Canadian Canoe Routes
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Replacing Gunwales
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Author:  pfekete [ July 11th, 2006, 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Replacing Gunwales

Well thanks to the helpful suggestions on this forum, I've been able to get some 18 foot gunwales scarfed together and am now facing the next challenge.

There are already holes drilled in the fiberglass canoe I'm reparing, but lining up the inwales and outwales with these holes will be a bit of a challenge, so I'm wondering what others might think about drilling entirely new holes. Is this a bad idea in terms of weakening the shell? I also note that some of the holes that were originally drilled were so close to the edget that they're not likely to provide much support. As always, I appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.

Thanks.

Author:  pknoerr [ July 11th, 2006, 11:54 am ]
Post subject: 

I'm not sure I could answer that question w/o seeing the top of the hull.

Still it seems that one should be able to pretty well get the screw holes in the same holes in the hull pretty easily, if you are patient enough. I repalced the rails on a w/c canoe several years ago, and was able to hit the same holes in the rib tops. We started from the middle and clamped the outwale on, and drilled pilot holes through the outwale from the inside of the hull. Then drilled into the inwale on and set the screws in the middle of the hull. Then we worked towards the ends. Voila... no new holes in the top of your hull.

PK

Author:  csr [ July 11th, 2006, 12:16 pm ]
Post subject:  similar issue

I am restoring an old kevlar canoe - the screwholes along the top of the shell are either ripped out or in bad condition. We have made the gunwales deep enough to cover these holes and will be drilling new holes. I'll also plan on using epoxy when mounting the gunwales to fill the holes and ensure a solid connection between gunwale and shell.

Scott

Author:  Rick [ July 12th, 2006, 6:48 am ]
Post subject: 

I've replaced vinyl with wood only a couple of times, so I'm certainly no expert.
I've never tried to line up the screw holes with the original rivet holes. I can't imagine this has weakened the hull in any way. New screw holes will allow you to space them equally, resulting in a nice look.
I would never epoxy inwales or outwales to the hull, they may have to be removed some day.
The last time I had to use red oak because ash in long lengths was not available. There is an inter-county export ban on ash here in Southern Ontario (Emerald Ash Bore). If the tree is not felled and milled here in Elgin County my supplier cannot bring it in from neighboring counties.

Author:  frozentripper [ July 12th, 2006, 8:53 am ]
Post subject: 

Drilling new holes won't be a problem in most fiberglass hulls and the strength won't be reduced, since the wooden gunnels will provide that anyway. Coating the inside of the drill holes with some epoxy once the gunnels are clamped on, with a thin nail or pipe cleaner will help the wood last longer and increase water resistance. Also use stainless steel screws since brass won't be strong enough, both when tightening down, and breaking the epoxy bond for removal later on. Bedding compound (the non-adhesive type) will also help seat the gunnels more tightly.

Those last two measures might be overkill, since manufactured canoes seem to avoid the extra working time and simply drill out the holes and screw down the gunnels. If higher-quality work is wanted, OTOH, it's worth doing and only costs a little more money and materials.

Author:  Canucnu [ November 11th, 2007, 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Holes

Drilling new holes is unneccessary except for the last few holes towards the ends.
Using glue or epoxy will work, but remember, if you ever have to replace them again or remove them because of hull fractures you may have some frustrations removing them without further damaging the boat. Good luck

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