View Full Version : Replacing ribs in a Lyman

01-29-2010, 01:18 PM
I have begun the job of replacing about two dozen ribs midships on my 24' Lyman hardtop. I began by removing all the seating, cabinets, floors etc. Then I chose the worst of the ribs, in an area of an old butt-block repair and took out every other one. I will be making two copies of each rib that I removed on the starboard, and replacing the corosponidng rib on port.


While I have it open to this extent I will be cleaning and re-painting the bilge as well as removing several old thru-hull transducers.



I have been scraping all of the old paint and gunk out of the bilge, and scrubbing with acetone to try and remove the oily residue. If anyone has a better idea how to do this I would like to hear it.

Here is the foreward bilge cleaned and painted, began sanding the white paint before re-coating. The green stain is from several applications of cuprinol sprayed up in the foreward bilge/knee area over the years.


Cutting out the bad section, I love you Fein tool! The butt blocks and sistering are from an old repair from before I owned the boat.




01-29-2010, 01:30 PM
Two ribs removed, last one cut but not yet free.


Using a wedge so I can remove the rib from behind the bilge stringer.


At home now, the steam box.


The steam generator


Wide bending strap, I can stack two pieces of stock on top of each other with this so I can bend two ribs at the same time on one form.


Endstop with extension for leverage.



01-29-2010, 01:38 PM
Adjustable end stop.


Stock bent around the form, clamped in place



You can never have too many clamps




More updates will follow as the project progresses.


01-29-2010, 02:05 PM
Were the bad ribs rotted or cracked? Or a combination thereof?

I'm glad my lyman doesn't need rib work (that I know of, right now). That looks like a pain.

jerry bark
01-29-2010, 02:30 PM
this shot:

http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb68/mucrewbtp/P1222366.jpg looks like there may have been a dock collision at some point, with two new planks and some butt block on the frames?

cool boat and best wishes for a top notch outcome.


01-29-2010, 03:56 PM
The ribs were rotted on the backside which also allowed them to crack. It is common for that to happen with Lymans right at the turn of the bilge. I figure the butt blocks are from a collision with a dock or another boat at some time.


01-30-2010, 09:25 AM
Great thread. Thanks for posting!

Rich Jones
01-30-2010, 09:35 AM
Looking good. I noticed you built your steam box out of blue foam board. I did the same when steam bending some small coamings for a canoe, but the foam board swelled and distorted with the heat and steam. Was able to finish the one day project, but then the box was ready for the trash. How did yours turn out?

01-30-2010, 10:52 AM
The un-sealed edges distorted a little bit. I will be re-building it tonight and I will tape over the cut edges with foil tape. That should keep the heat away from the foam and keep it from distorting. I will let you know how it turns out.


02-01-2010, 09:49 AM

The foil tape worked very well. I taped over all of the cut edges with the stuff and also used it to put the box together. This kept heat and condensation away from the foam, and the paper backing on the outside. The foil tape also holds together a lot better, where the duct tape began to stretch when it got hot.


Lew Barrett
02-01-2010, 12:17 PM
Great thread. Thanks for posting!


02-01-2010, 09:56 PM
Ribs No. 5 and 6 are cooling on the form right now. I should be scarfing them in within the next few days. Standby for pics.


02-11-2010, 06:44 PM
Was at the boat yesterday before trimming the ribs to fit and cutting scarfs into the remaining rib sections, I took a good hard look at what I was going to be scarfing in to. These are the ribs in between the main engine stringers. I was planning on cutting the scarf just outboard of the stringer.


On closer inspection, they seemed pretty oil soaked. I was worried about scarfing in a brand new rib attached to a marginal piece of original wood.

So, out it came:


I was able to remove a few more screws and persuade the rib from out of underneath the keelson and engine stringers.


I will be steaming the center section in the boat, the stringers and notched keelson make a three point clamp that will hold it in form nicely without any other bracing needed. I will then scarf in the two new sections on either side, making a three piece rib and all new wood from sheer to sheer.

