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View Full Version : Wet Boat when planks are dry--advice



chorussf
06-05-2014, 10:40 PM
I have a Kettenburg 38 that takes on quite a bit of water through the planks on the port side when she has not seen the water for a while. The planking below the water line is a typical carvel planking with a bevel and oakum/cotton caulking. Above the water line however the planking is different. There is no bevel and the seams are typically very tight. I've heard that the planks are laid one on top of another with a little shallow slot in which rests a line of cotton string. Then the next plank is laid on top of that and so on. The problem is that on the port side 60 years of sun and water have opened that side up and now when it is dry it takes on alot of water--big time bailing and two bilge pumps. Typically it tightens up after the first sail or two but there is still water coming in that is unnerving to my guests if not entirely to me. I'm wondering what is the best remedy--short of taking off the planks and refastening. Semi

peter radclyffe
06-05-2014, 10:47 PM
you can try soaking the seams with raw linseed oil again till the wood is oilbound, and soak any cracks

chorussf
06-05-2014, 11:35 PM
So this would expand them more persistently or something?

willin woodworks
06-06-2014, 06:55 AM
Clearly you need to go sailing more often....

wizbang 13
06-06-2014, 07:04 AM
Is she white?

SchoonerRat
06-06-2014, 09:13 AM
For the future, get in the habit of regularly flipping your boat 180 in her slip so she'll weather evenly.

chorussf
06-06-2014, 09:36 AM
She's entirely brightwork.

chorussf
06-06-2014, 09:37 AM
I try to. However, there is about sixty years of not doing that to contend with.

chorussf
06-06-2014, 09:38 AM
Trivially true.

chorussf
06-06-2014, 11:53 AM
What will the linseed oil do? Should I use raw or boiled? If raw what about mold? What brand is recommended? The boat dries out in about a weeks time so it is hard to sail her that much given my work schedule (I know quit the job). Don't want to be flippant but that is the case right now ;). The stbd side is completely solid, no leaks at all so I appreciate the advice to flip boat, and I have for the last four years, but it has not turned back time.

Other ideas:
Any one in favor of some type of paying of seams with either putty or some type of string or something? The planks are flat so it is not possible to really caulk them--the caulking would just come out the other side.

Cogeniac
06-06-2014, 02:32 PM
If she is entirely bright, then I suspect you have some nasty seams with cracked varnish. You could try just wetting her down once or twice a week to keep her swelled. Not sure if that would work, but it might be worth a try.

S

chorussf
06-06-2014, 02:52 PM
Yes that is basically the point of the question--the boat dries out, the seams open up and water comes in. The seams open about 1/16 or a bit more of an inch so the varnish cracks no doubt. After a day of hard sailing the seams swell up and the amount of water coming in from the is reduced to 1/10 volume--even though of course the varnish is still cracked ;) I think wetting her down when I can't sail is a good idea. I'd imagine that I'd need to use salt water though, right? And for that I'd need a salt water pump or a sump pump or something?

J.Madison
06-06-2014, 03:30 PM
It doesn't sound like you have broken frames, but it is always a good place to start for persistent leaking on only one side. Look for cracks at the hardest turn of the frames. Tight seamed boats often break frames, especially if there are large wet dry cycles. If everything is good there it probably needs that side reefed out and recaulked next haulout.

Or are you saying it is the tight seamed topsides that leak? In that case I'm not sure of the remedy.

Doug Schultz
06-06-2014, 03:32 PM
I am wondering what the inside of the planking looks like. Is it sealed in any way? Can you see it? or is it covered by cabinetry and ceiling?
I am thinking that you may be able to use burlap inside the planking to keep it wet. If you have wet bilges you may just be able to let the burlap wick the water up and it will help keep the planking swelled. otherwise you may have to wet it down.

Have you talked to a shipwright about the possibility of caulking it? There may be something that you are unaware of that can be done in that respect.

One other thought is about leaning the boat over from side to side so you get more planks in the water before you go sailing. like shift some ballast or swing the boom out with some weight on it for a day or two before sailing. might help things take up before you are out there with guests.

Doug

wizbang 13
06-06-2014, 06:16 PM
Paint her white

Cogeniac
06-06-2014, 09:47 PM
Have you considered a drip irrigation system? I know it sounds weird, but it might work. Just be sure you have c couple of bilge pumps

chorussf
06-07-2014, 05:47 PM
J Madison,

Yes it is the tight seamed topsides that are leaking. The seams are opening so that you can definitely see daylight through them from down below. When they get wet then they close up quite a bit.

