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Old 09-10-2023, 04:31   #1
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Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

I've recently discovered a boat in my anchorage that is for sale. The owner was a boat builder during his working days, and built this boat for himself 20 years ago. Since then, he's split his time between the boat and his RV. He's now decided it's time to move on to the next phase of his life, as the boat is too big to take care of. He is 80 years old, so he's had a good run.

When talking to the owner, I've learned that the hulls are strip planked cedar with epoxy bonding the planks together. He's also glassed the hulls inside and out. The deck and coach are plywood, glassed on the outside.

I noticed that he drove screws into the coach roof in order to secure sunshades over the windows. I asked if he had over drilled the screw holes or somehow sealed them. He mentioned he just put the screws in with a bit of silicone. He's also kept the plugs he cut into the boat for the through hulls and has shown me them to demonstrate the construction technique. We were talking about the process of installing the through hulls, and it seems to be that he drilled the holes, then epoxied the through hulls in place, and siliconed around the flanges. Unless he didn't understand my question, it doesn't seem that he's sealed the wood that he drilled through.

My understanding of any through hull or deck fitting is that you need you do some sort of prep work to the "core" material (cedar in this case). I feel like I must be missing something. Or perhaps the terminology was different 20 years ago when he built the boat. But on the surface, it sounds like the owner could have a ticking time bomb on his hands. As soon as one of the fittings slips, or a cleat loosens, water will have a free entry into the untreated wood that was drilled through.

On my last trip to the boat, the owner pointed out a couple places where the plywood has rotted out (around windows and near a joint in the roof), so he's at least partially honest with me about defects. He is in no way a motivated seller, and I've had many conversations with him about if he is even interested in selling the boat.

Is there anything I can do before bringing a surveyor out that would easily identify the boat as being in the too much work category? I haven't felt any soft spots on the deck, and looking around the through hulls, I don't see any particular signs of water ingress.

If I do end up moving forward with the boat, if I confirm the wood is unsealed, do I remove ALL the through hulls and fittings and reseal them "correctly"? I feel like somebody who spent their life building boats probably knows better than me, but maybe times have changed?

When I first looked at the boat and talked with the owner, I mentally noted that the boat is 20 years old and still floating, so something has to be alright. In further talking with the owner, I've learned that the boat has never left our protected waters and never been in the open sea. There's a voice in the back of my head thinking that big seas could be big problems.
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Old 09-10-2023, 12:59   #2
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

Our boat is built with strip plank wrc (western red cedar), epoxy and glass in and out. I am wondering if those through hulls' holes were sealed, then put in place with good caulking. Kind of hard to replace if they were epoxied in.

When we bought the boat, the PO/builder told us to just wipe a little epoxy into any hole we made, let it dry, then use the hole, with sealant. He did not, nor did we, use silicone sealant.

The boat has been hugely strong, and if your guy took care with the build, it may be a special beauty--and she may need some well thought out, careful care, too. In the case of his boat, "epoxying the through hull in place" would have epoxy sealed the hole, and have glued the through hull in.



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Old 09-10-2023, 13:06   #3
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

Sounds interesting! What design is she?

As to the through hulls (and other fittings), on our boat the holes were cut and then epoxy coated ( perhaps with Everdure) before the fittings were installed. And some minor screws were let into the deck using silicone sealant. No signs of rot in any of them.

And she has now done over 140,000 miles in her 33 years afloat. WRC strip plank construction, when done right and glassed inside and out is remarkably strong and long lived. The devil is in the details... as you are discovering. I hope she turns out well for you.

Jim

Edit: I see that Ann was typing at the same time. Same boat, similar thoughts!
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Old 09-10-2023, 14:09   #4
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

Workmaster if the hull is just resin and glass on the inside then you should be able to see the timber on the inside. If it's stained black then you have a problem.
I have removed skin fittings that were glued into strip plank hull's and it was a real SOB. So much so that when we built our plywood yacht I epoxy glued our skin fittings in place. I reckon its better than a wipe of resin on the end grain.
Most of our deck fittings have a bit of resin in the holes before they were Sikaflexed in place. There's bound to be a couple that don't have resin. But I am not stressed since they're well sealed anyway with Sikaflex.
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Old 09-10-2023, 14:56   #5
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

As a general matter of principle, I will not use silicone for anything on a boat.
It's miserable stuff, a toy of the devil, you certainly don't want it around wood.
It works great for gluing glass aquariums together though.
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Old 09-10-2023, 14:57   #6
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

https://www.westsystem.com/app/uploa...k-061205-1.pdf
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Old 09-10-2023, 15:21   #7
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

My previous tri was also built that way. I think it's one of the best systems out there. Cedar doesn't rot like plywood. Water seems to migrate through ply, it stays put or mostly put in cedar. I think the epoxy saturation helps to mitigate that.
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Old 09-10-2023, 16:17   #8
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

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Originally Posted by Bowdrie View Post
As a general matter of principle, I will not use silicone for anything on a boat.
It's miserable stuff, a toy of the devil, you certainly don't want it around wood.
It works great for gluing glass aquariums together though.
+1! Horrible stuff.

For the record, cedar is remarkably rot-resistant, and strip-planked cedar is a wonderful way to build a boat. I would not have any concerns about the hull.

The ply of the upperworks is obviously not rot-resistant, and you may well have a bit of work to do there. It doesn't sound like a deal-breaker, though.

Oh, and kindly go easy on the He is 80 years old, so he's had a good run line of thinking...
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Old 09-10-2023, 20:14   #9
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

Quote:
Oh, and kindly go easy on the He is 80 years old, so he's had a good run line of thinking...
Too right, Mate, sez this 85 y.o. strip plank enthusiast!

And g'day Mike!

Jim
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Old 10-10-2023, 04:10   #10
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

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Sounds interesting! What design is she?


Edit: I see that Ann was typing at the same time. Same boat, similar thoughts!
Thanks for that info Jim and Ann!

You guys actually responded to an earlier thread I wrote about this boat

She's a custom designed, one off cat. The more I look into her, the more I like her. She's too big for any lifts around us, so I'll have to wait for a weather window to put her on the beach and get a surveyor out.

I've got tons of questions about cedar boats, so I'll shoot you a PM so we can chat more.
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Old 10-10-2023, 04:11   #11
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

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Oh, and kindly go easy on the He is 80 years old, so he's had a good run line of thinking...
Haha - I should have clarified, those were his words, not mine

Guy is fit as a fiddle and moves around better than I do (at less than half his age).
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Old 10-10-2023, 04:13   #12
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

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That's a great read! Thanks for that!
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Old 10-10-2023, 13:11   #13
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Re: Cedar strip planked hulls with questionable through hulls and deck fittings

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Originally Posted by workmaster2n View Post
Thanks for that info Jim and Ann!

You guys actually responded to an earlier thread I wrote about this boat

She's a custom designed, one off cat. The more I look into her, the more I like her. She's too big for any lifts around us, so I'll have to wait for a weather window to put her on the beach and get a surveyor out.

I've got tons of questions about cedar boats, so I'll shoot you a PM so we can chat more.
Certainly, feel free to PM us. Our PO/builder was saying to us the other day that wrc is now too expensive to make boats out of (too expensive for the client to pay for, in general). So, the boat in question will be becoming rarer with each passing day. And ours is really strong. At first, I was a bit afraid, because I thought it was like an egg shell, but she taught me different. It has made me appreciate timber in a different way: nature's carbon fibre.

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