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Thread: split plank repair

  1. #1
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    Default split plank repair

    I'd like some opinions on how to deal with a split plank on a 10 foot tender.

    I haven't quite figured why it split, other than not enough allowance for expansion as it took up. It wasn't from damage. This boat was built by an apprenticeshop graduate from Southern yellow cedar, or juniper on ash frames.






    One ol fella says just pound the epoxy to it, it will stretch out OK, another says router and fill with cedar. i'm inclined to the latter, but there must be someone here who has dealt with this and seen the result when it hits the H2O!
    Hey! It's MY Hughniverse!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hughman
    I'd like some opinions on how to deal with a split plank on a 10 foot tender.

    I haven't quite figured why it split, other than not enough allowance for expansion as it took up. It wasn't from damage.





    One ol fella says just pound the epoxy to it, it will stretch out OK, another says router and fill with cedar. i'm inclined to the latter, but there must be someone here who has dealt with this and seen the result when it hits the H2O!

    I'd think it split when it dried out, not when it swelled/ was wet.

    Why not just replace it with like and kind?

  3. #3
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    That flatsawn garboard simply couldn't handle the shrinkage.

    A routered spline would work fine is the crack was centered, but you can't get at the crack reliably as it runs up to and beneath the lap...and while I'd probably try to remove the rivets and repair it, I'd probably wind up replacing it with a riftsawn plank after using the old plank as a pattern.

  4. #4
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    Bob Why not just use the same material ? I'd do as you say use the old one as a template / pattern , but I'd also , before trimming it to fit , rip it in half , spline and glue , to reduce the boards width to prevent future drying issues .

    That way the grain / look inside the hull would match better.

    What thinks ye on that?

    I'd also look at the other side plank very closely while repairing the split one

  5. #5
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    The plank seems fairly broad (pun intended) and has cracked because of shrinkage.

    One of the problems that freak out newbies the most is shrinkage. ("You can see through the seams!!!") You have to understand that what goes will come.

    I have a 21 ft. Oselver. These are boats from Norway; they have three strakes per side. The middle plank was cut from a plank about 21" from live edge to live edge. Now the obvious happens when the boat is on the hard: it cracks open. When I got the boat I was freaked out about this. At the time, I worked in the yard at Foss Launch and Tug. There was an old guy from Norway working there and I asked him what to do with the boat. He said (insert Norgweigan accent here) "Well, in the spring, we just put them in the water, let them sink, and pump them out a couple weeks later. "

    Before you do anything, just put the boat in the water and see if it swells shut. It is possible that the former owner did the boat "a favor" by keeping it in a heated garage or the like. Also, I would presume that your famous miserable winters in your part of the country may be quite dry (low humidity). The crack may seal itself and stay that way if you store it properly.

    If the crack does not seal up completely, and you are only using it for rowing, you could make a quick and dirty short term repair by using a "tingle." These are sheets of lead tacked to the hull (inside or out) with some bedding underneath.

    Looks like a pretty boat! Good luck!!!

  6. #6
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    It looks like grain runout helped there too if what I am seeing is the crack taking a turn towards the edge. That crack may not have happened if it would have had to start at the extreme ends from a straighter grained piece of wood. That split could have been barely visible on the edge of the plank before it was installed or mistaken for a check. I have seen this happen with clapboards before, looking just like that.

    Another contributing factor could have been the board was cupped slightly and then forced to fit a curve in the opposite direction of it's cupped orientation. That plank may have been flipped over and never cracked. Too bad we can't see the plank ends to see which way the rings are arranged in relation to the curvature of the hull from keel to chine. If you do end up replacing it,check to see which way the growth rings go just for the hell of it.
    Last edited by pipefitter; 05-07-2006 at 01:21 PM.

  7. #7
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    Start with the easiest approach. Fill the crack with oilbased seam compound. No polysulfides on this one please! If it holds when launched, you are time and money ahead. If that is no bueno and since you can't reach then entire seam, do your best to screw a batten to the inner surfaces that are acessable. Reef out the oil based compound and lightly tap in candle wicking after soaking the crack with a mixture of bee's wax and turpentine. Then go over the wicking with the same mixture. When dry, pay the seam with oil based compound again. If it still leaks then replace the plank.
    JG

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Girouard
    Bob why not just use the same material?
    Because the plank's gonna swell and shrink again, and boats this size are spose to dry out completely without cracking.

