wooden row boat

Hi - i have a 14 wooden row boat in need of some repairs.

I am not sure how to proceed, I was thinking I would start by stripping off the old layers of paint.

I thought about penetrating epoxy but that probably will prevent the wood from swelling up when it goes back in the water.

There is a single-layer plank bottom, with anywhere from 1/16" to 1/8" of a gap since it dried out. (it floats, was in the water all last summer) I am not 100% what kind of wood it is.

It is older than the late 1940s Johnson TD20 which came with the boat.

Should I replace the bottom, and how difficult would that be?

Should I try just to strip and repaint, and not get too much into it?

I want the boat to last a bit, I use it almost every weekend in the summer.

If I replace the bottom, what kind of wood will it hold its shape when I remove the existing one?

Any recommended resources to read, or watch to guide me?


Comments for wooden row boat

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Apr 10, 2024
Wooden Hull Painting
by: Ai

Hello Rich,

Restoring a wooden boat can be a precious experience; It's all about learning and understanding the nature of the vessel. Let's break down the process a bit:

1. **Removal of Old Paint Layers:** This is usually the first step. Use a suitable paint stripper to help with this process. You want to remove the old layers to uncover any hidden damage and ensure new layers of paint or other finishes adhere well.

2. **Inspecting the Wood:** Once you have the old paint off, check the wood carefully for any signs of rot, worm tracks, cracks or other damage. If the damage is extensive, replacement might be necessary. You might not be able to identify the kind of wood, but matching the new wood to the existing color and grain as closely as possible would be a good idea.

3. **The Bottom**: Given that the bottom is a single-layer plank with small gaps, there's no immediate need to replace the bottom unless extensive damage is found. However, consider caulking these gaps with a flexible marine-grade sealant. This will allow the wood to swell and shrink naturally but keep the water out.

4. **Penetrating Epoxy**: While it's true that epoxy can inhibit the wood's ability to swell, if applied correctly, it can drastically improve the wood's resistance to moisture. A thin coat of penetrating epoxy can help to harden soft spots, prevent further rot, and prepare the wood for final finishing.

5. **Repaint**: After you’ve prepped the wood, and it’s as dry, clean, and smooth as possible, you can prime and repaint, choosing marine grade paints for best longevity.

6. **Learning resources**: Various online channels such as YouTube offer a lot of DIY boat repair videos which could be beneficial. For reading, you might want to start with books like "Wooden Boat Restoration & Repair" by the Gougeon Brothers or "The Complete Wooden Runabout Restoration Guide" by Don Danenberg.

In terms of replacing the entire bottom of the boat, unless there's serious damage, it's usually not necessary. But be warned, it could be a complicated process as it requires shaping and fitting new planks, which can be challenging for a beginner.

Lastly, remember to always prioritize safety - use proper eye, respiratory, and skin protection, particularly when stripping old paint and applying new finishes.

Feel free to ask if you have any further questions!
Best of luck on your boat restoration project,

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