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Mystery Sneakbox - ready for Winter (almost)

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Mystery Sneakbox - ready for Winter (almost)
Good morning, All~


As you may have read in my Tuckerton post, I brought back with me a sweet old Barnegat Bay Sneakbox - a gift from a thoughtful duckboats.net member. As with many such objects made one-at-a-time and by individual craftsmen - and decoys are another good example - the identification can be challenging to nail down.


So, I consulted numerous experts at the Tuckerton Show, and got numerous opinions - some of which contradicted each other. So - at least for the time being - this vessel is my Mystery Sneakbox. I am hoping that the actual restoration process will reveal additional clues to help solve the puzzle.


I wish I could dive right in and begin the restoration, but other commitments loom large: a few vessels and bunches of decoys (and their customers) beckon between now and 2020.... I will tease you with a bunch of "as is" photos now - but cannot pick up the thread until next Spring.



Here is how I found her - after we set her on my flatbed trailer with a forward cradle I had scribed from my partner's Van Sant Sneakbox.







It happens to match the hull radius like Cinderella's slipper.






She arrived home with a bunch of Atlantic White Cedar for repairs - keeping with the original lumber species (and, Yup, that's a pool noodle put to good use).






First an overview - from the exterior.






From the starboard quarter.






Her foredeck.






Hull section and deck camber (crown).






From astern.






All I have done thus far - aside from my cursory inspection - is to vacuum her out and remove a system of eye straps and shock cords that had been used to hold thatch on the decks and stool rack. I cleaned the salvaged eye straps in acetone then sprayed them with Krylon dead flat camouflage.






I will probably remove the stool rack before I tent her up for the winter - to minimize chafe on the tarp.


Lots more BEFORE photos - will post when I get a few more minutes.


All the best,


SJS



Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Last edited by:

Steve Sanford: Oct 11, 2019, 1:24 AM
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Beautiful lines on that box. Nice find. Congrads.
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Thanks, Roy - wish I could dive right in - but she'll need to wait until the Winter.


Here are some shots of the decks. Not sure what I will find when I commence exploratory surgery.


I need to measure the radius of the "nose" - to help with the ID.


So far, all experts agree that the big wooden pad and eye bolt on the bow are not "original equipment".







This stool rack is screwed in place - no doubt not original (or highly modified). The motor board is clearly new - and well-built - but not quite plumb.


I'm guessing the "sealant" smeared on the port transom was intended to seal mounting holes from another lifting handle.







The deck boards were fastened with iron nails. So, any boards I remove will probably have to be replaced with new Cedar.







This crater on the starboard bow is obvious - but shows no rot. Time - and "mining" will tell.






This smaller cavity - near the port oarlock stanchion - seems to have fungus in it - or is it just more "sealant" ?






This edge guard (so-called "half-round") may be brass or bronze. It is definitely salvageable. I may have all pieces on each side brazed into single lengths to avoid popping out in use.






These Cedar boards will come in handy for a variety of repairs - and may warrant another Jersey Journey in the Spring - this time driving down with am empty trailer.








More to come.....


SJS







Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
The more I frequent this site, more specifically seeing your posts, the more I fall in love with these boats.

I will try to attend the show next year in hopes of finding a sneak box to refurbish. Looking forward to your future projects, Steve!
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Good morning, Cody~


Glad you enjoy the site - lots to learn here. And, yes, it's easy to fall for these Sneakboxes!



Here are the Cockpit Coaming and Hatch - both of which need lots of attention.


The Cockpit - and so its Hatch - has curved sides. It looks like it's symmetrical fore-and-aft - so there's no wrong way to put it on.






Evidence of leaking ? All seams with be cleaned out and then re-caulked before 'glassing the entire outside of the Hatch.







This piece will need replacing.






Maybe just glue and clamp?






Just a "dutchman" to replace the missing wood at the corner?






The starboard Coaming has pulled away from its fastenings to the ends of the deck carlins (short deck frames either side of the cockpit). I may add a purlin (fore-and-aft framing member) on each side of the cockpit when I have the deck boards off.






The Coamings are about a half-inch thick (thin?).






The forward and aft Coamings appear to rake inward. I'm not sure if that is by design - or just from age.






The rake is especially pronounced on the aft Coaming. I'll learn more once they are removed.







All the best,


SJS















Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Steve, I was able to walk down and look at her Sunday morning. The I got busy and couldn?t catch up with you. A very good candidate for restoration and I know you will give her the care she deserves. While not positive, it reminds me of a Gus Henrichs Sr very much.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I never know which is worse: the sorrow when you hit the bird, or the shame when you miss.
http://www.hillmandecoys.com
Mullica Hill NJ
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Thanks, Jode - sorry I missed your visit!


I just measured the floor frames - in the bottom of the hull: sided ~1 inch, molded about 1.25 inches. They are sawn (not steamed) and fastened with copper (?) rivets and roves. The deck beams are similar dimensions, but fastened with iron/steel (?) nails.


