The Paddling Gods help me, I'm going to restore a canoe.

Discussion in 'Paddling' started by Rich Davis, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Rich Davis

    Rich Davis Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    337
    I have a 30 year old Mad River Winooski, when the brand meant anything, which needs replacement of every single piece of wood.

    I've priced gunwales and we're looking at mid to upper $400 and more. Well heck no. Now I'm in the boat refurbishing boat so to speak.

    I have air dried white oak rough planed on two sides of about 10' average, I expect I'll want 16' finished length gunwales.

    When I spoke to the new Mad River people they had no clue about the canoe itself. Nothing. No pamphlets, the web has been scoured as far as I can find regarding this canoe in measurements.

    I have diagrams of virtually everything I constructed or at least detailed measurements going back 4 decades and they kept nothing. Personally I find that astounding as this information takes virtually no space.

    Anyway, I have sections of gunwale and the outwales and inwales are both 1", but I'd finish at a couple strokes of a jackplane thicker in case of damage while shaping.

    So anyone done this? People talk about ash but others say white oak. I know I can get 7' clear lengths, maybe longer at 8' but I'm not sure. I'm not set up for steam bending and as I haven't clear ideas about radius I may have to adjust on the fly. I do have a mostly intact thwart so I should be able to get a fairly accurate midpoint distance as one end is still attached to the boat.

    So, opinions? Should I build a laminated gunwale with the proper adhesives? As this is a symmetrical canoe one side is the mirror image of the other and there's little to no upsweep, something that dimensional drawings would let me know before beginning so oh well.

    I have a table saw, band saw, hand tools galore, belt sanders drill press, yada yada yada. Nothing heavy duty, just a Jet contractor and a 14" grizzly bandsaw, electric jigsaw, well you get this idea. Call it midrange serious amateur level stuff. I can do a Shaker table, but this is something I've not done and I hate bending.
     
  2. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17- Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    10,231
    Likes Received:
    62,618
    Location:
    The Swamp
    Nothing to offer. It I look forward to seeing what you do!

    Do you have 'before' photos?

    @Luchtaine for interest.
     
    badgerthehobo likes this.
  3. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

    Blog Posts:
    4
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    5,798
    Likes Received:
    22,005
    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    Photos!!!! I don’t think you’ll need to steam bend anything. Sounds like an interesting restore but it shouldn’t be too hard to do given the tools you have. You can probably half lap or splice shorter lengths to make your full gunwale. Cherry makes for nice gunwales if you can get any.
     
  4. hidden_lion

    hidden_lion Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    Messages:
    1,390
    Likes Received:
    2,733
    Location:
    Palmyra, NY
    Seems like white oak would be heavy. I have heard of mahogany being used, ash being the most common. Sitka spruce for lighter weight alternative.
    If you live anywhere near me I have one almost 20' ash stave left. I bought 5 to redo my tunnels on my novacraft explorer...kept putting it off, so I just took it down to Hemlock Canoes to have them do it. I have too many projects and hobbies and more ambition then time, lol
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  5. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    15,805
    Likes Received:
    31,414
    I’ve done gunwales both glass and Royalex; I used spruce inside and ash for the outer, and Mahoney deck plates, ash for the thwarts. I found nice long clear 2 X 4’s at the lumber yard and did most of the shaping with the table saw and router table. One guy paid for silicon bronze screws, the other used just brass. I don’t think either material made much of a difference.

    The biggest issue for me was the uneven thickness of the glass hull. The Royal one was pretty consistent. I got the inside and outside even with each other and just sanded the hull that stuck out between the two; the trim line out of the mold was not even. Keep the hull level and keep measuring and sighting from the ends and middle often, your eye often picks out defects in the line faster than the tape measure.
     
  6. Rich Davis

    Rich Davis Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    337
    Here's the Winooski

    Cherry makes for nice gunwales if you can get any.[/QUOTE]

    I have 9 ft 16/4 boards about 9 inch wide. Cherry I can do too. I'll have to make seats and a new thwart, but that's a cinch. I'm pretty sure I have lumber to make them from one board.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. AdamD1776

    AdamD1776 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2018
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    1,073
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    I have done gunnels before. It was a plywood canoe, so I just used pine. I didn't have a piece of wood long enough, so I used a beveled splice joint to splice the two together (basically just taper the two ends so that they fit together to make one solid board). I didn't have to steam them to install, just bent them by hand and used brass screws to secure.
     
