Why does Heartland Classics Chapter have a Winter Workshop?

There must be good reasons because members came from as far as Houston, TX in the south, Omaha, NE in the north, and others spread out in between.

The date was February 25, 2023, at Brent Howard’s Howard Classic Boats, in Ketchum, OK.  The organizer was Dan Diehl.  Thanks to these two pillars of Heartland Classics, it was a great day of sharing and learning.




Early arrivals enjoyed visiting (and eating) on Friday evening.  They were joined by the rest on Saturday morning starting at 8:00 for coffee, juice, donuts, and lots of conversation.

The first presentation was about the Contemporary Classic “BearWood” built in Tulsa, OK in 2021 by the staff at BearWood Concepts, Inc.  It was a challenge from the company’s CEO Duane Walker to show what unique things could be done with their lumber and talent.

They started with Glen-L plans and ended up with this beautiful boat.  Three members of the staff were present to answer questions and tell about the construction process of building a new boat.

Next on the agenda was the story of The Restoration of “Wood Carver”, the 1965 lapstrake outboard Carver which has been Don & Kathy Parker’s year-round classic user boat.  Dick Moist tackled the project of restoring the strength and integrity of the bottom.  Dr. Moist showed slides and examples of how the project went from discovering really how much rot there was to sending it back home with a solid hull.

Howard's Shop became a theatre for Moist's presentation.

Pictures of the 'see-thru" bottom after rot was chipped away.

Step-by-step descriptions and products used shown.

The bottom with barrier coat and paint, ready to be turned.

Lunchtime was another great time to share boat stories, share resources, and of course look over all of the silent auction treasurers. 

Many participants donated old and new nautical-related items thinking that they might be just what the next guy needed. Ward Brasses hauled a whole trailer of treasures from Larry & Jan Hinton’s shop.  Many others, too, now have exchanged bits and pieces to be repurposed.

Oh yeah … and great pizza!

The newest YouTube video by Mahogany&Chrome TV was playing for everyone’s enjoyment.  Take a look at it again and watch the earlier episode, too.  Anyone can watch YouTube videos on any internet-connected device:  computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Click Here to View Mahogany&Chrome TV episode 5

You can help promote the video by viewing it – but more importantly, be sure to “Like” and “Subscribe” if you haven’t already done so.  Then “Share” the video through your own social media (FaceBook, email, etc.) If you are asked to Join/Sign-In to YouTube first, please do so.  It is free! 

Ward Brasses addressed Proper Engine Maintenance.  The word “obsolescence” was used a lot in describing how modern motor oils have not supported the classic engines found in our boats.  Ward showed a few tools.  He described the best oil alternatives and additives to use today.  He also emphasized that a boat engine should never be started only to idle, but rather needed to have the rpm revved up to get and keep the lubricants flowing through the engine.

Brad Anderson, the mechanic and electrical expert at Howard Classic Boats, also addressed engine maintenance, specifically keeping the impeller in good condition OR replaced.   Brad also emphasized not starting the engine just to idle without running it at higher rpm.  He showed how overheated impellers had melted vanes and old impellers had vanes disintegrated.

This last image shows Dan Diehl and his silhouette – like being in two places at once.  We think he might have been.  Dan not only organized this event, acted as the host, made coffee, ordered pizza, and was also a presenter.  Thanks, Dan!  Great job!

His first topic was about the ACBS Judging criteria.  All boats are judged only against themselves as they would have originally been presented on the showroom floor.  The boat was worth 100 judging points when it left the factory. Alterations and disrepair count against that score.  Judging sheets were distributed to be used as guides when members restore and preserve their boats.  Modern safety modifications are not deductions.

Dan’s second presentation was an update on the restoration (rebuild) of his 1955 Chris Craft Cobra.  Slides showed how each piece of the original boat was removed, virtually one at a time, used as a pattern, then replace with new solid wood.  Now, around the new internal structure, the planking is in place, stained, and the varnishing process has begun.

Dan knows that this Cobra will never be a 100 point boat because he is choosing to use a larger Ford 427 engine rather than the original heavy Hemi power source – an automatic 10 point deduction.  Sometimes, the choice is worth it to the captain of the boat!

There were lots of reasons that the 2023 Winter Workshop was deemed a great success:

  1. Thanks to Brent Howard and Howard Classic Boats for the comfortable, clean shop space for our gathering.
  2. Thanks to Dan Diehl’s planning and the event helpers Chick & Karon Wheat, Chuck Gibbs, Ward Brasses, Becky Caddell, Cara Moist, and Don & Kathy Parker.
  3. Great participants who:
    — asked meaningful questions, (even one that started “my wife wants to know …”
    — shared lots of experiences and solutions,
    — brought a huge variety of “stuff” for the auction,
    — and in turn, took most of it to new homes.

The Annual Winter Restoration Workshop

Heartland Classics’ restoration workshop gives the opportunity for classic boaters to come together to learn and share knowledge about classic boating and the preservation of vintage and classic boats of all types.

Topics covered at past workshops include wood boat repair, boat plank replacement, stripping, staining & varnishing wooden boats, fiberglass boat repair, and engine maintenance.

Heartland Classics silent auction / swap meet is held at this event. Attendees bring unwanted marine “stuff” to donate to the club for the silent auction. Proceeds help fund the Mahogany & Chrome Newsletter.

For 19 years, the workshop has been organized by the Workshop Event Chair, Dan Diehl and held at Howard Classic Boats by Grand Lake in Oklahoma.  2022 was the first Winter Workshop to be held at Lake of the Ozarks organized by John Mason.​