Grumman 17 SCOUT

We bought a Grumman 17 double ender to fill the canoe block. She is good for a mess about and may get a sailing rig someday, just for fun. Her name is SCOUT.

"In the summer of 1944, after portaging a heavy wood and canvas canoe on a fishing trip in the Adirondack Mountains, William Hoffman, Vice President of Grumman Aircraft Engineering, had an idea: What about making a canoe from the same lightweight, stretch-formed aluminum that Grumman had used to become the single largest producer of carrier-based fighter planes during World War II? In 1945, the very first aluminum canoe, a 13-footer, was produced at the aircraft plant in Bethpage, Long Island. By the end of World War II Grumman was producing a line of 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, and 20 foot canoes.

The plant relocated to Marathon, N.Y. in 1952, and in 1988 Grumman produced the largest aluminum boat in its history at Marathon. Designed for the Great Lakes, it measured 22' 3". Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) bought the division in 1990 and produced the last Grumman-brand canoe in 1996. Shortly thereafter former Grumman executives formed the Marathon Boat Group to produce the canoes. In 2000 the Group worked out an agreement with Northrop Grumman to sell the canoes using Grumman name and logo." (See references).

Leroy Grumman tests out his trademark aluminum canoe. Photograph courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

SCOUT is hull number 1384 from the Marathon, N.Y. plant, making her one of the earliest canoes built there after the plant opened in 1952. We believe that the code 1384-GP-5-17 means Hull Number-General Purpose-.050 aluminum thickness-17 foot.

Certified for 5 horsepower, 5 persons of 150 pounds each or 805 pounds maximum weight for persons, motor and gear.

We did a little float test with her bow and stern foam to make sure it still works as advertised.

The foam was molded in two parts so that it was easy to insert into the bow and stern, plus had the number 17 molded on it.

Here's the crew pulling the Grumman 17 double ender SCOUT in to the garage. She is scheduled for cleaning, light sanding, a repaint in Fire Red and Gull Gray, maybe some shark's teeth and a Firebird logo. But in the meantime she floats just fine.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

03 Sep 18:

As a result of playing Boat Tetris in prep for Tropical Storm Gordon, the Canoe Works are now open. Our Grumman 17 double ender SCOUT is going to get a field expedient combat paint job.

Change of plans, SCOUT will get a tribute paint scheme to the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers, they defended China against the Japanese right before the US entered WWII.

I thought I could spot spray a few areas, but there were too many scratches with flaked paint edges and start of corrosion. Sanded scratched paint areas with 120 grit on a randome orbital sander to get rid of sub surface corrosion and give the aluminum some tooth for paint to grab onto.

Taped a waterline for the light gray fuselage bottom.

Transferred waterline to opposite side with our cool cloth tape measure. To make it easy I slid the tape back until an inch or half inch line was centered on the keel, in this case 9 inches, then doubled the number to 18 and marked the opposite line with a small strip of tape. We marked about every foot or so.

Starboard side waterline. Started a long strip of tape, about 4-5 feet and laid a fair curve close to the small tape markers. Found a few math errors and adjusted.

Painted the bottom with Kirby Light Gray cut with 50% White to make Light Light Gray, brushed with a Corona Trim brush. George told me it would have been optimum to brush a coat of primer first but I was too excited. If it comes off I'll redo it or call it battle damage. With the 95F heat index we had I found it best to lay down two brush widths vertical then tip it horizontal, had to work it fast before it got tacky.

Bottom of "fuselage" painted.

Test area to see if I could blend in the Patina Bronze base paint for the side. Liked the clean taped line better. The test area will be painted over with the shark's teeth. As I finished the side the first gust front from TS Gordon blew through, 35 mph gust. Had to move SCOUT into the Carriage House and she bunked with ZIP. Also had to pick a few pine needles off of the tacky paint!

Port bow, worked on the pattern for the shark's teeth.

Canoe plant in 1982.

12 Sep 18:

TS Gordon come and gone, landfall around Gulfport MS. 6 inches of rain, 35 mph peak wind.

Safe to paint again. Sprayed the sides of SCOUT with Rust-Oleum Anodized Bronze and Sand colors. Feathered the edges. This will be an experiment, not sure how the paint will stick to the aluminum long term.

Used some photos as a reference to free hand the shark's teeth. Painted the first coat with Kirby Paint White.

SCOUT was one of the early Grumman 17s built in Marathon, mid 1950s we're thinking, based on the serial number.

