Restoring the Luster: This Altus pool and spa guy specializes in wood boats.

ALTUS, OKLAHOMA -- His work in winter measures to the very end of an age when every boat was made of wood.

Clay Thompson is a pool and spa guy in the summer, but his creative currents flow toward mahogany and oak in winter, the building blocks of wood pleasure boats he can still save.

"I'm just all about the wood boats," he says. "That way you can use it and enjoy it and bring it back in operation again."

In might take years to turn these runabouts and commuters from firewood back to floating works of art.

Thompson like to bring them to what they would have looked like on a show room floor.

An old 1955 Chris Craft with the first of the curved windshields is one of several off season projects that might take a few winters before their perfect.

"This is all mahogany wood," he points out. "Shaped, bent, sometimes it's carved to shape. Then you sand it. Lots of sanding. I hope you like to sand if you work on wood boats."

Look across his shop wall and you can see some of the boats he's brought back to life, most of them from the last great era of wood pleasure boats made by Chris Craft and Riva.

"These were a luxury item," says Thompson.

Step into his garage addition at home and you can see his sparkling finished projects.

This 1959 Riva Tritone is the same one you see in this picture from the 1959 Miami Boat Show.

The zebra and turquoise were factory issue.

Clay insists, "Everything should be the way it came as it looked on the showroom floor."

Thompson's pride and joy is this old Chris Craft runabout that looks fast just sitting still.

"It's kind of my baby," he smiles.

The rest await just the right person, hypnotized by the deep reds and bleached yellows of shaped wood, floating pieces of art when they were made, and even more so now.

Clay Thompson and several other members of the Heartland Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society will show their restored wood boats at the 2018 Oklahoma CIty Boat Show at the State Fairgrounds from January 26 - 28.

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