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Thread: Leaky Boat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Swanton Vermont
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    Default Leaky Boat

    First, I want to thank this forum for all the help you've given me through the years in my wooden boat endeavors. I recently restored a 16' runabout made my White in Old Town Maine. She's a lapstrake design and recently put her in the water to see if she would leak. Well, she leaked a lot! I know you can soak them but I have to leave her on a trailer so that won't work for me. So, I was wondering, what would be the best way to seal the strakes. I was thinking I could epoxy with filler on all the strake seams or use a caulking compound. I did a little research at the local hardware store and found a 60-year waterproof caulking. I'm leaning towards the caulking as it's a much easier than epoxy. I was also thinking of doing it inside and out. Any thoughts/suggestions to stop my leaking boat? I didn't include any pictures as I didn't think it was necessary. Thanks for any input.

    Cheers
    Mike B

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    I suppose some refastening is called for to tighten up the laps, but I am no expert on lap strake boats other then
    glued lap. Generally, lapstrake boats are not built to swell up like carvel planked boats. That is why they live so well on trailers. Any goop should be applied from the outside. I'd go with a marine sealant made for below-the-waterline use. Jamestown Distributors will have it. Anything you find in a hardware store isn't going to be up to the task. They are meant for home use and not marine.
    Finding the exact location of the leaks and why it is leaking is the first task at hand.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Clean out the laps if you can, then find a mate who can dolly up the heads of the nails and using the lightest ball pein hammer that you can buy tighten up the roves by clinging the nails on the inside.
    If that does not cure it, work sealant in from the outside, as Rich ^ advises.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Your first line is that you just restored the boat .
    Maybe it need more restoring.
    Don’t do the things you mentioned. No epoxy … no hardware store “caulk”.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    4,964

    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    X3 on the "avoid hardware store caulk". I'm not familiar enough to know if Old Town used any ply for their planks, but you'll want to make sure moisture can't get to edge grain if it is. As Rich says, apply any sealant only on the outside. If moisture is getting in you want to see it and you do not want to trap it between layers of sealant!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    X3 on the "avoid hardware store caulk". I'm not familiar enough to know if Old Town used any ply for their planks, but you'll want to make sure moisture can't get to edge grain if it is. As Rich says, apply any sealant only on the outside. If moisture is getting in you want to see it and you do not want to trap it between layers of sealant!
    If she is ply planking, there are lots of glued lap ply boats around.
    Thoughts?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    9,735

    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    People get freaked about water inside a boat:
    1. First, put the boat in a place that it can remain for couple days.
    2. Let it sink.
    3. Pump it out.
    4. If there is no structural damage, it likely will be good to go.

  8. #8
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    Norwalk CT
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Best advice so far.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    People get freaked about water inside a boat:
    1. First, put the boat in a place that it can remain for couple days.
    2. Let it sink.
    3. Pump it out.
    4. If there is no structural damage, it likely will be good to go.
    The traditional solution, but:
    Quote Originally Posted by mbarkyoumb View Post
    I know you can soak them but I have to leave her on a trailer so that won't work for me.

    Cheers
    Mike B
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
    The weakness of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Like I said, find a place you can leave it on a trailer and in the water for two or three days.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Swanton Vermont
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Yes, it is made of Fir? plywood and the deck was severely checked along with some of the planking. I assume if I go with marine sealant, I'll have to sand down the paint to bare wood? I know I'll have to remove any existing sealant. Sounds like another winter project lol!

    Thanks!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by mbarkyoumb View Post
    Yes, it is made of Fir? plywood and the deck was severely checked along with some of the planking. I assume if I go with marine sealant, I'll have to sand down the paint to bare wood? I know I'll have to remove any existing sealant. Sounds like another winter project lol!

    Thanks!
    All paint from the laps must be removed or you are wasting your time. Can the boat be flipped?
    It'll be much easier down upside down.
    Also, removing the paint/old caulk might show better where and why the water is getting in.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  13. #13
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    Oct 2008
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    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by mbarkyoumb View Post
    Yes, it is made of Fir? plywood and the deck was severely checked along with some of the planking. I assume if I go with marine sealant, I'll have to sand down the paint to bare wood? I know I'll have to remove any existing sealant. Sounds like another winter project lol!

    Thanks!
    So, she is ply.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    If she is ply planking, there are lots of glued lap ply boats around.
    Thoughts?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
    The weakness of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Sound Beach, NY
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    Default Re: Leaky Boat

    With plywood, I think epoxy becomes a viable option. What is the keel material and construction? I had a ply hull rabbeted into an oak keel that took some swelling.

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