1954 16′ Dunphy Muskie Molded Plywood Boat
September 4, 2018
While reading the Sunday newspaper a few years ago, I saw an ad for a 1954 16’ Dunphy boat and trailer. I was looking for a project like this one and contacted the seller to make an appointment to see the boat. After seeing the boat, I made an offer to purchase it and the seller accepted. I brought it home and then tried to figure out what I was going to do with it.
I had seen a picture online of a previously restored Dunphy at Macatawa Bay Boat Works in Saugatuck, Michigan. The owner had requested Macatawa Bay to redesign the boat into a “gentleman’s racer” style. I was determined to use their photo as a plan to restore the boat that I had purchased.
After returning from Florida back to Wisconsin, we built a dolly and flipped the boat over to begin working on the bottom. After using lots of paint and varnish remover, we were able to remove all old paint, fair the bottom and apply 2 coats of CPES for preservation purposes. Then we applied a few coats of white marine primer and then a few more coats of Petit green and turned the boat over to begin the change to a modified “gentleman’s runabout”!
Since Dunphy had installed a marine plywood deck which had decayed a bit, I removed it but left the supporting deck framework. We used 3/8” African mahogany for the mid and front decks along with the gunnels over a layer of 4 mm Okoueme. We also had to design and build a mid-deck as this model did not have one. Here are a few photos of the work in process.
We used Interlux Chris-Craft red filler stain on all mahogany that included the topsides, seats along with the inside of the hull. Petit green was also used for the interior floor of the boat along with some white oak strips for decorative purposes. Captains varnish was used for all brightwork on the boat. The sides of the hull were primed and painted with Petit beige.
I located a used 1957 35 hp Johnson “Javelin” motor to power the boat and had it primed and repainted by a former employee of Mercury Marine who specialized in outboard restoration. We had the trailer sandblasted, primed and painted by a local area contractor.
All in all, we were pleased that the final product turned out as planned. The name of the boat became “Miss Gimlet” as my wife Carol is a fan of those at Wisconsin Friday night fish fries.