It sounds like, although, there has been no confirmation on this, that raw linseed oil in copious amounts may stabilize the planks to a more persistent swell. After that if gaps remain perhaps I will use Sikaflex 291 or some such caulking agent.

Bradley


It doesn't sound like you have broken frames, but it is always a good place to start for persistent leaking on only one side. Look for cracks at the hardest turn of the frames. Tight seamed boats often break frames, especially if there are large wet dry cycles. If everything is good there it probably needs that side reefed out and recaulked next haulout.

Or are you saying it is the tight seamed topsides that leak? In that case I'm not sure of the remedy.

LongIslandBoy
06-07-2014, 05:58 PM
Just a thought, and this may well have been addressed already: Will the fumes or vapors from drying linseed oil (raw OR boiled) collect in the bilge? I don't know the answer, but I thought it might be important.

chorussf
06-07-2014, 06:10 PM
Good question.


Just a thought, and this may well have been addressed already: Will the fumes or vapors from drying linseed oil (raw OR boiled) collect in the bilge? I don't know the answer, but I thought it might be important.

wizbang 13
06-07-2014, 10:04 PM
Try toilet bowlwax , from the inside.
The relentless cycle of rain and sun , if the boat cannot take it, caulking goo will not help after a short time.

chuckt
06-08-2014, 07:23 AM
When was she last refastened? I second inspecting your frames.

There was a recent thread on caulking with sikaflex. Do a search for it.

mohsart
06-08-2014, 02:41 PM
Just a thought, and this may well have been addressed already: Will the fumes or vapors from drying linseed oil (raw OR boiled) collect in the bilge? I don't know the answer, but I thought it might be important.

When linseed oil oxides (it doesn't dry), heat is produced, on wood this is a non issue but oily rags etc may catch fire.
There are no fumes from linseed oils, if by fumes you mean something unhealthy.
Some people like to mix up the linseed oil with turpentine (though the effect is disputable) and then there will be unhealthy vapors, but it will clear off very quickly.

/Mats

Paul G.
06-08-2014, 04:02 PM
Linseed is not the answer especially if bright finished, it will go black. Once wood goes through a number of wet/dry cycles it wont expand the same amount so the caulking if any has probably made a permanent dent in the planks. A couple of options, make a caulking bevel with an iron made for the purpose and caulk it or spline and glue it. Have a good look at the planks, what you think is no caulking bevel may well be one.

MN Dave
06-09-2014, 01:36 AM
Ethylene glycol not only kills rot, but it swells wood. It is somewhat hygroscopic, which helps with the swelling. A drip irrigation system might be a welcome mat for any passing fungus. I have seen $2 per gallon used antifreeze at a used auto parts place. If it can tighten a hammer handle, it might swell a plank enough to keep the water out. You will have to reapply periodically.

Ted Hoppe
06-09-2014, 01:48 AM
Bradley - a lot of the other planked boats in the area are having similar problems. The minimal cotton caulking may be the problem as the boards for many are opening a bit more this year. We have faced a warmer, dryer winter and a warmer spring - especially here in the east bay. A couple of options to consider - You can use Slick Seam or even natural bee's wax (with great natural antibacterial/rot properties) to fill the voids to slow the water intake (easy to clean up or remove). As soon as the fog becomes a regular summer pattern again the issues may subside.

On a side note: is your lovely boat going to the wooden boat show at the Corinthian on the 29th?

chorussf
06-09-2014, 04:08 PM
Ted,

I believe we will make it to the Corinthian show as long as we get enough work done between then and now. Next time you see us on the water though give a shout. Which vessel do you have?

Thanks for the suggestion regarding bees-wax. That sounds environmentally friendly enough. I believe slick seam is only for under water line, and the problems are all above water line on free-board. Below the water line Chorus is watertight--thank god.


Bradley


Bradley - a lot of the other planked boats in the area are having similar problems. The minimal cotton caulking may be the problem as the boards for many are opening a bit more this year. We have faced a warmer, dryer winter and a warmer spring - especially here in the east bay. A couple of options to consider - You can use Slick Seam or even natural bee's wax (with great natural antibacterial/rot properties) to fill the voids to slow the water intake (easy to clean up or remove). As soon as the fog becomes a regular summer pattern again the issues may subside.

