, but will keep the U62 shop!

We have mounted the "I" strut, stuffing box bearing, prop shaft and gear box. The Griffon has been in and out of the boat twice as we keep adjusting and measuring the engine mounts to parallel the crankshaft center line and the prop shaft angle. Roger has been measuring the rocker cover clearance so that we can begin work on the cowling and firewall. Both Will and Mike have been tied up by surgeries, but we should be back up to full speed by mid to late April. Should have a suprise Too tow truck to show you in our next update. Stay tuned...

December 22, 2005
Ron Jones Sr stopped by today and gave our crew about an hour lesson on installing the prop shaft, "I" strut, intermediate strut and the stuffing box. We asked many questions since most of us had only done this job in model boats. Ron gave us many tips on hysol bedding and drilling the final bolt holes through the bottom of the hull. What a wealth of knowledge! We are all doing many smaller jobs on the Too. Mike has just about finished his re-enforcement of the area forward of the rudder. All of the flash-pan re-reinforcements are now complete. Mike and I have finished the race seat. Will has been puttying and sanding the airtrap screw holes. The original "TOO" steering wheel and steering gearbox are almost done. Roger has been making our first cowling mockups for later glass work. The engine oil tank and brackets are bolted and hysoled in place. Roger has also begun our foot throttle and left footrest. Mike and I are starting on the Griffon "shell" engine that we will be placing in the boat for gear box and mount positioning. We have to figure a way to attach the gearbox gear inside the engine for alignment. Lots of little jobs that keep us moving forward.

August 20, 2005
We installed a new steel I-beam and trolley in the Thriftway Too shop. Now we can lift the gear box and motor into place. The gear box is clamped into position, but we are waiting for the I-strut and a new shaft so that the drive components can all be aligned, hysoled and bolted into place. Mike and I assembled the drivers seat. Mike then machined four adjustable brackets and the seat is now mounted. Henry has finished the mounts for the ADI tank, but we are holding off on the final installation until the gearbox mounts are located. All the Wednesday night crew have been varnishing the interior and it is really taking shape. We will soon be placing a Griffon in the boat so we can locate the engine mounts and determine the clearance for the cowling. Also plan to install the steering so that the push tube can clear the seat, engine and gearbox. Starting to clean up the sides of the boat so we can putty the screw heads. Henry, Mitch and Will have all been busy with these cleanup chores. We have started to locate the engine oil tank and the smaller gearbox oil tank. The larger tank will sit behind the driver and the smaller tank next to the gearbox. This system work is fun!

June 1, 2005
All the deck battens have been temporarily screwed down and faired in. The wide battens over the sponsons won't be located until the deck skins are attached so they can be centered on the two sheets. Mike has finished machining our two water pickup brackets for the sponsons and they are gorgeous! Henry has been working on the engine flash-pan area and the ADI tank hold downs. Will routed the bottom edges of each deck batten after we removed them from the boat. It looks like we took a giant step backwards, but they are now stored so we can do glue clean up, varnish and install systems without the interference. Just got a call from our welder Chris. He will have our overhead gantry ready this weekend and we will be installing it if the weather holds up. Can't leave the "Too" out in the rain all day as that would be very hard on the unprotected wood. Our new engine worker, Mitch Taylor, has been fixing the Casal steering box that came out of the original U62. Our next big job is to hoist the engine (without the innards) and gearbox into the boat. We also need to bolt the stuffing box in place to align the shaft to the gear box coupling. This will give us the exact valve cover clearance to the cowling and we can then begin our cowling building. Any experienced composite workers out there?

February 23, 2005
Our major effort these past few months have been making and fairing in the deck battens (Mike, Will & George) and Henry's shaping and fairing of the bow. We have also cut the rectangular hole through the transom for the rudder steering arm and placed Roger's engine mockup in the boat to check clearance for the cowling. Just picked up the beautiful machined struts from Scott Raney at Bill Wurster's shop yesterday. I'm now going to have an overhead gantry made for the shop so that we can place a Griffon case and the gearbox in the boat. This will allow us to align the shaft to the gearbox flange and locate the mounts to the engine rails. Also starting to work on engine and gearbox oil tanks, ADI tank and engine bay fuel collector tank. Also ready to begin Rolls Royce Griffon work in our engine room. Any interested "gear heads" please e-mail or call!

