Wood’nt do anything else

This story is the second installment in a series highlighting the regional roots of wooden boats and the people dedicated to their preservation.

Wayne Eversole, craftsman and the owner of Everso Marine Restorations, Inc. in Algonac, has a deep-rooted love for restoring wooden boats that transcends his 19-year journey in the business. His affinity for these classic vessels was born from a combination of family influence and a lifelong fascination with woodworking and engineering.

Wayne Eversole, craftsman and the owner of Everso Marine Restorations, Inc. in Algonac, Michigan.Raised in a family where woodworking skills were passed down from one generation to the next, Eversole’s father, Ron, worked as a wood model and pattern maker in the automotive industry. Eversole, on the other hand, pursued a career as a mechanical engineer.

“I grew up working with wood, building wood models for cars and patterns, so I already knew how to work with wood,” he says. “I have an engineering mind with how I look at things and take things apart and figure out how to put it back together.”

Reflecting on his transition from the engineering world, he shares, “In 2000, after 16 years, the mechanical engineering industry changed, and I wasn’t happy.”

This pivotal moment set the stage for his venture into wooden boat restoration. At 29 years old, Eversole began working on restoring two boats for himself, a 16-foot 1964 Chris Craft Century Resorter and an 18-foot 1947 Chris Craft Sportsman.

Wayne Eversole found inspiration in restoring the 1964 Chris Craft Century Resorter, a 16-foot wooden boat that led him to create a business dedicated to restoring watercraft.

“The Resorter, in fact, I still own this boat today,” he recalls. “They came out pretty good and we started from there.” 

Originally a New Baltimore resident, Eversole started this venture out of his father’s garage in 2004 and two years later expanded into a building he rented in Harrison Township.

At 37, Eversole says he landed his first official job in the industry, a 52-foot Chris Craft Constellation which became a crash course in bottom restoration.

“The first thing we do is pull the interior, the engine, and the fuel tank out of the boat,” he explains. “Then we roll the boat over so it’s upside down. We remove the existing bottom and inner planking; or wood, and check the frame, the chine; that’s where the sides of the hull intersect with the bottom, and the keel; the beam that runs in the middle of the boat from the bow [front] to the stern [back] and do any repairs.”

Eversole’s method involves employing the carvel planking technique, where solid mahogany planks are laid edge to edge, forming a smooth boat bottom surface.

“We glue and screw each plank,” he adds. “We handcraft mahogany plugs and insert them in the screw’s holes, and we totally sand the bottom, coat it with Smith’s Penetrating Epoxy, and three coats of bottom paint, depending on the color.”

One of the most extensive projects Eversole says he undertook was the complete rebuilding of a 57-foot Chris Craft Constellation. This monumental project required two skilled craftsmen working full-time over the course of three years.

“We put a new bottom, new sides, new decks, new handrails, new transom, and we used 47,500 screws,” he says.

In 2015, Eversole relocated to Clay Township bringing his business with him. His current location at 1623 Mill St. he believes was formerly known as Hall’s Specialty Products.

“The building used to build parts for Chris Craft back in the ‘50s,” he says. “It’s kind of cool that it’s come full circle.”

With most jobs taking months, sometimes years to complete, Eversole’s expertise and passion attract clients from all over the country, flourishing through word of mouth and an online presence. He credits a significant boost to his business to the exposure he gained in Sept. 2018 when CBS Sunday Morning News featured his shop in a piece on wooden boats.

For Eversole, the true joy lies in the moment when a painstaking restoration is complete.

“The coolest part is when all these boats are done, I get to test drive them all,” he says grinning.

Eversole’s love for wooden boats is not merely a profession but who he is; a woodworker and engineer, with devotion to preserving these maritime treasures, one restoration at a time.

Brothers Hale (left) and Mark Walker.

The Walker family tide

In the Walker family, boating is not just a pastime; it’s a way of life. Brothers hailing from a clan of seven siblings, Hale and Mark Walker are the latest custodians of a maritime legacy that traces its origins to their parents’ unwavering love for all things nautical.

Hale Walker owns two vessels that stand as testaments to his family’s enduring connection to the world of boating. The first is a 1960 Chris Craft Sea Skiff, named the Odyssea.

It’s a vessel with a unique pedigree, having been designed and built by Chris Smith, the grandson of Christopher Columbus Smith, the founder of Chris-Craft Boats.

“It’s a direct descendant of the Chris Craft,” Hale Walker says proudly. “So that’s pretty neat to keep it in our area.”

Another addition to his collection, Hale Walker also owns a 1950 Continental, part of Chris Craft’s lineup of luxury boats during the mid-20th century and a vessel that remains highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Similarly, Mark Walker owns a set of classic boats that evoke the elegance and craftsmanship of a bygone era.

His collection includes a 1936 Gar Wood, named after Garfield Arthur “Gar” Wood, a Detroit investor and builder known for his racing motorboats.

Additionally, he treasures two Chris Craft Barrel Backs, one from 1939 and the other from 1941, both of which are known for their timeless beauty and meticulous craftsmanship.

The crown jewel of their collection is a 1940 Red and White Express named the Johnnie Walker Red in honor of their father. With a streamlined hull adorned in a red and white color scheme, the brothers say it holds a special place in their hearts as it is exactly like the vessel their father owned before they were born. 

United by their lifelong love of wooden boats, the Walkers are on a mission to share their passion with others. They are in the process of starting a social boating club and also return each year to regional boat shows offering free rides along their vessels.

“Many people have never been on a boat,” Mark Walker says. “It’s a pretty special way to share the lake and be a part of that experience with them.”

But for the Walkers, life on the water isn’t just about boats; it’s a rich tapestry woven from memories, heritage, and a deep appreciation for the craftsmanship of these vessels.

Related: secondwavemedia.com/the-keel/features/Chris-Craft-history.aspx
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Read more articles by Cynthia McClung.

Cynthia McClung holds a forced field of positive energy that’s contagious. As the mother of a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, a sophomore at Bowling Green State University, and a kindergartener she believes a smile holds immeasurable and undefinable power. “Smile and watch what will happen; turn evil into goodness, sadness into elation, and give joy to others.” Cynthia embraces mother nature and the outdoors. As a hobby farmer living in the city, her home features edible landscaping and wildflowers. Becoming a freelance writer is a dream she has manifested with the intention of serving others through words. More about Cynthia at cynthia-mcclung.com or Mama Cindy’s travel blog at readysetgosingle.com.