Reinforcing stem on Plywood skiff

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by CaptChap, Jan 17, 2023.

  1. CaptChap
    Joined: Aug 2022
    Posts: 14
    Likes: 6, Points: 3
    Location: Jonesport, ME

    CaptChap Junior Member

    During my 18 ft. Lumberyard Skiff build, when I got to finishing out the bow/stem area before xynol/glassing the hull, I was stumped (briefly) on how to reinforce the bow where the ends of the plywood topsides terminate at the stempost. I wanted something strong, impact-resistant, but cheap (my middle name), so I tried the following which was very easy to install and should make my bow a virtual battering ram, should I ever bump into a dock head-on (not I ever will, of course!) See the following sketch I did to explain what I used.
    In my local Big-Box store, I found a 4 ft piece of extruded fibeglass rod, approx. 1/2" dia., complete with little "ridges" all around the surface (like steel rebar), in the garden setion of the store. It's called "Fiberglass Garden Stakes" and is bright green in color, and was, if I remember, lesss than $5.00. It fit just right in the "V" notch at the bow where the 2 plywood sides meet, with just enough room to schmeer some glass-filled epoxy putty around it. I used a couple of small stainless screws to hold it into the stem while I set the epoxy filler around it. I then just wrapped the stem in a couple of layers of 10 oz. fiberglass overlapping strips, before the final xynol /epoxy sheathing of the entire hull.
    Feel free to cantact me for coments/questions. Cheers. LYF 18 Stem Reinforcement Details.jpg
  2. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    That'll be good enough to ram some docks or other boats. Looks like a satisfactory and cheap easy fix.

    I have built several dagger boards that used a quarter inch round rod, either bronze or aluminum, as a leading edge. It works well to preserve the leading edge.
  3. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    It is a unique approach, but I would still use tabbing on the inside; especially with dissimilar materials in the seam.
  4. jbo_c
    Joined: Jul 2017
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 11, Points: 8
    Location: Gainesville, GA

    jbo_c Junior Member

    I’d did basically the same when I built a canoe years ago except I used a well sized wooden dowel and glassed it in.

    It’s still around and no damage(though rarely used anymore), so it works.


  5. CaptChap
    Joined: Aug 2022
    Posts: 14
    Likes: 6, Points: 3
    Location: Jonesport, ME

    CaptChap Junior Member

    That was my first choice, to just use a dowel, but when I found the glass-fiber rod, I said, WTH, it will never rot, was cheap, and just as easy to install. I'm sure that wood would be just as good, but I like to experiment. Thanks
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