November 9, 2004
Ron Jones, SR presented the Thriftway Too project with a very special box of parts last week that his father, Ted Jones, removed from the "Too" before the hull was destroyed in 1961. This box included the 17 1/2 inch, four spoke, steering wheel, Kolsman manifold pressure gauge, Motorola tach, compression tester, two fuel filters, and five selector valves. He also made a very generous offer to donate the original Casale steering gear box from the "Too" to his father's U-62. We now have an official Rebuild of the Thriftway Too. We would like to dedicate our boat as an honor to Ted Jones and thank Ron for his many contributions to his dad's boat. Thank you!

October 14, 2004
Our family spent a delightful weekend of October 2nd and 3rd at Lake Chelan for the annual HARM hydro ride and model racing event. I was able to get 12 year old son Chad and myself a wonderful ride with Mr. Erickson in his big block chev powered "Sydney T-51." 55 MPH and rode smooth as glass. Wanted to get Deborah a ride too, but she is waiting for the "Too." Thank you! I was also very fortunate to be able to ride with last years Gold Cup winner Mitch Evans in the vintage Oberto. I asked him to not hold back for me and to corner as fast as he felt comfortable. What a ride! Life is Gooooood!!!

Lots of new, fun things to do now that Thriftway Too is "deck side up." Mike, Louie and I have been repairing the Griffon rollover stand and gear box to eliminate its slop. Much better now. Mike and I have also made our own set of Griffon bank jacks and a bank lifting fixture. We used Peter Ortons design, plus the best features of the RR factory tools and Dixon Smith's Merlin tool that Ike is using on the 67 Bud/Notre Dame engine. Thanks to all!

Will and Rod are now drilling water drain holes through the wood blocks at the bottom skin intersections. It would have been much easier to route them out when the boat was upside down and skinless, but we keep saying "the next boat will be perfect." Mike made a foot long 1/2 in. drill that is aligned by his machined metal block. It is drilled by a special right angle drill with only 1/16 in. clearance from the bottom wood skin.

Henry is routing out some additional water channels in a few of the bottom battens that would have also trapped water from draining out the four aft 1 in. bung holes. Unfortunately, he has found several stainless steel screws that are tough on bits. (see guote above!) Roger is back from his U-25 duties and is working on fairing in the deck battens. One of my projects is cutting out and reinforcing the engine well cutout. Ron and I engineered this original feature out of the "Too" to add more strength to the boat, but then a decision was made to keep the appearance original and to also insure exhaust stack clearance to the aft Griffon stacks. (again, see quote above!).

Plan to start actual Griffon assembly work soon. Still thinking of Monday nights from 7:00 PM til about 10:00 PM. I can't ask Deborah to spend another day in the kitchen preparing her gourmet dinners. Might consider Saturday afternoons if their is some need for people that work and can't make it during the week. Could use a few more workers on Wednesday, so if you like good food and a little wood carving, come on over!

August 28, 2004
Today was a "Gold Medal Day"! After three months of wet sanding the "Too" bottom with 400, 600, then 1000 grit paper and then polishing the entire bottom, we met for the big "roll-over". We used two metal fixtures at the bow and transom and two fork lifts to pick up the boat and move it out side. We then rotated the boat like a side of beef on the BBQ with a large rope and set it down on the roll-around fixture. Cleaned up the floor and rolled her back into the shop. Ron Jones, Sr was there to give us guidence along with about twelve volunteers. Now we can get back to woodworking, systems and Griffon work. What a day!

MAY 12, 2004
Wednesday night was a “Red Letter” event for the Thriftway TOO team. We finished the bottom of the boat! The forward section of the starboard sponson was our last skin to Hysol down. The shaft insert and collar are also Hysoled in place. We spent the rest of the evening starting to detail the bottom and route/file some of the aluminum edges to their final shape. Next week the buffers come out for the final polish work. Met with Ron Jones, SR on Thursday evening to lock in our final design for the “roll-over fixtures” and to discuss getting bids for the shaft struts. I was glad to hear that the struts can be installed after the boat is upright. Ron mentioned several times, how much his dad would have liked to see the “TOO” at this stage of its reconstruction. I think he was watching down over us!

