In Jan. 22 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
“You can write a check to take care of a lot of things,” said Paul Cundiff. “But you can't write a check that will spend time with your kids.”
So Cundiff and Dr. Brad Christensen from Berea College got together on a project to provide families a little time to build a keepsake, a boat.
The varnished mahogany boat is powered by a 30-pound thrust trolling motor, steered by wheel and controlled by the trolling motor's built-in controls.
Father and son Steve and Keaton Eberly were side by side throughout the project and Steve bragged on his son.
He had to give up watching some important games, Steve said of his son. "He's the sports editor of the school newspaper."
Keaton, 12, was willing to toss in a comment or two about sports, but kept it to short answers, along with smile a nod when asked about how much fun he was having and how he liked working on the project with his father.
"Painting," was the answer to what he liked the best. "I like to paint."
The youth went back to tinkering with part of the boat, and occasionally checking the Internet on his phone to keep track of the games.
Unlike the other father and son team, from Nancy, Scott and Camron Owings had a long drive in, but they are old hands at boating, and they're used to the drive.
"We've had a slip at State Dock for several years," Scott said. "We're always doing something that floats."
Both 12-year-olds were looking forward to putting their new boats in the water, and both fathers were expecting it to pass on to other members of the family as the years go on.
"Then after a ten or 15 years they'll go up in the top of the garage," said Mahoney, an industrial arts instructor. "They'll stay up there until the grandkids come along."
Christensen, who teaches teachers at Berea, is the one who built the first of the boats as a gift for his children. Cundiff then built one for his granddaughter last Christmas. This year his daughter and son-in-law are building one for their son.
Then there is the team that is building for not one, but seven children.
"All together they have four kids now and three of their wives are present," Cundiff said pointing to a team of three brothers and one brother-in-law. "Their father just bought a wooden boat that I'll be rebuilding."
Cundiff who specializes in repair of very collectable wooden boats was busy moving amongst the teams as they worked on their pint-sized collectables.
Brothers Matt, Brad and Brandon Ohnheisen along with their sister's husband Jeremy Divine are used the project as something of a test for how well they'll do working on dad's new cabin cruiser.
This project has had something of a testing phase as well.
"Gary first built it as a pedal-boat," Cundiff said. "It really isn't any more costly to build it with the trolling motor and it is faster."
He added that at full throttle the boat still isn't faster than a brisk walk, but it doesn't take two children pedaling fast as they can to get up to that speed.
"It will run at full throttle for about 100 minutes before it needs recharging," Cundiff added.
"We've been at this almost all week," he said. Cundiff and his son spent the week cutting out the basic pieces, and building two of the four sub-assemblies that make up the kit.
The hull and deck are two parts, which the families join and then paint or varnish as need-be. The controls and seating sections are independent and remain removable even after the boat is finished.
"Well I don't think I made any money on this," said Cundiff, who purchased the raw materials and re-sold the kits to the participants. Each cost less than $2,000 everything, he said.