The Technique article in this issue, “Checked Plywood Repair” by Kent and Audrey Lewis, is one that I took a special interest in. Several of the boats I’d built, and the teardrop trailer I’d built using the same materials and methods, have been showing areas of plywood that had checked. Work that had held up for years was being undone and I wasn’t sure why.The oldest of the boats is the gunning dory I built for my father in 1980. John Gardner’s The Dory Book, published in 1978, was my guide for both my introduction to boatbuilding and the plans for the dory. It was the second planked boat I’d built, the first being a Marblehead dory skiff. With the exception of the garboards, both were traditionally built with red cedar planks on oak frames, all finished bright. I had taken Gardner’s advice and used plywood for the garboards to avoid the splitting he noted that happens to the short grain at the ends of natural lumber garboards.

A section of the port garboard in the stern of the gunning dory had the worst of the checking. I had hoped sanding and painting would cure the problem, but after three efforts over the course of several years, it was clear paint wasn't the solution.

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