Dashboard Update

Earlier this week I spent a couple of days working on my dashboard. The dashboard is designed to come out of the boat so I was able to work on it inside my warm house. This seemed much better than shivering in the garage. I did most of the work on the kitchen table. The dashboard I am putting in my boat is actually the dash from the purple tree boat. The dash from the blue boat is quite beat-up and the gauges are really sun-bleached.
Earlier in the restoration process I purchased two NOS (New Old Stock or New Original Stock) speedometers and new dash plaques. I installed those in the dash first. The flash sort of drowns things out, but you can get the idea. The dash plaques are the “Ski Nautique” and “Performance Engineered” pieces.

New gauges
Performance Engineered

The next issue to tackle was the lower right-hand portion of the dash. I can’t find a super-good “before” photo, but if you look at this picture you’ll see that there are two rows of switches and what is supposed to be a yellow checklist on the lower-right portion of the dashboard just to the right of the steering wheel. In the middle of that yellow area there is a white control panel for a stereo. I don’t have that stereo in my boat and it wasn’t in the purple boat either. All I have left is the useless control panel. It had to go.

Purple Tree Nautique dashboard
Purple Tree Nautique dashboard

The stereo control was installed by cutting a square hole into the dashboard. For this project I needed to remove the control panel, fix the hole and then apply a new sticker to the panel. I could not just use the blue boat panel because it was cracked. It is also likely that the switches and lights from the purple boat panel are in much better condition than those in the used and abused blue boat.

After removing the stereo control box I had to remove all the switches and lights from the panel. Due to the design of the lights, which are designed to be installed from the front, I unfortunately had to cut the wires for all the lights. I then cut out a matching square piece from the panel in the blue boat and glued it in place with some two-part epoxy made for plastic. It worked great. The epoxy was sanded flat and a new plastic sticker applied to the panel. After cutting out the holes I was able reinstall all the switches and lights. The progress and finished product look like this:

Trailer for sale

One of the odd/funny things about this boat project has been the unexpected surprises. Last fall I got a trailer. I needed a trailer and the one I purchased was in good shape. It is an “after-market” trailer made by a now-defunct company called DHM trailers. It needed a little work, which I detailed earlier in my blog here and here. The end result is a good-looking trailer with new carpet on the rails.

New bunk rails
New bunk rails

I had no way of knowing that I would end up with a second trailer. The purple tree-Nautique was purchased with a year-correct (for my boat) 1993 Ski Nautique trailer. I don’t recall if I have pointed this out in the past, but the purple boat trailer was bent pretty bad. In the photo below note how the trailer turns upwards in front of the bow of the boat. The main rail of the trailer is supposed to be horizontal, that is, parallel with the ground.

No boat on the trailer
No boat on the trailer

The Ski Nautique trailer, unlike the DHM trailer, is small enough to barely fit into my garage. It also cradles the boat a little lower to the ground, for more garage-door clearance. Thus, I started to think about fixing up this trailer. To make a long story shorter, I am now restoring a trailer and a boat. I’m not sure that is progress or if I am just crazy. Don’t ask my wife which answer she thinks is correct…

First step was to see if the trailer could be bent back to straight. I took it to Glenn’s Welding in Lynnwood, WA. In a spirit of openness, my sister-in-law is the daughter of one of the owners of Glenn’s, but I can honestly say they are a great welding/trailer shop. They looked at the trailer and decided it could be “flame-straightened.” If I got the image correct the idea is to use a large torch to heat up the metal to the point where it can be bent back to straight. The price was right so I asked them to do the work. I could NOT be happier with the results. The trailer is dead-straight again.

To straighten the trailer I had to remove the bunk rails and the step-pads on the side. Almost predictably, the step pads are rotten. The step-pads are made of wood wrapped with carpet. I will need to make new plywood pads and cover them with carpet which will then need to be installed onto the trailer. I will need to also reinstall the bunk rails and re-carpet those. Oh, and there is some rust to take care of, and I need to repaint the entire thing. I will post photos of everything in the near future.

So, I want to sell the other trailer. Anybody looking for a 1999 Ski Nautique trailer? Let me know.

Merry, and safe, Christmas

I love seeing homes all decorated with lights for Christmas. I’m always amazed at homes with 1,000’s of lights sparkling from every corner. However, I don’t decorate my home that way… I will freely admit that I’m not at all a fan of getting up on my roof and installing lights. The peak of the roof of our home is a long ways in the air. I am not a fan of heights. Actually, I’m just not a fan of falling…

Thus – I quite enjoy putting up lights in a safe way. Thus – here are the decorations outside our home this year.

Our home decorated for Christmas - If you look close you can see our tree in the window.
Our home decorated for Christmas – If you look close you can see the nose of the boat barely visible in the garage. 🙂
A close-up of the lights above the garage.
A close-up of the lights above the garage.

Merry Christmas!