Sherwood Heggen

By Stephen C. Merjanian, Jr.

This is the second of a series that highlights the professional restorers who are also members of BSLOL. We are defining a professional as an individual who earns his/her living by restoring boats. We don’t endorse any individual, however we will attempt to factually record some of their accomplishments.

Sherwood Heggen has been a member of the BSLOL since 1987. At that time he restored a 1948 Chris Craft 17’ Runabout and displayed it for the first time at the 1988 Rendezvous. He refers to this time, as the beginning of the “hobby phase” of his new found passion for boat restoration. His hobby was pursued on weekends and evenings while his days were filled as a Loan Collections Manger at Norwest Bank. By the end of 2001, he had worked on at least twelve boats

For eleven seasons we all enjoyed watching Sherwood run his 1959 Century 16’ Resorter at various BSLOL events. During that period, the Resorter was awarded The Real Runabouts Trophy, Best Century Award on two occasions, and Best Classic Utility Under 20’. Greg Benson took a great shot of this boat that appeared on the December 1999 BoatHouse cover.

At the 2000 Rendezvous, Sherwood won the Best Professional Restoration award for a 1938 Chris Craft 19’ Sportsman that was found in So Illinois by Dave Doner. This was a gray boat (AKA: toast) that was a major reconstruction from the keel up over a ten year period. Now his pier (sic) group recognized him as a professional restorer.

As part of all this restoration activity, Sherwood has written the Gadgets and Kinks column in The BoatHouse for the past five years. These articles have become excellent references for our membership and are posted on our web site Sherwood enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences via phone (715-294-2415) and email In addition, Sherwood has participated as a presenter at our winter workshops. He has demonstrated installing topside planks using a modified router to match plank edges. At another workshop he and Dan Nelson demonstrated drilling a prop shaft hole through a keel to align correctly with the shaft log.

In February 2002, Sherwood decided to retire from Wells Fargo Bank (Norwest) and restore boats on a full-time basis. His workshop in the countryside near Osceola, WI measures 26’ x 48’ and can accommodate three mid-sized boats. Since making that major decision, he has worked on eight boats that required work ranging from frame/hull repair to varnish. His love for woodworking inspires him to carefully select the correct wood and grain pattern to bring each boat back to its original beauty. For the brightwork, Sherwood uses high quality varnishes and methods that provide the high gloss customers desire. For the bottom, he uses the plywood/5200/plank method ala Don Danenberg with great results. Smith & Co.’s (one of our advertisers) penetrating epoxy and barrier coats are used to keep water penetration into the wood fibers to a minimum.

Currently, his time is divided between repairs to customers’ boats from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa and reconstructing a neglected 1939 Chris Craft for his own use that followed him home. With his banking career in his past, he is now happily ensconced in rural Wisconsin, pursuing his dream of bringing old boats back to life and loving every minute.

1948 Chris Craft 17’ Runabout – 1988 Renedezvous