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dale

have I ruined my boat? (subtitled wood rot)

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I hate to admit it but after spending 150 hours building my dinghy I left it at the lake for about 3 months only covered with a tarp.  I never meant to leave it that long but that's another story.  I had it laying upside down on a 4' wide walkway but the point of the bow was apparently too close to the ground.  When I finally got it home the very point of the bow had turned partly black (as well as a 6" section of the gunwale which is a 3" wide piece of plywood with a rubrail - the rubrail is OK).  I tried to sand the black out but it apparently goes through the plywood.  It was a bit damp and soft.  It is currently out of the weather where it will stay except when in use from now on.  Will it be OK if I just let it dry out real well and then recoat it with urethane or should I cut it out and replace it (for some reason that sounds like the answer but not like a lot of fun)?

FYI - the plywood is just builder's grade 3/8" from Lowes; it was epoxy coated then covered with 3-4 coats of Helmsman's Spar Urethane.  I have to admit that I was a bit shocked to see it fail so quickly.  The dinghy isn't a year old yet.

Pq19NpZA.jpg

Pq19NuYS.jpg

BTW - Here's a pic of the whole boat:

aV182PJi.jpg

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You can try letting it dry out and then using epoxy as a filler for it.  Once its dry you'll be able to tell if it's "punky" or rotted.  One trick is to tap it lightly with a hammer and listen for changes in the sound.  Or use an ice pick and poke at it like the dentist does your teeth.

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From what you've shown in the pictures I would say you have NOT ruined your boat.

It's terrible to see something that you put so much work and heart into get damaged but I think if you follow Frank's advice you'll be able to tell how much wood needs to be removed before deciding how to fix things.  After you've let it dry and poked at it some you'll be better able to decide on a course of action.

If you look at the before and after pictures of some of the restoration projects on this forum you'll see that most anything is fixable  :)

I hate that you've got damage after only a few months, though.  Which reminds me - I need to get my boat out of my driveway and back to covered storage...

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Thanks for the replies, guys.  I was being a little melodramatic about being ruined but I am sick over it. Question - what do you mean by "punky"? And what will be the difference between punky and rotted.

Dale

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From what I can see in your photos, you have a little bit of a mold like growth (common on some pines and furs) and some finish lifting, but no rot. Of course I can't see inside or check moisture content, but you'll probably be okay. Repeating the other comments here, dry her out, the mold will sand out while you clean up the affected areas, then refinish. Putty and paint can hide most all wood butcher's ills or in your case, guilt laden builder/owner disenchantments.

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Dale, I'm surprised how fast that happened.  I've had my ash rubrails get black streaks in them as water infiltrated the grain--an unsettling sight, but cosmetic and commonplace.  They'd been epoxied, but rubbed and banged up some.  How much epoxy did you use?  In addition to previous advice, you might look at Bob Smalser's most recent thread on rot on the main forum.

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When I first got the boat home, I thought maybe it was just surface discoloration that I could sand out.  I kept sanding and it was still there.  It was soft to begin with.  It is drying out.  I did read Smalser's post.  Sounds like his "brown rot" to me.  "Here you see that planing the surface didn

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You might be able to get in behind the rubrail with a narrow (and SHARP) chisel.  Pare a groove into the edge of the plywood until you get to good wood then make a "biscuit" to glue into the groove.

I'm not sure how clear that was... ???

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Howdy All,

Over this time frame I would doubt it is serious rot.  Some fingernail testing will find out pretty quick.

Much more likely to be simple staining and discolouration.  You will never get rid of all of it - and too much treatment with oxalic acid or bleaches can weaken the timber and make the plywood furry.

After checking to see if your fingernail sticks in more there than anywhere else - if it doesn't then the timber is ok.  If it does you need to check with more serious tools - like a screwdriver or awl and see how far in the damage goes.

If it really bugs you - you could replace the gunwale or part of it - but usually I wouldn't bother.

If just cosmetic clean it up and re-epoxy and varnish.  My boat has a few stains of this type (it is 18 years old) and also holes where other boats have damaged it that I have repaired neatly - it is still clear finished.

I don't mind a few "battle scars" in a clear finished timber boat it reflects the history and use.  In some parts of the world they call it "patina"

Best wishes

Michael

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In some parts of the world they call it "patina"

I have found that many minor blemishes can be fixed very simply by the generous use of this word. ;D

On a serious note, if the blemish is cosmetic then your remedy is a matter of choice.  Varnish over it and call it patina, or paint it over.

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While I have been getting up to speed on these adhesive for my own purpose I have found these products that might help.

http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/search_subCategory.do?categoryName=Wood%20Rot%20Repair%20and%20Restoration&categoryId=609&refine=1&page=GRID

These products are designed for rot repair.

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What a funky little boat!

If you do arrive at the conclusion that it is indeed ruined (which it most certainly looks like to me), I'll be happy to recycle that boat for you.

No charge.

:cool:

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After two years of guilt, you're hoping they've succumbed to it and are willing to surrender the boat to you, Konrad? What a kind heart. You're willing, at your own expense mind you, to accept the burden of such a task as this.

You've been drinking again haven't you . . . Take you medication and go back to bed . . .

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