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Old 04-03-2016, 10:54   #1
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Repairing a Wooden Hull

My Sparkman & Stevens 40 has a leaky hull. It'd double planked mahogany over oak frames. Is it possible to haul, strip the bottom paint down to the wood and fiberglass over the wood? Is this possible? Suggestions?
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:53   #2
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

Yes this is possible, however, you must check that your fasteners are all in good shape before covering them with fiberglass. You must also remove the caulking and replace it with thickened epoxy. I would also suggest epoxy for the whole job. If your frames and fasteners are all in good shape, you can begin a dirty expensive nasty job. Good luck?
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Old 04-03-2016, 16:39   #3
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

Where is the boat located? Unless you are a skilled craftsman or you can afford to pay for one you are in way over your head. You'd be better off paying for a skilled professional to prepare a detailed analysis and estimate of the appropriate remedies for your vessel than asking an open ended question on this forum. I wish you luck.
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Old 04-03-2016, 16:51   #4
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

I did this several times many years ago. In the 70's I built and rebuilt wood and steel commercial fishing boats.
As haw1961 said, the boat needs to be refastened and the planking as solid as possible. Be careful of breathing old bottom paint dust. Epoxy with High Density filler mixed into a thick putty works good as a replacement for the caulking. There was a product with fiberglass rods in cloth or RSM. See what is recommended now. I suggest you carry the fiberglass up to the main deck and have the top edge under the rub rail. Or better yet, do the decks, too and over lap the hull.
Epoxy by far does a better job than poly resin. You can't do the whole hull at one time w/o a crew. Poly doesn't stick well to anything including itself. So overlaps and layers don't really bond when done at different times unless using epoxy.
Also, every thru hull hole, shaft alley, etc., needs to be done in such a way that the wood cannot get wet, ever. That means cloth and resin. Resin doesn't hold up w/o the cloth or RSM. You'll be adding a lot of weight, but the drying of the wood will probably lose a couple tons.
Many fiberglass over wood boats rot because water is allowed in. Usually from the top.
You're going to spend thousands. Be prepared. I just redid a deck with 2.0 rsm and West System epoxy. I got about 18 square feet/gallon. I prefer to overlap a couple inches and then belt sand it smooth. I buy from Discount Marine Supply. They have warehouses across America and ship free larger orders. I get ground shipping in 2 days. If buying large amounts of materials, don't be afraid to ask for a discount. You should pay about $85/gallon for West epoxy. Less on really big orders, but keep the resin fresh. 1 year old or less. You need quality resin rollers a couple rolls of cloth and a lot of acetone and gloves.
If you'd like more, techniques, etc., send me a private message.
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Old 04-03-2016, 17:05   #5
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

Post your question in the building and repair section here forum.woodenboat.com

A leaking hull can be from too many things to list, and most often is a symptom not the cause of a problem. Glassing the hull is a great big band-aid that addresses neither.
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Old 04-03-2016, 19:01   #6
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

Do some research. A skin coat in any resin system is a death sentence. If you must go this route, the full Vaitses Method is the only way to go. However, this is very expensive and technically challenging for most. Other options are better to pursue, IMHO. Depending on the boat, proper replanking/rebuild in the traditional fashion may be faster and less expensive, while prolonging the life of the vessel much longer. Other alternatives include sheathing the hull in cold molding, as described here:


Sheathing a Tired, Old Hull | WoodenBoat Magazine


This is often a better solution where practicable.
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Old 04-03-2016, 21:15   #7
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

You may already know all this. if so disregard...

A planked wooden boat, more so than any other vessel type, is a sum of all its parts. Each individual piece with a little know can be addressed and repaired. The overall structure of the vessel is very much dependant on all of the little pieces. Sealing the exterior surface via some treatment may overlook a serious structural issue that led to the leakage you are trying to stop. Rot, marine borers, broken frames, inproperly tuned rig on and on. You may have a big problem that will be fairly expensive to fix properly, but you may have something in the middle that won't be quite so costly. Due to the nature of lots of little pieces, repair work can be spread out over extended periods as your budget fits.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:50   #8
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
Other alternatives include sheathing the hull in cold molding, as described here:

Sheathing a Tired, Old Hull | WoodenBoat Magazine

This is often a better solution where practicable.
+1 for cold molding. my question is: when was the last time the seams were caulked?

glass over wood would be criminal imho...
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:15   #9
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

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Originally Posted by ddefabry View Post
My Sparkman & Stevens 40 has a leaky hull. It'd double planked mahogany over oak frames. Is it possible to haul, strip the bottom paint down to the wood and fiberglass over the wood? Is this possible? Suggestions?
Ther is no short answer;
1st find out why and where its leaking. it may be easier to repair than try to fibergrlass the boat.