I am making the outboard rib sections on forms outside of the boat and I will be applying CPES to these before installing. The only downside to steaming the center section in the boat I suppose is not being able to apply CPES to this portion .That is unless it is possible to apply CPES and steam the wood after it has cured? Is that possible, it sounds like it is asking for all sorts of trouble.

Hal Forsen
02-11-2010, 07:52 PM
Great Thread.
Thanks for taking the time. :)

02-13-2010, 09:29 PM
Any input on the CPES before steaming question?


wizbang 13
02-13-2010, 09:39 PM
Jeeze !here is a fellow doing a nice job on a type of boat that is about the most labor/thought intensive there is. NICE (but negatory on cpes before steaming) I might lay a short stringer on the outboard side of the engine "box" to 'stribute loads to some of the new frames

02-13-2010, 09:53 PM
Hi - Great thread. re: acetone... I presume you know just how nasty the stuff is & are using gloves, ventilation & all that stuff. OK, I'll shut up.

I've had good luck with denatured alcohol (on the boat, the good kind in me ;-) & also some of the stronger citrus based cleaners. They both are more work though.

02-14-2010, 03:28 PM
Garret, I have been using a VOC rated charcoal respirator when working with the acetone. I have also tried laquer thinner which among other things contains both acetone and alcohol, it seems to work well too.

I will be replacing all of the ribs midships while I have all of the seating and cabinetry etc. out. These are the hardest to get at and are right about where the boat rides on plane, so starting with these should add strength where the boat needs it the most. Next fall/winter I will start on the ribs farther aft. They are in better condition than the ribs midships but some have cracks starting at the turn of the bilge. I am sure by the time the job is done I will have replaced sections in about 85-90 percent of the ribs. The rib work will be done over a several year span since this boat goes in the water every spring. Nothing is in too bad of shape, so I figure I should be fine spreading out the work since I am catching it early.

03-15-2010, 07:14 PM
Finally getting around to updating pictures. I have been making a good amount of progress. The foreward area is all finished with painting all that is left is to make some new floors and install all of the framing for the V-Berth.


I also finished removing all of the center rib sections and prepping the area for the new ribs to be put in. This included cleaning and painting the bilge and reparing and sealing some of the plywood planking where some rot spread from the rib to the plank.


Before anyone cries heretic, yes that is an epoxy repair on the hull. Yes I am aware I own a wood boat and that patch won't last. The epoxy repairs are temporary, I would like to get another three or four seasons out of the bottom before a replacement. I plan to replace sections in all of the ribs over the next few winters, while using the boat during the season. After all the ribs are done I will replace the bottom below the waterline.

The below picture is the worst of it. Somehow the inner plys of the fir plywood had rotted leaving the outer faces solid. I ground out the bulk of the rot, sealed the remainder, and I will be setting in an epoxy patch to buy some time before this area is replaced, most likely with Meranti instead of fir.


Today we finally started putting some pieces back in the boat instead of taking them out. The center sections are being steamed in the boat so the steam set up had to be moved up to the shop.



Getting all of my tools lined up:



03-15-2010, 07:26 PM
One hour later, things start getting interesting:

Getting some pre-bend in the piece.


Shoving the new section under the engine stringer and through the keel. The steamed wood went in suprisingly easily.


It went through most of the way without any more effort than grabbing the rib and forcing it through. Only towards the end when I didnt have much to grab on to did I have to use a persuader.


Three sections installed, next job will be to scarph in the outboard sections that I formed earlier.


After these three are complete from sheer to sheer, its time to cut out some more and repeat the process.


Thanks for looking, any questions, comments or suggestions are welcomed.


03-25-2010, 07:19 PM
Out at the boat again to day, started scarphing in new sections.

Getting ready to mark and cut the scarph.


The center section is cut at the edge of the lap so that when it scarph is cut, the thinnest part will be where the screw comes through the outside of the hull. This way a screw can be used from the outside to clamp this part and wedges, clamps, etc arent needed.


This is another one from the inside to show how the hull screw comes through the thinnest part and will clamp this part of the joint together.


The rib section is marked with the correct taper and depth cuts are made.


Start with the chisel.


Finish with the grinder careful not to make any low spots.


