The Rot Doctor


Subject: Stem Repair: 1969 30' Ridgeway Express SF
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003

It looks like I finally found the right site. I am restoring a 1969 30' Ridgeway Express Sportfisherman and have several areas that need attention (most have been answered) excluding the repair needed to the stem. The hull is (2) layers of 3/8" mahogany cold molded and the stem appears to be mahogany or fir but is mostly gone from dry rot and insects. The shape remains from the old skin of epoxy but not much else after removing with a scraper. I need to keep the exterior skin and laminating intact so I need to repair from the inside. My first thought was to remove all wood and laminate with layers of mahogany until built up as required. Is there a way to stabilize the little remaining wood (there is some good wood at the lower part of the stem as it bends toward the keel below the waterline) with CPES and then use the L&L to fill the entire stem section using a form to recreate the shape and tie into the existing skin and horizontal rails? If possible, this solution would also assist in the repair of sections of the chines that are extremely rotten. The mahogany is coming apart in dry soft strands in some sections. Your assistant is much needed and appreciated. Joe C.

Yes it is possible to repair in this manner. We have done this many times, including to the horn timber on our old tug Delta. The old wood can be stabilized with CPES, and then the voids filled with Layup & Laminating Resin mixed with sawdust. Fill-It Epoxy Filler can also be useful. A temporary mold wrapped with polyethylene plastic is the way to go.