Gap filling cracks on old hull

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Demelza, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. Demelza
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    Location: australia

    Demelza New Member

    I've got cracks along the chines, I suspect they are from shinkage, there doesn't appear to be any rot in the timber or structural damage. What should I use to fill the gaps? Can I use a 2-part liquid epoxy adhesive or a 2-part general purpose low viscosity epoxy system (epoxy resin/hardener)??
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    NO, NO. Any of that stuff will kill your boat. Epoxy is rigid and will crush the wood fibers at the seam and stress the rest of the structure. Have a surveyor or boat carpenter check it out for you.
  3. Demelza
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    Location: australia

    Demelza New Member

    thanks for the reply Gonzo,
    on stripping the surface off thebottom of the boat I noticed that someone had used a 2-part epoxy adhesive along the chines previously and yes this had cracked where used.
    The boat is very old and only used in the river. I'm not looking at spending a lot of money on it and plan to repair it myself so is there something you can suggest that I can use to bog the cracks along the chines.
    It appeared plasti-bond had been used in other areas more effectively. Can I use something similar or do I just live with the cracks as they are not penetrating through the hull.
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Gonzo is correct as usual. You need to find out why the cracks are forming.

    It sounds like you have a plywood boat, though I'm guessing, and the planking is moving, which is breaking out the hard goo stuffed into the seams (which is never a good idea) along the chine. There is probably a similar issue occurring on the garboards, the stem and the transom. It's unlikely the goo was necessary, but was used as a quick fix, possibly for a leak or three. The only time a seam like this should have epoxy or other hard adhesive in it, is on tape and seam or stitch and glue construction. Poly has no place on wood, it doesn't stick long. Since your boat is "old" it's unlikely it's a stitched or taped seam construction, though more information about the boat (year, make, builder, construction method, etc.) would be helpful.

    It could be the planking swelled and popped the hard plastic out of the seams or the fasteners have started losing their grip on the chine log, allowing the planking to move around more then intended. It could also be rot in the structural members, fastener sickness and/or a combo of several different problems, all working towards letting the bottom and topside planking move at different rates.

    These are issues that will need be explored by a pro. Packing another poly or epoxy based adhesive into the seams will create more damage and additional issues, the problem needs be addressed, not a bandaid placed on the symptom. A boat carpenter (familiar with this type of construction) or a surveyor (again, familiar with the type) will be able to correctly access the issue(s) you have with this boat. With that provided info, you can then form a plan of attack, that will fix the problem(s) and not have it spring back up next year in a different spot along the chines, garboard seam, stem or other seam that may also have received the magic goo in a can treatment, lots of folks think will fix their vessels.
  5. Gonzo is perfectly correct. If wood drys out due to loss of the natural liquids in it AND also drys out because of very low humidty. What is the wood going to do when humidity rises or it is splashed with water? It will start closing all those cracks and gaps completly and keep squeezing tighter and tighter. Have a really good-- the best woodworker or cabinet maker in your area look at it. You may have to replace pieces if they dry out too many times too long. Rich

  6. Maverick1958
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    Location: BC Canada

    Maverick1958 New Member

    Its an old boat so use the materials of that age to fix the problem..
    Red Lead

    Alot of people now adays try and fix old boats with newer materials that are good for some things but not many in older style boats old school ideas have worked for many years.
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