Meet Joel Terbrueggen

+ Restoration Specialist

Joel Terbrueggen

I was raised on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. My father always had a boat of some kind. In winter months we sailed Ice Boats on the frozen Lake St. Clair. In summertime my time on the water was either in a small sail boat we built from Popular Mechanics’ plans, or in a lapstrake called a Sorg, then the venerable Chris Craft Sportsman.

My memories of the Sportsman were from Miller Marina in St. Clair Shores were the boat was kept. My dad always had me wipe it down with a chamois after each use, then maintenance varnish in the spring. It’s tough to get a decent finish coat when applied at the marina, sometimes outside.
Eventually as I got older, I developed an interest in restoring the old wood boats as a hobby. Somehow word spread and I began receiving calls from other people restoring boats as well.

Once the internet came along, I found a Restoration chat room in AOL and enjoyed that. Finally, I started teaching restoration classes. I did that for 15 to 20 years and enjoyed it immensely.
Starting in the mid 90’s buyers of wood boats began contacting me to inspect a potential purchase they were considering. I did that for a little more than 20 years and inspected almost 620 boats. I got to know where to look for common issues in wood boats. A lot of my work, over 22,00 pictures, are available to be viewed at the ACBS Members area.

I started the restoration shop in a Cincinnati based Antique and Classic Boat business. I was with them about 15 years.

Not long after retiring from there Brian Keen started Motor Boat Garage. He asked me if I would be interested in helping him, so here I am. So much for retirement.