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Higbee BBSB Fixup Questions.

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Higbee BBSB Fixup Questions.
Hi All,

In December 2018 I bought a 1986 12ft Higbee for around $800 and got a chance to use it only 1 time in 2018 and 1 time in 2019. Fortunately this 2020-2021 season with help from a couple friends (whom I met on this website) I hunted my Higbee 7 or 8 times. What great little boats! No wonder there is such a following on these and similar small crafts.
Anyhow I have concluded that I would really like to keep this boat for the foreseeable future and therefore give it a bit of well-deserved TLC. The hull is in very good condition and needs no attention on the bottom or deck or any other exterior surface (except filling-in some above-waterline grassing/screw holes drilled by Previous Owners). However the interior could use some work in order to avoid more extensive repairs down the road.
I will apologize in advance for not being able to post photos adjacent to the correlating text--I will have to update/reply due to cameraphone not synching with my laptop. here are my questions (photos to follow):
1) Why are there horizontal holes drilled through the glassed stringers? Was this a Higbee factory feature or more likely one of the Previous Owners? A fully glassed stringer is quite impervious to water and therefore rot. Why glass a stringer and then drill a hole through glass and wood together? Reasons I can imagine are to let water pass to stern, then out Drainplug Hole or to run wiring. I intend to plug these holes then glass over at least the holes if not all vertical stringer surfaces...
2) Similarly why are the top surfaces of Stringer not glassed? I would prefer to glass the top/horizontal surface of the stringers. A plywood floor lays atop the stringers, of course.
3) Is the white residue on top of stringers (after boat has dried in my garage) salt residue? Almost all my hunts have been in brackish or sea water. Do I need to rinse with copious freshwater, then dry thoroughly before glassing/repairing?
4) Where the plywood stringers have swelled/delaminated (although not to failure) should I clamp ("undelaminate") as much as possible or just glass as-is?
5) On the Starboard side the plywood vertical supports for Decoy/Gun/Oars storage rack are "toast". Should I replace with plywood (fully glassed if possible) or go with hardwood? Or red cedar heartwood? I may be able to get some black locust or osage orange (think fenceposts or traditional longbow materials). The Port side rack supports are fine, not in need of any repair.
6) Is there any advantage in painting (assuming with an oil-based paint) over the new glass)?
7) Transom fiberglass is getting a bit beat-up putting outboards on/off (for storage space and security reasons--sometimes boat is stored in a carport at a part time cottage. Burglary has occurred there before.) Any designs for additional (Plywood?) protection? On a previous aluminum skiff I protected Transom with generous sheet of rubber wrapped over the Transom.
8) How much epoxy resin is this job likely to require? Would any type/brand be best to use (or avoid)? I have done a lot of Bondo work on cars, but only 2 small jobs fiberglass repair on canoes.
9) Did Higbee factory install galvanized Transom Handles? It is curious these are mounted so low, they are often submerged, hence rust quickly. I am installing new hefty aluminum handles (courtesy of another member on this site) probably above normal waterline. Also, any tips on dealing with any rusted-off fastener tidbits that don't want to screw- back out? I suppose I could just glass-over and rust particles remaining.

Thanks for any follow.
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Re: Higbee BBSB Fixup Questions. In reply to
Good season, Sneakbox proved its worth:
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Re: Higbee BBSB Fixup Questions. In reply to
If you have any soft wood that you would prefer to leave in place and encapsulate there is a penetrating epoxy product that will harden it. You can epoxy over it and it will be a durable repair. It was made for wood boats and it performs better than any other I have used. I use it to repair dry rot on carousel horses and it is exceptional.

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Re: Higbee BBSB Fixup Questions. In reply to
Joe, thanks for the input. I have used a similar product on our home where we had some rotted fascia and windowsill. It worked very well. I will probably give Smith's product a try if I find any soft wood. Thanks again.
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Re: Higbee BBSB Fixup Questions. In reply to
While I have not used it on a duck boat, I redid half of the transom on my 19' Seaway with CPES and West 6/10- easy and bombproof. Plus, a conversation with Steve the Rot Doctor is a great experience.
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Re: Higbee BBSB Fixup Questions. In reply to
Good morning, David~

I'm glad you like your new vessel.

You're getting plenty of good advice on sealing the stringers and floors. I can see the holes you are referring to in one floor frame. They look to me like weep holes - to allow bilge water to drain aft. If it were my boat, I would keep them - and maybe even enlarge them. I like to have a way for water to drain out of the boat every time I use it. You certainly don't want it freezing in the bilge. So, you may want to enlarge them and then be sure to seal their inner surfaces with sufficient epoxy. I have not used Smith's but have always heard good things about it.

And once your floor framing is thoroughly sealed, I would put a layer of 'glass on top before refastening the floorboards.

For general uses - on boats and decoys - I have been very happy with products from U S Composites. I use their 635 thin epoxy resin with medium hardener.

For your new shelving/racks, I would recommend light materials - more toward Cedar or Pine and not Locust or other heavy species. I built this shelf for the Grswt South Bay Scooter I posted about here last Fall.

The knees - a structural feature of the hull - were laminated AC plywood with 2 coats of epoxy - before being set in 3M 5200 for adhesion.

The shelf itself is 1/4-inch plywood framed with Pine and Cedar.

The "lip" on the shelf holds a few shells at the ready.

The large holes through the knees allow for storage of longer items - and save a few ounces of dead weight.

All the best,


Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY

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Re: Higbee BBSB Fixup Questions. In reply to

Thanks for the input.

I will enlarge the weep holes and epoxy them. Even though I don't anticipate any freezing water there I can see more advantages than disadvantages with having the weep holes-- as long as their inner surfaces are properly epoxied. After I seal the floor framing I will glass the top surfaces. BTW I usually remove floor after each hunt (it is secured with only 2 screws) to allow more thorough drying inside hull. Thanks for recommending US Composites 635, I will use it if I can find some locally (or not pay an outrageous chemical shipping charge if purchased online). Otherwise I'll use West System. I know where I can get some nice red cedar heartwood for shelving supports. Also good reminder to add shell holders, very handy when action gets fast.

Any input from forum members on my other questions would be very welcomed.

Thanks again.