Replanking a Bowed Transom

Once again, I am new to wooden boats and their restoration or preservation. I have a question concerning a bowed transom. Do you have to steam the planks(my question concerns mahogony) to fit the transom, or do you gently force them into place with clamps? For that matter, do you ever steam mahogany?

Depending on the transom. Most don’t require steaming. There are of course variations on this. You will find as you tight up the screws that will do most of the work.

Thanks Matt. This mahogany boat thing is a whole new creature to me. I have lots to learn!

We are all in the same boat

Been restoring boat over 40 years most transom can be bent by doing this method

Thanks Mark. A picture really is worth a thousand words!

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Start fastening from center and work your way to the outside

OK I’m with you so far.

The trick involves getting a bit of help.

Hold one end of the first plank in place against the starboard or port corner frame Drill the pilot holes and countersinks and drive the flathead Reed and Prince, silicon bronze screws.

Now have your friend gently push the free end of the plank towards the transom until it contacts the next frame member, drill and sink the next set of screws.

Continue in this manner until to free end of the plank can be held in place while the final pilot holes and countersinks and drive the final set of screws home.

We use this same technique when forced to replace bottom planks. Begin at the bow and work aft.

Got it. Thank you! I have a quick(I hope) question. I think you can steam mahogany, although I have not done that. I have watched some video of steaming the wood piece of a rub rail. Are there any pitfalls to be aware of in the steaming of mahogany wood?

No pitfalls I know of, except getting burned. Danenberg has an excellent section in The Complete Wooden Runabout Restoration Guide.

And the Old Shipwright has a novel, super simple method:–iPQIwSEJM


I’m quite late to the party but I just finished planking a curved transom. I am almost always working by myself so fighting with straight planks didn’t seem like the way I wanted to go. I ended up building a buck using scrap plywood and 2x4’s replicating* the radius of the transom. I actually compensated for spring back while setting the radius of the buck.

Steamed my 4 planks and then installed as per the method above except without fighting the planks. I’ve done 2 boats this way and if you are working without an assistant it can really make your life easier.

That is pretty cool. I work by myself a lot. This is a nice tip, that could have other applications as well! Thanks again and have fun with your project!

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