APRIL 24, 2004
First, let me introduce our two new Wednesday night volunteers; Mike Cheryenak is a retired Boeing model builder and a real addition to the "TOO Team". He is one guy that can take any building problem and figure out a better way to get the job done. Rod Hewiston is a retired WSP Trooper and brings his U-25 crew experience to the "TOO".

We have made some great progress this past week. The Wednesday before last night the "Master", Ron Jones, SR came by to help us figure out the layout for drilling the prop shaft hole thru the bottom of the hull. We laid out the griffon engine and gearbox silouettes on thebottom of the boat. We then placed Ron's full sized Mylar crosssection drawing over the component outlines while Ron calculated the entrance and exitpoints for the drill.

The next two days, Ron had me get the eleven-foot drill machined and welded. He also brought me a drawing of the two wooden fixtures that I completed on Friday evening. With a rented plumber's hole-hog drill, we gathered on Saturday afternoon for the "big-event" which I was slightly nervous about. With three of us soaping the drill shaft, and Henry helping Ron handle the drill, we proceeded to bore a 3-1/2" hole in the bottom. About an hour later. I removed the core from the drill and was very relieved to see that the circle where the drill passed thru frame #14 had the pencil centerline mark that I had placed there two years ago, dead center! What a rellief. Thanks Ron!

Last night we worked on the aluminum tube and collar that goes thru the hole for the shaft log, while Roger's crew worked on the frontwater spoiler and Will's crew started the narrow 45 degree aluminum band that goes around the bow. Once the band is complete, we can Hysol the forward sponson runner skins down, install the two prop shaft struts and start polishing the bottom pryor to rollover.

It was good to have Louie return from his winter in Arizona. He was looking for engines to work on, but I explained that we needed our engine rollover stand back before we can begin. Also, Jim Harvey is going to machine a bank jack for us for removing and re-installing the banks. This should all happen in May.

December 22, 2003
We have a great bunch of volunteers on our Wednesday night work parties!
Roger Newton (The Czar) has been a real spearhead in bringing new volunteers to the shop.
Monte Steere is our machinist and is working on the rotation of our Fairlane Gearbox from "offset" to "upright."
John Williams works at Lowes (I still call it Eagle) and is a great all-around help. His plumbing background should be a big help when we "plumb" the Too.
Will Parker is a semiretired highway engineer that has a keen mind for solving problems and is a hard worker.
Louie Rosengren is our Arizona "snowbird" but should be back in time to work on the Griffons.
Henry Marvin is a cabinetmaker. What more can I ask for. (Well, maybe a Swedish Boatwright!)
Keith Donner is a manager at the Doubltree Hotel and even brought in two Russian Boeing engineers his first evening.
Jessie Justice and his lovely wife Judy showed up their first night with a bag of cookies. We soon had Judy mixing Hysol when she wasn't taking pictures.
John Losey Sr. would come by during the days, as he couldn't drive at night. The two of us vacuum-bagged two bottom panels in about two hours each.

The learning curve was going way up! On Wednesday, December 9th, we applied West System and Hysol to our first two bottom skins and screwed them down. Only 680 screws!

December 2, 2003
Bottom of boat is really taking shape! All of the flat bottom sections are Hysoled and ready to glue to bottom. Aft two sections are drilled and countersunk (340 holes per panel). Starboard non-trip is drilled, countersunk and ready to Hysol. We now have nine volunteers on Wednesday evenings, but one is a "snowbird" who has gone to Arizona for the winter. Son Chad is playing basketball on Tuesday and Thursday nights so my coaching schedule is set.Will start to plan for Monday night Rolls Royce Griffon work parties. Any old retired airline piston mechanics or guys that like to turn a wrench out there? Let me know. Old Griffon crew guys are most welcome. The Wednesday night group are a big help and I find myself putting in more hours to get things feady for the next week. Even have one guy,John who is coming in on week days to help. This boat might float in 2004!

