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Blog entry by seth posted 06-08-2008 01:44 AM 557 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a challenge for the past month. My father in-law bought a 1973 fiberglass haul boat. He asked me to just fasten the new seats to the deck and check out a soft spot in the deck next to the drivers area. When I finally got to look at the boat, I could tell it had been sitting around for some time. When I finally started to take things apart to get a better look, I found that the soft spot was caused by the supporting ply-wood being decade to the point of not even existing. I fastened some aluminum “L” brackets to help support it. That helps but it is still there. In the front part of the boat ( in front of the driver ), it looks like there might have been seats at one time. Currently there was nothing but holes for any water or snow to fall in and rot out the supports. I bought some exterior grade ply-wood and some epoxy resin. I cut the ply-wood to size then applied the epoxy resin to all sides of the ply-wood. I then fastened the ply-wood down with stainless steel screws and caulk, all in the hope to keep out as much water from getting to the rest of the supports as possible. The seats are fastened and as far as I know I’m DONE!! It was deffinitly a learning experiance. I had fun and learned about boats.

5 comments so far

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3260 days

#1 posted 06-08-2008 03:56 AM

They make a grade of plywood for marine use. One way to know for sure it’s Marine grade is to ask if it certified by Lloyd’s of London. This is the only type of ply that I would trust to use in a boat. One problem with wrapping wood with fibreglass is once water gets behind the fibreglass you don’t know whats going on till it’s too late. If one section is rotten chances are there is a lot more rot you just haven’t found yet. Be carefull, you need to know the vessel is safe. How big is the boat?

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Shopsmithtom's profile


787 posts in 3615 days

#2 posted 06-08-2008 05:17 AM

What you discovered is a common problem in older fiberglass boats. I wish you luck with the fix, but I fear that it may just be the beginning of the end for the boat. If you are able to preserve the structural integrity of the boat with your repair, it may be ok for a while, but I’d be a little careful, as there may be more deterioration that you aren’t able to get to between the floor and outer hull. I’d keep a careful eye on it. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Jeff_T's profile


30 posts in 3092 days

#3 posted 06-08-2008 04:36 PM

Knowing quite about a boats – the condition you describe sounds like dry rot, and a prior repair gone bad- there are quite a few methods to remove and repair, but as earlier stated CAUTION should be used. You could DEFINITELY flex on the integrity of the boat’s membrane and structure. It is NOT typical woodworking repair.

You may want to google boat repair and check out the blogs, sites dedicated to that endeavor.

Good Luck

-- Jeff T in Westport CT.

View seth's profile


5 posts in 3178 days

#4 posted 06-14-2008 01:25 AM

Thanks to all whom responded. I’m still trying to figure out how this all works with the blogging and all and how to manuever through-out the site.

To EdC : I’m not sure of the exact length, I think it was around 18 feet.

To SST and Jeff_T Thank you for your comments as well.

All of you have givin me a lot of food for thought. I have passed on your comments and concerns to my father in-law. I’m glad I blogged about it. We probably would not have known about any of the hidden dangers. Again thank you for you input.

View Texasgaloot's profile


464 posts in 3120 days

#5 posted 06-17-2008 07:15 PM


Just stumbled on your blog here. This is all good advice. Encasing the plywood in epoxy resin will be okay as long as the hardened resin is not compromised at all. If you laid the resin, let it harden, and then drilled screw holes, well, guess what? Water can seep into the screw holes, rot the wood, and you’re back where you started. If you closed up the resin within the screw holes, you’ll be alright.

We would love some pictures!!

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

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