planks opening after drying out

Hi I have a 30ft wooden bermuda sloop.

She was built in 1964 and the planks are splinned not caulked.

She has been out of the water for a while and the side facing the sun has dried out so much the seams have opened up but are stable.

Would I need to try and get some moisture content back into the timbers or not worry about it and bog the seams as I repaint?

Cheers Allan

Comments for planks opening after drying out

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Dry Seams
by: Bill

I’m assuming your problem is with the topsides.

I would get all the painting done before you get the planks wet, especially any priming and undercoating.

Wetting from the inside as Hugo suggests is the best way but not always possible without dismantling the interior fittings.

If, as Hugo also suggests you hang a ‘curtain’ from the toe rail you could keep the air between that and the hull moist by using a garden sprinkler.

If the planks are hardwood they will take some time to take up, softwood will swell faster.

When it comes to launching, you can use something like Slick Seam or bar soap to temporarily plug the seams, it needs to be something that will squeeze out as the planks swell.

But if you want to touch up the paint along the seams after, you will need to clean off any waxy residue or soap.

You will have less problems with drying out if you paint the topsides white.

Wetting Wooden Boats
by: Captain Hugo

Hi Allan,

Many wooden boats, having dried out ashore, leak profusely for several days when relaunched - above and below the waterline - until the timber has moisturized and swollen making the seams - caulked or not - close and seal to become watertight.

So yes, I would suggest thorough wetting - inside and out - but would never use fresh water for this, only sea water as this helps preserve the wood and not set up rot problems as fresh water can do.
Also use shade cloth now to keep the sun off the hull and prevent further drying as you saturate the planking with salt water.

Hope this helps.



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