Dried out

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by david morris, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. david morris
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    david morris New Member

    Hello, my wooden trawler 50 foot was hauled out the water 12 months ago and has been drying out in blistering spanish sun since,i was ill therfore unable to relaunch,which im sure is going to give me big problems,any thoughts on best way forward,im thinking strip back to bare wood ,strip putty,harden the caulking and repay,,,,anyone have this experience ,thanks david
     
  2. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Hi David,

    Is your problem simply that the wood has shrunk, or is the seam-filling material toast also?

    If it's simply a matter of it having dried out, one method that seems to be reasonably successful is to get a few of those perforated garden hoses used to water fragile flowerbeds. Run them longitudinally along the hull at a few points and stretch burlap tightly under the boat from gunwale to gunwale. (Can prop all of this up with scrap lumber if you have concavities in the hull that prevent it from sort-of making contact.) Leaving the soaker hoses on, at a low flow rate, for a few days should swell the wood back to its normal dimensions.

    If the caulking is shot, you're beyond my realm of expertise, but there are a number of wooden boat aficionados here who will no doubt offer their advice shortly.
     
  3. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    David, Looks like you already know what you have to do, just hoping to avoid it eh.....nup, go on with your plans and do it right mate.
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This isn't unusual for traditional hull construction. Most haul out facilities will hang your boat in the travel lift slings for as long as it takes for her to "suck up". The garden hose and sprinklers will help, but it takes a while and lots of marinas don't like to have water running 24 hours a day. A few well placed humidifiers in the bilge will help, but most just splash the boat and have pumps on the ready for the first few days so get the leaking under control while she swells up. Talk to your marina or haul out facility about it. This isn't the first time they've encountered this and they'll know how to handle it.
     
  5. Tangusso
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    Tangusso Junior Member

    Is it possible, if a boat has been out of the water and in dry storage for many years, that the cellular structure of the planking will degrade, causing the wood to fail to swell ever again?
     
  6. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    From my personal experiences, wooden boats even 30 years out of the water still swell when dunked.

    I helped a fella in New Caledonia bring to life an old fishing boat that was built and never launched for over 30 years, she was of course recaulked etc etc, but still managed to swell up within the week, my old yacht in Australia was the same, built from Jarra, she was only launched after 25 years on the hard.
     
  7. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    In the days when bottom paint came in cheap grades , a fresh coat of copper paint would be put on after the hauled boat was cleaned and dry for 1/2 hour.

    This helped the water STAY in the wood.

    I would make a deal with the boat yard to hang the boat in the travel lift for a day or two.

    The warm water will rapidly swell the planking , until you can be afloat with only a bilge pump.

    I would pump as needed and wait at least 2 weeks to haul the boat and see if seam compound or caulking is needed.

    Caulking a dry boat is dangerous as the wood MUST expand when wet.

    Have fun,

    FF
     
  8. Tangusso
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    Tangusso Junior Member

    The boat I am thinking about was "slick seamed" according to the current owner. She claimed the boatyard told her it was not required but did it anyway. She had it launched only to discover that it did swell and squeeze all of the material out like ribbon candy.

    Can this cause damage to the ribs (fractures)? I do not know how long they used the boat in this state, but I suspect it was less than two seasons, then it was pulled and has been dry for ten plus years. Not sure if a bottom replanking is in order?
     
  9. xsboats
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    xsboats xsboats

    Slickseam or in the old days waterpump grease is used because it squeezes out thereby not causing damage. Damage will occur with the application of hard compounds in the seamswhich prohibit swelling of the planks.[usually about 1 week per inch of thickness on most commonly used hardwoods] I put burlap bags in the bilge and wet them out repeatedly up until the swelling is complete.Even with slickseam, some leaking of the seams will occur,but the burlap will keep it from spraying all over the interior of the boat. While in the slings saturation of the planks occurs from the outside inward but the burlap holds the water against the hull saturating it from the inside outward. This cuts down on the time needed to swell up.
     
  10. Tangusso
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    Tangusso Junior Member

    So you dont believe that the wood will lose it's ability to reswell over time?
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You're boat will be fine. Splash her, keep her on "life support" (hanging in the slings with a pump at the ready) for a day or two, then move her to the "service dock" (the dock right next to the travel lift, used for boats that might have to come out in a hurry) until she swells up (on a sound hull, less then a week). If it takes more then a week for her to tighten up, then you have an issue, like a spring plank (which is visible), a bad butt block, leaking stuffing box, etc.
     
  12. Tangusso
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    Tangusso Junior Member

    How do you determine if a hull needs to be recaulked, and is there someplace on this site (or anywhere online) that gives a detailed description of the correct way to do it?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Caulking is a bit of an art form, requiring a fair amount of skill to do properly. If done incorrectly you can ruin planking, break frames, etc.

    If the boat doesn't "take up" in a reasonable amount of time, then you need to find out where the leaks are coming from. If the obvious places, such as through hulls, stuffing box, rudder port, etc. have been eliminated, then the seams should be suspect. Frankly, leaking seams have a habit of letting you know in very visible ways. You can see the seams "weeping" at least, if not directing a finger size stream of water towards the bilge.

    The nature of your questions in general suggest you need a survey or at least a boat carpenter, to come aboard have a good look see. They'll be able to inform you of what's good or bad about your seams, planking and the many other issues that can crop up in the ownership of an older wooden boat.

    To answer your question, a good carpenter, surveyor or caulker can look at your seams and tell you if you need recaulking. How much leaking was there the last time she was splashed? How often did the pumps run to keep up with leaks? How wide are the seams, in comparison to when she was last in the water? Etc., etc., etc.
     
  14. keith66
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    keith66 Senior Member

    Wooden boats built using softwood planking will swell up quite quickly those planked in hardwoods will generally take longer. The important thing to remember is never fill the seams with stuff that sets hard as it is liable to burst planking. I have successfully used a soft oil based mastic made by Evode, Evomastik this stuff never sets hard and will squeeze out as the hull swells.
    If the boat has been dry for a long time big parts like keels can take years to return to their original size. Good luck!
     

  15. riggertroy
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    riggertroy Senior Member

    Finally got my 22ft keeler in the water after 6years on the hard, the guys at the yard put her in the water with the travel lift for a few hours then pulled her out overnight, next morning back into the water and shifted her to a marina berth, after 3 days the pump was running once a day for only a few seconds. I was very releived to have her take up so quickly.
    Kauri planking and traditionally cauked with cotton and payed with white lead and putty.
     
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