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PostPosted: November 24th, 2017, 2:10 am 
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This winter, I plan to fix the gunnels on my canoe. The canoe is all fibreglass, including the seats. The gunnels are wood. I do not know how bad they are, as someone put a metal sheet over the area, which is about 6 inches.

How hard is it to simply fix a bad area?

How hard is it to replace gunnels?


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PostPosted: November 24th, 2017, 2:23 pm 
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Location: Manitoba
Time to remove the metal cover and have a look.

Replacing gunwales is okay. If it involves replacing decks, then I found that more complicated.

People also scarf in a short piece of gunwale to replace only a small gunwale section.

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PostPosted: November 24th, 2017, 5:34 pm 
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Paddle Power wrote:
Time to remove the metal cover and have a look.

Replacing gunwales is okay. If it involves replacing decks, then I found that more complicated.

People also scarf in a short piece of gunwale to replace only a small gunwale section.


The deck on mine is easy enough to remove. A couple of screws and it is off.


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2017, 10:06 pm 
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swimmer_sppe wrote:
This winter, I plan to fix the gunnels on my canoe. The canoe is all fibreglass, including the seats. The gunnels are wood. I do not know how bad they are, as someone put a metal sheet over the area, which is about 6 inches.

How hard is it to simply fix a bad area?

How hard is it to replace gunnels?


Depends on the model. Traditional designs with higher stems can be a bit of a problem. Modern asymmetrics don't require a whole lot of bend.

Finding gunnel stock in South Western Ontario is pretty easy. Have you got a table saw? Router? If so, shape your own from Ash. We buy it from a woodlot here for $2 a board foot. If shaping your own isn't an option, Noah's in Toronto can supply. Or Swift. Or ...

If they won't take the bend, bag the ends and use boiling water to shape. There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube.

Scarfing a new section into existing gunnels is an option, but more effort, and in order to be done properly you will have to remove the existing gunnels anyway.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 8:42 am 
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Location: Connecticut
Here's a video https://youtu.be/r-wcPPOWiIE of me doing an older fiberglass canoe. You can get away with a lot less clamps too.
I don't worry about using the same screw holes in the canoe.
I don't do rabbits, just clamp the ash to either side, like Royalex canoes.
Pre drill
counter sink
use dish washing soap on each screw to make it go in easier
I use a belt sander to round off the edges.


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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 9:18 am 
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I am not particularly handy and have a limited # of tools so I bought pre-made gunwales from Novacraft in London.

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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 11:06 am 
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IMO if you are redoing gunwales get rid of the wood altogether. Wood gunwales look great but they are a lot more effort to care for. I'd go either for aluminum for the sake of weight, or plastic if price is the main factor. Though sounds like you already have something.


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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 1:08 pm 
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Prospector16 wrote:
IMO if you are redoing gunwales get rid of the wood altogether. Wood gunwales look great but they are a lot more effort to care for. I'd go either for aluminum for the sake of weight, or plastic if price is the main factor. Though sounds like you already have something.


I haven't bought anything for it, yet.


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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 3:24 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Prospector16 wrote:
IMO if you are redoing gunwales get rid of the wood altogether. Wood gunwales look great but they are a lot more effort to care for. I'd go either for aluminum for the sake of weight, or plastic if price is the main factor. Though sounds like you already have something.


I have replaced the gunwales on at least a dozen canoes, probably more.

I have some woodworking tools and skills and regunwaled two canoes in wood. I’ll not do another. I don’t have enough inside storage and don’t like even minimal re-oiling upkeep. If there is a lot of stem rise bending the wood to fit can be a struggle without steam bending.

If you have the skills and tools and access to long lengths of ash or ect to rip and router and sand and countersink your own DIY wood gunwales, and inside storage, have at it.

More so if you have serious woodworking skills. Maybe a rabbet to cover the hull sheerline material, some scallops for drainage and tie down points, recessed decks with exotic inlaid wood. I love the look and functionality of that craftsmanship. I do not have that level skill. No more wood gunwales for me.

