The Rot Doctor


Subject: (Misc. boat repair)
Date: Thu, 01 Aug 2002

I have just restored an old boat to find that in the bow the wood is rotten in the back part of the stem (which is oak; not plywood). The hull is also planks of African Mahogany. I have begun to work on it and am in need of advice. It is not worth saving with 'rot fixing epoxy'--(I'm not familiar with the specific names). I have begun to dig it out and I am thinking that I will epoxy thin strips of oak together to put in place of part of the old stem. Is this a wise decision??

This is fine, using an epoxy laminate to rebuild the stem piece. It is commonly done, especially with stem pieces and frames. Oak is a difficult wood to bond together, so we strongly suggest you do this with our All Wood Epoxy Glue, which has been tested with oak. The strips should also remain "rough-cut" when gluing, that is, don't sand them smooth before applying the AWG.

The outside was fiberglassed over and I have already ground it off. I found that the extreme bottom of the hull near the bow for about twelve inches is rotten. I have dug it out and am going to replace it with epoxy and wood, and then cover it back up with fiberglass. In your opinion, is this a good idea?

Covering a boat hull with glass cloth is risky, for just the reason you are experiencing. The water gradually seeps in between the glass and the wood, and rot can develop. If glassed, the wood should be dry and the glass laid down ONLY with a premium epoxy resin. Absolutely DO NOT use a polyester just doesn't bond that well to wood. We also suggest that the wood be treated first with our CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) to form a good bonding base for the glass/resin sheathing.

I also need to squirt epoxy of some sort down in between two bottom planks that have the seams exposed where the board (2'' wide) that attaches it to the ribs is rotten away--is regular epoxy fine, because the wood might swell. I was going to put a new piece (not plywood) in at this point (about 4'' long) and let it overlap the existing strip and glue it down. Is this a good enough fix,or will it need more attention in the future?

I'd have to be there to look at the area to know whether your plan is structurally sound. It sounds plausible, and epoxies are VERY strong. I would treat all exposed wood, including the new wood going in, with CPES for protection, and use our AWG for the bonding.

This is an excellent site!! I have heard other wood boat enthusiasts call this their "web Bible"! I have learned more in ten minutes on here than I could learn in a week while reading a book.

Thanks for the compliment!

Daniel M.


Hope this is some help, and come on back if you have more questions. We do look at pictures if they are sent as jpeg images. Sometimes they help in the more complicated repairs.