Making red oak weather proof

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Forum topic by Toller posted 06-07-2019 08:51 PM 419 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Toller's profile


26 posts in 2019 days

06-07-2019 08:51 PM

I need a piece of hardwood about 2” x 4” x 8”. I have red oak that size. I know red oak rots easily, but what if I liberally apply penetrating epoxy? (it is epoxy about the viscosity of water. It is like rubber when it sets) I have more epoxy than I will probably ever use, so it is effectively free.

I don’t think the lumber yard will be excited about selling me a board foot of white oak, so it would be nice to get the red oak to work. Any other ideas?

14 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1880 posts in 582 days

#1 posted 06-07-2019 09:09 PM

is this item going to be painted or clear coated ??
if this will be a project that you can replace in a couple of years,
go for it. . . . . penetrating epoxy then several coats of spar varnish.
or – an oil base primer and 35 year house paint, if it is to be painted.
will it be on your patio or on a boat ?
(a little more info on your project will be of help).



-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View SMP's profile


1177 posts in 325 days

#2 posted 06-07-2019 09:33 PM

Most of the lumber yards by me will absolutely sell smaller sections. However, there is usually a minimum return length. For example if the boards are 8’ they have a minimum return of 6’. So you can buy up to 2’ max. If I were personally buying that small a piece and wanted it weatherproof i would find a narrow piece of teak and buy a foot of it, so it would be about $10.

View PPK's profile


1433 posts in 1229 days

#3 posted 06-07-2019 10:01 PM

Shoot, yeah, go ask them for a board foot of white oak! (Or decay resistant wood) My lumber supplier will sell me what ever I want.

-- Pete

View Toller's profile


26 posts in 2019 days

#4 posted 06-07-2019 10:04 PM

I bought a used sailboat. They damaged the top of the transom, cut out the damage, and replaced it with wood. (looks like PT pine) It pulled off the first time I used it. They didn’t get the fiberglass surface flat, only used a top strip, and caulked it in.
I can make a deeper piece that will fit more securely, flatten the surface, and epoxy it in. Maybe even a few screws.

I could paint the exposed surface; the rest would have epoxy over it from gluing in. I need it to last more than a couple years.

But I need a piece of wood. I have some curupay that is indestructible, but I would have to glue two pieces together. I suppose that would be adequate, but would prefer a single piece. The local lumberyard wouldn’t have anything durable in 8/4 other than white oak.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1880 posts in 582 days

#5 posted 06-07-2019 10:44 PM

Toller – what is the transom made of ?
and how will you marry the replacement wood into the transom.
what size motor will go on it ?
I have repaired and fabricated many boat transoms with laminated
3/4” exterior A/B plywood and they last for many years.
if you do not marry the “patch” into the existing transom correctly,
your motor could very well fall off into the drink when you least expect it.
this is not a kitchen chair you are repairing – it is a a very important part of your boat.
when you have time, I would like to see a photo your transom.
I have seen boat owners cut a chunk of the transom out to accommodate a short shaft motor.
what condition is the rest of the transom in ?
the species of wood is not really the issue – it is how you plan to do the repair.



-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View Toller's profile


26 posts in 2019 days

#6 posted 06-08-2019 12:16 AM

I will post some pictures tomorrow. Thanks

View therealSteveN's profile


3097 posts in 993 days

#7 posted 06-08-2019 01:41 AM

I have not done it, but in the last year I have read several pieces in both regular news, and woodworking publications about Shou sugi ban, the Japanese art of burning wood, to essentially season it to increase it’s strength, as well as add protection from the elements.

This is about it in New York City architecture.

Another building article.

Now the one that jarred my brain was something I got from one of the woodworking publications, and RED OAK was getting burnt, to the end of making it weather resistant….... Of course I can’t find it.

Yeah I know, it rots outside. I have never set a piece of wood afire, that I grabbed form the flames, so I’m not a resource. But there is a ton of info about it. Perhaps if you found a source with experience, maybe your red oak would become a boat part.

-- Think safe, be safe

View bondogaposis's profile


5453 posts in 2770 days

#8 posted 06-08-2019 01:19 PM

I would not use red oak on a boat. It is way too porous, no matter what you do, you will not be able to overcome this, moisture will work it’s way inside the wood eventually. The only possible way to overcome red oak shortcomings is too stabilize it with acrylic resin in a vacuum chamber. That would likely cost more than a piece of white oak.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5589 posts in 2912 days

#9 posted 06-08-2019 02:09 PM

I think it’s just to spring for the white oak (or alternative) piece.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View BurlyBob's profile


6266 posts in 2685 days

#10 posted 06-08-2019 03:29 PM

I’m in agreement with Bondo and Fred. White oak has been use for boat building for years.