03-25-2010, 07:29 PM
The finished scarph.


The other piece is marked.


Roughed out first with the saw.


Finished on the sander.


All fit up in the boat. Two screws coming down from the inside of the boat.


And one from the outside going through the original fastner hole.



wizbang 13
03-25-2010, 08:59 PM
put more "tooth" in the glue area. a sawzall blade works good good job

03-25-2010, 09:38 PM
Thanks for the tip. What I dont have pictured is that I have been scuffing the surface with a 36 grit disc before gluing. That should give it plenty of "tooth." I have also been cleaning with alcohol and priming the surface with raw, unthickened epoxy before using any thickened stuff. I have used this method before with no issues.

Rob Stokes, N. Vancouver
03-26-2010, 12:18 PM
Excellent post!

curious what the power is? Looks like a Studebaker 289!

03-26-2010, 03:24 PM
It is a Graymarine Fireball 327 of a 1961 vintage.


Rob Stokes, N. Vancouver
03-26-2010, 09:26 PM
ah..that's it. It's an AMC.. Great engines...strong like bull...

04-22-2010, 07:30 PM
The last set of ribs is now permanently in place, and now I am moving on to another set. As the hull starts to curve up into the bow I discovered the ribs need to have a compound curve, and bending the ribs on a form outside the boat is not an option. I thought about it for a while, and I came up with the following method for forming new rib sections in the boat. I have so far just bent this one test piece since I did not know how this would work. After doing this one, I am pleasantly supprised at how well this worked.

The prep work. While the new blank was in the steamer, I started out by placing large fender washers with #14 screws off-center on the old rib that will be replaced. I placed one washer at every lap throughout the turn of the bilge, and used one every other lap going up the hull side.


You can see I also had all of my tools laid out ahead of time within close reach. In this photo the three completed new ribs can also be seen.


The punji sticks are placed under the edge of the washer to hold the leading edge up to facilitate sliding the steamed wood underneath. After trying this method once I found it was much easier to use a small piece of duct tape on the back edge to hold the leading edge up.


After the wood was removed from the steam box, the top end was persuaded between what I guess would be best called a sheer clamp, and the hull. As the wood was forced into the hull, it was slid under the washers, and all of the washers were tightened down to clamp the new wood into the hull while it cools.


This method seemed to work very well, the new rib matches the old one exactly, which should require a lot less fitting when it is time to scarph this into the boat. More pictures to follow.


04-23-2010, 12:31 PM
Mike, I have to do some similar work in my thompson and your pictures and methods are confidence inspiring.


04-24-2010, 08:54 AM
240SX, thanks for the note. I have been posting all of this because for a long time I thought steam bending was way too technical and needed more equipment and experience than I had to do the job properly. I searched but I never really found a step by step, or in depth discussion of everything that went in to steam bending on a boat like mine. Now that I am getting in to the job, steam bending has proved to be much easier and faster than laminating new ribs. I know this thread is seeming to get repetitive, but I figure some people will appreciate seeing the whole process from start to finish. On to part two.

Here I am getting the washers set up in the other three ribs to be replaced on the port side of the boat. This time around I used duct tape on the back edge fo the washers to hold up the leading edge, the punji sticks only sort of worked, the tape works much better. I haven't taped them yet in this picture.


First piece is out of the steamer and being put in place. The foil looking bit around my knee is a old hunk of sound insulation I use to insulate myself when I first form the blank to a rough shape over my knee.


Driving the new rib tight against the old one:


Tightening down the screws, which is followed my some more beatings with the rubber mallett to seat it firmly against the old rib. You can see a completed piece in the foreground.


And the process repeats, pre-bending the blank.


Starting to get it in place, making sure the sheer end of the blank is driven all the way up against the deck.


Thats all for now, hopefully I will be posting some pictures of re-assembly soon.


05-20-2010, 01:20 AM
Any new work?