  8. Bad Little Falls

    Bad Little Falls Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    2,945
    If you have access to full length stock go that way in place of a splice, but if you must by all means then but there is nothing like a full length rail. On my 20 cedar plank restore I am using spruce in side and out, full length. I have my own mill and source of spruce, though. My project has been on hold for almost a years, I really need to do a little more on it, hope to have it in the water this summer, but it getting busy once again. Fun project to bring a boat back to life. If you have to rip stock use a feather board.
     
  9. Pablo

    Pablo Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,338
    Likes Received:
    965
    My wood/canvas canoe has ash outers/spruce inners. Neither were steamed prior to installation, as they are long, thin, flexible pieces of wood. I think the hull should mold them as they are attached. You might need the thwarts in place though on a fiberglass hull to assure symmetrical bending.
     
  10. SLaRoy

    SLaRoy Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    775
    Location:
    S.E. Mich.
    I have been in your boat. I started a thread a couple of years back about my project canoe.

    https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/a-new-project-canoe.128782/

    I had great luck with using epoxy on ash to make a full length set of rails and bending them on. You will need a lot of clamps but it is actually pretty straight forward. You can still get a set of gunwales shipped to you for about $150 from Ed's Canoe.

    Please feel free to ask me any specific questions you have.
     
  11. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Messages:
    4,033
    Likes Received:
    3,768
    Location:
    Idaho
  12. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,057
    Likes Received:
    5,013
    Location:
    Washington State
    Seems like you're just going to have to use your eye regarding symmetry and the curve of the gunnels. I might suggest multiple temporary thwarts placed inside by friction til it looks right. Then, you can sort of "loft" one side by striking off from a tightline strung between the ends. I helped a guy do this years ago, after failing to talk him out of it. That was a glass boat. It turned out pretty nice. Videos of birch bark construction also show this method for achieving a fair curve to the gunnels.
     
  13. snapper

    snapper Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,337
    Likes Received:
    1,984
    Location:
    central NYS
    Robin Lauer, the person featured in the video FreeMe posted above (post #11) is on this board from time to time. You might want to contact him to see if he has any suggestions. I know he doesn't go by his actual name on this board but he does on the canoe tripping board he used to administer. If you can't find him here, try over there. The site can be found at: http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time....be well.

    snapper
     
    CivilizationDropout and FreeMe like this.
  14. Bad Little Falls

    Bad Little Falls Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    2,945
    Your eye can and should be trusted in making the rails fit. Get them in place and apply some temporary thwarts at various location, look down the boat from the ends and you will see the symmetry. remember its not rocket science.
     
  15. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,057
    Likes Received:
    5,013
    Location:
    Washington State
    Agreed. I think the op just needs to know the factory beam measurement and let the lines come fair as they lay out.
     
    CivilizationDropout likes this.
  16. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    17,630
    Likes Received:
    24,383
    Location:
    In the woods
    @Robin is here occasionally. He seems to have retired from the outdoors though... getting older, I guess. Used to own the Canoetripping website, but turned it over, and has sold off a bunch of his stuff... seems he likes his grandkids a lot. :D I bought a Chestnut Chum he restored and am well pleased. He had a Chum himself, shown in his wonderful Low's Lake trips videos, and had some interesting old gear as well (in particular a hot tent he shortened for weight and ease of setup.) I've camped with him once. Great dude.

    Oak is strong. Spruce is light. Ash is both, but not as much as either, if that makes sense. I like WerewolfWon's idea of a spruce inwale and an ash outwale.

    You can order wood online.

    If you're not already on this site, find it: the wood canoe heritage association... whole subforum dedicated to restoring old wood-canvas canoes.. yeah, i know, yours isn't, entirely. but they know wood.
     
  17. Bad Little Falls

    Bad Little Falls Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    2,945
    One of my boys picked up an Old Town Osprey last year, we adjusted the seats and played with the shape of the boat, this plastic boat would tilt in for more tumble home and splay out for a wider rail spacing, I don't know if a fiberglass boat would take as much flex so it may be good to pay attention to the stock size.
     
  18. Rich Davis

    Rich Davis Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    337
    I've decided on the wood and will begin after I get my jointer and planer tuned up. Everything will be cherry except for the gunwale inserts which I plan on doing in bird's-eye maple. I'll post updates, probably in less than a couple weeks. I may need to build a Mission coffee table first.
     
  19. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Messages:
    4,033
    Likes Received:
    3,768
    Location:
    Idaho
    Hope your planer tune-up goes well. Mine is in need of a little rebuild - which might not.
     

Share This Page