wood boat repair

Discussion in 'Materials' started by Darryl Siss, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Darryl Siss
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    Darryl Siss Junior Member

    I have a 16 foot grady white wood boat. Bottom half of transom has major rot and a few of the lakestrapes that tie into transom have rot. Intended to replace the transom and lakestrapes but it has been suggested to me that could fiberglass the transom and overlap to cover the damaged lakestrapes. While I am doing work on rest of renovation (stripping etc) replacing the transom etc is beyond my woodworking skills.

    Anyone have any thoughts and know of any other materials that could be used to repair rotted wood?
     
  2. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    The only way to truly repair rot is to remove it and replace it with new wood.
    The cost of having the work done can be very expensive. The question is, is this the right boat for you, or do you intend to learn woodworking skills on this boat as another benefit?
    In other words, if you aren't the carpenter who will be replacing the transom, is the boat worth fixing? Now is the time to do an analysis based on the projected cost. i'm assuming you care about costs but I could be wrong.
     
  3. Darryl Siss
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    Darryl Siss Junior Member

    Cost is important. Unfortunately, I have already purchased boat and have a lot of hours into the stripping already.

    I have woodworking friend who will do work at a friendly cost but he is not experienced in working on wood boats. I have seen some posts on replacing damaged lapstrakes and I am sure he can handle it and the replacement of the transom. Had thought there may be an easier way.

    Thanks for your post.
     
  4. Willet
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    Willet New Member

    Platt Montfort sold a product he called Git-rot. He sold the formula to an epoxy supplier. His website is still extant and the you might get information about Git-rot there. But, it might be simpler to just use a skilsaw to shorten the boat a couple of inches and use the rotten transom as a pattern for cutting a replacement. The result wouldn't be a static exhibit but could be an active vessel.
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Git-rot is worthless for any structural repair. It only hardens the rot, but the interface between the rot and the good wood is still bad. The only proper repair is to cut all the rot and replace it. Remember that the rule of thumb is that joints on planks have to be three planks or three frames apart. Whatever money you have in the boat, investing more may be a bad decision. Try to find someone experienced that can write an estimate of the job.
     
  6. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Ditto regarding Git Rot. Nobody uses it except for rank amateurs. I don't know if that Grady White has plywood strakes or solid wood ones but as Gonzo said, stagger the joints by a few frames.
    If the strakes are only rotted a short distance forward you might save some work by actually shortening the boat by a small amount. Alternately you might angle the new transom by a couple of inches. After all, it's an old boat and there wouldn't bve any reason to maintain the exact original shape. Or a combination of replacing a couple of strakes and also shortening the bottom.
     
  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Yes, cutting the boat a couple of inches is a usual repair, since the planks mostly rot at the transom frame.
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's very difficult to tell you what you need without pictures and a much better explanation of it's issues.

    Typically rot in this building style, is the last thing to happen, as many things have been left unattended previously, which leads up to the problems you now have.

    Considering your experience level, it might be best to learn this lesson now and walk away, before you toss more money and effort at it.

    Lapstrake is one of the more difficult planking types to repair for most folks. Once you get a handle on the procedures and processes, the mystery goes away, but it's a daunting process for the novice wood worker initially.

    There isn't any magic in a can, type of goo that will fix rot. As has been mentioned, the usual repair is to cut out any (and all) rot, back to known good wood, scarf in a repair to restore the planking, frames, transom, etc. 'Glassing a lapstrake never is very successful, though it's been tried many times. You just can't get the fabrics to lay down around the laps and other hard corners, so it puckers, leaves bubbles, etc., all of which just cause more problems.

    Typically, when the hood ends of planks show rot, it's because several other things have also occurred, which must be addressed or your repair will not work. The reason these areas of the planks develop rot is trapped moisture. When the structure is tight, moisture stays within the wood itself. With age, the fasteners loosen up in their holes, making a place, for moisture to hide, usually deteriorating the fastener hole further and possably the fastener too. This lets more moisture in the framing element (ribs, stringers, etc.) and they start to develop rot. The now quite loose fastener, loosens up it's hole in the planking and the plank begins to move against it's neighbors and structural elements, promoting more rot. By the time you see rot in the hood ends, the underlying structure is usually unable to accept a new fastener, even if you do repair the plank(s).

    In short, do yourself a big favor and take this one on the nose and walk away. Alternatively, slather on some goo and fabric and see how long it lasts. You might get a few seasons from this old girl. In other words, unless you fix the cause of the problems, it'll just return, usually quite quickly and this assumes you have enough "meat" in the underlying structure to accept new fasteners (which would be fairly rare).
     

  9. Darryl Siss
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    Darryl Siss Junior Member

    Thanks for all the input. Looks like its only three lapstrakes that have rot - right at water line- so I think I will try to replace. Can't give up on it now - this is my first venture and if I give up will probably not try again and I am really enjoying the process.

    Hopefully will be able to report success!
     
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