I have regunwaled two canoes in aluminum. Also never again. Unless (maybe) using a 2-piece aluminum gunwale system, if there is much stem rise getting the unbent aluminum gunwale to seat with the sheerline edge in the channel without crimping can be pure frustration.

Even using a rubber mallet, a couple putty knife guides, a holder/helper or two alongside and multiple profanities, one piece aluminum gunwale installation is a PITA. Nope.

Two piece aluminum gunwales systems, or gunwales factory-bent match to the curve and sheerline rise of the hull may be different; I have never installed either.

Vinyl gunwales with aluminum inserts are “drill holes and pop rivet” easy to install with minimal tools or helpers. Drill, pop rivet tool, 3/16” pop rivets.

The hardest part may finding the correct plastic deck plates, with an inwale and outwale channel slot that matches the replacement vinyl gunwale cross section, and with the matching stem > angle. The teensy Wenonah-style decks caps are easier in that regard.

And, if you area anal about deck plate fit, the correct stem tip layout, either recurved back, straight up and down or projected outwards.


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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 8:10 pm 
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There is not much stem rise. The decks are fibreglass. I am not anal about how it looks, as long as it is decent.

I don't even know who made the canoe, or how old it is.

When I can get at my canoe, I will take some pictures.


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PostPosted: December 4th, 2017, 5:53 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
swimmer_sppe wrote:
There is not much stem rise.


The issue, from my limited one piece aluminum gunwale perspective, is that it doesn’t take much stem rise to cause channel crimping issues.

Or, more specifically, a wee bit of stem rise combined with the one piece, un-pre-bent aluminum gunwales being seated to accommodate both the ( ) curve shape of the sheerline and the bit of stem rise.

Now the damn thing needs to bend in two directions at once. Crimpage arrgghh!

There are two piece aluminum gunwales, which are (probably?) easier to install. Or vinyl gunwales with aluminum inserts, which I know are easy to install.

The issue with using those synthetic versions, beyond DIY ripping your own 17 or 18 foot ash plank (and router work, sanding, counter sinking, pre-treating with some barrier coat, etc) is mostly the shipping cost.

There are “knock down” wood gunwales with a pre-made scarf joint available at a reasonable shipping upcharge (in the US) if you prefer wood.

http://www.edscanoe.com/14kndogusy.html

Even those get pricey at a 17” length. A 16’ length of gunwale will not cover a 16’ canoe measured along the keel line hull given the curves ( ).

It is absurdly pricey to have aluminum or vinyl gunwale length stuff shipped. Some (better) outfitter shops stock replacement vinyl or aluminum gunwales. And/or some manufacturers will send them along with the next load of boats on a trailer for little or no cost.

Oh yeah, you need to get those floppy 17 foot long pieces home. I have stuffed them up inside a 16 or 17 foot boat on the roof racks under the thwarts, and tied/duct taped them in place (once on a cross country trip).

Picking up from my local outfitter, who carries vinyl replacement gunwales, I just strap an extension ladder on the roof racks as a flat platform.

Whatever you decide, good luck. Working on canoes is still and always a learning experience.


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PostPosted: December 4th, 2017, 10:04 pm 
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I plan on going wood. That is what is on there. I own a full size truck that is 20 feet long.


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PostPosted: December 8th, 2017, 6:28 pm 
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swimmer_sppe wrote:
I plan on going wood. That is what is on there. I own a full size truck that is 20 feet long.


My little Tacoma is only 17 feet long from bumper to bumper, but the rack spread on the cap is nowhere near that distant. The full sized E-150 van has 11 flat feet of rain guttered rack spread, but even so that spread left more floppy overhang and harmonic cavitation than I was comfortable with bouncing around at highway speeds.

It was a multi-day trip home, and after pulling over once I wasn’t screwing around any more.

I tied and duct taped, um, let’s call them bow and stern lines, holding down the free flopping ends with a bit of bend.

Ever since, even stuffed up inside a canoe or set on an extension ladder, I want painter lines for gunwale transport.

Especially the front “painter”, so I can instantly see if something has gone amiss on the roof racks, Just like that visual “Oh shit!” bow line when hauling a canoe.


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