The Rot Doctor


Subject: 1966 Carver Cruiser Restoration
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998

Dr. Rot:

I am restoring a wooden 1966 Carver cruiser.

I just discovered that the 3-piece oak keel lamination is separating at the glue line and there is some punky wood on the exterior surfaces. The deteriorated wood is about 1/32 inch thick and can easily be scraped off. What appears to be sound, clear wood is underneath.

To compound the injury, the surface is contaminated with very old oil. The oily residue can be removed by scraping, detergents and scrubbing, and solvents.

I suspect (but have not confirmed) that there may be more rotted, oily wood between the failed glue laminations.

How do you recommend I proceed?


Mike W.


An interesting problem you have there.

I would do this. First, "sound" the keel with a small hammer, listening for the hollow thunk that would indicate a large area of deteriorated wood. It's true that this method will not turn up the peripheral rot you are seeing between the laminations, but it will tell you that you are not dealing with a desperate situation.

Secondly, I'd get a thin saw blade attached to a handle and I'd reef out all the lamination seams as deeply as practical. In any spot where I felt a softness or give to the wood, I would mark the keel timber for later examination. At some later point I would test-drill down into the keel timber at the marked points and see if there was any soft or deteriorated wood inside. If you find any such spots, come back to me and I'll give you a further procedure.

Thirdly, assuming the wood in the reefed out seams is dry, I would go back and inject as much of the CPES as the wood will accept. I wouldn't worry too much about the oily wood at this point. Rot fungi won't eat it, although some bacteria will, which in some circumstances can cause problems.

Fourth, I would follow the CPES-soaked seams with our Epoxy Filler, knifing in as much as you can get the seam to accept. The CPES and the Epoxy Filler will act to some extent as a glue to replace the deteriorated original adhesive.

And while you're down there doing this, look closely at the frames/floors, especially next to the keel. Treat any softness you find there with the CPES as well.

Finally, if you want to, you can scrub down the whole keel timber, remove the dirt and oil, dry the wood, and then give it a coating of CPES. This will give it about the same color as a coat of varnish and the wood some protection, although most of the good you are doing the keel was done in the lamination seams.

Good luck with your project, and come back if I can answer further questions.