05-20-2010, 10:58 AM

Yes work has been continuing, but it has been much of the same (cut, replace, repeat as needed) so I haven't been posting any new pictures. I was out there yesterday and I am now 2/3 of the way done replacing the ribs in the section I am doing this year. I've picked up some new white oak and milled it into rib making stock all ready for the last round of steaming. Soon I should be starting to get the interior bits back in and it will begin to look like a boat again instead of a wooden bathtub with an engine. I am excited to get this boat back in the water because then I can begin work again on the 35' Lyman project. I should have some interesting photos to post in the next week.


05-20-2010, 12:14 PM
...because then I can begin work again on the 35' Lyman project. I should have some interesting photos to post in the next week.




05-20-2010, 01:45 PM
Same here--except I don't have a bigger project waiting in the wings! I've seen some very pretty Lymans that size. I'm kinda partial to the 50s and earlier wooden power boats but there are some Lymans long after those eras that really strike my fancy. Can we have a teaser picture?

05-21-2010, 09:43 AM
Here is the boat where I found it:


Here is the boat after being moved to outside storage near my shop in Port Clinton, OH


A head-on picture:


I started a thread on the project a while back, I probably should have given the thread a more descriptive title.



05-21-2010, 10:21 AM
Cool boat. A worthwhile project.

Tim B
05-21-2010, 12:27 PM

Great posts! This is very informative. The step by step pictures are great. I am about to embark on replacing ribs in my current project boat. The timing of your post is perfect.


05-25-2010, 10:09 PM
I was out at the boat again today where I was involved in an epic battle between man and beast, or plant I suppose, as the final set of white oak ribs were steamed into place. Soon I will begin to test my memory and organizational ability as I scour the shop floor for all of the interior bits that have been carefully cast both hither and thither, and then try to assemble them back into something that resembles a 1961 Lyman. Pictures will soon follow.


05-26-2010, 05:16 PM
Pictures from the last couple of days,

Old on left, New on right. I would say it is a slight improvement.


The boat is beginning to look like it has been feeding a family of woodpeckers.


New upper rib sections formed in the boat.


Center sections are to be replaced as well. They are a slightly different type that butt up to the keelson, The ribs further aft had a center section that passed through the keelson.


Center sections removed, ready for replacement.


Centers replaced.


Next trip I will be cutting and gluing all of the scarph joints in these ribs. These will be the last to be replaced for a few seasons. There are about a dozen or so ribs going aft that will be sistered as a temporary fix until they can be replaced.

05-26-2010, 09:25 PM
Nice work, Mike!!

05-27-2010, 07:24 AM
Fantastic! Nice work.

05-27-2010, 11:28 PM
Thanks for posting, I may be helping a friend to replace some frames in his launch, your series of pictures is very helpful.

06-13-2010, 10:01 PM

All permanent ribs are in. Added about a dozen steam bent sister frames in the after portion of the boat, I figure these will last a good three or so years until they are completely replaced. Bilge paint is going in and the hull is filled and faired from all of the removed screws. Several new interior components have been made and fit. I will be at the boat this Tuesday and Wednesday and I will get some pictures of re-assembly.


06-15-2010, 07:28 PM
Some pictures from the last few days.

These pieces form either side of the passageway up into the foreward V-Berth and also form the base of the front seats and cabinets.


They werent rotted, but were oil soaked and the finish was shot.


I used 3/4" Meranti Ply to make two new pieces.


I was quite supprised at how well the Meranti finished up bright.


Also, today I finished installing the new steam bent sister ribs in the aft portion of the boat. These will all be cut out and replaced in several seasons. This area of the boat can be accessed much easier than the foreward area that is covered by the seats and cabinets.

Drilling holes that will be used to clamp the sister to the original rib whilst the 5200 cures. The sister rib extends well past the rotted area into good wood. I tested a rib that had been repaired in this manner several seasons ago that I cut out during this go-around. It was at least as strong as the new steam bent ribs.


On the starboard side there is only one rib between the foreward bulkhead and the aft seat bulkhead that has not been replaced or sistered. The port side seemed to fare a little better. On the port there are about five ribs that I left alone.


Tomorrow the bilge clamps go back in and then the cockpit deck beams can go back in, followed by cabinets etc. More pictures will follow.


