Working on the hull

There are about half a dozen planks on each side of the boat that need to be replaced. All of these are above the waterline, and all of them are fairly new having been replaced in 2007-2009. They are one of the reasons I don’t trust fir for hull planks anymore. Here is a shot of the first area of concern, where the water drains off the decks on the port side:


Here I have removed the fasteners and cut a butt joint in the plank where the wood is still good. The multi-tool is just the right tool for this job. The unpainted wood is mahogany planking that was never bunged or painted and was left for years. It will get sanded and painted in the shipyard and be good as new.

Once the bad piece was removed, you could see the condition of the frames and shelf beams underneath. I was pleased that everything seemed pretty solid:


The next step was to mix up some chemo – a wood anti-fungal and preservative. Every piece of wood that was near any rotten wood will get a good dose of chemo. Celeste and I spent about an hour driving around town getting the ingredients. I had to smile because Dad and I have actually been to the mine where the borax is produced and have seen the life-sized bronze sculpture of the Twenty Mule Team.


The ingredients are mixed together and heated until the boric acid and borax are totally dissolved in the liquid. It is then applied with a paint brush or put in a garden sprayer for hard to reach spots. It doesn’t look very appetizing but the shipwrights swear by it, and I have used it for years.


So now we have cooked up some chemo and applied it to the newly exposed wood. Now it’s time to prepare the replacement planks. I brought three planks in from the driveway and took them to Reino’s shop at the shipyard. He has an industrial planer and we started making sawdust. The rough Norwegian timbers started turning into smooth planks 1 7/8 inches thick.




The wood is beautiful, and I’m really glad Dan and I made the trip up to Port Townsend to pick it up a few months ago. I cut off a 25 inch chunk to replace our first area of rot. The planks have to be beveled on all edges to accept cotton and seam compound. After spending half an hour shaping the piece, it finally would be persuaded to fit into place with a block and hammer. Then wood bungs were glued in over the #14×2.5″ fasteners.


After sanding down the bungs I think this wood will serve the boat well. Now I can only dream of seeing more new wood in the hull. This was the shortest repair – the longest is 19 feet long.


This wood is about half of the total planks needed – looks like a lot of work left to do…




4 thoughts on “Working on the hull

  1. This is fascinating. I’ll look forward to reading more posts . Oh, by way of introduction, my name is Bonnie. Your “father in law”, Hank, is my brother.


  2. Pingback: Planning the Interior Work | F/V Petrel

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