Wood backing blocks for rudder plates stripped

Thread starter #1
I'm finally getting around to installing a new spring plate and bottom plate on a 1969-70 sunfish that I bought this summer. I have all the parts, but the wood backing blocks are stripped to where I can't tighten a screw into them. I just opened a hole in the deck for an inspection port and it seems to me that the blocks are still in good shape. They aren't rotting out and I'd rather not rip them out and replace them if I don't have to.
I'm curious what everyone's thoughts are on what I should do, or if anyone else has dealt with this before. The one thing I thought was that I could fill the screw holes with either polyester resin(which I have a lot of now from another repair) or wood epoxy and then redrill the holes. Does that make sense, or is there something else I should do? Thanks!
I second Beldar's suggestion. Marine Tex is stronger than regular polyester (fiberglass) resin. However, even if the wood block under the deck appears to be sound, the area around the
existing screw holes may be rotted and even with the Marine Tex filling, you may still not get a sound retrofit. As long as you already have access to the wood block, consider using stainless steel screws with large washers and s.s. lock nuts. This way you will get a solid attachment for the deck hardware. Also put a dab of Marine Tex in the hole on the keel when you screw on the keel plate.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY

Kevin Mc

Active Member
Since you put in an inspection port I'd vote for putting in bolts - then you won't have to worry about the screws pulling out again. If you go that route I suggest using a metal backing plate on the inside instead of just washers.
Thread starter #5
Thanks all!
I put some Marine Tex in the holes and will see how that holds once I put the screws in. I think I will go with the bolts and nuts with a washer or backing plate too. Seems like a better long term fix. I do still have it in my head to one day do a full rudder conversion, but in the meantime, this is much easier/cheaper.