On a side note: is your lovely boat going to the wooden boat show at the Corinthian on the 29th?

BrianM
06-09-2014, 04:19 PM
It's somewhat involved but one solution (short of replacing whole planks) is to precisely align a batten along the length of a plank so that a router bit will remove the edge of a plank adjacent to a seam. A new piece of like material shaped with caulking bevel machined into it is then glued to the old plank. You will be back to the original plank width and can caulk it like it was new.

I did this to a batten-seamed hull that had been horribly (and permanently) dried out because it was left in a field in Sacramento for a few years.

The glued-in "cheater" will be almost invisible so it will work well with your bright finished hull.

chorussf
06-09-2014, 04:22 PM
Brian,

I like this idea and think this may be something I try at the next haulout if "beeswax" doesn't hold up ;)

Bradley


It's somewhat involved but one solution (short of replacing whole planks) is to precisely align a batten along the length of a plank so that a router bit will remove the edge of a plank adjacent to a seam. A new piece of like material shaped with caulking bevel machined into it is then glued to the old plank. You will be back to the original plank width and can caulk it like it was new.

I did this to a batten-seamed hull that had been horribly (and permanently) dried out because it was left in a field in Sacramento for a few years.

The glued-in "cheater" will be almost invisible so it will work well with your bright finished hull.

Ted Hoppe
06-09-2014, 04:25 PM
I have Black Jack, a very fast 28' black hulled foot sloop (when i sail her right). I would need a free month to make her show worthy. I do spend time helping out friends on Vectis (the 1928 cutter and boat of the year for the MM) and Huck Finn (a fine bear). I am a bit of a dreamer who is thinking of his next boat (maybe soon) but loving the simplicity of a solidly built boat nearly put together. I may just sail BJ over and hide it behind Alma along with the other well loved boats that are sailed hard but lacking the polish to be in the show.

I will be helping out this year as one of the dock masters as well as run for the MM board again if folks will have me. Love the organization and the events we do. I am excited to see if we can have more of these K boats as they are quite elegant, speedy and nicely built.

chorussf
06-09-2014, 04:34 PM
Ted,

Thanks for the note. I will look for you there--if Chorus is not ready I will come by land. I really like Louis
from Vectis and chat with him whenever I get a chance. Sweet, see you soon then. Did you go to the Freda launch?

Bradley


I have Black Jack, a very fast 28' black hulled foot sloop (when i sail her right). I would need a free month to make her show worthy. I do spend time helping out friends on Vectis (the 1928 cutter and boat of the year for the MM) and Huck Finn (a fine bear). I am a bit of a dreamer who is thinking of his next boat (maybe soon) but loving the simplicity of a solidly built boat nearly put together. I may just sail BJ over and hide it behind Alma along with the other well loved boats that are sailed hard but lacking the polish to be in the show.

I will be helping out this year as one of the dock masters as well as run for the MM board again if folks will have me. Love the organization and the events we do. I am excited to see if we can have more of these K boats as they are quite elegant, speedy and nicely built.

BrianM
06-09-2014, 04:38 PM
I have a Kettenburg 38 that takes on quite a bit of water through the planks on the port side when she has not seen the water for a while. The planking below the water line is a typical carvel planking with a bevel and oakum/cotton caulking. Above the water line however the planking is different. There is no bevel and the seams are typically very tight. I've heard that the planks are laid one on top of another with a little shallow slot in which rests a line of cotton string. Then the next plank is laid on top of that and so on. The problem is that on the port side 60 years of sun and water have opened that side up and now when it is dry it takes on alot of water--big time bailing and two bilge pumps. Typically it tightens up after the first sail or two but there is still water coming in that is unnerving to my guests if not entirely to me. I'm wondering what is the best remedy--short of taking off the planks and refastening. Semi

There's an additional solution which is the process done at the former Kettenberg Yachts site, which is now www.koehlerkraft.com (http://www.koehlerkraft.com).

It's bordering on heresy however.....

