Help with repairs - attaching a rudder keeper

My questions to the resident experts (and weekend warriors) go like this.

In the picture below you can see and old Cape Charles that I'm repairing.  I think there are two separtate issues I'd like to address.  First, the "blemish".  As you can see, the top layer of the plywood has come up.  My thought for a repair was to cover it up.  The rudder just flops around up there when not in use, so I made this "keeper" to sit on top of that area. (It's  was made with a chunck of solid oak.  Started at about a 2 1/2" cube, then roughly shaped to the sketch below.)

The question is.  How do I properly prep that area for the thickened epoxy?  Do I just need to sand the varnish off in that area and glue & clamp?  I planned on putting 2-3 coats of epoxy on the keeper.


The next question is then related to the finish.  I would like to put a few new coats of varnish on.  The existing is probably the original...(10-15 years?)  What do I need to do for that?  Simply wet sand with 400 then start brushing the new stuff it on?  (Should I sand everything first and then do the keeper thing, then the varnish?)

Thanks all, Jerry 

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RE: Help with repairs - attaching a rudder keeper


I'd sand everything first, then do the keeper thing and then the varnish.  That way I wouldn't have to worry about varnish contaminating the epoxy, scratching the varnish while I'm romping around with the keeper, etc.

Wet sanding the varnish off with #400 would certainly work and be quiet and dust-free, too. If you're in a hurry, though, lightly hitting it with #220 and a power sander would be faster.

As far as repairing the blemish, plywood gets its strength from the fibers in the plies, so if it was my boat I'd sand everything clean, feather the blemish edges, then put on a piece of glass. After that, just glue the keeper piece on.

On the other hand, since it's a short beamwise span with the rubrails and the sheerclamps making it stiff, you could just as well simply glue the keeper on if you don't want to fuss with the glass. Just be sure to get all the loose pieces of that top ply off and use enough glue to fill the ding.

It's good to see someone taking the trouble to restore an old faithful boat like that. Have fun,




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