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In the last few years on rivers, the wooden skegs under my homemade houseboat have gotten chewed up. I will have to drydock and repair them this year. While it is out of the water, I thought I might put metal (brass, aluminum, steel) along the edges to protect them.

What is the best material to protect the wooden skegs on my flatbottom barge houseboat?

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HDHM polyethelene. The acronymm is High Density, High Molecular weight. Sheets of it are used to line the chutes for ore dumping facilities, and to protect the edge of highway snowplows.

I used to make dog sleds out of it. 1/4" outlasted oak runners by about 4:1 Can be machined with wood working equipment. Cost is about $1-$2/pound. Ask at industrial plastics stores. Sometimes you can get scraps for cheap.

Downsides: you can't glue it. You can screw it. I would suggest using a layer of slow set epoxy putty as a void filler, and screw with large head short screws. You need to counter sink the screw.

The material is available in thicker chunks. You may be able to replace the whole skeg with PE. Be a lot easier and not much heavier.

  • I'll try this. Not as classy, but possibly more effective than metal. – Wes Modes Feb 10 '18 at 23:00

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