Removing and Restoring a 5200 Bottom

Recently, I had a question about painting white 3M5200 in the bilge. The answers have lead me to another question. Can you replace a 5200 bottom? Is it possible and what does it entail? Has anyone ever had to do this yet?

MAN, YOU SURE LOVE STIRRING THE POT! HA! Yes. But you will most likley need to replace the wood. Which you would anyway. 5200 is flexable, where as a west bottom is all glued together and is not flexable. Chances are the wood will rot around the 5200 or west.

Hi Matt! I am really not trying to stir the pot, the question just hit me. If you have to, how do you replace these bottoms. I kinda thought the the wood pieces would be destroyed, but how far does that go. Are you stuck with frame members that are cracked from trying to pry the hull off of them. I have not seen any information on replacing a 5200 bottom. I guess, most times they outlast us.
The boat I originally mentioned, was a “stalled” restoration and a very decent buy for what is included. The bottom that was installed looks fine, from what I can see. For me, this could be a way to get into a Chris Craft. This is the bases for my questions.
I love the site aa well as the input I am getting from the readers. This is a great asset for a newbie like me.

HA! Love it. Stir away. the Dannberg Book is the bible on 5200 bottoms. But you are basecly glueing together stuff. West is perminent, 5200 is somewhat fixable, Here at the railway I see it all in extreme situations. Here is a story I did that shows 5200 that was jammed in a stuffing box on my trawler. YIKES Thats 5200 that was just shoved in the rot for years.

I am starting to notice something with boat repairs, they tend to always snowball. Thanks.

Good question, I have often thought about how you would remove a stoved in plank on a 5200 bottom but not a complete job. As you know that stuff is tenacious. I might think you would damage a lot of frames in the process. I heard there is a solvent that will soften it up. I don’t know how well it works.
Food for thought :thinking:.

I’ve done it. Definitely not a fun job. Used a router with an old flush cutting bit between frame sections to get rid of most of it. Then hammer and chisel the remaining. Fortunately most of the frames needed replacement along with the chines and keel so only had to clean off a few frames.

Ouch! Yes, but buy a Fein Multimaster oscillating tool. (We have/use several of the branded, corded tools, but now all of us fight over using the Makita version (
You must literally cut the bottom away without damaging bottom frame landing surfaces.
We usually reach first for a plunge router or one of those small-blade saws and set the depth of the cut to 3/8".
Then we carefully cut sections of the bottom out, taking huge care not to cut into any frames.
There will be chunks of bottom left screwed aggressively into the frame members, the keel and the chine, all of which must be carefully sliced off the various landing surfaces. Yes, all those fasteners must be cut flush to the landings along the way. Just pray that some fool did not use stainless screws as cutting through them eats the blades.
Eventually, everything has been removed, but, due to the remaining screw shafts, sanding the surfaces eats paper,


Thank you! Any suggestions are appreciated!

Thanks! I think I am getting a good idea of what this process might involve!

This sounds like fun. Nothing but work. It is good to hear from folks that have done it. Thank you!

I would use a router with a flush bit. Set the bit so it removes the plank and the diagonal plank thickness and remove the plank over the frames. This would remove the plank cleanly from the frames. Next you have to remove the rest of the plank and diagonal planking between the frames. When make the new plank, you’ll have to add the diagonal plank thickness to it and when you install it, use butt blocks between the frames.

My pleasure, Dan,

I predict that Matt’s new service-forum will prove both super popular and of great value to the community of woodie addicts.


1 Like

Seems like everyone has about the same take, with some variety in techniques. I’ll have to experiment to see what works best for my skill level. Thank you for your input!

One last question Michael, would a damage repair on a 5200 bottom that spans a frame member be accomplished basically in the same manner, just on a much smaller scale? Thanks!

I think so, but would have to see the damage since attaching the new skin where it meets the existing skin could be a challenge. M


Michael P. ClaudonSnake Mountain Boatworks LLC
7076 Weybridge Rd
Weybridge, VT 05753
Cell: 802.734.1019

Here is a super simple, inexpensive approach to steam-bending that Jamestown’s Old Shipwright innovated:

You have that right. At least I understand the real meaning and consequence of thunder snow!