November 5, 2003
We Hysoled our second bottom four by twelve foot skin panel (only four more to go). Also bonded the 2 1/2 " angle aluminum piece to bottom of transom and drilled the four 1 " drain plug holes. Henry, our cabinetmaker, is working on our false "wet" aft sponson piece to make the Too look like it did in 1956 before it was converted to a "dry" sponson. The boat had trouble getting on plane with so much water in the original wet sponsons. Also decided to go the original white painted aft surface sponsons, transom and non-skids. I preferred the polished aluminum look, but Roger Newton helped me to choose the "original look". I am cutting out the first aluminum non-skid panel and hope to Hysol it and the third bottom panel down next Wednesday evening. Starting to think about a second evening to work on the Rolls Royce Griffon engines, but need to coordinate with coaching duties with son Chad's Basketball schedule first. (And I thought retirement would give me lots of free time ha - ha ). If any one out there has any background in piston aircraft engines or likes to "turn a wrench", give me an e-mail at or call at 253-852-9193.

October 6, 2003
The first weekend of October found our family at Lake Chelan for the annual Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum getaway. Perfect weather and a chance to relax with our friends. David Williams did his normal, spectacular job of keeping all the rides and related activities in control. Great to see Steve Compton get his first ride in the 67 Bud with Larry Fuller. Biiigggg smile! This old fart ( father against radical teenagers ) also got to ride with Larry. That Bud rides like an old 60 Cadillac and I too had the grin. Granddaughter Jordan celebrated her 9th birthday at the BBQ and Grandma & Grandpa each shed a few tears. On Sunday, we walked over to the model race course and were soon spellbound. Four Oberto electric models found there way into our truck and now Chad and I are looking at the RC version. Capped off the return trip with a stop in Levenworth where daughter Katie found a swizz Chocolate Shop to die for. Looking forward to the first Thriftway Too workparty on Wednesday the 8th.

September 25, 2003
What a delightful day at the Thriftway Too boat shop. Moe Buringrud, crew chief of the original Too, his two sons, Eric and Ward and his grandson Trevor along with crewmember Greg Smith ( shaft, props and gear box ) and driver Brien Wygle all came to our shop to view my Thriftway Too project and to Talk about the original boat. What great gentlemen they all are! The following are some of the letters and e-mails that I have had the pleasure to receive from my visitors:

Dear George:
Many thanks to you and your wife for the most enjoyable visit to your boat shop. The opportunity to see the "Too" was special for Eric, Ward & Trevor and to see it full size in three dimensions was really special! Getting together with Brien & Greg was a real bonus. You're doing a Beautiful job of building a replica (there will be some original parts from the 1956 Too in the boat so it will be a "reproduction" of the original boat) of my favorite unlimited hydro. Thanks again for your hospitality.
Best Regards,
Moe Buringrud

September 16, 2003
The Vashon Gang and Steve Comptons brother Dave came to my shop in June and we spent eleven hours on a Saturday fitting and gluing the 32 ft. long airtrap on one side of the "Too". We then spent another three hours later in the week gluing up the second air trap. The West System starts setting up in 90 minutes in the 74F temp so we had to really move fast. Thanks Guys! I then spent the next month sistering the intersection of each frame with the open slots in the airtraps at the sponsons. All four pieces at each frame side had to be custom cut, pre-drilled then glued and bolted so it took two work days for each frame. I then moved to the bow and re-inforced between the first station and the curved bow piece in case I should ever bump a dock or ?... I am now installing backing blocks at 12 and 24ft stations to back up the two cross intersections of the bottom ply and aluminum skins. Will then be scarfing the bottom plywood into six twelve foot by four foot sections that will have the metal bottom hysoled to them. Elam said they may press them for me if their large press is available or will resort to vaccum bagging which is much more mess and time consuming. Then its on to sponson metal, shft drilling, struts, polishing and then its rollover time!

Our family is going to Lake Chelan for the Hydroplane & Race Museum's annual vintage boat running the weekend of October 5-6. I then plan to start Wednesday work parties at my shop begining October 8th from 4PM until 10PM. While it is a fun challenge to build the boat myself, I would love to have it in the water in 2004 and will need some help to get there in time. If you would like to be a part of reviving history...give me a call!

©2003 Vashon Unlimiteds, LLC
Vashon Island, Washington USA
E-mail comments or questions to: Steve Compton