View Full Version : Fixing ribs

05-15-2013, 10:39 PM

I have a 1947 35' sloop with red cedar planks and white oak ribs. The bottom couple feet of a few ribs on either side of the mast have rotted out and rather than replace the ribs, which I will do in the next few years, and rather than sistering the ribs, what I'd like to do is just put new oak in the spots that are missing - maybe by laminating or steaming - and then put a piece over the top of say a foot of the old rib and a foot of the new rib and screw it in so it's secure. See picture of missing ribs.

Any reason I can't do this?

I don't want to sister ribs because I don't want more holes and mess, and I don't want to replace the whole rib now because in a few years I'll have the keel bolts, some planks and some ribs replaced. Right now i just want to get it back in the water and use it for a few years.


05-16-2013, 06:26 AM
Welcome to the forum.
"Any reason I can't do this? " Well, if it is your boat, YOU can do whatever you want to.
From a professional repair point of view, please sign these 6 pages of CYA releases! :)
That, as you probably know, is a VERY critical section and needs proper structure.
"for a few years" is a long time and situations change. I would be loath to be aboard, with family and/or friends, and find out my temporary repair failed and the boat sank. Yikes!
The condition won't get any better or cheaper in a few years.
Monies spent to get a few more years out of it, is monies that could go to a proper repair.
These are reasons to maybe not do it.
But, it is your choice, and it can be done, its your boat. And if it were mine, I would do what you intend, after determining that I REALLY cant do a proper job now.
Can't really see much in the pictures, but it looks like a fine vessel!
Where are you and the boat located? Best of luck this season.

Peerie Maa
05-16-2013, 06:37 AM
When you fit the new pieces of rib, skarf them to the remainder of the old timber. Using appropriate glues this will be as strong as new, and will not create and discontinuities or hard spots.

wizbang 13
05-16-2013, 06:54 AM
Oak gone bad? never heard of that before.

Something amiss in your statement / question.
On the one hand you have a plan for the near future that hints to more wrong with the vessel than just a few feet of bad timbers, and a well thought out plan for a proper repair,
on the other hand, you want to take a shortcut, and you do not seem up to be speed on material or technique to take it?
anyway, for better pics, put them first on Flickr or the like, then , put them here.
cuz with more and better pics we can see better what is up.

05-16-2013, 07:01 AM
Unfortunately I have loads of experience with this sort of repair. If you get some pictures posted it will help ensure that we understand the issue and can share our experience.

05-16-2013, 07:42 AM
Damn- saw the title and thought it was going to be a recipe:) JayInOz

05-16-2013, 08:03 AM
How about this:





And not pictured is one more laminated piece over the scarf. I use GFlex. I would not use regular epoxy to do this. I suspect it would be too rigid.

wizbang 13
05-16-2013, 08:29 AM
http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4069/4648051397_119ae232a9_z_d.jpghttp://farm5.staticflickr.com/4049/4648665994_9618ca88db_z_d.jpgor this... oak replaced with fir and yellow cedar and purple heart. Scarphs in original frames made with sawzall and grinder at a 12 /1 ratio, more or less.

05-16-2013, 10:55 AM
Take a look at this:


05-16-2013, 12:15 PM
Thank you very much for the good advice. Scarfing is the way to go I think. Needed to know it could be done. I appreciate the pictures and link. Would post more pictures but will have to post them elsewhere with a link. The boat is in West Vancouver and has been liberated from the epoxy and fibreglass and is now back to only materials that were available when it was built 65 years ago. Therefore, everything breathes and is easy to repair. Thanks again.

Jay Greer
05-16-2013, 04:51 PM
If you wish to eliminate scarfing and pass a frame all the way from the rail to the bilge it can now be done. There is a new process for making wood, especially white oak, flexible enough to be tied in a knot.
After a few days of air cure, it then becomes as hard as any steam bent frame. Several of my friends have used the process and find it to be nothing short of amazing.