Wooden Boat Repair: Fixing Gouges

I slammed some bedrock hard last Friday drifting the town-run Willamette underneath the I-5 Bridge. I figured the water level had covered all the ledges in my line. . . it hadn’t.  At the takeout I realized some damage had been done to the batten that would require some repair–this is the worst I’ve sustained in four years of running this boat.  I don’t think this is the only way to address this type of problem but it is effective.  Here’s a gory shot of the damage:Boat damageAs you can see, the impact tore the UHMW batten guard and took a small chunk out of the teak batten.  In this shot I had already removed a badly bent screw with pliers, straightened out the batten guard and dried the effected area with a hairdyer–I didn’t want to seal any moisture into the wood.  While I was at it I decided to fix a couple of gouges in one of the ribs, one of which was caused by my spare anchor. The cause of the other is unknown.   The next step was to sand the inside of the gouges with my dremel tool and a sanding paddle wheel. I used quick curing two part epoxy and a scrap of UHMW leftover from when I attached the skid shoe and with some vice grips mashed the epoxy into the gouges. repairing a gouge in a ribFor the batten I had to hold the UHMW in place by hand (hence the quick curing glue) so it didn’t come out quite as nicely:epoxied battenAfter allowing the epoxy to cure, sand out any uneven parts using 150 grit sandpaper:sanded/epoxied gougeNext sand the area with 220 grit and coat with polyurethane or varnish.  The UHMW had some memory of the impact and I had to straighten it again before finishing the job. I heated the plastic with a hairdyer, clamped it to a straight piece of scrap wood and let it cool:straightening the uhmw batten capFinally, I replaced all of the old screws and countersunk one new screw in at the break to hold the batten guard in place. When driving screws into hardwood like this, always drill a pilot hole and lubricate the screw with liquid detergent so you don’t torque the screw head right off. The ribs are now stronger than ever and the batten is almost as good as new:good as new (almost)This happened on a Friday night and I was back in the water on Sunday morning, not too shabby.–KM

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