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Restoration floats their boat

Alissa Widman Neese • Feb 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Sprawled out on a workshop floor, Karl Husty twists onto his back, wipes the dust from his eyes and presses a hand against the lumber above him.

Suspended over his head is an old sailboat's curved skeleton, a hodgepodge of brittle wooden planks seemingly in shambles.

Shannon Murphy, standing over Husty, hammers a sturdy new wooden plank in place as Husty holds it steady.

Some would consider their labor a lost cause. It's a tedious and costly venture to restore a "burn boat" to its former glory.

But to Dwight Davis, a man who has dedicated his life to boat restoration, this work is the world's "highest art form."

"There's nothing more beautiful than a wooden boat out on the water," Davis said. "Luckily a segment of the boating population still continues to care for them so they're not lost to time."

Davis, owner of Classic Marine in Vickery, has led wooden boat restoration classes for the Maritime Museum of Sandusky since the mid-1990s.

His current project: restoring a 16-foot Lyman catboat built in Sandusky in the late 1930s. The sailboat, purchased by the museum for less than $200 last year, is one of only a handful left in the world.

Read more about the restoration process in Sunday's Register.

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