    If you goo'd hard epoxy in that Atlantic White Cedar plank, the epoxy would act as a fulcrum and likely split that dry plank from end to end when it swelled again.

    If you're gonna spline in a repair, the wood should ideally be softer than the plank being repaired so it can crush some during the initial swelling.

    If you're gonna replace the plank, ideally you'd want a plank more stable by the width of that crack. AWC is a relatively stable wood, so it's hardly a show-stopper, but I'd use riftsawn to replace flatsawn because it's more stable...I can fix cosmetics easier than fixing that plank should it crack again.

    Study the crack....that's a big, big crack in what was a sound plank ....if you're gonna have a safe and sound boat, leaving it as-is isn't an option in my mind. Backing the crack up with a batten can work fine, but fitting such a batten to that irregular crack and the plank lap where the crack runs along it won't be either easy or pretty.

    When I removed those rivets, I'd also make sure those laps aren't glued (or bedded in adhesive 5200) as well as riveted. The wood is spose to be able to move a bit in those laps so the planks don't crack. If there is adhesive in there, you can't correct the rest of the boat but you can sure correct the areas of your repair.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Smalser
    Because the plank's gonna swell and shrink again, and boats this size are spose to dry out completely without cracking.
    Impossible to tell how the boat was treated. I went to see a boat I had worked on. It was stored in a cinder block building with a concrete floor. The temperature must have been 90. Humidity...what humidity? The boat had opened up badly.

    I'd agree with Mr. Greer...start with the easiest repair. What do you have to lose?

  10. #10
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    Default oilbased seam compound

    The 'oilbased seam compound' suggestion seems to me to be right on. At least you can use the boat for a year or two while you try and figure out the "PERFECT REPAIR".

    The boat looks looks to be a real gem. Congradulations!

  11. #11
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    Out here in the California sun I have seen this more than once.
    That is a classic example of why not to use flat sawn wood in a lapstrake boat. You only have to build one and see that happen to learn why not, itís enough to make a grown man cry!
    Try some slick seam compound and launch it, I bet it will take up. Use a lightweight copper tingle if youíre worried about a catastrophic failure.
    Itís sort of a futile situation, if you ever let it dry out your right back where you started. Better to just putty it up each spring with slick seam compound and forget about it.

    Hamilton's...

  12. #12
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    Sure, if you toss the boat in the water for a few days as-is, the crack will disappear and the boat probably won't even leak until you step hard on the crack. Problem is, that solves nothing.

    The seams opening up and a plank cracking are too very different critters, especially in lapstrake construction, which relies on planking as part of the structure more than some other methods.

    That's a big crack in the plank that absorbs the bulk of pounding in a chop....it doesn't really matter how it cracked, the boat won't be sound until it's properly repaired. I might let my kids play around in a quiet beaver pond with it as-is, but no way would I let them cross 5 miles of windy, cold, deep Hood Canal in it.
    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 05-07-2006 at 10:43 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Smalser
    Sure, if you toss the boat in the water for a few days as-is, the crack will disappear and the boat probably won't even leak until you step hard on the crack. Problem is, that solves nothing.

    The seams opening up and a plank cracking are too very different critters, especially in lapstrake construction, which relies on planking as part of the structure more than some other methods.

    That's a big crack in the plank that absorbs the bulk of pounding in a chop....it doesn't really matter how it cracked, the boat won't be sound until it's properly repaired. I might let my kids play around in a quiet beaver pond with it as-is, but no way would I let them cross 5 miles of windy, cold, deep Hood Canal in it.
    Letting the boat swell up and using it has been done in Oselvers for a thousand years. (The ship's boats in the Viking Ships Museum are essentially the same design.) So...a thousand years of experience disagree with you.

  14. #14
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    OH, fer crimineys sakes, will ya just replace the damn plank and be done with it?

    All this talk about this goo, this filling, that stuff.....you are STILL gonna have a split plank of the wrong cut of wood.

    Ya get my drift?
    "Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish"
    Michelangelo

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcford
    Letting the boat swell up and using it has been done in Oselvers for a thousand years. (The ship's boats in the Viking Ships Museum are essentially the same design.) So...a thousand years of experience disagree with you.
    This boat will never be needed to feed a family. Why practice risk management at the expense of a 20-hour repair? Or even the slightest doubt?

    The casualty rates for those traditional fisherman and voyagers was as impressive as their courage.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Smalser
    This boat will never be needed to feed a family. Why practice risk management at the expense of a 20-hour repair? Or even the slightest doubt?

