Simple Wood Skiff - Transom Replacement Help?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by nc2sea, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. nc2sea
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Location: Morehead City, NC

    nc2sea Junior Member

    Hello all,

    First time posting here. I've searched and seen so many different ways people repair their transom, but I've got a problem that's a bit more substantial than just cutting in, routing a lip, and reglassing, so hoping to get some insight here.

    I have a 17' Juniper Epoxy (on outside only) skiff out of Manteo, NC. It's all very solid asides from the transom area and a few blisters. I'm having a hard time starting bc I don't want to start just to find out I should have done something differently. I assume, unless corrected on here, that starting with my biggest hurdle, the transom, is my first step at restoring this boat. Unless I hear suggestions otherwise...

    Transom is rotten (can stick a 8" screwdriver in everywhere from motor mount through plys) at least to where the red line is drawn. 3/4" plywood for sides and transom (extra ply at motor mount) and maybe 2x4" joists at the intersections.

    My ideas would be this:
    1) Cut out down to the red on transom, and down on gunnel to solid wood (assuming I find it on transom). Make template out of 3/4, grind down lips to fit, glass, then add another 1/2" or 3/4" ply, screwed down (when glassing to dry to?) to cap and strengthen it. THATS ASSUMING that I can find solid wood on gunnels and before I get to these joists.

    2) Cut transom flush to where the joists meet, fill any remaining rot with epoxy mold after grinding out , or replace joists if needed, then reattach entire transom to joists.

    3) Any other ideas out there?

    4) Crack one open and light'er on fire?

    I'd really like to revive her. My dad and I had it built when I was 13 and fiberglassed it together. Was my "car" before my license. She's about 20 years old, but this is the only portion of rot that I've found so I'm still in good spirits with her.

    I really appreciate your expert opinions and hope to share progress reports if I can get the right direction to start!!!
     

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  2. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    One of the several alternatives is this which I suspect might be the easiest and most reliable method. ...............Inspect the skin thoroughly, like every where on the boat, particularly around the chines and near any floor cross members. If the skin is sound and withstands a lot of ice pick probes, then on to square two. Draw some carefully spaced lines, on the skin,about three or four inches forward of the transom. Saw the whole transom out. Build a new transom and install it with epoxy, screws, and maybe some glass.

    If you do it the way you mentioned it will not be as strong unless you use a lot of ugly scabs. It is not a good idea to patch rot with epoxy in hopes that it will be alright. If you run into rot anywhere near the cut line......reassess your aims.

    Shortening the boat a few inches from the transom will not make any difference on a boat like that one.
     
  3. nc2sea
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Location: Morehead City, NC

    nc2sea Junior Member

    Thanks messabout! That sounds like a better idea. You say, maybe some glass? The rest of the outside is already glassed. Is there a reason I wouldn't go ahead and sand down the laps on the boat, and glass the transom after screws and epoxy?

    I do have a few areas of glass where some floor cross members need grinding and filling, but by no means do I think it would class it as a loss.
     
  4. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six Previous Member

    If you can't remove the transom in one piece, make the template first simply by tracing outside the hull and subtracting as necessary.
     
  5. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six Previous Member

    Personally, I believe I'd see if I could build a new boat.
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    More Jammer idiocy. Replace the boat, because it's transom is bad. What a winner.

    Always replace the transom as a unit, as you'll never get it stiff enough by piecemealing a repair, unless it's a very small repair area, which isn't the case here.

    Just cut it off, using it as a template and construction guide for the replacement. This assumes as Messabout suggested the rest of the boat is still sound.

    Before you get to cutting, log onto westsystem.com and download their free user's guides and onto systemthree.com and download their "epoxy book". these will offer a good set of basics on techniques and such.
     
  7. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Location: Hampshire UK

    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Similar to others I'd do the whole transom in one go. Usually easiest to fettle the new one (after templating an rough sizing) by inserting from the bottom, with the boat upside down as per your photos. If you allow more height (above the eventual top of transom, right way up) on the replacement piece, you can fine tune any taper at each side to get the bevels just right with the plane. The extra height allows you to fine tune the fit if it gets too narrow where it joins the bottom, you take a little off the height. Hope that makes sense. It does mean that the new piece must be free to slide in, so anything above it must be removed and replaced, usually only minor trim strips.

