by Ron Pratt



Part IV of Ron Pratt's great Viper restoration saga continues.....



I was able to get back on the Viper today. I'm still filling and sanding the edges of the lift strakes. I have them 90% done. I'm going to try and get them wrapped up before turkey time.

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I spent the weekend sanding and spreading microballoons over and over. Got done and the garage cleaned up at 8:00 pm. Made a list of my accumulation of thinners, hardeners, and primers to take shopping tomorrow.

I need to epoxy prime the bottom before spraying the high build primer. I'll post pictures as soon as I get the primer on.

Went to my friends body shop to talk about primers, paints, clears, etc and now I'm totally lost!!
He talked me out of adding red to the clear on the deck. Said it's "a cheap ass way and you'll never match it for future repairs." "If you want black cherry, find it in these color books and we'll mix it". I didn't like the black cherry colors as they looked like deep purple. I came across a kiwi with heavy metallic which was the same tone as the '05+ mustangs. I really liked it!! Some of the medium reds with coarse metallics (PPG Radiance colors) were really cool also. I'm lost!!!

I know a dark color isn't good in the heat but to me,...... the Viper looks evil and it needs to be a dark color. BUT I like the lighter colors listed. I want an original color. The black one with the silver highlights is a contender as well.


Got the primer on tonight.
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With it all one color, I found just a couple pinholes.

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Tonight I sanded the primer with 400 grit wet/dry, put on sealer, maroon base coat and clear coat. Done by 10 p.m.

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I spent an hour after work (3 p.m.) at the body shop mixing the color. I thought Nason paint was supposed to be cheap. I got a gallon of the maroon base coat at cost - $205.55 (List $342.59)!

Everything applied really well. The new spray booth worked very well, although I wish it would move more air. The Nason paint system sprayed easily and as you can see yielded a very nice finish. Here's some pics of tonight's progress.

Ron Handerson, the body shop owner stopped by to see how I was doing. He said it looked very good and told me when I'm ready to paint the top of the boat to bring it by the shop on a weekend and put it in the spray booth.


First I applied some sealer.

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Then the color.

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Then the clear.

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Well now I just need to turn it over and paint the deck.

I did get the windshield out of the frame and the broken pieces glued in place.

There are clips in the frame that grab the plastic. I had to push putty knives down on either side to release them,.....working from one side to the other. I need to get it on the deck to build the missing edge.

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I'm going to use the back of the windshield as a mold.

Last night, I spent a few hours and sanded and polished the bottom. I used a red scotch brite on the last couple feet of the pad to get the shine off. Supposed to add 1 mph.

Got the boat flipped and on the trailer. Now I can finish making the rest of the windshield. (Needs to fit the contour of the deck)

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Between last night and tonight I got the mold done and the windshield laid up. Also put some mat and cloth in the splash well.

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Totally forgot to take pictures of prepping the mold. I used spray glue and tinfoil with a bondo squeegee to cover the surface. I put on four layers of 6 oz cloth with the left over vinylesther resin. This was a Gerald Gangle trick. With the thinnest foil, you can get it to stretch quite a bit. The bondo spreader works the foil great!!

Here it is with a skim coat of vinylesther microballoon putty.

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Tomorrow will be two months since I started this thread,......... and do I feel it!!!

After laying up four layers of cloth for the wind"screen" (It's not a windshield anymore), I decided to spread some microballoon putty on it and fair it out while it was curing in the mold. When I popped it out, it was too flimsy. So, back in the mold it went and I added some more glass. Now it's strong and about 1/8" thick.

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Here you should be able to see the putty in the middle.

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Ready for primer.

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I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of pin holes on the deck. Shouldn't take too long to block out.

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The primer dried so I got the mounting holes drilled in the windscreen.

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I was shooting for painting this weekend BUT Caprice reminded me of two Christmas parties AND the rest of our lights that I've conviently forgot to put up.

Probably a good thing as I want the deck to be laser straight.

I've been priming and sanding every day since my last post. Just finished with 400 grit wet/ dry and it's ready for paint.
Went to the body shop yesterday (Friday) to see about the booth. Ron (owner) said they were overbooked last week and they'll be working all weekend to get caught up for Mondays customers. He said "Maybe during the week we can get you in for the evening". Sooooo, I sit and wait.

I'm going to spend the weekend super cleaning the garage and get my 14 yr old son to climb into the bow to fasten the bow eye.

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I spent the last few days drilling the motor and drain tube holes in the transom and finishing up the Bob's Bigfoot LWP.

Got a call from Ron Handerson (body shop owner) yesterday afternoon. Said to bring it over Sunday.

Got all the paint materials loaded in the boat. I borrowed a outboard mounting jig from Gary 's outboard. It is well used and the holes were a tad oversized. No more cock-eyed bolts.

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To ensure a straight hole, I bought a bushing from the hardware store. It is 1/2" OD and 3/8" ID. I wrapped tape around it till it fit snugly in the jig.

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Then I used a 3/8" bit for the "pilot" hole.

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Now getting the drain tube in straight was another "issue". I traced around the flared end of the new tube and found center. The only way I could get a drill bit through was to use a 1/4" holesaw bit in my angle die grinder (they're shorter than a std bit). It just fit. Then I used a 1" hole saw from the outside.

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My garbage can worked great as a lower unit stand.

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Itís paint day!!!!
Boats loaded and ready for the 2 mile tow to Coastal Collision. (The cowl will ride in the truck)

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Didn't get "the call" Sunday.

Sunday at 2:00 I called the shop...... no answer, Rons answer, drove out to the shop.......all locked up, Called his house and spoke with his wife. She said he was out running errands and should be back in a few minutes. She said she would have him call me. She remembered at 10:00 pm to tell him I was looking for him.

Just got a call from Ron (4:00 pm Monday) from the shop. Ron apologized and said he just plain forgot. We're shooting for Friday now. I'm going to check in Thursday afternoon.

If you think about it,...... the sooner I paint it,............the sooner I'll get a scratch in it.

This "dead time" gave me time to finish the trailer and look at interior options.

There are HydroStream interior kits on Ebay for $1700.00 + frt. WAY out of my budget!!


I found these in Overtons. For $279.99.

Obviously the interior is as big of a visual factor as the exterior. I definitely don't want to screw this part up!!

Tonight Iím am playing with a mechanical trim indicator.  I canít afford one and they look simple enough to make.

This is the rough mock up using chip board (the back of a desk calendar).

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Here it is trimmed down some. (The main bracket needs more trimming) Tomorrow I'll cut the pieces out of stainless. I'll leave the tabs long till I get the final fit.

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Just killing time till paint day.

I got the mech. trim actuator built today. Took about three hours. Thought I'd show how I did it.

With the patterns, (which were from the backing of my 2009 desk top calendar), I marked on some 16 ga stainless (1/8" for the swivel bracket bar) salvaged from some "take out" electrical pedestals at the boat harbor.
A plasma cutter made the initial cuts. Yea, I know......I suck at cutting.

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These are the main tools I used.

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I found these in my "bushing & spacers" bin. Perfect !!!

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This is a 1/4" stainless bolt I had for the pivot.

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In less than 90 seconds with these tools..............

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I made it look like this!!!

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Here it is installed. Just saved $160.00!!

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- End of Part IV -


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