View Full Version : HOW TO repair a rowboat

03-12-2012, 12:59 AM
Hiya :)
So I had a look on google but I only found "how to repair a racing dinghy" but I assume that there is a difference to repairing rowboats.

Just so you know, I'm talking about a boat like this:


It has some holes in the bottom and some of the paint on the outside has come off. How do I repair it or where can I find answers to that question?

I hope some of you can help me :)

03-12-2012, 01:02 AM
Repair to make it look like it did before the damage, or repair to make it watertight? Because I remember an episode of Mythbusters involving a whole lot of duct tape and an entire afternoon paddling around, waiting for it to fail. IIRC, they called it when the light faded too much to film it.

Real repair, I have no idea.

Maryn, betting they replace boards

03-12-2012, 01:05 AM
They want to make it look like it was before, you know that father&son thing people do during the summer holidays to spend time together, at least it's supposed to be like that ^^

I'm gonna try and watch that episode though, just in case :D

03-12-2012, 01:29 AM
You are not talking about a sea worthy craft or something for racing ...

all you really need is to do is attatch a piece of plywood enough larger than the hole that it can be secured to existing undamaged wood. There are many ways to attach it using screws or cements.

I'd bevel the added peice so it didn't create resistance and use a good waterproof caulking around the outer edges (tar is also good) then use and epoxy cement on dry wood not tarred where it contacted good wood, 'clamping' it down with short wood screws. I'd probably have already sanded paint etc from the old wood to ensure a better bond.

There is also a spray waterproof coating available in most decent hardware stores that I'd spry the whole thing with once the cement was dry. Paint the piece or the whole botton to provide a little additional protection and make it look a little better.

If the hole also involves broken ribs, you are going to want to replace, repair or brace those.

seeing your later post .. If they have the wood working skills to do the repair, they have the knowlege to do the job. It's prett straight forward carpentry. Again, seaworthiness is not an issue with rowboats. rUnless it is a pretty special row boat it's probably more trouble than it's woth to return it to new condition.

03-12-2012, 01:31 AM
If there are holes in it, then the boards will have to be replaced, which is simply a matter of removing the old boardsbending some boards to mach and putting them on.

03-12-2012, 01:34 AM
Thank you for your help, that sounds really good :)
Well, there is a lake nearby, so it would be good if it was possible for them to use it on there.

Drachen Jager
03-12-2012, 05:33 AM
To add to Snick's (which is correct so far) you'd also need to caulk (fill cracks) and paint/varnish if you want it to last.

If we're talking a modern setting and the damage isn't too bad you might just use fiberglass to patch the holes. You can get a fiberglass glue for marine use that goes on as a paste and is sanded to shape it when it's dry.

03-13-2012, 12:23 AM
Or you have a scene where they go out fishing on a leisurely afternoon and realize there's a hole in the boat. Much confusion ensues. It's a time for drama - or comedy - or even tragedy when son accuses father of always doing a 'half-assed' job of everything. As father (son) bails, the other vigorously rows to the closest shore.

Or they use their cell phones to call the Coast Guard (harbor patrol.)

03-13-2012, 01:22 AM
Steals someone else's rowboat and leave the broken one behind.

Seriously, there are groups you can join that walk you through all the steps needed from building your own, to fixing a damaged boat. But if you have none locally, there is a cable show called Ship Shape and I believe they do an an online site with archives of past shows.

Try googling...Rowboat repairs

03-13-2012, 02:59 PM
Not an expert but they would have to replace the rotten planks of wood, but before they did that they would have to make sure it would bend to fit it.

There would be planing involved, caulking, sanding, painting.

My fuzzy memory has an image of them putting some sort of rope inbetwen the planks of wood as a sealer for ships made prior to the advent of modern caulking.

have you tried youtubing it? Maybe a national geographic/discovery channel documentary on making of old boats - the theory would be the same, just on a smaller scale.

Smaller holes could be fixed by fibreglass (well that's how my dad used to fix his small wooden model boats)