replacement of damaged or unsound Carvel
is within the
capabilities of any reasonably competent amateur.
Before even considering
make sure that the backbone, keel,
etc are sound.
"There is but a
plank between a sailor and eternity."
Garboard strakes tend to be the strakes most in need of replacement.
Fortunately, these are usually the strakes which have least curvature
hollow at the rabbet, so should be the simplest to replace.
However, even those on the turn of the bilge and those with Reverse
as below the transom can be replaced with a little patience and
Don’t even consider sheathing a carvel hull, it will only make matters
Before removing the offending
strake think about how you are going to get a pattern for the new plank.
When I began work on Mignonne’s garboards I had the bright idea of
removing the strake whole and using that as a template.
However, even after freeing it from all the fastenings and
garboard was still held in place with all the paint etc, which had
over the years.
I tried pushing from the inside but eventually had to wallop it with
mallet, as a result it shattered at the rotten area so, no good as a
To get my pattern I then had to glue together (with a hot glue gun) a
strip of thin plywood which would fit in the gap flat on all the frames.
The gaps between it and the upper and lower strakes I filled with small
of ply using the hot glue gun.
When I started on the second garboard I drew my pattern before removing
Using a long strip of wallpaper taped to the hull I was able to trace
of the seams.
This pattern was then transferred to stiff card and checked against the
once the plank was removed.
The video below shows another method for taking off plank dimensions as
well as showing how the new plank is fitted.
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Getting the old strake out
without damaging the frames or adjacent plank edges can be a bit of a
First job is to rake out all
the old caulking.
Then, I found the simplest way
was to use a hole-saw or
plug cutter to cut around each fastening.
This left the fastenings in a
small plug of timber which
was easy to remove once the old strake was out.
You have of course, to be
careful not to cut into the underlying frame.
You may find, as I did that
the strake will still be held
fast by all the paint and such like, which has seeped between the frame
plank over the years.
I had to use a mallet on the
inside of both of
Mignonne’s garboards to free them.
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have your pattern/template you can work out what size of lumber you
The greater the curve in the
original strake, the wider
will be the lumber needed to cut the new one from.
While you can bend a strake
laterally by edge-setting
while building it isn’t so easy to do when replacing an old
Making your new one in two
pieces then joining with a
butt or scarf joint will help save on the width you require.
I positioned the scarphs on
Mignonne’s new strakes
to coincide with the through bolts for the floors.
It is not a good idea to
position butt joints on steam
bent frames as the fastening could cause the plank to split.
Butt blocks should be
positioned in areas where there is as little twist to the strake as
Once you have traced out your
pattern/template on the new
timber, fair up the lines with a stiff bendy
one longer than your plank.
Don’t forget to mark which
side is going to be the
inside and which the outside and which end is towards the bow.
Once cut it is advisable to
try your strake for fit before
fairing up with a plane.
Your new strake may require
the edges to be beveled to
allow for caulking,
depending on the original construction you may only
do this on the lower edge.
Remove the sharpness from the
inside edges to prevent
them from digging into adjacent wood when installing.
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your new strake it will more than likely need to have the inside
so that it fits the shape of the frames.
Where the frame is convex the
plank will need to be
concave and vice versa or they will split when fastened.
You may have to allow some
extra thickness for this if
the frames are tightly radiused, as too much hollowing will reduce the
It might be possible to
flatten the frame rather than
out the strake, but beware of reducing the frame strength.
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If the strake that
needs replacing has a lot of bend to it you may unfortunately, have to
to steam bending.
Taking the hot wood straight
from the box and attempting
to fit it quickly before it cools is probably best left to the
For the amateur, it is less
stressful to pre-bend the
strake to the approximate curve before trying to fasten it in place.
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Buy Boat Books on-line
the new strake
in place paint the inside especially with a preservative, my own
good old creosote.
And it’s a good idea to put
some linseed oil on the
edges as a lubricant but only if you intend using an oil based caulking
compound, the same goes for the use of creosote.
are best type of
fastener for the ends where they meet the stem or stern rabbet.
It’s best to begin fastening
the areas where most
bending needs to take place so you have plenty of leverage at the free
If working alone, the free end
will need supporting, a
rope strop with a slip knot or rolling hitch will allow for
Red lead putty may be used
instead of plugs to cover the
heads of the fasteners.
However, the better option is
to use wooden plugs
cut from the same
material as the strake.
The plugs should be tapped
home with the grain running in
the same direction as the strake's grain.
Plugs should be a firm fit but
not too tight, nor should
they be compressed by hammering in.
A ‘flush-cut’ saw is ideal for
To finish, any uneven areas
can be planed off, then
sanded with an orbital sander on slow speed.
Replacing below the water line
planks may seem like a
daunting task for the amateur.
The strakes I replaces on
Mignonne were the first I had
ever done on my own, yet now she is back in the water and the wood has
up' she is water tight and sound.
So, if I can do it, so can
it just takes time and care.
she can go back in the water she will need caulking.
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WEAVERS ROTTEN PLANKS
Removed paint where rot was most noticeable, as you can see from the photos a number of areas.
One area has gone right through to the ribs.
I am …
21 foot Shetland model called Daisy
The boat was built in 1965, heavy boards up to waterline to enable it to go on skerries and kill seals.
I need to replace a board would like some advice …