06-16-2010, 11:53 AM
Nice. thread. I have a 1957 32' Stephens Which needs many new ribs. This inspires me. She is caravel and The fasteners are failing and the keel bolts as well. I was wondering How I would clamp new ribs in and was a bit worried about scarfing in place. This demystifies the process. Thank you.

06-16-2010, 10:27 PM
More re-assembly pictures:

5200 Squeeze-out from the sister ribs was cleaned up witht a flat scraper blade on a fein tool (again, best tool ever) and the bilge clamp was installed. This piece is about 20 feet of straight grained knot free mahogany, good luck finding that anywhere if you had to replace one of these.


The companion way pieces that form the bases of the seats and cabinets are put back in. The oak cleat on the bottom is where the floor supports will rest.


First coat of bilge paint is on in this area.


The door frame, door, V-Berth framing etc is due to be installed up foreward. The small plywood platform you see has been my home it seems for the last 6 months. It is sized so that it can be placed between the engine stringers and moved around where I need it. I will be glad when I have a real cockpit deck again.


This is just a cool picture...



06-16-2010, 10:30 PM

I'm glad you find this thread helpful. I have been keeping up with this project in such detail because I looked all over for something like this when I was considering a large project involving steam bending. The fact that I could not find very detailed information kept me from starting this project for quite a while. If you have any questions as you get into your project please feel free to send me an email mike@zoneaviation.com


06-24-2010, 12:50 PM
More progress in re-assembly. Installed the cockpit deck beams. Would these technically be called floors?


This has to be the cleanest the bilge has been in about 30 years.


This picture looks a whole lot like one from six months ago with a few exceptions.


Finall something to walk on. My knees feel better just looking at it.


Re designed the step down to the companionway and the battery box. I replaced the floor board here with left over 3/4 meranti. The original floor boards were moved from their original position and were not very well supported.


Last, I put in the steering gear and the related framing. This also forms the floor in front of the helm seat.



06-24-2010, 01:27 PM
Looking good man! Very nice work.

07-01-2010, 09:34 AM
More pictures from re-assembly will follow soon. The cabinets and seats are in, all of the floor boards are made and covered in new nautolex vinyl, and the hull has been painted.

I will post pictures later when I figure out the new system. For some reason it keeps telling me the files are too large even if I just use a link to a picture that is hosted off site...


07-05-2010, 08:21 PM

Seat framing going back in:


Beginning to look more sitable:

Looking more and more like a boat again:


Seats fully assembled:


Helm seat and helm are finally back in place:


Still continuing to assemble, the next pictues you are likely to see will be from launch day hopefully by this weekend!

Tom Freeman
07-06-2010, 02:14 AM
It's looking really great, Mike. Good luck with your relaunch!

07-10-2010, 06:55 AM
I have a 2:00 date with the travel lift today, pictures to follow!

07-10-2010, 08:23 PM
Artemis is launched and is safely hanging in the slings for a good soak. I took a short video clip while test running the engine that you can see here:



Peter Malcolm Jardine
07-10-2010, 09:00 PM
Great job Mike, lovely boat...:)

07-10-2010, 09:09 PM
Nice man. How is your swim platform attached? Mind sharing a pic?

07-10-2010, 09:25 PM

A picture could be tough now that it is in the water. But I could try and describe it. Along the transom edge of the platform are four angle brackets made out of bent flat aluminum stock. These catch the back edge of the platform and are attached to a fore and aft stringer under the platform. The aft edge of the platform is supported by aluminum channel that extends from a bracket attached to the stringer under the platform to a small socket at the lower portion of the transom. I did it this way because a store bought 90 degree bracket cannot be used due to the aft rake of the transom. Let me know if this makes any sense. If you like I can draw a sketch and post it here.


Lew Barrett
07-10-2010, 09:41 PM
That will be fun! Great job!

08-19-2010, 05:04 PM
OMG What a great boat. I currently live in Sandusky Ohio where that boat was made. I just picked up a 1973 24' skiff craft (for free), and am going to have to replace 4 ribs so going through you thread has been a great help for me. The question I have is what did you use to generate the steam you put in the box. (I have never seen that contraption you showed).

