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by Paul Cook - Las Cruces, New Mexico - USA

The Report

While trying to get my yard cleaned up for the summer, we decided it was time to get rid of my Puddle Goose. It was in bad shape and taking up a lot of room, I was starting a new boat and hadn’t yet completed the other boat I was working on. When I built the goose I didn’t figure it was going to last long. I was only going to use it for a few seasons of Raft the Rio. I used some questionable plywood panels from a shipping crate for the bow and stern panels, and quarter inch BC pine exterior plywood for the rest. It was kind of a joke because the end panels had the shipping symbols for temperature and exposure, and the phrase “Muy Fragile”, printed on the panels. We thought that would be pretty funny and decided to use those for the boat. Perhaps if I had epoxied the panels before varnishing they would have lasted longer but who knows?  That plywood definitely wasn’t made with waterproof glue.  After a few years of being exposed to the weather in our backyard and some neglect those panels started delaminating.

I debated trying to salvage the goose by cutting off the ends and rebuilding, but decided that it was going to be too much work and I really didn't have the room for the boat anymore. I wanted to salvage the deck plates from the boat before I cut it up so I took one of those small breakoff knives and tried to cut the seal where I had caulked with door and window caulking when I installed the plates. I had always read that the caulking didn't make a very good adhesive and wouldn't hold well without putting screws in. After I removed the screws and worked on trying to cut the caulking loose for about half an hour I gave up and cut around the plates with a jigsaw to remove the deck plates. I got them out of the boat but they're still mounted in plywood. I worked on getting one of them loose after I cut them out but gave up for now. I think it's going to take a while.

What really surprised me was how good of shape the rest of the boat was in after I started cutting it up. I had assumed that much of the bottom of the boat was in bad shape but after cutting it apart it was just the ends that were in really bad shape. I did have one skid that had separated but I probably could have cut out that section of the skid and laminated a new piece in. Another thing that surprised me was that I didn't find any voids in the plywood where I cut the boat apart. I had noticed a few voids in the plywood when I was building the boat and routed those out and filled them. I just assumed there were other voids in the plywood and maybe there are. But I didn't see a single void anywhere that I cut the boat apart. Of course that doesn't mean there aren't any.

It just amazes me that the quarter inch BC pine plywood from the box store held up as well as it did. The boat was put together with Titebond II glue and had no fiberglass or epoxy on the panels. I did use a little epoxy to fill some voids along the seams. It was painted with latex house paint.

Granted it never spent more than a few hours at a time in the water, but it was stored outside, exposed to the weather, upside down on sawhorses. The boat served me well and I'm kind of sad to get rid of it, but I only have room for so many boats. I thought about having a bonfire with it like some other folks we all know who burn their old boats. But I don't think I'm allowed to burn things in my backyard, so the boat will go off with the grappler pickup next week. That's why I cut it up in to four sections. If I had been more careful and cut everything in nice straight lines I would have been tempted to keep the sections and try to put them back together. Fortunately I wasn't careful so I'm not tempted to keep the pieces.

A closeup of some of the delamination on the bow.
A closeup shot of the bow.
A closeup of the back side of one of the deck plates.
A closeup of the cut section of the stern.
Another closeup of one of the cut sections.
Another closeup of one of the cut sections.
A photo of the midsection of the boat closest to the bow.
A photo of the stern delamination.
A photo of the stern section.
Deck Plates
Here is a closeup of one of the skids separating from the boat.
Here is a closeup of the front side of one of the deck plates.
Here is a picture of the bow with some of the delaminated ply pulled off.



I have to confess it was not a heavily utilized boat, but my puddle duck is built out of BC pine, the sides are quarter inch and the bottom 3/8 inch. And my duck has held up really well. The duck has had (relatively speaking) a lot of use.

I have never had any of the skids on the duck separate but they were laminated up on the boat out of thin strips of redwood "bender" board and the skids on the goose were solid pieces glued down on the hull of the goose.

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