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Thread: Transom rot help please

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
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    Default Transom rot help please

    Hi everyone
    Bought this boat last fall,I guess both the surveyor and the boat builder I paid to look the boat over before I bought it missed this.
    Now it seems I'm getting into a big job and I'm not sure how to go about it,I have a lreceived_5146591455423726.jpgreceived_587266422908986.jpg92782560_934.jpgot of experience with carpentry and have owned several FG boats but wood boat is new to me.
    I wish it was just the transom ply and frame but unfortunately the rot has spread into the plank ends.
    Mahogany on rock elm,copper rivets.
    Any advice would be very much appreciated as now I am feeling quite overwhelmed.
    Thanks Paul

  2. #2
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    Jan 2013
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Establish where the rot ends, cut away and install new stern.

    Hopefully at deck level it may be less prevalent in the shell if so remove all rot by tapering away forward at the bottom and erect new stern.
    Ensure that there is no wiring or other things in the area and it seems to be a relatively simple job.
    Altering the taper is purely cosmetic and may even be seen as an improvement by some.
    If you have to go into the deck it is the same principal.

    It may be that there is a slight curve in that top deck beam if so and you have to trim any rot found at the deck keep trim straight athwartships avoiding any complications as stated above the repair is only cosmetic basically.


    Good luck.
    Last edited by Chippie; 06-18-2022 at 12:40 AM.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    I would get my $$ back from anyone you paid to examine this boat for you . Particularly the surveyor. That seems like bad practice. Some $$ to put towards the repair. I have experienced and seen far too many examples of poor work (in many trades) where the assumption is that the client will not want the fuss of complaining.

    Best of luck I'm sorry that happened to you. The advice above seems good.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2021
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Thank you Chippie
    if I'm understanding correctly
    What you are basically saying is to shorten the boat up by a few inches by cutting away end rot and then build new transom frame and ply,not important if angle of stern is changed bit.
    If so that would not be overly difficult.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Summertime of wight View Post
    Thank you Chippie
    if I'm understanding correctly
    What you are basically saying is to shorten the boat up by a few inches by cutting away end rot and then build new transom frame and ply,not important if angle of stern is changed bit.
    If so that would not be overly difficult.
    Yes.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Summertime of wight View Post
    Hi everyone
    Bought this boat last fall,I guess both the surveyor and the boat builder I paid to look the boat over before I bought it missed this.
    Now it seems I'm getting into a big job and I'm not sure how to go about it,I have a lreceived_5146591455423726.jpgreceived_587266422908986.jpg92782560_934.jpg of experience with carpentry and have owned several FG boats but wood boat is new to me.
    I wish it was just the transom ply and frame but unfortunately the rot has spread into the plank ends.
    Mahogany on rock elm,copper rivets.
    Any advice would be very much appreciated as now I am feeling quite overwhelmed.
    Thanks Paul
    I'm thinking there appears to be an inordinate amount of rot especially the Port side and coming downwards is there any chance there may be access for water somewhere close,when washing deck for instance?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    The configuration where the stern joins the deck is prone to water ingress also as the water runs down the slope of stern and over the join in the planking.

    That is one of the reasons I prefer transoms " flaring" outward.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2021
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    Bc Canada
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Actually there was a Crack in the deck fiberglass with some delamination of the fiberglass right above the side of the transom where the rot is,for some reason there is no rot in the deck where the Crack and fiberglass delamination is,I ground the fiberglass out.
    I'm wondering,since I have to rebuild the stern is there any reason to why it should be curved or could I just make it flat,if I make it curved I think I would have to laminate several pieces of ply in order to get the transom curve and that's a bunch of extra work though it might look better.
    Thank you guys for all the good advice

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    It looks to me that you could cut away the rotten bit of the fashion board, scarf in a new bit to the bottom where it looks OK and screw on a bit of ply for a new transom, bedded in.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Make it flat it' s no important.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Burnett View Post
    It looks to me that you could cut away the rotten bit of the fashion board, scarf in a new bit to the bottom where it looks OK and screw on a bit of ply for a new transom, bedded in.
    I shudder when I hear PLYWOOD mentioned in my day boats were built to last forever.
    They didn't of course but I know of boats that the are outliving 3 possibly 4 generations.

