Chris Craft Boat Lettering

After years of development in the skill of hand lettering, certain projects come along that may seem small but are quite a treat, as well. The title of this post might be confusing, because lettering a classic wooden Chris Craft Boat is not a small project. It is an honorable project when the lettering is 23K gold Leaf, outlined in black on a beautifully varnished mahogany wood vessel. Here is a picture of one I gilded in 1999. The picture was taken with the craft floating in Lodi Lake  after the lettering was completed. The body of water the boat currently resides in is Lake Tahoe. The owner of “Sterlyng”, Bill Norby, has commissioned me to paint many other Chris Craft boats, and these are small.

Bill spends most of his time building Chris Craft boats… that can sit on your desk or mantel. He specializes in Runabout’s built during the 1930’s through the 1950´s.  These models are constructed from birch, spruce and plywood, then covered with mahogany planking, just as the real boats.  They range in length from 28″ to 41″. Some of the clients that Bill builds these classic models for, want to have the name of their boat lettered on the transom, or both sides, or maybe on the trailer the boat rests on. You can see the boats and some of the lettering on Bill’s website (or you can click his link on the right under Sites I Like)

These next few photographs show a ‘step by step’ of  the boat WeLikeIt, which I lettered a week ago. The colors are Imitation Gold and a black outline. The last picture is the boat My Evil Sidekick , which I lettered prior.

I am known for lettering large on walls and 3″ reverse gold leaf letters behind glass, but not many days are you asked to letter a big proud 3/4″ tall title of a boat with 1/4″ name of its port of call.

Am I crazy? Maybe, maybe not.

Leave a comment


  1. Sean Leonard

     /  March 25, 2012

    Love it! Tony…. nice work. These beautiful skiff’s look like the one that reeled in “Walter” in “On golden pond.”

  2. Sorry I didn’t find this post until June. These boats are really cool! I will subscribe to your feed so I don’t miss any more blog posts. M


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