I've witnessed this process firsthand when I kept my boat in San Diego and did my haulouts at Koehler Kraft



1) Hulls are wooded down completely
2) All caulking is removed from seams and they are opened up with a router to a uniform (and square bottomed) width.
3) CPES is used to soak all faying surfaces.
4) Fiberglass "yarn" is pushed into this gap.
5) The yarn is soaked in epoxy resin.
6) The planks are coated in either CPES or Epoxy Resin
7) Epoxy Fairing compound is slathered all over the hull, sanded and repeated until all signs of "wooden" are erased from the boat (no seams, no waves).
8) Hulls are finished in 2-part catalyzed Urethane Paints

Not recommending this.. just reporting on what www.koehlerkraft.com (http://www.koehlerkraft.com) does to many yachts to control the moves of the wood as San Diego's humidity swings wildly from 60% to 4% when the Santa Ana winds kick up.

chorussf
06-09-2014, 05:20 PM
Brian,

Thanks for the information. I'm always interested in as many options as possible. I will not use this koehler kraft method but it's great to expand the horizons of the possible.

Bradley


There's an additional solution which is the process done at the former Kettenberg Yachts site, which is now www.koehlerkraft.com (http://www.koehlerkraft.com).

It's bordering on heresy however.....

I've witnessed this process firsthand when I kept my boat in San Diego and did my haulouts at Koehler Kraft



1) Hulls are wooded down completely
2) All caulking is removed from seams and they are opened up with a router to a uniform (and square bottomed) width.
3) CPES is used to soak all faying surfaces.
4) Fiberglass "yarn" is pushed into this gap.
5) The yarn is soaked in epoxy resin.
6) The planks are coated in either CPES or Epoxy Resin
7) Epoxy Fairing compound is slathered all over the hull, sanded and repeated until all signs of "wooden" are erased from the boat (no seams, no waves).
8) Hulls are finished in 2-part catalyzed Urethane Paints

Not recommending this.. just reporting on what www.koehlerkraft.com (http://www.koehlerkraft.com) does to many yachts to control the moves of the wood as San Diego's humidity swings wildly from 60% to 4% when the Santa Ana winds kick up.

Ted Hoppe
06-09-2014, 06:18 PM
I think you should try the wax approach first. As your boards reswell, the wax will be in squeezed tight and give you the sticky flex you may use. The wax does allow for some coatings over too. That slick seam is also made of wax with some pure mineral products and silicate fibers - if you heat it up slightly it can be injected in a thin seam making a fine barrier seal between the board which is barely visible to the eye but still locks out water. Use damp touch of mineral oil on a rag to knock down the seam smooth. Either way, if doesn't seal up then Brian's suggestion of a glued-in "cheater" might be a good, larger step addressing the problem.

Freda's launch was a nice afternoon with good BBQ too! It was good to see her finally get hoisted back into the water after 12 years. Tom List did a fine job with the repower. The hull and interior was spot on. There might be a redress of a few topside finishing touches as she is rerigged. There were many hands who were present and who pasted that guided this boat's rebuild through the decade. I thought about them as it was lowered and took her first cruise. Our communities (Spaulding , Master Mariners and many other of her dedicated friends) can take pride in her return to the bay.

chorussf
06-09-2014, 06:57 PM
Ted,

It sounds like the slick seam can only be used under the water line--or at least the say that you have to get her in the water as soon as it is applied--which sounds like it should be used only under the water line.

I was at the Freda launch as well--a very fine and festive occasion.

Bradley

I think you should try the wax approach first. As your boards reswell, the wax will be in squeezed tight and give you the sticky flex you may use. The wax does allow for some coatings over too. That slick seam is also made of wax with some pure mineral products and silicate fibers - if you heat it up slightly it can be injected in a thin seam making a fine barrier seal between the board which is barely visible to the eye but still locks out water. Use damp touch of mineral oil on a rag to knock down the seam smooth. Either way, if doesn't seal up then Brian's suggestion of a glued-in "cheater" might be a good, larger step addressing the problem.

Freda's launch was a nice afternoon with good BBQ too! It was good to see her finally get hoisted back into the water after 12 years. Tom List did a fine job with the repower. The hull and interior was spot on. There might be a redress of a few topside finishing touches as she is rerigged. There were many hands who were present and who pasted that guided this boat's rebuild through the decade. I thought about them as it was lowered and took her first cruise. Our communities (Spaulding , Master Mariners and many other of her dedicated friends) can take pride in her return to the bay.