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Replacing Rib Tips?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Brent Meixell, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. Brent Meixell

    Brent Meixell New Member

    A lot of the ends of the Ribs look in really rough shape, either way too many holes drilled, cracks, or rot. I have seen it common to scarf in new rib tips but mainly towards the bow and stern. how many is too many? I would rather not lower the whole canoe.
  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I restored an historically significant canoe a couple of years ago and scarfed every rib tip except one.
    Based on that I don’t think there is a limit.
    Early in my restorations I cut one of my own canoes down under the inwales and regretted it.
  3. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Hi Brent. Have you thought about trying to shore up the existing rib tops rather than cutting them off? If the main issue is cracks and holes from nails and gunwale screws, you can make surprisingly good repairs - without scarfing - on ribs that appear to be in pretty rough shape. Remove the fasteners and tape off to keep epoxy from running down the ribs or contacting the gunwales. If the ribs are at all punky, you can apply a low-viscosity epoxy like CPES which will soak into the wood fibers and solidify them on cure. Then repair the cracks and holes with regular epoxy. For larger gaps and damaged top edges, apply some epoxy thickened with wood flour. You might add some side-to-side clamping pressure to bring splits back together. Build slightly higher than the original top and then you can sand down to a nice, flat surface.

    This may sound like more work than scarfing, but I personally believe the end result is stronger that a scarf because you'll have continuous grain throughout the rib (no reliance on a cross-grain glue joint). Plus you won't have all the scarfs to to see. There are multiple ways to approach any job; this is simply my personal preference for this kind of job. That said, of course I've done and will do scarfs when this kind of repair is insufficient. In fact, tomorrow I'll be scarfing some ribs where the tips are completely rotten away - there's nothing left to repair.
  4. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    West Systems G-Flex works very well to rebuild damaged rib tips (stems, etc.). It is very strong but allows adequate working time to allow you to do several ribs without having to race the mixes well with wood flour/dust. I prefer to avoid tip splices when I can but as Michael notes...there are times when there are no other options. I save pieces from old ribs so that I have old wood to use to match up when I splice rib tips on boats with open rails. I do not like to see bright rib tips adjacent to old darkened wood.
  5. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    The scarfs are hidden behind the inwales. I generally dont even stain them because they don’t show up.
    Using old wood like Mike mentioned works well for me also.
    I use a belt sander to grind a long flat angle on the the planking side of the rib. Takes only seconds...
    Then make a matching piece to epoxy in Place. I use G-Flex. It is less brittle than other epoxies.
    I’m not in favor of thickened epoxy patches. To me they look like epoxy patches.
    If you do butter them with thickened epoxy, at least put in a wooden veneer on the very top of the rib to make it look like wood.
  6. ChipEttinger

    ChipEttinger New Member

    My Old Town has several badly cracked ribs in the middle of the floor towards the bow. I'm not sure the integrity of the canoe is affected but how should these be repaired?
  7. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Your choice...
    Replace them, do backside repairs, sister them, or leave them.
    The first two choices require you to remove the canvas.

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