Restoring a Very Dry Hull

by Eddie
(Sydney, Australia)

I am thinking of buying an old project boat which has been undercover in the Sydney climate for many years.

What precautions should I take to ensure that it doesn't sustain damage in the "re-wetting" which will happen in the course of time?

Many of the planks are well open.

I am thinking of covering her with a double diagonal of thin planks.

Any experiences will be appreciated.


Comments for Restoring a Very Dry Hull

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Sep 04, 2018
Restoring a Very Dry Hull
by: Roger Doran

I did a job like this on a 38ft pine on steamed oak ribs constructed fishing boat in England.

What I did first was to staple hessian all over the hull followed by polythene sheeting also stapled in place.

I poured plenty of water from the top every day for two weeks until the planks closed up enough that I could re-caulk the boat, which I did firstly using a small router with a vee shaped bit to clear out the old red lead putty and cotton caulking and paying.

I ran the router on a guide batten tacked to the hull.

I then followed up with caulking with three strands of cotton followed by paying with two part polysulphide mastic tooled up with a lolly stick lubricated with washing up liquid.

After the mastic had cured which took a week, I belt sanded it.

Hope this helps, Roger

Jan 18, 2015
Diagonal planking, + wrong picture
by: Eddie

Your pictures of a lovely boat are not those of my project.

The one I have my eye on is a Colin Archer, 25', no paint or deck.

Someone started work by rebuilding deck beams then ran out of money/energy or both.

Daylight is visible between many planks.

She is built from what I suspect is a native Australian hardwood, which is great for strength but sometimes prone to splitting on drying, especially at the hood ends, hence the idea of the double diagonal.

Just knit everything together.

No, I probably wouldn't epoxy the first layer on as that would defeat the purpose by setting up a non-flexible bond between the two surfaces , though I see no reason not to glue the inner and outer diagonal skins.

The inner layer would be attached with ring nails and/or plastic staples plus bedding compound.

I've given this thing a fair bit of thought, but I don't kid myself that I'm the first one to clad a hull, so there may be someone out there who has come across a similar situation.

My thanks to the people who have responded so far.

Any further thoughts will be gratefully accepted.

Jan 13, 2015
Keep it Simple
by: Michael

She looks to me as though she just needs to be recaulked, repainted and allowed to take up naturally.

The 'nail sickness' might just be some fastenings weeping, the only way to tell is to draw one or two out and have a look see.

The idea of cladding, whether it is with epoxy or double diagonal, seems to me to be a lot of unnecessary work of dubious benefit.

First job, whatever you decide to do, is to strip off the old paint and have a good look at what is underneath.

She is a very pretty boat well worth preserving.

Keep it simple.

Jan 13, 2015
Reason for cladding
by: Eddie

She is about 70 years old, very dry and I don't know the timber, though it is pretty hard.

Some areas are nail sick which will need fixing.

I tend toward wood because 'glass stinks so much.

I figure a double diagonal will add some strength to the hull.

It is a system which some historic boat societies recommend.

Glass also is inert while wood moves with the weather and the seasons so I question wether cladding will last for the long haul.

Please correct me if I'm wrong

Jan 06, 2015
Double diagonal
by: Ken

You may find it better to epoxy sheave the hull using epoxy resin and polyester cloth, forget glass fibre, time has moved on.

This is a straightforward procedure which is easy to research and do.

By the time you have sourced suitable wood for double diagonal, had it planed down to thickness and applied it with expensive bronze fixings, I suspect that sheaving will work out both quicker and cheaper, as well as leaving you with a more easily maintained boat.

However, I also understand the need to restore using wood for authenticity if the craft warrants the work and future maintenance.

Personally I am more into sailing the boats than working on them most of the time.

In the old days by the way, the technique for closing up planked hulls that had dried out, was to sink the hull completely for a week or two to soak the wood, and then re-caulk the seams before finishing.

Happy days!

Jan 05, 2015
by: Michael

I hope that I've matched the above photos to the correct post.

Mike (DIY Wood Boat)

Jan 04, 2015
Dry Planking
by: Michael

What wood is she planked with and is she carvel planked?

Is there any particular reason for cladding her with diagonal planking?

If you were to clad her with new diagonal planking, all the planks, old and new, would need to be sealed to reduce wetting.

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