Dry rot

by Gene Pierre

I recently acquired a thomson lapstreak 18 ft with a 100 hp Evinrude outboard.

My brother who recently passed away was the previous owner.

His belief was to keep water in it to keep the wood swelled.

So that I know of her she sat for at least 2 years with water in her on the trailer.

He became too sick to care for her and he was also dealing with loosing his wife to cancer.

So I understand why the neglect.

Anyway I know he loved wooden lap streak boats and I feel it would be good to keep this one around.

The keel, bow to stern has issues.

Some dry rot outside and in.

Some of the lower ribs inside are dry rotted also at the point of connection in the bottom center at the keel.

The rest of the vessel is in fair condition.

What are my options at this point?

My financials are pretty low, and will do the repairs myself if possible.

Any advice would be greatly respected and apreciated.

Comments for Dry rot

Click here to add your own comments

by: George raised on L.I.

Unfortunately, some of the late wisdom was "fill it with fresh water, see if it leaks"

That wisdom is fine if you dump ALL the water in 6 minutes (purely guessing at that time, making a point)

But, if it had been saltwater, hull probably would have survived.

Fresh water is the enemy, not (as much) salt.

I have not seen your boat and ANYTHING is repairable rebuild able, however when the rebuild cost's more than new build?

Good Luck and Godbless

Rebuilding the bottom of a lapstrake powerboat
by: Graham Stewart

I had to address the same issue. If you want an outline of what I did search for my page under my name - just recently posted to this site.

I used cold molding with epoxy to replace the bottom below the waterline. I made new ribs by steambending white oak. The transome was rebuilt as well as the ends of the lapstrake strips at the transom.

In total it was a very big job. I did it because I enjoyed the process but if the challenge does not appeal to you the job will become unbearable.

Note that if the keel is rotted the boat probably cannot be fixed. The outer keel can be replaced but the main keel is the backbone of the boat and without that the ribs can never be configured properly.

Also note that the boat is in all likelihood very dangerous to use as it sits. I didn't realize how dangerous my boat was until I started to take it apart and found to my surprise that I could pull the lower part of the transom apart with my hands.

I did the job in my spare time during summer months over a 10 year period. I lost count of how much it cost me after the first few years.

Taking good advice
by: Anonymous

Thank you all for the guidance, I will be sure to do my best to make it all happen.

I was debating to Start removing hardware, motor, seats and windshield.

These thing I can handle, my question is should I remove it from the trailer and would it be better to flip her over?

Not sure how to accomplish the flip.

Again I respectfully accept your suggestions,

Thank you all.

Dry rot
by: J Jarvis

Nice pictures Gene,

The transom looks like its delaminating on the veneer but looks like a three-piece transom.

That's just an old boat that needs a makeover.

If the boat’s to your liking and its just time do the work I always look at the hardware, take it all off, put it in a place you don’t want to lose it, like cardboard taped on the windshield, motor off, a clean boat, all the seats out.

Your explanation of the rib was good, they can be cut out and two new pieces affixed alongside.

Then you need to think about how this boat was put together in the first pleace.

Take the transom out, just cut it down the middle, this way you can tap it out without destroying the lapstrake.

Have a really good look at the keel to see if its sound from one end to the split, just cutting out the split would save you time.

I wasn’t looking for a brand name on the boat but there were a lot of these boats made and you brother had to have a few good days out there the old water, trick is still used and a lot of the time as the bow dropped into the lake the water rolled in but as days past they became dripless.

Good luck, the help is there just ask.

by: Bill

Is it actual rot, the wood having gone crumbly and soft, or just cracks and splits.

Leaving the boat with water inside while on the trailer can put excessive pressure on the structure.

Dry rot repair
by: Wayne

Pick up a book on cold molding with plywood from Glen-L marine.com.

It has much information to get you started, also check with West system website for more information.

Dry rot repair
by: Wayne

I would consider to remove the entire bottom and then make templates of the keel and other rib's that are dry rotted.

Get some West system epoxy and rebuild the bottom making sure that you coat all the new wood with epoxy.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions and Answers.

Want to add more photos?

If you are having problems uploading Photos or would like to add more click on this link for the Upload Form.

You can upload as many as you like and there is no need to resize them.

You might like these

  • Boats and Bits, Free Advertising.

    The Boats and Bits Exchange is a FREE advertising space for anyone wishing to sell, buy or exchange Wooden Boats, Boat Bits or other items of Chandlery.

  • Project Boats by Proud Wooden Boat Lovers.

    A showcase for Wooden Project Boats that enthusiasts are working on building and restoring.

  • Readers Tips for Your Wood Boat.

    Readers Tips advice on how to maintain and improve your Wooden Boat and save time and money

  • Wooden Boat Women

    Wooden Boat Women, come on girls, you can do it just as well as the guys, show off your skills, your boats and encourage other environmentally friendly female boat builders.

Recent Articles

  1. We absolutely need this brand-new 1930s wooden speedboat from Fitzke Boatworks

    Sep 17, 19 03:32 AM

    This mahogany and oak wonder looks like it came straight out of the 1930s, but it was built in 2019. Fitzke Boatworks

    The boat is called Bugbite, is based on plans from a 1930s boating magazine and is staggeringly pretty.

    Read more by Kyle Hyatt at Cnet.com

    Read More


    Sep 17, 19 03:32 AM

    Reedville hosts the best little boat show in September. Photos by Eric Eichenmuller

    Reedville hosts the best little boat show in September.

    Read more by Ann Eichenmuller at Chesapeake Bay Magazine

    Read More

  3. Margin/Cover Boards, How to, Tips, Please.

    Sep 16, 19 04:28 AM

    Hi there, I am about to work on my Margin boards on my 12'runabout. I am wondering what the best way to scribe the shape is? And what's the best/easiest

    Read More