A reader of this page recently sent me an interesting question about some boat restoration work he’s involved in. His questions cover an area I don’t really have experience with.

I have read radically opposing views on fiberglassing a wooden hull. Some people say "yes" and others say "no". It sounds to me like it has already had epoxy put over the wood. If so, I don’t know that adding fiberglass to the mix is going to gain that much.

Besides pointing him to a couple of the good mailing lists and forums, I (with permission) am posting his question here. If you have thoughts, please chime in with a comment or email.

Thanks!

We have been given a mahogany strip-planked boat to take care of.

It is 50′ long, 30+ years old, and has been built using West epoxy to glue the strips together, nail them together using galvanised nails, and then screwed to oak ribs using wood-screws.

The hull under the waterline has been coated with West epoxy as well.

We have replaced almost all of the wood-screws under the waterline, as they were deteriorating.

We are concerned about the nails possibly rusting too, which there is a bit of an indication of.

What do you think about the idea to fibre-glass the hull under the waterline to add strength to it, and if there are any pro’s and con’s about it, please?

P.S. Yes, it already had/has (we’ve ground some off for repairs) epoxy on the hull under the water-line, three coats according to the log.