First launch concerns

You inherited your uncle's Thompson and now you want to know more about it.

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Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:33 pm

First launch concerns

Post by slimjim »

Hello to all and many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this wonderful site/resource. My first post may be a bit premature as I don't yet have all the necessary info to help with the ID process. I'm picking the boat up in the next week or so and will post pics and more complete info at that time. Appears to be a 12 foot fir strip TVT with 2 bench seats and a strip covered bow. The small tag says "Thompson Bros Boat MFG CO Cortland NY, I'm guessing early to mid 50s. Some repair work was done as there was some rot in the floor of the bow. The work looks good but as a wooden boat novice I'm really not sure what to look for. My concern is that the boat has been out of the water in a garage for 20 years (it was repaired 2 or 3 years ago) and I'm just not sure what I should be looking for as I get ready to put it in the water. Would you leave a boat like this in the water or take it out after each use? I'm also looking for a trailer and like-period motor as the previous owner said they had a small outboard on it many years ago. Until then I'll just use it as a row boat. Any thoughts or suggestions prior to first launch would be greatly appreciated. Ice went out Saturday afternoon (northern tip of NH approx. 10 miles from the Canadian border) so I just have to get the docks in and pick up the boat. Again, many thanks for all the great info, Jim Kenny
Phill Blank
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:20 pm
Location: Hurley, Wisconsin

Re: First launch concerns

Post by Phill Blank »


Welcome to wood boat ownership.

With a boat being out of the water that many years you will most likely want to put a few coats of varnish on the interior, unless the former owner had done so. Also exterior should be looked at to see if there are any open seams that need to be filled and painted. The boat should not leak one drop when put in the water, if it does you need to find and seal the leak ASAP. These boats weren't made to take on any water when launched.

The planking on the TVT's is Western Red Cedar, not fir, on quater sawn white oak ribs. I would recommend not leaving the boat in the water all the time. I grow up in norhtern Wisconsin and we had two 14 foot Thompson TVT fishing boats and my Dad made slides for the boats to set on at the beach. The slide were made using two cedar poles approximately 3 to 4 inches in diameter with four or five cross members of 1 x 6 cedar nailed between the poles. The 1 x 6's laid on the ground with the poles on top of them. These pole were around 16 or 18 feet long and space apart so that when the boat was pulled up on them they held the boat off the sand and out of the water. We would place the slides with about four feet out in the water so you could run the boat inbetween the two cedar pole when coming into shore. The boat was then pulled up far enough that the transom was out of the water. If it rained we would roll the boat on it's side in the slides and drain the boat. We had those two boats for over 20 years with no rot or problems. We did however revarnish and paint the boats each year during the late winter/ early spring prior to ice out on the lake.

A boat lift would also work.

Good luck,

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