Rotten stem and keel

stripped hullI finished stripping the bottom a few weeks ago, which uncovered some “interesting” prior repairs, some of which need to be redone. The hole is quite obvious, and now that the outer keel and outer stem are gone, the rot to stem and inner keel are really obvious.

I managed to carefully pry out the stem, first by taking out any nails that were slight raised, and then by very carefully prying the boards away from the stem and cutting any nails I could reach. Finally with only the bottom boards holding the stem I gently pulled it out. It split in half, the rot was far worse than I imagined.


Here’s a closeup of where the stem simply gave up and broke, that clearly shows the rot. I guess that’s not bad for a 50 year old chunk of wood that’s taken a beating for so long.

The front part of the keel is also in rough shape, so I need to pull that out without further damaging the boat. Because the stem overlaps the keel, I’m going to replace the keel first and then put in a new stem.

Next up is to purchase some quarter sawn white oak and setup a jig to bend it. I have most of what I need to steam bend a new stem, but a snow storm put a stop to visiting the lumber store. Bending wood is a very interesting and somewhat stressful process, but one I’ve done before and am quite excited to do again.

I counted rotten ribs, and from what I can tell 36 of them, about half, need replacing. All of them need to be steam bent as well.

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