View Full Version : rot -- how far do I take this?

09-02-2006, 05:59 PM
I've taken 4 out of 6 starboard planks off of my 1940's era Lightning, starting with the plank nearest the keel and moving out. (Haven't touched the port side yet) The boat had been fiberglassed a bunch of times and the deepest/lowest planks were in the worst shape, which makes sense. Now I'm at the two outboard-most planks, and they look ok to a novice like me, I'm thining about keeping them, but I'm wondering if anyone can offer some insight as to how to test their soundness. Or, should I just replace 'em since I'm in this far anyway? They still have some residual goo from having been fiberglassed. A closer inspection may require that this goo be sanded off, which I intend to do if I keep the planks. But that's tough stuff, if I'm just going to yank the remaining planks, I don't want to sweat over getting the goo off, just to throw them away.

Wild Wassa
09-02-2006, 06:13 PM
A heat gun and a tungsten carbide scraper will make short work of the residual glue on the two planks.

The time spent is probably only an hour per plank if the glue is really heavy or maybe only 20 minutes per side if the glue is light. With the scraper there will most likely be little sanding needed, after scraping. A sharp scraper will almost do your finishing prep for you.

I'm not sure who once wrote on the Forum, it could have been Bob Goekel, "Restoring a boat is like being a dentist, a boat is just a big tooth." Or something very similar, it is a good simile. CPES and then Fill-It are the perfect dentist fillings (amongst others).

Grind the rot out of the tooth with a circular wire bit on a drill firstly, then you might not be doing unnecessary repairs like replacing an entire plank. If the rot is bad and the plank not worth saving, then you have lost nothing more than about five minutes of wire brushing. A wire brush bit in a drill, describes what you are up against really quickly ... and be ruthless.


09-02-2006, 08:09 PM
Tapping the planks with a hammer is the standard check for hidden rot. The difference in the sound between good and bad wood is unmistakable.

09-02-2006, 09:02 PM
They are probably all bad ... I would remove until you find solid planks ... other than that, you are (typically) wasting time/energy ...

Jay Greer
09-02-2006, 09:11 PM
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is, are the frames involved in the rot problem? To my own thinking, if one side of the hull is rotten, chances are that the other side may have problems too. The best assesment I could offer, sight unseen would be to at least strip the glass off of the planking and check the condition of the planks. A Lighting is not a hard shape to replank. If the frames are good that might be the best way to go. If the hull proves too far gone, it is often more prudent to salvage the rig and other components and build a new hull.

Gary E
09-02-2006, 09:46 PM
Good luck with your boat...
When I was a kid our Sea Scout Ship has #352...

Ian McColgin
09-03-2006, 09:47 AM
I'll second a close look at the frames, especially the lower ends and near any fastenings. If the frames are trouble, it may be far easier to essentially make a new hull keeping some parts.

You can likely keep enough of the old boat to justify keeping her number.