View Toller's profile


26 posts in 2019 days

#11 posted 06-08-2019 11:50 PM

Its not that I don’t want to spend $7 on the white oak, but rather that I don’t think anyone locally will sell me 1bf of it.

I am the third owner. The second owner told me he never put a motor on it and has no idea why the motor mount is carved up, attached so oddly, and has a wood cap.

Attached are pictures of:
1) The motor mount before the wood fell off.
2) The motor mount after the wood fell off.
3) A top view showing where the wood was.
The last two were taken with a cell phone on a pitching boat, when I couldn’t even see the image because of the sun and not having my glasses.

Anyhow, the transom is fiberglass. It goes up and bends 90 away from the boat for 1.75” and then goes down 2”.
I am guessing the first owner damaged the top. He cut down 0.6” and replace the missing fiberglass with a piece of wood. It was secured with caulk. The first time I used it with a trolling motor, the wood came off.

The motor mount is a high density polyethylene (or so I imagine). It is held on by 4 screws from the inside and a large Ubolt. The Ubolt is not in the instructions. I have no idea why he carved away the middle part.

I am open to other suggestions, but my plan is to sand down the high points on the jaggedly cut surfaces. I will replace the flimsy wood cap with one that has a large tenon on it that fills the cavity beneath it. It will rest on the motor mount and be snug between the two parts of the transom. After cleaning off the old caulk, I will epoxy it all in place. I can screw it into the motor mount or through the transom. I figure it will be best to have the grain going up and down, rather than sideways, though that would require a 7” wide board; not sure it really matters.

If you have any alternative, comments, or questions, I would be most appreciative.

No one has commented on the possibility of my using two pieces of 4/4 curupay glued together instead of 8/4 white oak.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1880 posts in 582 days

#12 posted 06-09-2019 12:22 AM

personally, I have never seen curupay. I looked it up and I could not
find any information of how it behaves for exterior applications.
if you think it will work, just laminate it with epoxy and proceed as
you have described.
if I were doing it, I would go with all fiberglass and skip the wood all together.
build up the matching thickness with roven fiberglass mat and blend the new
into the old with overlapping joinery.
the last two coats of glass should be cloth or 2oz mat finished with thickened
epoxy or polyester resin. sanded smooth, primed and painted.
just because there is a shoddy patch in there now does not mean that you have
to follow suit. do the repair correctly with the correct matching materials.
not being there in person sort of makes it difficult to provide a 100% viable solution.
if the black rub rail can come off without too much trouble, it would make access
to the repair area somewhat easier.
so my response is this: all fiberglass and no wood – just like the original hull.
remove the plastic board and patch the holes accordingly.
the stainless U-Bolt serves no purpose other than holding the plastic board on.

did he cut into the rubber rub rail also ????



-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1880 posts in 582 days

#13 posted 06-09-2019 12:18 PM

Toller: I forgot to ask if you have any fiberglassing experience.
there is usually someone around a marina that does and is
willing to lend a hand when needed.
you only need less than a square foot of the thick woven mat.
if you don’t want to use the thick mat, it will take maybe 2sf of the 2oz mat.
and less than a pint of resin. you can find all of the things you need at the
auto parts store, HD/Lowes or there at the marina, if it has a store.
removing all the contaminants such as the caulk and other stuff is paramount.
then you will have a 100% fiberglass repair that will last as long as the boat.
if the rubber rub rail is damaged, it can be replaced. it will involve an internet
search to find the matching profile.
I love work like this !!


-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View shipwright's profile


8320 posts in 3217 days

#14 posted 06-09-2019 01:47 PM

The U-bolt and carving in the motor mount plate are intriguing. I doubt that the bolt was ever to hold the plate but was there to attach something else, anybody’s guess just what.
About the repair, John is on the mark. It is a fibreglass problem and needs a fibreglass fix.
Will a wood fix work?
Maybe, depending on what you use and how well you do it but it will never be right and will always look like the patch it is.
The turned over flange on the transom top is there to provide stiffness to the area and that stiffness is now compromised. Adding a cosmetic repair does not make the flange continuous again and is not going to return the stiffness. It is a very simple fibreglass repair and anyone who has worked with ‘glass can help you with details.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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