    That sounds like "patch up approach" Jeremy

  12. #12
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    Rockland Maine USA and Woodbridge, Suffolk, England
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    I wouldn't change the angle of the transom, or the curvature, or anything – aside from altering the appearance of the boat (which may or may not matter to you), doing that will make so much more work than you think and will be more difficult than making a good repair to the existing structures.

    It looks as if the stern knee (with the backstay tang incorporated) the starboard transom beam and the starboard fashion piece (the "frame") are in good order – and the starboard deck and planking. So it's the structures on the port side to deal with.

    First I would clean off a greater area of planking to establish the extent of decay – and also check carefully inside as well. If it's not extensive, or not in many planks, then you should be able to scarph short lengths in without disturbing the fastenings too much - perhaps just in the first timber (assuming she's built on steam-bent frames).

    Then chop out the rot in the fashion piece to establish its extent and to see if the rot has affected planks that seem good from the outside where they sit on the fashion piece. It looks likely that you'll have to remove about the top two-thirds of the fashion piece. The purpose of the fashion piece is to stiffen the transom and to provide a landing for the plank ends – but it doesn't necessarily have to be in one piece, so it's OK to make a butt join to the remaining third if that is sound.

    If there's rot in the end of the transom beam, chop this out also back to sound timber.

    Once the extent of the decay is fully apparent you can plan a repair. There's no point in repairing bits and pieces until you know the full extent of the problem.

    With any luck, decay in the planking will be relatively minor and can be repaired as mentioned above, by scarphing short lengths in on two or three plank ends. Provided everything is dry, epoxy bond the scarphs one by on as this will not require a perfectly fitting scarph or excessive clamping pressure.

    Then I would most likely laminate a new section of fashion piece, clamping the laminates to the planking a few at a time – find a laminate thickness that will bend nicely around the curve of the hull – probably 3mm - 5mm max. I would probably make the join to the bottom third of the existing fashion piece stepped about 100mm – so the butt join of the first half of the lamination was covered by the second half.

    Depending a bit on how the laminates run, you might want to laminate the whole thing up in place (but wider) and then remove it so that it can be sided off to the correct shape. In which case, cover the inside of the planking and the join to the remaining fashion piece with shiny brown parcel tape so that they don't get stuck on.

    Once you have the new section of fashion piece laminated and shaped, fit it back permanently – it shouldn't be bonded to the planking, just set on a good bedding compound and screw fastened. The join to the remainder of the fashion piece can be bonded or screwed.

    If in any doubt about the condition of the bottom part of the fashion piece, make a whole new piece, laminated as above. You'll probably need wider laminates to get the compound curve out of.

    Hopefully the end of the beam will just need a graving piece bonded in.

    Making the new transom is maybe the biggest challenge as you have to get the shape pretty near perfect so that it fits inside the planking. I think I would make it in two layers of ply. The first layer with a vertical join down the centre, so that you can fit each piece separately. screw and epoxy bond the two pieces to the stern knee, fashion pieces and transom beam. The centreline join down the stern knee doesn't have to perfect as it can be filled with thickened epoxy.

    You can make the second layer with a horizontal join (or joins) – whatever makes it easier to get a good fit to the planking. The curvature of the transom should provide enough pressure to epoxy-bond the layers together, with permanent screws into the fashion pieces, stern knee and beam.

    While originally the planking was bedded onto the transom, along with the fashion pieces etc., it may be better now to use thickened epoxy (colloidal silica) between the transom edge and the planking.

