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1940 Ruehl Hydroplane Tether boat (bakelite)

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Here's what I have been toiling over for the past few months! This boat was built from an original kit from 1940; the hull is made of Bakelite (remember that stuff old guys?), The engine is a Hassad/shock one off that is .91 cubic inch, and runs on gas. Although the boat IS setup to run; it will certainly never see the tether pond. The boat is 26" long and 8" wide. Matt

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Posted · Report post

That is a little work of art! And though I understand why you would not want to run the boat, it seems a shame non-the-less.

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Posted · Report post

I remember you talking to me about this at Chattanooga. It turned out great.I really like the metal flake blue scallop.I bet that it shines like crazy in the sun.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

After 60 years it's STILL in one peice??? That bakeolite stuff was brittle as heck. I remember the TV knobs on our old Admiral TV were made from that. My dad fix one of our broken knobs with industrial epoxy!(it's TOO messy to even TRY to use on a model! 9 year old sage advice!)

Edited by george 53

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Posted · Report post

Very cool.

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Posted · Report post

Very Nice!

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Posted · Report post

I thought Bakelite went out in the '40s?

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Posted · Report post

Thanks guys; These type of builds are always fun for me....Quite a bit of "stuff" to put inside the boat before you can put the bottoms on....anyway, I appreciate the comments....and for Harry P. Yes, Bakelite did go out in the 1940's That's why I was Thrilled to find this brand new kit FROM 1940 that had been stored perfectly for 72 years!!! Not many guys in our circles have had the chance to build one of these boats, So I jumped at the chance to do one from the kit...Working with 72 year old bakelite is challenging; but the bottom line: It's still just plastic.I have another one of these boats to do next; it was built in 1958; and I will be doing a full restoration and modern paint finish; as well as making a new return plenum to replace the rubber tube from the supercharger (YES, Supercharger) to the engine....I'll Keep you guys posted.............Matt

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Wow wow wow !! Absolutely beautiful and a fascinating find.

Harry said: "I thought Bakelite went out in the '40s?"

Bakelite is based on a thermosetting phenolic resin, STILL used for a wide variety of applications (probably most important in electronic circuit-boards before fiberglass took over). Though not widely known, phenolic-impregnated linen fiber was seriously considered as a replacement for aluminum in WW2 Spitfire aircraft, an early composite-materials program.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Posted · Report post

....and for Harry P. Yes, Bakelite did go out in the 1940's That's why I was Thrilled to find this brand new kit FROM 1940 that had been stored perfectly for 72 years!!!

Ah, my mistake. I missed that part.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks to all you guys; It's nice to see some folks know what these boats are. The bakelite is really not the easiest medium to work with; it is very hard, and eats up cutting wheels! I have been working on the next boat, already have it dismantled; and the hull stripped down....the original paint was UGLY, as was the inside of the boat; so I am "skinning" the entire inside of this boat in Birch Plywood; to hide the old ugly that was there. Anyway; Thanks to all for your interest; and I may get the opportunity to bring these boats out to a couple model shows this year.....Most likely the NNL in Atlanta next fall....Matt

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Posted · Report post

Awesome Paint and build.

I have several Reuhl tractors and almost got my hands on one of those boats, an old quite used one. Don't these thing bring near a $1000.00 old built form? I could only imagine what a NIB would sell for, $4000+?

It would be cool to see progress photos of the one you are working on now.

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Posted · Report post

Tom; Hold on to the old Reuhl tractors!!! They are all great pieces to have. The Bakelite tether boats do command some big prices; depending on what they are, and who owned or built them in some cases...I have seen some sell in beat up shape for less than $1000; but those usually have a small, run of the mill engine setup; and need complete restoration. The boat I am currently working on is that type of boat; although still well into the multiple thousands of dollar price range; and having already gotten the boat stripped down, I realized that this boat had never apparently been setup to actually run. It lacked an on/off switch between the battery box and coil; and didn't have a condenser on the ignition side....I will remedy these issues when the boat goes back together after the repaint, although I will not install tether mounts to the hull; as they are just too obtrusive in a display case. The other big value factor with these boats is the running gear/engine combination. Early and rare engines will often drive the boat prices up as well; as there is an entire segment of the hobby that collect the vintage engines as well. This boat has an original Super Cyclone 60 GR installed, with a twin plug head and an efficiency engineering supercharger! I have been fortunate to be able to do these projects for an avid tether collector and long time friend that has the "means" to collect them. I enjoy doing the engineering and building the boats and tether, and it's quite different from the "normal" plastic modeling that I do; PLUS; I don't have to PAY for,it!!! I do have a whole series of build pix from the last boat; I do build books for every one of these projects; and I intend to add a new section to my website just for the tether stuff; I just haven't gotten time to do it yet; Many Thanks ...Matt

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Posted · Report post

WOW !!!!

That's all i can manage to form the words to say......

Absolutely stunning.

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