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Last edited by:

Steve Sanford: Oct 5, 2019, 12:45 AM
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Good morning, All~


This next part involves the stool rack (my Long Island terminology) or "washboards" as they are known traditionally in Jersey.


All such appurtenances are intended to carry decoys on the after deck. Most were made in 3 pieces - a rear and 2 sides - and were removable. On this vessel they had been installed permanently - and patched in a couple of spots.






The rear board is cut out near the engine. This one is cut nice and low so it can be removed while the engine is in place. I do not know if any part of the "washboards" is original to this boat - but it looks like the rear piece was doubled up. More unusual, it was screwed down to the deck.


On traditional racks, the aft piece was held on the transom with posts attached to the rear of the board and fit into pockets (formed Brass or Cedar) mounted on the transom. The aft ends of the sides were attached to the rear board with hooks-and-eyes; their forward ends keyed into the oarlock stanchions.



It is interesting (at least to me), that most traditional Cedar 'boxes have removable stool racks. I have seen some 'glass Sneakboxes where the stool rack is molded right in. In any event, it seems that many gunners nowadays do no remove the racks/board whilst gunning - but thatch them up instead.




The starboard corner has come apart. At some point, plain steel screws were used on this boat, with predictable rusting and even crumbling of the fasteners.



The sides were fastened up forward - screwed permanently to the oarlock stanchions.



Although I prefer the one-piece stanchions - I like to minimize moving parts on a gunning rig - they are non-traditional on Sneakboxes. I am guessing they are not "original equipment" on this boat. Barnegats are famous for their folding oarlock stanchions.



Each side was graced with a nicely-done cutout of a flying Canada.



However, the cutout seems to have weakened the board - and so patches were added behind.



Note, too, the split and missing piece in the board. I am thinking these 2 sides will end their days hanging on the wall in my shop.



The shock cord was used here - as elsewhere on the decks - to hold bundles of Salt Hay.



Although I made no firm restoration decisions yet, I will probably make an entirely-new stool rack in the traditional style.




All the best,

SJS










Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Last edited by:

Steve Sanford: Oct 5, 2019, 5:41 AM
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
All~


The motor board appears to be a recent add-on. it is well-made and thoroughly sealed with a few coats of epoxy. It looks to my eye that is lists a bit off to port. So, I will likely re-mount it when I have some planks off the after deck and have good access to the interior.







It uses a wedge to give it the necessary rearward rake - for an outboard.






Here's the wedge from above. I normally use 2 pieces (of wedges or standoffs) to allow water to drain down through and to save a bit of weight. I may modify this motor board once it's off the boat and on the bench - before I reinstall it.







Now to the innards.....


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
All~


The interior is very promising. Just some dry leaves, a nice drain hole, and sound Cedar everywhere I have looked.






As mentioned above, both the floor beams and deck beams are sawn Cedar - and not steamed (or bent) Oak or Ash as in some Sneakboxes. The floor beams were fastened with copper rivets and roves (the "washers placed over the rivets before the rivets are snipped to length and then peened over).






These floorboards were loose in the boat. I will likely add a 5th central one that can be removed via turnbuttons. The lateral boards would be fastened to the floor frames.






This little post for the spray shield was also inside.







Looking forward. I had not yet gotten the vacuum all the way up there.







Gussets of half-inch Cedar tie the deck to the hull.






Looking aft.






The drain is lined with copper, I think.







Just a few more for now.....


SJS



Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
All~


I have not yet flipped the boat - but the bottom looks sound and well-'glassed as far as I can see.


Here is the famed "feather-edge" - where the deck meets the hull with no sides whatsoever.






Here's the skeg.







This little notch in the skeg will be easily repaired.






These two lateral runners and the skeg are shod with brass - which needs re-fastening but is otherwise sound.






Now off to the shop to build a storage frame - and a "tent" to tarp her over for the winter.


All the best,


SJS





Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Hey Steve. Nice find. I will say I?m not sure of the maker, but my Heinrich?s is a different Hull shape. It?s a planing hull. I did hear before that Sr. Did make a displacement style. My boat is registered as a 1946 so is one of the early ones. The frames are sawn cedar. But we?re split into two pieces. Port and starboard. Joined together in the center with1/4? thick gussets but also have the cutout for water runoff like yours. The gussets on each side were also 1/4?.

Also if the oarlocks are original to that boat, they are not what Heinrich?s did. His were almost U shaped and folded flat onto the deck when not in use.


I was told by Ron Spodofora at the seaport that he used to write the year it was built underneath the top foredeck but mine had no such mark which made him think it was an early model. Also, he and his son the late Gus Jr. started gluing pennies under the deck with the year it was made. Might be worth a look under there to see if any of these marks are present.

Looking forward to the project.

Last edited by:

Tom Barb: Oct 5, 2019, 9:45 AM
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Good morning, Tom~


Thanks for all the great information! Bob Fricke gave me some similar advice re a hidden coin. I plan to remove at least a few of the deck planks - and will be on the lookout for any identifiers.


