We've had to replace every single rib on the Lyman due to rot, so this is a good opportunity to learn just what it takes to get fresh ribs on a boat.
Step One: Determine rot
There is almost always rot in a wooden boat, the question is just how much. At first glace, you can see that we hoped only a few ribs were rotten, but after we flipped the boat to remove the rotten bottom planks, we discovered that every rib was rotten on the underside, which of course was not visible from the top, nor noticeable by poking with a screwdriver (our go-to rot detection method).
Step Two: Mill lumbar
We take the exact measurements of the old ribs and recreate them with fresh wood.
Step Three: Hand shaping
Nicolas shaped each rib to perfect shape and smoothness before it was ready to go into the steamer.
Step Four: Steam bending
This is a long process that we do over and over again until every new rib is in its place as close to the original rib as possible. It requires three people: One to remove the rib from the steamer and carry it over (very quickly before it hardens), one to place, drill, and screw the rib in place, and one to hold blocks in place on the outside of the boat to prevent damage to the hull. It's very time-consuming and exact.
Step Five: Cutting ribs to size
Measure, cut, clamp into place under lip, saw excess, clamp into position fully under lip, and repeat.
Step Six: Remove originals and move new ribs into their final position.
This step requires removing the rotten board, scraping the old paint beneath it, vacuuming, unscrewing the new rib, placing it in the old location, and screwing it down. At that point, we have to check to ensure it's the correct depth at the base of the hull, and if not, we have to unscrew it, measure it, saw it to length, and replace it again. Then, eventually each rib is screwed in place.
After we have replaced all the rotten planks along the hull, the ribs get riveted to the planks and the interior is finally ready for painting.
I am learning a lot at the boat shop and am continually surprised by just how much work and time goes into everything we do. I hope this has been educational for you as well! Thanks to Nicolas for the explanation and breakdown.
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