08-19-2010, 08:24 PM
Hey Mike--I missed your answer back on July 10. Glad someone bumped your thread. Hope you are enjoying your work. Started on the next project yet?

08-20-2010, 12:05 PM

My boat is in port Clinton, not too far from you in Sandusky, I'm glad to hear you are starting on a project of your own. I made my steam generator out of 3" black iron pipe and some plumbing fittings I got from home depot. The source of heat is a 5000w 240v water electric water heater element. It is a great tool for steam bending because it starts making steam in about two minutes and it will run all day, all you have to do to keep it running is top up the external reservoir bucket. If you like I can take some more detailed pictures of it next time I am out at the boat. It was fairly easy to make I just sort of made it up as I went along. All together it cost about a hundred bucks worth of parts which was definitely money very well spent.


08-20-2010, 12:08 PM

I just got started again on the 35' project. I was out there yesterday removing the aft cockpit deck. No real surprises, I will be replacing all of the deck framing and there will be some rib work. I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time the project is done I may just replace most or all of the ribs for good measure. I got some now pictures and I will probably be starting a new thread for the project.


08-20-2010, 06:43 PM
That would be a big help (pictures of steam generator).. THanks
I'll be watching for your new thread.


11-05-2011, 05:34 PM
Steam Generator:



02-14-2012, 03:57 PM
I think this is a fabulous job and wonderful documentation. I see you use a Fein sander. I replaced two dozen ribs on an 18' Runabout in about two weeks tops by buying straight grained 5/4" white oak boards and striping them on a table saw about 3/32" thick. I CPES'd the bottom of the first lamination and threaded it into place with a 45 degree cut on both ends matching a 45 degree cut on the remaining rib ends done with the Fein. Then i glued each new lamination in with T88 until it matched the height of the original ribs. A little sanding and the repairs are hard to see and stronger than the originals. No steam, no machinations for fit as everything is so bendy! Just one more way to skin a cat. Thanks for your documantation...anxious to see the rest.

02-14-2012, 06:40 PM
Same here--except I don't have a bigger project waiting in the wings!

Really?? The Universe had a different idea for you that you didn't know about!!

02-14-2012, 06:44 PM
Really?? The Universe had a different idea for you that you didn't know about!!

Good catch! Now does Chuck remember saying that?

Hmmm... note to self: Don't say something like that!

02-14-2012, 06:58 PM
fyi.... I am replacing all the ribs on my 16' Lyman and decided to buy a wallpaper steamer at Lowe's for $50. It works great, but the only downside is that it takes a long time to create the first puffs of steam and it has a pretty small reservoir (about 2 hours of steaming time). I used a couple of adapters to connect the hose to the steam box. If steam bending wood was something I did a lot of, I would like the setup above, but for an inexpensive, effective alternative this works well for me.

BTW, anyone know why some of the white oak I am using bends well, but other batches break a lot? I installed 15 new ribs and only broke one, but when I bought a new batch of lumber I broke the first 3 pieces I tried to bend.

02-14-2012, 07:11 PM
Check for grain run-out--also moisture content could play into it--air dried? kiln dried? flat sawn? quarter sawn? slash sawn? all plays a part....I'd go back to your first supplier and ask some questions...then try to get the same.

02-14-2012, 10:09 PM
Good idea, I don't know the answer to all of those questions. The first guy that I bought wood from was in Ohio and he is used to selling to guys restoring Lymans and other wooden boats. I bought the second batch locally (Charlotte) and I am sure that I just got whatever stock they had. I thought about the moisture content so I am soaking the ribs now and I'll try to bend some new ribs tomorrow (after soaking 3 days). Thanks for the advice!

02-14-2012, 10:50 PM
Where in ohio did you get the first batch of White Oak? I would be willing to bet the second batch you got in Charlotte was probably kiln dried which does not take to steam bending nearly as well as air dried white oak.


02-14-2012, 10:55 PM
I havent been on this thread in a while and I dont know if I evr posted some final pictures of the boat. Here are a couple of pictures from a recent wood boat show in Lakeside, Ohio. It is a great show and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the Great Lakes region.




Kim K
04-10-2013, 12:20 PM