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Cedar Canoe found in a Barn

Discussion in 'Strippers, Stitch-n-Glue, and Other Wood Composite' started by BarnBuild, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. BarnBuild

    BarnBuild New Member

    Hello to all! I'm glad to have stumbled upon this website, what a great source of information and networking!

    Last Saturday I received a call from a friends dad who is in the process of moving off his small farm. " I've got a crappy cedar canoe in my barn that going to be firewood by the end up the day unless someone picks it up", he barked. "I'll see you in an hour", I replied. So I drove down, strapped the boat to my truck and headed home. This is my first watercraft of any kind and it's looks like it was once a beautiful canoe. I'd like to use this canoe for fly fishing and extended camping/fishing trips. I have some previous wood working experience, a small assortment of tools and a lot of time and energy.

    My goal is to "restore" or fix the canoe to like new condition and I'd like to know where to start. I am a total novice.
    -The boat looks to be in decent shape besides:
    -The resin on top of the fiberglass is wearing thin on some sections of the hull and completely disconnected from the yoke and the gunwhales.
    -There are gaps between the deck plates and the inside of the boat.
    -There is obvious normal wear and tear.
    -The seats need to re-upholstered
    -Fiberglass on the bow and stern is peeling back
    -The gunwhales obviously need to be replaced

    I think you'll be able to access my photobucket with the URL below.
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Welcome to the WCHA!

    Stripping & re-glassing a cedar-strip canoe is a lot of work, but it can be done. Some folks here claim that it's easier to just build a new one... and having done a partial strip & re-glass, I suspect they're right.

    But you're right, it looks like it will be a pretty boat, once you're done with it.

    Getting to know how the boat was built will get you a long way towards understanding how to refurbish it. There are a number of books on strip-building here at the WCHA store: I used the one by Ted Moores & Merilyn Mohr, which worked well enough, but the others may well be every bit as good.

    Any idea how old it is? If it's old enough to be polyester resin, the stripping part is rumored to be less difficult. A heat gun & putty knife will work (see other posts in this forum for stripping glass). The important thing is to work slowly & gently, so you don't tear up pieces of wood, along with the glass & resin... and try not to ignite the boat! A well-ventilated work space is strongly recommended.

    I'd say strip the outside, sand & fair it, then glass the outside. While you're glassing the outside, make sure the sides of the boat don't spread far from their expected final width. There's some flexibility in glassed hulls, but you don't want to strain it before you even put it in the water. Once that's done, repeat the process on the inside. After that, sand it inside & out to smooth the surfaces, varnish, and then you can start the trimwork.

    Sounds simple... and it really isn't complicated. It does take patience, and a lot of time, but since you have that, go for it! You'll be proud to paddle the boat you refurbished... and then you'll want to make your own wooden paddle, and you'll be frequenting this forum... as hobbies go, it's addictive and fun, yet safe and legal.

    Ask questions,and post pictures. We like pictures!
  3. OP

    BarnBuild New Member

    I believe the boat is at least 30 years old. It was made by a local Washingtonian. After browsing this site more thoroughly, it seems there is a fair amount of debate whether or not a restoring a canoe that isn't especially unique or sentimental is worth the time. It sounds like the bulk of my time might be better spent searching for plans to build a new boat.

    Judging from the pictures, is it possible to repair this boat to a dependable condition that wouldn't require removing all the glass and completely re-finishing? Could i just use epoxy paste to 'glue' down the peeling fiberglass on the bow and stern, re-fiberglass the patched bow and stern, add new gunwhales and put some sort of protectant over the whole boat to sustain the existing finish?

    Keep in mind this boat is going to be used on fishing and camping adventures.

    What's the fastest road to usability?
  4. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I know very little about stripper canoes, although I had one and enjoyed it very much (the builder bought it back from me because he missed it). Someone else may advise you about your canoe, but I need to say WELCOME... folks here will help you with this canoe or another, and you'll be happy you rescued the stripper because it brought you into the fold!

  5. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I've not tried gluing glass back down... You could try to just cut out & fair the parts that need attention, and re-glass patches onto it. Once it's all patched, give the hull a sanding & re-varnish, and see what you've got, and whether you like it. That would be a lot less work than a complete re-glass, but the resulting patchwork might look a little "off." I could always tell where the patches were, though no one else seemed to see them... or would admit to it... Maybe I'm too picky. Also, if it is polyester resin, I don't know how well modern epoxies will stick to it -- might be fine, but definitely check into it before you put the work to it, or maybe try it on a small piece, and see how it works? Todd or Dan would know more about this than I (and probably others as well).

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