Small Cracks along seam of Wooden dinghy

by Chris L.
(Weymouth, MA)

I've acquired a custom, 3 year old wooden dinghy, and there are thin (less than 1/16") cracks along a seam above the waterline.
(Boat is built w/ Marine plywood exterior, oak interior ribs / supports and pine seat)

What is the best way to fill these cracks, prior to sanding and applying a new coat of exterior paint?

I think a liquid epoxy that will run/spill down into the crack might work, but am told that epoxy and wood don't belong together and will cause more splitting/damage.

What's the best putty to use, to fill small cracks?

Boat is currently out of water, and I'm thinking the crack may close up a little when boat is left in water, etc.

Chris L.

Comments for Small Cracks along seam of Wooden dinghy

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Apr 13, 2021
Dinghy cracks
by: Sonny

I've owned three wooden boats over the years, a Lippincott built International Star Boat, cedar planking over mahogany frames.
A 1959 Lippincott built Lightning, cedar planking over mahogany ribs.
And most recently a 1920 Double Ended Motor Launch built by Henry B. Nivens, cedar planking over steam bent white oak frames.

Cracks in cedar planking are easily repaired by cleaning out the crack with a hacksaw blade, followed with epoxy filler.

In your case, as long as your plywood sheeting is firmly attached to your fingers frames, I would clean up the crack, lay up a 4 or 6 ounce patch of fine eyeglass followed with the Pettit EZ-Fair and you'd be ready to repaint.

Feel free to call if you like, I'd be happy to share my wooden boat experience for what it might be worth.

Sonny (304)-673-0118

Apr 13, 2021
by: Chris L.

Thanks Sonny - the crack is in a seam where the 2 pieces of plywood meet (minor / above waterline)

Apr 13, 2021
Dinghy cracks
by: Sonny

Hello Chris
I've had good luck with Pettit EZ-Fair, it a two part epoxy based fairing compound that's water proof and easy to work with.

Assuming your crack is a non structural surface crack on the marine plywood itself.

Additionally Pettit Protect Barrier Coat below the waterline is a good option.

I've used Pettit products on both fiberglass and wooden boats with excellent results.

We remodeled my son's Pearson Ensign three years ago.

It had +/- fifty blisters, we repaired those blisters with West System Epoxy, faired them out with Pettit EZ-Fair and applied three coats of Pettit Protect Barrier coat.

We recently hauled the Ensign after three years in the water, and WALA not a single blister.

In my experience the Pettit products work very well.

Good Luck with your repair.


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