Treating "Nail Sickness"

Hi, I'm currently in the process of restoring a 45 year old clinker (Lapstrake) Folkboat which has been out of the water for some years.

Whilst the lands of the planking have remained surprisingly tight, nail sickness is showing itself in the paling and softening of the mahogany.

Fixings are copper nails and bronze screws at the transom, stem and all the floors. It is actually the screws which are most affected and I can't remove them because the heads disintegrate and screw removers are ineffective.

The long shot of it is basically can I get round the problem without removing them and any ideas about treatment?

Jerry, Exeter UK

Comments for Treating "Nail Sickness"

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Plug cutters work
by: Keith

You can use a plug cutter, in a drill, one just large enough to go around the screw.

Drill in to the depth of the screw and then back out.

Now take a flathead srewdriver and snap the plug bottom.

Remove the plug and epoxy a same sized hardwood plug back in.

If it's a bright finish, use the same wood and align the grain.

Now you can drill and replace the bronze screw.

Hope this helps.

Screw Removal
by: Timynocky

Have you tried using heat to break the bond between the screw and the wood?

One method is to use a soldering iron to heat the screw by holding the hot tip on the head of the screw for a few minutes.

Another is to use either a hairdryer or paint stripper heat gun to warm the wood for a few minutes and then before the wood has time to cool try the screw.

bronze screw removal
by: Larry J.

I do not have an answer, but please let us know if you find one.

I have on occasion been able to drill the screws out and epoxy a hardwood dowel back into the hole.

But staying centered in the old screw was difficult at best.

Best of luck, and let me know if you find a better solution.

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