I'm not sure what I'll do with the oarlock stanchions. I presume the ones on the boat now are NOT original. I would appreciate a couple of photos of yours if you get a chance.


Is Ron Spodofora still at the Seaport (and I'm presuming you mean Tuckerton Seaport) ?


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Steve, If the Ore Locks are not original there must be some tell tail clues from on top and or under the deck where there was something else screwed or bolted since the deck looks original. Compare all the different paints and whats under the Ore Lock. If you can't find any clues then the Ore Locks are the only CLUE of the Maker. They could have been put on by the first owner.
Phil
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Good morning,Phil~


I have been thinking the same way - mostly because I saw no "scars" from traditional Sneakbox oarlock stanchions. I have not looked on the underside, yet.


Thanks for helping with the duckboat detective work. I love a good mystery.


One thing I haven't mentioned: When I do restore her, I will take complete measurements and draw up both lines plans and construction drawings.


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Quote Reply
Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Steve Sanford wrote:
Good morning, Tom~


Thanks for all the great information! Bob Fricke gave me some similar advice re a hidden coin. I plan to remove at least a few of the deck planks - and will be on the lookout for any identifiers.


I'm not sure what I'll do with the oarlock stanchions. I presume the ones on the boat now are NOT original. I would appreciate a couple of photos of yours if you get a chance.


Is Ron Spodofora still at the Seaport (and I'm presuming you mean Tuckerton Seaport) ?


All the best,


SJS


Steve, Ron is not building at the seaport anymore. It?s ashame, as he was a good boatbuilder and a neat guy

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I never know which is worse: the sorrow when you hit the bird, or the shame when you miss.
http://www.hillmandecoys.com
Mullica Hill NJ
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Hey Steve. Im working on repainting, new canvas, and floorboards now so I have a few progress pics of the boat that I?ll post. More to come in a new post. I?ll have to take some more detailed shots when I pull it out of the shop. Mine is certainly not ?original? I run a 15 horse Suzuki, none of the original oar locks. But I?ll have to get some better pics of the hull. I should have a build thread from a few years ago with a lot of pics of the progress if you search for it.



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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Good morning, Tom~


Beauitful vessel! I just went back and reviewed your restoration. The planing hull sections in the "run" were obvious. I enjoyed seeing your fine workmanship. And, I noted that you were just getting married then - and now you've got a The Next Generation to assist you.


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Mystery Sneakbox In reply to
Thanks Steve. Yes I will have them sanding decoys soon enough.
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox - ready for Winter (almost) In reply to
Good morning, All~


My Mystery Sneakbox is just about ready for Winter. Without the "duckboat barn" I plan someday, my vessels live outdoors. And because I cannot commence this Barnegat's restoration until 2020, I have buttoned her up for the coming weather. I began with a fitted cradle that is set dead-level on the ground.


My hardware store guy had to climb a tall ladder in the storeroom to retrieve a bunch of "pool noodles" - much tougher than pipe insulation for cushioning things like hulls. They evidently do not make them in either Grey or Olive Drab.....







Next I built a framework to "tent" a fitted tarp - which I will sew in a couple of weeks (after a few time-critical duckboat and decoy projects are out of the shop).






I have given my Mystery Sneakbox a new "placeholder" moniker. As I did with my recent Gunning Coffin, I borrowed Winchester's practice of incorporating the year into the name. Thus, "Model 19" denotes that I first met her in 2019. I'm hoping my restoration process will uncover the year she was built - mid-twentieth century??? More important, I have similar frames on a few vessels - so IDing the parts - and how they fit together - comes in handy.






One new feature is the hooks-and-eyes to hold the removable "legs" onto the "spine" when I am assembling or moving it.







More noodles - to protect the tarp from chafe at its greatest wear-point.







The foam is tougher and thicker than pipe insulation.






Another refinement is a wedge at each joint. I make the notches in the legs a bit "generous" (sloppy) so they come apart easily when needed. The wedges - tapped gently into place - tighten everything up in the meantime.






Here she is waiting patiently for the tarp. The brown tarp is temporary. But, I will staple plastic over the hatch and the hole in the foredeck before she is bundled up for Old Man Winter.


In the background is my Sneakbox RED~LEG - nicely protected by the finished tarp and tent.







All the best,


SJS









Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Quote Reply
Re: Mystery Sneakbox - ready for Winter (almost) In reply to
If I ever run across a picture of Norm Strung's boat barn I'll certainly post it. Neat design you came up with there. The knock down wedges are perfect for such a structure.

Eric
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox - ready for Winter (almost) In reply to
Steve,

That boat has beautiful lines...something about a sneakbox...

Wish there were more places in Arkansas to use one, because I absolutely love them...

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My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy. - Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
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Re: Mystery Sneakbox - ready for Winter (almost) In reply to
Love that feather-edge, reminiscent of the "knife rails" of Campbell brother surfboards, aka 50/50 rails.