Just picked up a 1988 fiberglass tuff-weave Sundowner 18 for real cheap because it needs repair to three cracked cross-ribs. Owner said they got high-centered on a mid-stream boulder and the bow paddler did some unwise rocking which caused the damage. The hull material didn’t appear to crack and doesn’t leak but three of the foam core cross ribs did and there is a compromise in the hull stiffness now. My question (already looked at Wenonah website but no help) is what actual material were there cross ribs made of? Should I carefully cut them out and remove them and fabricate or appropriate new ones to re-fiberglass on the floor? Any advice out there?
My first thought would be to fix the
existing ribs. They need to be dried out thoroughly. Rough edges on the cracks should be cleaned up and perhaps tapered a bit at the edges.
I would use a couple of layers of bias cut FG over the broken portions. The tricoky part is to get the new glass to conform to the rib contours while the resin hardens. I don’t think you want to get into vacuum bagging. I would wet the cloth in place as neatly as possible, put some food wrap film over it, and then push some soft foam (similar to urethane upholstery foam) onto the cloth, adding a hard thin board and some weight. This should be rehearsed in advance and the strategy adjusted as necessary.
Bias cutting cloth is crucial when one needs to get it to conform to changing contours. You may find that pulling the bias cut repair pieces along the axis of the rib will make them even more inlined to make the desired direction changes.
I’ve used a similar strategy when glassing over the center rib on a paddle face. Your situation may be more challenging, and I hope there are other suggested approaches to consider.
Yatipope, you might consider getting on
myccr.com and asking. There are pretty many folks there who suffer with broken ribs.
What colour and where did you get it
I let my old sundowner go to a guy in rock hill area about 13 years ago. Wish I had kept it…
Might be it!
Its Green and made in 1988. I bought it from a guy living in Gastonia and he said he had it for 10-12 years. It has plenty of bottom scratches and spider-web gelcoat cracking but no exterior damage at all. Instead of dealing with gel coat I might fill in all the scrathes with maybe epoxy and give it a new coat of quality marine paint. But FIRST I gotta fix the ribs.
Well I decided to just add three additional layers of tight-knit light fiberglass cloth over the cracked ribs in the same manner as the factory. About 5-inch strips. My first ever experience working with fiberglass and it was very interesting. Not rocket science but when you try to be a perfectionist,…it can be really frustrating. Probably added another 1.5 to 2 lbs to the canoes wieght but OH WELL!
sounds like mine
probably one of the best boats ever. stable, fast, forgiving. If I had put in a good portage yolk be fore that big trip I never would have wanted to sell it.