21 Sep 18:

Grumman started making canoes after WWII in Bethpage, NY and expanded production to Marathon, NY in the early 1950s. Here is some of their advertisement.

21 Sep 18:

Traced the shark's teeth design on SCOUT's port side and transferred it over to starboard.

Outlined the teeth. Brushed on the base coat of Kirby's Marynard Bray Off White, thinned with Penetrol, with a cheapo art brush.

Brushed on the base coat of Kirby's Marynard Bray Off White, thinned with Penetrol, with a cheapo art brush. We kept the pattern if anyone needs to put shark's teeth on any of their boats, like NELLIE BELLE.

Port side got second coat of paint.

After we get a second coat on the starboard side we'll add the tongue and a black border.

After we get a second coat on the starboard side we'll add the tongue and a black border.

27 Sep 18:

Put the second coat of Kirby White on the starboard side teeth and painted the white's of Sharknoe's eyeballs.

28 Sep 18:

Worked on the eyeballs and tongue for the Flying Tigers tribute paint paint on SCOUT. Used Kirby Black for the outline and Rustoleum Topside Marine Fire Red for the tongue.

Next we get to figure out the size for the Chinese National roundel.

03 Oct 18:

Worked on the Flying TIgers' paint scheme, traced a circle and painted the base coat for the Chinese National roundel with Kirby White. Also applied first layer of Tex Hill's ship number 48.

Tongue added to the port side with Rustoleum Professional High Performance Protective Enamel Safety Red.

Here are the patterns for Triple Ace Tex Hill's number and the Chines National roundel. We will make a copy of the roundel and cut out the white sections with an xacto knife, then use that to trace the circles and triangles.

04 Oct 18:

We made a copy of the roundel and cut out the white sections with an xacto knife, then used that to trace the circles and triangles over the base circle with pencil.

We wanted medium blue for the roundel, decided to try a 1:1 mix of paints we had in the Carriage House. Looked around and we had Kirby White enamel and Interlux Brightside Sapphire Blue Polyurethane. Would they mix? No idea, but we went for it anyway. The color came out great and the paint flowed on nice and smooth, good coverage. Time will tell how the mix holds up, maybe we discovered something new. We used a nice mixing cup from Jamestown DIstributors, it has markings for different mix ratios, we used 1:1.

For 1:1 our the first color up to the 1 on the left, then the second color up to the one on the right. The other markings to the right are for different ratios like 2:1, 3:1 etc...Pour slow and stop short of the line, let the paint fill in as it is easy to pour past the line. I poured too much White for the 1 mark so I slowed down, regrouped and poured a little more up to the 2 line. Then poured the Blue up to the 2 line. We had plenty of Medium Blue!

I turned the canoe on its side to paint the blue, that helps avoid runs. The key before painting is to mark which parts will be blue, it is easy to get it backwards. I marked one of the blue sections with a B as I was tracing. For a brush I used a cheapo soft brush from a multi pack of art brushes, about 1/2 inch wide with a straight tip. The soft tip let me load up lots of paint, for smooth flow.

The Chinese National roundel dates from 1895, a blue sky with a white sun. The 12 stars represent the 12 months of the year and 12 traditional Chinese hours, symbolizing the spirit of progress.

Number 48 is Triple Ace Tex Hill's ship number from the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers.

SCOUT ready to head to the beach!

Ready for Sea Trials.

Check out the groove down the beach, the standard flat water keel on the Grumman 17 is designed to make paddling easier and help the canoe track straight, reducing unwanted drift.

SCOUT had a great time, chased some pelicans, successful Float Test and she was pretty proud of herself!

SCOUT is happy to back with her kayak buddies, holding up the trees. New adventures await!

25 Dec 18:

We had Christmas wreath photos on small boats the last 2 years, so how about another one for 2018? A fun adventure on Christmas Day, our Grumman 17 SCOUT was the photo boat for this year.

Hope you are having a great holiday season with family and friends, and a geared up for a superb 2019!

Happy Canoe Year!

03 Mar 19:

SCOUT chased the kayaks around for a bit then swam back ashore. This picture is posted to celebrate Webb Chile's and GANNETT's portage across Panama, they are back to the Pacific now, and will be continuing their circumnavigation soon.

to be continued...

American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers
Grumman wikipedia
How Aluminum Revolutionized The Canoe
Grumman Canoe History
Marathon Boats
Tex Hill

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