    Cheers -- George
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    A C Grayling

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    There is not a lot wrong with decent marine quality plywood.After all many boats have been built with it, as it seems was the deck of this one.Properly sheathed ply provides a strong and waterproof deck.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Quote Originally Posted by debenriver View Post
    Making the new transom is maybe the biggest challenge as you have to get the shape pretty near perfect so that it fits inside the planking. I think I would make it in two layers of ply. The first layer with a vertical join down the centre, so that you can fit each piece separately. screw and epoxy bond the two pieces to the stern knee, fashion pieces and transom beam. The centreline join down the stern knee doesn't have to perfect as it can be filled with thickened epoxy.

    You can make the second layer with a horizontal join (or joins) – whatever makes it easier to get a good fit to the planking. The curvature of the transom should provide enough pressure to epoxy-bond the layers together, with permanent screws into the fashion pieces, stern knee and beam.

    While originally the planking was bedded onto the transom, along with the fashion pieces etc., it may be better now to use thickened epoxy (colloidal silica) between the transom edge and the planking.

    Cheers -- George
    It might be easier to slide the transom in from the top. The bevels will probably not allow any other method. The deck will need to be trimmed back, and then reinstated once the transom is in place, but that bit of extra work will allow for an easier better fit between plank and transom.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    All the work mentioned would,of course,be best carried out ashore and under cover and ideally before too long since letting rain in won't be improving anything.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Well I must say thank you to everyone and a special thanks to Debenriver,It blows me away to have a person spend that much of there time writing information to a complete stranger.
    I think I am also leaning more in the direction of following what Debenriver said.
    This is a beautiful well built boat and I think it is worth the time and money restoring it to its original condition and I also agree that when you pull a piece out it is easier to follow the original shape piece by piece.
    I was sure when I bought the boat I would have a lot of work to do,thing is I can't Attachment 113340do the 1000 things at once so I will just have to try and breath deep and do them 10 at a time lol!
    Every deck fitting needs re sealing to stop the posability of more rot,all the trim needs complete scraping,sanding varnishing,bottom line is not a lot was done on this boat for a number of years on the upkeep stuff.
    I can't get to everything in one season,I m tempted to temporarily cover the transom in the best posable way and leave it for next spring,reason I say that is I know when I haul it I am going to have to strip 20 coats of paint off the entire topside planks,I'm sure change a few planks as I notice there are some soft spots where a couple planks touch each other,BTW this is a tight planked boat,no calking.
    Rebuild the stern which will involve scarfing in some new planks as Debenriver said.
    I live on Vancouver Island near a place called Campbell River,most years we have a few summer months without rain,this year so far it ran rained no joke Every second day and it's quite frustrating trying to do exterior work on a wet wood boat,that being said I am using butyl to seal fittings,luckily that can be done in between rain.

    I am willing to spend some money spread out on the boat,I think 10 to 20,000 dollars on a classic,historic wood boat in renovations is worth it,there was a Bran new diesel in it,400 hours,new fuel tanks ,sails,roller furling etc when I bought it.
    I just hope I don't get to many nasty surprises like the transom.
    The inside of this boat is very simple,few cabinets,almost all the ribs,rivets, planks are visible and accessible.

    When I do haul it out I'm hoping to find a good old shipwright that can help me,guide me through it.
    If anyone from around where I live Can recommend a good wood boat builder,restorer It would be great.
    Anyways thanks again everyone
    I am always very grateful for any information anyone can give.
    A is a crazy picture of one of the stanchions,I'm just cutting out sections of toe rail covering stanchions as it's thin anyways and I will replace them all.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Summertime of wight; 06-19-2022 at 12:21 AM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Beauty of a boat, Summertime! Has a bit of a Gary Mull look to her, but not quite. I think there are some very capable wooden boat guys on the island there, so I hope you find the right one for you and can give us a thread on your restoration and further adventures

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Transom rot help please

    Welcome to the forum Paul. I also think Debenriver has defined the process for your transom repair. CR is home port for us also but I don’t recognize your marina; perhaps Quathiaski Cove?
    We are heading out shortly for a few days cruising but if you pm me your contact info I may be able to help with a couple of your questions. For now / Jim

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