View Full Version : Reparing Bow and Stem on Lapstrake Runabout

08-25-2006, 03:08 PM
This is my first post after lurking here for the past eight months. My background is the last wooden boat I rebuilt with my then 15 year old son, was a 29’ Dragon built in 1966 as a campaign boat for the ’68 Olympics. Then we towed from Vancouver to Toronto for the 1991 World Championships. I am working rebuilding a 1962, 20 ft Thompson lapstrake runabout to use in the Gulf Islands and am looking for some input on my current problem(s). Outside of operating whalers for my club during regattas and race committee work this is my first venture into a non-sailing boat.

Several ribs in the forward section have pulled away 1/2"” to 3/4” from the inner keel stem so that you can see the nails that had been driven in to hold the ends of the ribs. I then removed the outside oak stem from the bow down to where it is horizontal where a vertical bolt goes through to hold it up through the keel. I could then see light through the slot on both sides of the inner keel/stem.

On the web page listed below I have a series of photos inside and outside of the boat showing the condition of the ribs and hull.


The reddish coloured glue/caulking material used originally simply crumbled away when I removed the outer bow stem. It appears that the hull strakes are simply fastened to the inner bow stem with copper nails, (not ring type) after a good bead(s) of the red caulking was applied to the stem. It does not appear that any screws were used to actually fasten the strakes to the inner bow stem, just nails.

My plan is to gently pry up the strakes off the bow keel piece, clean and scrape out the old adhesive/sealant and refasten it with copper nails with a good beading of a sealant/adhesive before nailing. Which flexible sealant/adhesives should I consider? What suggestions do you have and what do I watch out for? As I remove the old nails holding the strakes to the stem the strakes are going to spring out. What sort of clamping or pressure devices should one use to hold the stakes tight against the stem when I start to refasten them?

Should I be nailing with “copper ring nails” or just straight copper nails as were used originally and perhaps adding silicone bronze screws as well?

Any other input would be appreciated.

Alan Sturgess - Vancouver

Bruce Hooke
08-25-2006, 03:20 PM
There is a good chance that red stuff is red lead paste so be a little careful about how you handle it. Different people have different takes on how careful you need to be around lead. Aside from keeping kids away and trying to make sure the stuff doesn't end up on the ground in an area where kids might find it later, I mostly make sure to wash up carefully when I leave the shop. If you have young children around then greater precautions may well be in order to make sure you don't introduce lead into their living space.

Is the inner stem in good shape? I'd look at it carefully to make sure there is not rot or other deterioration happening, especially in the areas where there were lots of nails.