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Repairing Ribs...fiberglass and epoxy

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by NickBailey, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. NickBailey

    NickBailey Curious about Wooden Canoes


    I picked up an American Traders Algonquin that has some cracks in the ribs at several isolated spots in the boat. The damaged spots are spread out and don't really compromise the overall strength of the hull, so I don't plan on replacing the ribs anytime soon, but I would like to reinforce them with some fiberglass/epoxy. Is it critical in making these repairs that I strip/sand the repair area down to bare wood to apply the epoxy, or is it enough to give it a light sanding and apply the fiberglass/epoxy onto this non-wood surface?

    Any other approaches anyone can recommend?

  2. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Fiberglass and epoxy will do little applied to the inside of the rib to improve strength. It would need to be applied to the tension side of the rib - the side to which the planking is attached.

    But to answer your question, if the application of epoxy/glass is meant to be at all structural, the finish would need to be removed.

    I would use it gently as is and enjoy it until restoration time
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    If the "damaged spots are spread out and don't really compromise the overall strength of the hull" then I would agree with the previous suggestion that you "use it gently as is and enjoy it until restoration time." The other obvious option is to 'sister' the broken ribs with new ones as described at here. Good luck,

  4. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    As Benson said, "sister" the broken ribs.
  5. Grandlaker

    Grandlaker Builder & Restorer

    You can do a more permanent repair with epoxy and it will be as strong as original. Go about 1.5" ether side of the crack and with a sharp chisel carve out half the thickness of the rib. or about 3/16th deep by 3" long. Then slightly v out the actual crack line. Cut a piece of cedar 3/16th" or a little thicker by the with of your rib and a tight fit to the length. Mask of the planking ether side of the rabbited rib. epoxy it together sand out smooth, stain to match patina of rib and varnish. I guaranty It will be as strong as the rib ever was.
    I did this on a grandlaker to 14 ribs in a row 15 years ago. That canoe is still being used to guide out of about 60 days a year.
  6. OP

    NickBailey Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the advice. I think I'm going to pretty much use it as is. It makes perfect sense that the epoxy/fiberglass will not add much strength if any. I may seal the cracked spots to prevent rot, but that's probably it.

    Thanks for talking some sense into me before investing a weekend into this!

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