1956 Helton Runabout.

by Thomas

How do I evaluate the "true" condition of my recently purchased runabout?

I just purchased a 1956 Helton Runabout.

It seems to be in fairly good condition.

I have only found rot in one small spot along the top edge of the gunwale.

The finish needs to be redone and I am unsure what method to use?

Sand and apply multiple coats of Poly, inside and out?

I will forward pics to anyone who is will to give a poor country boy advice on how to get this beauty lake ready.

Thanks in advance

P.S. The windshield is broken, I also need to replace that.

Comments for 1956 Helton Runabout.

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Jan 23, 2012
Helton Photo
by: Mike

Wow, what a difference.

She’s looking great.

Did you make the windscreen, repair the broken one?

Jan 23, 2012
I wanted to post a recent pic of my boat.
by: Thomas

I took a weeks vacation and built a shelter to get her this far.

I picked the motor up Sat and ran it in a tank for a few minutes.

I will put her on the water next weekend and follow with pics inside and out.

Jan 12, 2012
by: Anonymous

Good luck with the Helton.

I restored one a few years ago, and it came out very nice.

By the way HELTON, the son is still in business in Houston TX. and usually is at the Houston boat show that is now on this week Jan 11, 2012.

Dec 28, 2011
Helton Runabout Photos
by: Thomas

The boat seems very solid to me.

I have taken floor panels out and you can see the “tar”.

I plan on putting a non-blushing epoxy on the top and varnish the remainder of the boat inside and out after through sanding.

There is some type of paint at the water line I plan on changing the color to closer match the wood.

I am taking the motor to a close friend brother in law and ask the condition - I did get it to run a little and expect it needs a good carb cleaning and adjustment.

Please advise on your recommendations - I will gather more photos as weather permits - I am very excited about this boat and the web site is great.

I have already made contact with local people in Atlanta who share the same enthusiasm and are working on boats of their own.

Thanks for everything!

Dec 07, 2011
Thanks Will Do
by: Thomas/1956 Helton

Thanks Will be checking your page out.

All help is Much Appreciated

Dec 07, 2011
56 Helton Runabout
by: Tom

Hi Thomas.

I have a 14' runabout that my father in law built back in the mid-50's.

My son and I are doing a complete restoration.

Like Mike stated, take your time.

We have been working,off and on, for one year now.

If you are interested in seeing our project just go to Facebook and look for Sea Deuce. Custom Boat Restoration.

Here we have taken photo's of what has been done to date.

Just remember " Take Your Time". Please post pictures.


Dec 07, 2011
1956 Helton
by: Thomas

Weather permitting I will post photos Monday.

Thanks for your help

Dec 07, 2011
1956 Helton
by: Mike

Hi Thomas,

The only way to be sure of her “true” condition is to strip off the paint and varnish so you can see what the wood is like underneath.
As her finish needs to be redone, stripping off the old finish will reveal any problem areas and provide a good base for refinishing.

I'm not sure what you mean by “coats of Poly”?

I'm a firm believer in using traditional paints and varnishes on old wooden boats.

The real secret, regardless of what paint varnish you use, is preparation, so take your time clean her up and don’t be tempted to cut corners.


P.S. If you want to add some photos of her to this post you can email them to me as attachments to mike@diy-wood-boat.com and I can resize them and add them for you (We’d all love to see her).

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