Rib repairs – 2001


In the late 1950’s or early 1960’s, a prior owner did some repair work on Voyageur.  They installed 5 angle iron floors and secured these floors to the ribs and horn timber using galvanized iron fasteners.   We removed these iron floors to repair several split ribs.  The angle iron floors and the heads of the 1 ˝” lag screws were fine.  However, when we removed the galvanized iron fasteners, we saw that they had badly deteriorated, damaging the surrounding white oak with “iron sickness”.  We chiseled the damaged wood away from the horn timber to determine the extent of the iron sickness, and alternately repaired the ribs one at a time to preserve the hull shape.  After all of the ribs were repaired, the horn timber was surfaced to a uniform depth and reinforced.  We checked the whole area with magnets in search of any other iron fasteners; we found two ˝” x 9” lag screws in the shaft log.  These had fortunately not deteriorated; we replaced them with silicon bronze. 


The moral of this story:  Stay away from iron fasteners!  The bronze fasteners have not deteriorated after 55+ years, and the adjacent wood is still in perfect condition. 









1.  New white oak rib ends were scarfed onto original ribs to repair areas damaged by iron sickness.  The new pieces were epoxy glued and secured from the inside with four bronze screws.  The scarf length is 10 times the rib thickness.  The planking screws further reinforce the scarf joint. 





2.  The regions of iron sickness were cut away from the horn timber using a router.  The bronze deadwood bolts and the white oak next to it remained in perfect condition.  The only problem areas in the horn timber were surrounding the galvanized iron fasteners.  The surface of the horn timber was trimmed to a uniform surface to make it easier to fit and glue a scarfed piece. 








3.  White oak piece glued and screwed to restore the horn timber.  Bronze hanger bolts installed for mounting floors.  New floors fitted and ready to install. 






4.  Two floors installed.  Extra support for rudder post (top) also reinforces scarf joint and horn timber; this part is on the plans, but was removed by a prior owner when they installed the steel floors.  Extra support at other end of scarf joint as well (bottom). 





5.  All floors are installed.  Four floors are secured to ribs using 3 ˝” planking mounting screws.  The floors are mounted on top of the ribs; an unusual but very structurally sound design. 










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