    Only other issue is make sure you remove any screws or pins that are from the side planks and bottom plank into the existing transom. Dulls the saw blade a bit otherwise if you strike one whilst cutting out...;)
    Not only that but by removing the side screws first(if any), you have neat holes not torn out wood. So easier to reuse or fill after and a lot less damage.
     
  8. nc2sea
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Location: Morehead City, NC

    nc2sea Junior Member

    Thanks for the reply guys. It's not as bad as I thought it was? Maybe I just anticipated more and it's still bad, but thinking it's doable. Boat is still solid elsewhere. I've began cutting into the wood to investigate dry/wet/rot. There appears to be a good bit of good wood remaining, unfortunately not distributed to where it would be a simple tab insert.

    I have two ideas I'm considering, illustrated in these photos. Either tabbing into remaining good wood, or cutting the entire transom ply off, revealing to supports (which still appear sturdy and dry), and attaching back to it, basically as it was built.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thanks again...
     

    Attached Files:

  9. nc2sea
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Location: Morehead City, NC

    nc2sea Junior Member

    Btw, I had to put this project down for some time. But pretty excited to pick it back up. I'm not an experienced boat builder, but have grown up on them so if you share some knowledge, just realize I probably do not know advanced techniques or verbage...
     
  10. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    I am with PAR on this, just remove the whole transom panel and replace it. it would actually be less work than what you are proposing, it will be stonger to support the engine, and will weigh less too.

    You appear to be afraid to remove all of the transom, as if that would make it more work or less strong. Neither is true. Start with a clean slate, one peice transom, less messing around, no uncertainty, can use power tools to remove all of it.

    Good luck.
     
  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Transom are "captured" by the planking, so removing them is pretty simple, you just slide a blade around its perimeter and out it comes. Yeah, you'll do some damage, but if you're neat, nothing some wood butcher's friend and paint can't fix. If you're careful, you can use the old transom as a template for the new one. Nail a 2x4 across the top of the aft portion of the boat, so it retains its intended beam.
     
  12. nc2sea
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    nc2sea Junior Member

    Awesome guys. The 2x4 across the beam is a great idea! Will doing soon!
     
  13. nc2sea
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    nc2sea Junior Member

    Wanted to say thanks for the input folks! I got the transom clean cut off, and down to solid wood. I took care of some of rot in the side-planking ply on the forward seat. Now just cleaning out some of the dirtier spots and sanding to get my full evaluation, but I think I'm out of the rot. Only place I'm finding it is between the outside glass of the sides and the epoxied inner ply, at the top of the gunnels where it wasn't sealed properly and water has leached between plys. I imagine I can just fill that with cabosil or some thinned epoxy. It's completely solid when pressed from the sides.

    But here's some photos of the progress. I've taken outer rails off, forward seat and rot, all with an oscillating tool, transom is still usable for a template, and using a "paint eater" pad on my grinder to wear the old paint off.

    I think it would be best to try to get it mostly stripped before I start rebuilding.
     

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  14. nc2sea
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    nc2sea Junior Member

    Had a nice day of progress this weekend. A paint eater pad and 6" orbital sander have done some work. Almost forgot my other most used tool, the hammer and pry! Exciting to see all good wood as I dig in.

    Resin coat the 3/4 fir ply before I mount the transom, as well as boat end.

    Glue and screw on... I've read many support PL Premium, others Gorilla, and others stick with just thinned epoxy, figured I would try PL Premium unless heavily advised otherwise.

    When I go to glass the transom on, I have exposure on the gunnels to tab onto. How much further should I make the adhesion site on the boat?
     

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  15. sdowney717
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    Location: Newport News VA

    sdowney717 Senior Member

    PL Premium will work great with screws.
    You can also mix in sawdust 50-50 with the PL and use it as a filler for seams, gouges, anywhere you would use wood filler.
    And you can use cereal bags on top of the PL to force it down as it wants to swell up.
    The cereal bags are HDPE I think, and the glue will not stick to the bags. I have sealed and filled wood seams with PL and sawdust, it will swell up and fill in any voids locking out water and rot wont be able to grow.

    You can also use a flat putty knife and smear on a thin layer of PL to the wood. This puts a waterproof seal on the surface of the wood. Basically you spread it onto the wood surface hard using a lot of force, you want a very thin layer. It will create a fairly smooth rubber like surface. And PL also takes paint fine. You could seal the entire bottom of the boat this way making it waterproof.

    I buy the large 32 oz tubes, it is a lot more cost effective than the 10 oz tubes.
     
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