by Ron Pratt



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



My dad dropped off some 12' & 20' Yamaha cables. I'll rummage through my junk drawer for some clamps and ends to attach them.

Tomorrow I'll make a set of lower motor mount covers to replace the plastic ones.

I got the lower mount covers made this morning.

I thought I'd show how to cut this circle out in just a few minutes. My plasma freehand skills are scary so I used the cut-off wheel to make several pie cuts. A burr bit in a cordless drill cleaned up the edge.

After the holes were drilled, the burr bit put a nice chamfer on the edges.

The 120 grit sanding wheel left scratches that are a bear to polish so I tried some paint stripper. It worked AWESOME!!!!

Now it's ready for polish or a scotchbrite "brushed" finish.

I probably had an hour into making these.

Tomorrow should be paint day so we can get this build back on track
Jan 1st 2010. How I spent my day..


After four coats of clear and a 20 min bake, it was rolled out of the booth so a blown V8 S-10 Blazer could get sprayed.


I made a HIN tag with a label maker and buried it under the clear. I'll get better pictures tomorrow.

Tomorrow I'll spend the day at the shop spraying the black stuff and wet sanding and polishing the deck.
This color is really hard to get a picture to show the true red. Looking down from a ladder seems to work best.

The interior was a real pain. I used a painters plank Ron had. It's about 18" high and two feet long. That put the top of my knee cap right at the rubrail flange. I'd lean over to get the panels. I put a couple runs in there due to the ackwardness. Caprice held the hose, ran the plank from side to side, and eye-balled for dry spots.
I knew if I tried to climb in and out 7 times, I'd drop something off my shoe.

The black should go on today.

Today I got the black stuff painted, wet sanded the deck with 1000, 1500, and 2000 grit wet/ dry, then coarse compound, fine compound, and polish. My camera just can't show the depth and shine properly.

Tomorrow I'll bring everything home and start rigging.


This has been an intense three months. My "honey do" list has grown alot during this time.

Give me a couple weeks and I'll show the boat semi rigged w/o an interior and gauges. Need to wait / hope for a decent tax refund to finish.

A friend came over this morning to show off his new digital camera. I thought I'd take advantage of it to get some nice photo's of the boat. We went to the body shop, got all the stuff and brough it home.


I hoped you all enjoyed watching this build and maybe even learned a few things.

Oh yea, one more thing...... While on the phone with Chris Spaeth re: interiors, he agreed balsa was the way to go with my build. He (like Gerald Gangls says),...there is a place for foams and they ARE great in boat building but in the hull of (as least) my Viper, he feels ...was the best material.

Nuff said about this hot topic.

It's amazing what a GOOD camera will do to show off the "true" color. I'm still in awe looking at it. It turned out better than I thought.

Better get the drain tube in the splash well so I can mount the jack plate.

Hi guys. It's been two weeks since my last . I was out of town for one week and though I've worked on the boat every day, there isn't much to show.
You know that Easy Off oven cleaner trick for removing anodizing? Well, it doesn't work!!

I had to strip it off with my air die grinder with the scotch brite "fine" pad.
I have the bottom strip done just waiting for some cool screws to arrive.

2/3 of the top band is stripped. Still need to polish.

I got the jackplate mounted. That task alone took two evenings. One evening to find, cut, and polish the stiffner plate and bolts and the next day to un-seize the motor in the jack. (It had sat for several years).

I got the trim and latches on the cowl. Look thru the window at the green stuff on the ground. It was 44* a few days ago.

Oh yea,......look what I found in an industrial hardware store while up in Anchorage. It was $32.00 for 10'.

I did take off early one evening to go to a wine/ beer tasting party and H'ourderves (You know,.... meat balls and stuff) This gained me 162 brownie points and a nice buzz.

Gotta run. My dad is doing a subaru engine conversion on his dune buggy and the donor Legacy is in my garage. (you know, of those Father / Son projects) Need to pull the motor and wiring harness today. It's 10:00 am and I'm still in my sweats drinking coffee at the computer.

Finally got the anodizing off the windshield frames and polished. The overcast day makes the paint look solid maroon.
Decided to get some decent pictures while I had the chance.