    The casualty rates for those traditional fisherman and voyagers was as impressive as their courage.
    The point is that it likely will be safe. Oselvers are as safe as can be imagined. In the spring it's possible to read a newspaper through the cracks in the planks. It's common for small lapstrake boats to split a plank.

    If it swells shut, what would be the scenario for the catastrophic failure that you foresee?

    If the guy wants to replace the plank, great. But it is not necessarily a required step.

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    Me, I'm just an observer here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcford
    ...what would be the scenario for the catastrophic failure that you foresee?
    Instead of the riveted seam a quarter inch above it working in use, that crack's gonna work...and it'll also work itself longer right down the fastener line, whether swelled tight or not.

    With luck, the crack will run out when it reaches a patch of grain runout. If the grain is straight for an extended length of plank, the crack will neatly follow the grain at the pressure point created by the lap, eventually obviating the structure the fasteners in that section provide the boat.

    A crap shoot IMO....he worst case being more than just a leak.

    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 05-08-2006 at 12:39 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Smalser
    Instead of the riveted seam a quarter inch above it working in use, that crack's gonna work...and it'll also work itself longer right down the fastener line, whether swelled tight or not.

    With luck, the crack will run out when it reaches a patch of grain runout.
    Maybe. But I doubt it. Oselvers have been dealing with similar cracks for a thousand years. And they have five frames in a 21 ft. boat. (for example)

    People get excited when they see open seams or cracked planks. Not always a big deal.

  20. #20
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    Pat you are right, not ALWAYS a big deal.
    Unfortunately we are not always dealing with savvy "Norvegian" fishermen/watermen,
    Another factor is, we who might offer advice to one poster, have NO idea who else is reading the advice, nor what they might do with the info.

    I take nothing for granted when posting comments here in B&R.

    If ya get my drift?
    Last edited by Dave Fleming; 05-08-2006 at 02:00 PM.
    "Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish"
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Fleming
    a fellow, is not that savvy about boatbuilding.

    Let me buy you another shot of rum, Pilgrin.

    If ya get my drift?
    Hey! It's MY Hughniverse!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Fleming
    Pat you are right, not ALWAYS a big deal.
    Unfortunately we are not dealing with savvy "Norvegian" fishermen/watermen, rather a fellow who by his post, is not that savvy about boatbuilding.

    Better to err on the safe side with folk like that.

    Another factor is, we who might offer advice to one poster, have NO idea who else is reading the advice, nor what they might do with the info.

    I take nothing for granted when posting comments here in B&R.

    If ya get my drift?
    I guess I don't get your drift. I don't understand why the safety of the aforesaid lapstrake boat with its swelled plank would differ if Nat Herreshoff were on board as opposed to John Q. Newby.

    The fact is that people, especially newbies, freak when they see open seams or cracked planks on a lapstrake boat.

    There used to be a vintage boat livery here in Seattle. It was common to see the lapstrake boats upside down and polysulphide being shot into cracks.

    While I would not hold the livery's owner's knowledge up as a paragon (boy, thereby hangs a tale), this is a very, very common (and safe) repair.
    Last edited by pcford; 05-08-2006 at 11:18 AM.

  23. #23
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    Red face

    Apologies Hugh, I just didn't put the right words together in that statement.

    I edited them out.


    OK, since some folk advocate just putting some goo in the split or just letting her take up why not try letting her take up and see what happens.


    Meanwhile you can be searching for a nice proper grain oriented plank.
    "Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish"
    Michelangelo

  24. #24
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    No Worries, Dave.

    I plan to do just as you and others have suggested, swell it up and see, while I look around for those funny looking Norwegian roves and rivets, and rummage in the woodpile for a decent plank. I'm hoping Canoeyawl's observation isn't general throughout the boat, but I'll know what to look for under the (Sherwin Williams) paint. (The builder is a Pete Culler fan). Thanks for reminding me about tingles, that should solve some of it.

    Ya gets what ya pays for. In this case, I'se willin' It'l make a dandy planter....

    Many thanks, all.
    Hey! It's MY Hughniverse!

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    Be careful of the tingles. The grain next to the split may not take alot of tacks or whatever before they try to rive the small wood left between the tacks and the existing split. If the fasteners aren't far enough away,you could end up with more splits.You don't know what the rest of the plank went through before it split where it did. Just a thought.

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