Remember wood hulls move, fiberglass doesn't. Its been tried, and I have seen the work done by one of the persons who "perfected" the process.............well, 10 yrs later the owner has a rot sandwich.

Do it right, it will cost no to do it right, and you'll get many more years out of your boat.
F/G will let water in, but doesn't let it out so easily.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:27   #10
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

I second those who say glassing over a Sparkman & Stevens 40 is unnecessary and verging on criminal. Take the time to find out where the water is getting in and fix it properly. These boats were built light and often sailed hard. No one expected them to last as long as many have.

My wife's family, the Kettenbergs, built hundreds of similar vessels in the 40s and 50s many of which are still going strong. Your water intrusion issue may be a very simple fix most likely a loose stop water at the stem or stern post. If you don't want to do it right, sell her to someone who will.
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:31   #11
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

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I second those who say glassing over a Sparkman & Stevens 40 is unnecessary and verging on criminal. Take the time to find out where the water is getting in and fix it properly. These boats were built light and often sailed hard. No one expected them to last as long as many have.

My wife's family, the Kettenbergs, built hundreds of similar vessels in the 40s and 50s many of which are still going strong. Your water intrusion issue may be a very simple fix most likely a loose stop water at the stem or stern post. If you don't want to do it right, sell her to someone who will.
EXACTLY! having sailed my 1928 Crocker desgin ketch for almost 40 years, do it right, or sell it to someone who does appreciate a wood hull.
These boats are getting rare, and many have gone to 'chainsaw heaven' because don't have the means, ambition, or appreciation for these classics.
Do the right thing.
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:41   #12
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

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Originally Posted by seasick View Post
I second those who say glassing over a Sparkman & Stevens 40 is unnecessary and verging on criminal. Take the time to find out where the water is getting in and fix it properly. These boats were built light and often sailed hard. No one expected them to last as long as many have.

My wife's family, the Kettenbergs, built hundreds of similar vessels in the 40s and 50s many of which are still going strong. Your water intrusion issue may be a very simple fix most likely a loose stop water at the stem or stern post. If you don't want to do it right, sell her to someone who will.

Spot-on.

Maintain the boat with proper technique for the carvel planked hull or find another owner who can do so.

Best of luck.



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Old 05-03-2016, 10:45   #13
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Re: Repairing a Wooden Hull

We need to become good friends. My 1966 H 28 ketch is also double planked mahogany over oak, Far East Yachts. Diagonal interior planks, longitudinal exterior, no caulking. Probably and old collision warped gouged the plank just above the waterline. Neglected for years by PO and exposed to the sunny side most of hot paint gone and wood saturated with seawater. Lots of rasping away swollen warped wood, rinsing a and drying with freshwater and finally acetone. Saturated with Smiths penetrating epoxy, then WestSystem epoxy and filler and paint. Wood loves epoxy, I think. Drying very important. Might be just a temporary repair until next haul out.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:15   #14
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Re: REPAIRING A WOODEN HULL

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
Do some research. A skin coat in any resin system is a death sentence. If you must go this route, the full Vaitses Method is the only way to go. However, this is very expensive and technically challenging for most. Other options are better to pursue, IMHO. Depending on the boat, proper replanking/rebuild in the traditional fashion may be faster and less expensive, while prolonging the life of the vessel much longer. Other alternatives include sheathing the hull in cold molding, as described here:


Sheathing a Tired, Old Hull | WoodenBoat Magazine


This is often a better solution where practicable.
I have seen the results of the Vaitses system, which coincidental happened to be on a 40' S/S sloop. Boat was dried, the method was followed to a 'T'. The boat leaked. Why? Well you have old weak frames with old weak floors, with old weak fasteners and keel bolts.............none of which were replaced.........So now you are out sailing, all the weight wants to move around when heeled over.................get the picture. Over time the glass separated from the hull ( I saw the inspection holes...you could put your fingers between the glass and the hull) at the turn of the bilge............and there you have it a rot sandwich.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:17   #15
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Re: Repairing a Wooden Hull

As an aside, here is a very well written article regarding surveying wooden vessels of various construction techniques.

Surveying Wood Hulls

by David Pascoe

Marine Surveying : Surveying Wood Hulls - Old Boats and Yachts
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