This ole girl has come along way. From this.......

I just got the word on the tax refund.
Caprice says to get a NICE interior to match the exterior!!

The weather has been unusually warm so far this winter. As you can see, there isn't any snow and it's been in the 40's for the past week.

I'm afraid to cut holes!!! I got the steering ram mounted but need the seats to get the dash layed out. I need to make some adaptors to attach the rigging hoses to the oval cutouts in the cowl.
You know,.... I TOTALLY forgot to weigh the hull.
Caprice and I took the boat out today right at dusk. I found some rotten folding boat seats and threw them in. When Caprice used the backrest of her seat to hold onto as she was climbing in at the dock, it tore out of the hinges. Man, the look I got..
It was blowing 30 mph and 2' waves. We limped over to a nearby bay and Caprice jumped on a friends dock and took some video's and pictures.
The wind was really gusting so I kept the motor trimmed in quite a bit. Man, this boat is light!!! With the setback, the bow is very light when by myself and the motor trimmed level.


It's been just over a month and I finally got the carpet and interior.
A friend/ co-worker does carpet installs on the side and offered to install the carpet. It took him five hours to get it done.

I ended up getting seats from Overtons. These are from ToonMate for pontoon boats. Total price delivered to my door WITH 3 yards of matching vinyl for side panels was around $730.00!!! I had to cut down the rear seat backrest as it was 12" too high. It's a rotomolded plastic shell with 30 oz marine vinyl.

I was working with the Spaeths but trying to build a custom interior through the internet is difficult. Their upholstery lady must have been busy as I never received the samples. For 1/3 the price (delivered), I'm very happy with these.

I was having a problem with where to mount the small gauges when Gerald Gangle suggested some gauge pods. He turned me onto these jetboat style pods. I think they look "retro".

I still need to make some side panels and possibly armrest panels for the sides of the rear seat.
Here's some pictures. It's getting there!!


I was very surprised with these seats. The foam is very firm. The color is called platinum.

With the tank in the back, the opening in the floor is covered. I wanted a small bilge pump but it stuck above the floor level and the tank would hit it. I cut an access hole in the rear seat base to put the pump there.
Since I know you all like pictures, here's some.

The tank fit so tight, I had to cut relief notches in the rear combing for the fill neck and fuel line fitting.

I glassed in lips to hold the tank from sliding. The same was done for the battery.  Straps are attached to these as well.

It's been quite the project hasn't it? LOL!!!

I had to get VERY creative mounting the front seats. The rear "studs" are close to the back of the torque (seat) box and were easy to get nuts on. I used a hole saw (you may be able to see them in the pictures with Chuck doing the carpet) I think they were 1 1/2" holes that were carpeted over. I then cut an X in the carpet to slide the washer and nut onto the stud. That worked fine for the back studs. The front studs are 2 1/2" back inside the "box" and I couldn't get a ratchet, or 1/4" air ratchet in deep enough to get the nuts on. I used a 1/4" shaft collar. I removed the #10- 32 allen set screw and put in a 2" long SS panhead screw for a handle. I then attached needle nose vise grip pliers to the screw head and slid it thru the opening and up the stud. I then pried the collar up against the underside of the box and tightened. Any ways.......... sorry for the "rant" Thought this may help someone someday for an idea.

We had a decent day today so we took it out for it's second run. MUCH better!!
I had the motor too low the first time.

The boat handled awesome and there was no chine walking or porpoising.
Our gps battery crapped out at 78 and climbing. Guess I need to add a cigarette lighter for power.
We took the boat out lastnight with the GPS and a newly installed cigarette lighter. @ 84 mph the plug came out of the receptical and the GPS crapped out. Then while putting it back in, I blew the fuse!!! AAARRRGGGGG!! We met up with my parents and had spaghetti and a "tasty beverage". Here's some pictures.


Did you notice,....................... hardly any other boats around!! We have soooo much protected waterways, You can be 10 minutes from town and hardly see another boat. Just too bad I'm the only go faster in town. I'd love to get a running video from another boat but I think my SeaRay is the 2nd fastest boat in town.

We went out for the last time this summer with Von Morrison and his nice camera. We got some killer photo’s.

- End of Part V -


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