Re: HELP! Fitting canoe s

Posted by Laszlo on Jun 28, 2006

Hi Nathan,

It looks as if you have found an originally well-built, then neglected and inexpertly repaired canoe.

It's definitely plywood. What kind is hard to tell without better pictures. It may be marine, it may be very high quality luan.

The lack of ribs under the deck is normal when the plywood is stressed to take structural loads. The CLC Chesapeakes, for example, only have 2 bulkheads and 2 deck beams supporting the entire deck.

The Mystery Object is your rudder control. It attaches to those wooden blocks on the floor in the front of the cockpits. The rudder wires attach to the wing nuts. There should be openings somewhere in the hull or deck to admit the wires into the cockpit. To steer, you push on the appropriate control arm with your feet. Canoes need rudders in strong winds and large waves to help them maintain directional control. Rudders also help inexpert paddler maintain directional control until they learn how to paddle correctly.

The "thing" is a kick-up rudder for another boat.

The seat is in fact the canoe seat. You set it on the bottom of the canoe (probably on the long strips of wood) and your weight keeps it in place.

To repair this boat, first clean it thoroughly inside and out. Then, inside the boat, look for black spots which would indicate moisture intrusion. If you find any, tap and listen carefully. If you hear a tap suddenly go dull, it could indicate rot. Do the same outside. Push on the wood. It should be solid. If it yields, it should be resilient, not soft and mushy. Soft & mushy indicates rot.

If it seems mostly OK, sand off the paint and varnish from the outside. Look for rot indications again.

If you find rot, you can cut away the wood. Take away enough so that you're sure to get all the rot. Make up a patch from marine plywood of the same thickness, but about 1/8 inch smaller all around than the hole. Use duct tape to hold it in place from one side, paint the gap with epoxy and fill the gap with a putty made from epoxy and woodflour. Let it cure 24 hours, at least, take off the duct tape and fill any gaps on that side. Smooth down the putty on both sides with sandpaper. Lay a piece of 6 oz fiberglass cloth at least 2 inches wider all around than the patch and epoxy it into place. Do the same on the back. Once you've patched all the bad spots, you're ready to fiberglass the whole canoe.

Good luck,


In Response to: HELP! Fitting canoe seats by Nathan on Jun 28, 2006