Canadian Canoe Routes

Very rough 1996 Swift Algonquin 15 - what to do
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Author:  MichaelAngelo [ May 6th, 2021, 8:33 am ]
Post subject:  Very rough 1996 Swift Algonquin 15 - what to do

A terrible time to be in the market for a used canoe - but I did manage to grab this old beater for cheap. Originally planned to just replace the gunnels - but at 58lbs goldenglass layup I'm not so sure I want to dump a bunch of money into this beater boat which clearly needs more work.

One side gunnel is bent, the other side is cracked at the yoke and another spot.

Two big delaminations in the middle on each side.

Yoke isn't balanced, needs to be moved forward at least.

Wondering what you guys would do if all you had was this boat for the summer.... Hopefully the covid rush settles down soon and I can find another decent one on Kijiji by next season LOL


Author:  yarnellboat [ May 6th, 2021, 9:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Very rough 1996 Swift Algonquin 15 - what to do

I probably wouldn't put a lot of money/effort into it (unless the previous repairs look top notch). Just bend the gunwales back as best you can - a few minutes with body weight, a mallet and pliers and you can probably make enough difference to be happy. They don't look too bad anyway.

Where the gunwales have cracks/splits, I'd level them out as best you can, and then fill the cracks with something like JB Weld, just so you can sand it back down smooth and you won't cut yourself on the cracks.

I just bought a canoe with some cracks in its aluminum gunwales. I was totally unconcerned about it structurally and even aesthetically, but I only got as far as unloading my new boat before I ripped my jacket from catching it on the snag! So I filled those cracks. My gunwales were also a bit warped at every handle and thwart, so I also cut some aluminum pieces to add underneath the lip as reinforcement for that bending. Though that was probably more trouble than it was worth.

Other than bending the kinks out and filling the cracks, just give it a scrub and see how she goes!


Author:  yarnellboat [ May 6th, 2021, 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Very rough 1996 Swift Algonquin 15 - what to do

These aren't great pictures, the grey JB Weld doesn't show up well on the aluminum.

Here's where I patched a split in the gunwale, which had small cracks both sides in front of the seat (I since knocked out a bit more of the wave in that section).
smoothed crack_sm2.jpg

And here's a shot looking upward from inside the canoe at the underside of the lip of the gunwale - because of bends/waves at the thwarts/handles, I added these strips of aluminum support under the lip. I'm also changing the aluminum bars to wood, which will be a wider footprint on the gunwale.
reinforced inner_sm.jpg


Author:  Robin [ May 6th, 2021, 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Very rough 1996 Swift Algonquin 15 - what to do

I have done a lot of canoe restorations, some a lot worse than that so my suggestion is to clean it up, use it and then sell it when your ready. 58 lbs is not a bad weight to work with, in my world that's light.
Do you have a table saw, belt sander, drill, some clamps, 6 will do?
Those gunnels are finished, too much out of shape. I would replace them with wood, maybe ash inwales and spruce gunnels, or use ash on both sides, inner and outer. I buy my lumber at a lumber yard, say 10' lenght 1x8 ash and rip 3/4 by 3/4 rails, make a jig on the table saw to rip a 10" splice (lots of help on Youtube for jigs, very easy to make) glue them with Titebond III and screw them in with stainless steel screws.
Here's a video of my most recent restorations.
There's some other videos there that might help.
Sand the hull, clean up those old repairs and paint the canoe. I use Interlux Polyurethane, look at the video and you'll see what nice results Interlux gives. Others use Tremclad, it all depends on what kind of results your looking for.
Hope this helps, that could be a sweet canoe with some work.

Author:  recped [ May 6th, 2021, 8:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Very rough 1996 Swift Algonquin 15 - what to do

I'd replace / relocate the yoke if you will actually be using it, would not be good if it snapped although for any portage under 200m I'd just drag the thing.

If it doesn't have any leaks I don't see the point in doing anything else unless you intend to do a full restoration down the road.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ May 7th, 2021, 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Very rough 1996 Swift Algonquin 15 - what to do

Kind of depends on your intentions for this summer and beyond.

A full “restoration”, new gunwales, relocating/replacing the yoke, inspecting and refinishing the wood seat drops and carry thwarts, repairing or replacing the deck caps, patching, painting, etc is a bunch of work.

I would not take a canoe with cracked/split gunwale on a trip of any consequence. Any mishap, broach, pin or water-filled capsize would risk tearing the boat in half, and even without that calamity the jagged split is likely to snag gear, clothing or skin.

If you simply need the canoe to get you through the summer I do what Pat did; reinforce the split (and the suspect/weak kink on the other side) with a piece of pop riveted aluminum L, fill and fair the snaggy exposed edges with JB Weld or PC-7 epoxy putty, relocated the yoke to a balanced position and hope for the best.

I don’t see the delaminating areas in the photos; if bad enough I’d slap some epoxy, cloth and peel ply over them.

As far as a future full-on restoration only you can answer if it is worth the time, effort and expense. I enjoy that kind of extensive shop time bringing a boat back to new luster, and have all of the needed supplies on hand, but if I was doing so to flip boats for resale I’d be better off standing at the counter asking “Would you like fries with that?”

Inveterate boat flippers have ways of saving time and money, doing just enough to make the hull look presentable; square-ish wood gunwales, reusing existing brightwork by filling decayed ends, not rewebbing saggy seats or replacing flimsy seat drops.

Here is a full on restoration. ... dependence

No way I could sell that Independence for the time and materials I put in, but I had no intension of selling it from the start.

Author:  Robin [ May 14th, 2021, 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Very rough 1996 Swift Algonquin 15 - what to do

I don't know, is it me? If I asked for some ideas about fixing up my old beater canoe and had 4 people respond with some helpful information, I would at the very least says thanks for your time, maybe even go as far as to explain why I will or won't do as advised.
Oh well.

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