by Bob
(Moriches, NY USA)

I have a wooden sailboat with a cracked transom.

I have two choices: 1) remove the old transom and replace it;
2) patch the original transom with fiberglass/epoxy.

I would like to avoid doing option #2 because that would cover the beautiful varnished wood.

If I perform option #1, I am afraid that the planks will collapse without the transom shape to hold it together.

But then I would be replacing a new hunk of transom wood which would look a lot better when all finished and varnished.

My problem is that I have no experience replacing a transom.

Any advise, books, articles, or methods would be helpful.
Thanks, Bob


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Aug 24, 2016
Transom Replacement
by: Bob

Wow! Thank you for that great advise, along with details of the repair.
Your suggestion may work.

If I do decide to remove the transom, I will follow your other suggestions as well.

Thank YOU!

Aug 24, 2016
split transom
by: Anonymous

Good to hear you want to do a proper repair.

If the split is fairly straight across the transom it is sometimes possible to router a groove which removes the split and then glue a fillet in.

First strip the transom back to bare wood and clean the split out with an old chisel or hacksaw blade.

Now you can get a clear view of the damage.

If it straight across draw two pencil lines parallel to each other and level across the transom, one above and one below the split as close as practicable to the split but making sure you clear it out completely.

Now assess whether this is going to be too wide a piece to let in or not.

I would suggest that anything bigger than two inch is too much.

Others may disagree.

If you decide to go for it get two straight battens and screw them to the transom one above and one below the split, making allowance for the width of the router sole.

Take great care to get this right.

A measuring block is better than a tape measure.

Cut a block to length and make sure it is the same both ends of the batten gap.

Make sure you are well supported directly below the transom and then router out the split to three quarters the depth of the transom thickness.

This is always better done in several passes rather than trying it in one.

If the split is not central to the centreline of the boat the routering still should be.

If the split goes right across it is usually best to stop short of the edge by an equal distance on both sides and fill the last inch or so.

Take care to get this equal in case the repair shows.

Now cut a piece of material as close to the colour as you can find.

Make this a good fit but not so tight as it needs hammering in, and make it a sixteenth thicker than the groove you have routered.

Now glue it in with your glue of choice mine for this job is cascamite.

Make sure you hold the piece well in place with clamps or shores or copper pins which can stay in place if punched home.

When set, clean up with block plane and sander.

Any small line showing when sanding can be helped by painting the line with glue and when it is almost set run the sander over again.

The dust sets to the glue and fills the line.

Stain the whole with a gel stain and if you take time it can be nearly invisible.

I have done similar with a contrasting timber and let the repair show, it's a matter of taste.

Now go inside the hull and make a plate three times the width of the split and glue and screw it over the split.

Take time to make it tidy and make sure it is thick enough to add strength.

If you decide to take the transom out, make sure you are well chocked up and then put a lorry load strap right round her and support the planking that way.

It is a good idea to make a template of the transom before you start to make sure you keep her shape, brown paper will do.

If she is sound of rib and you take care she will hold shape.

If you have doubts about her ribs make a template out of ply the shape around the hull about two inches forward of the transom and support that on a leg either side to hold the planks whilst the transom comes out,

Good luck

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