New Beginnings

Living so close to Petrie now I knew we needed to have something on the water at the island. I had an old 14ft HARBERCRAFT aluminum boat that belonged to my grandfather brought up to the city for me to work on. It hadn’t seen the water in almost 20 years so once we knew it floated I went to work on a plan to make it ours.

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NOW I will warn you all that this is FAR from a pro job on modifying this boat and my own plan after lots of reading. So everything I have done was from my own head and I can’t say that it will work for everyone BUT I can say that after a few days on the water we could not be happier – blown away really!
After lots of reading I had seen many different upgrades done to a tin boat – I felt that a lot of the things done where a little overkill and added unnecessary weight by complicating the issue. Why not let the natural frameworks of the boat do all the work for you? Keep it simple?

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I started by sanding the old paint off the boat and the trailer – I read aluminum can be hard to paint so I followed some steps that would allow the paint to last longer but without a professional paint job I know it won’t last forever. I sanded, washed with soap and water and scrubbed with vinegar… all before I applied the primer.

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Once the primer had dried I applied professional high performance Tremclad – two coats were needed on all surfaces outside, inside and the trainer. Once that was all done I was able to add a clear coat for shine before the decals were put on.

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NOW to turn this bad boy into a bass boat!!! I had read so much about adding compartments by building framework etc., etc. – I thought to myself WHY not let the benches in the front do all the work for that? One big compartment will allow us to add a live well, maximizes storage and eliminates the added weight of the “structural” wood. So I pulled out a piece of drywall as its sheets are the same size as the plywood sheets but MUCH easier to cut.

I took my measurements and went to work laying out a template with the drywall.

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Once the drywall template was created I cut it apart and used the pieces to draw out my plywood and cut my pieces. I screwed in a couple of pieces of 2X8 underneath for the added support under the doors – I felt that this made the flex point of the bigger door much smaller and ensured that the smaller door wouldn’t fall through if stepped on.

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With the pieces cut I went to work carpeting them using a staple gun before attaching the finished pieces to the boat – I used indoor outdoor carpet with a low pill to avoid hooks continuously getting caught when laid down.

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Once all the pieces were carpeted I used self tapping screws to attach the deck to the inside of the boat. The big compartment I secured with a 24inch hinge and I used two smaller ones for the front.

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Final touches were a couple of handles – I grabbed some flat rope, doubled it over and attached two smaller screws from the inside of the door – this way there was no trip hazard. Two small closures were needed for the big door as it kicked once the hinge was added and didn’t stay flush – all good now!

This project was less than $300 to complete and with the addition of a few more toys – decals, Hummingbird fish finder, 55lb Minn Kota trolling motor and a 15hp Johnston – we are set! As I said before my first shot at one of these and once we were on the water I couldn’t be happier with how she turned out.

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SOOO NOW that the project boat is complete our fishing has moved to a new level – you never know where you will see us next… BASSASSINS BABY!!!


Tight Lines all… hope this mod gets your creative juices flowing – life is a lot more fun outside the box!

See you on the water.


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