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Rail Repair Question...

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Howie, May 9, 2018.

  1. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I've got a crack in an inwale - see pics. It's located between the front seat bolt holes. I'm wondering how I should repair it.
    1) Some thin epoxy solution like Git-Rot would certainly ooze down this crack, but do you think it'd have enough holding power? I'd flex the wood to close the crack & let it dry for several days.
    2) I could do the above with watered down TB-2 or TB-3 as well...
    3) I could glue a thin 4"+ strip of wood on the underside of the rail beneath the crack. There'd be enough surface area to hold it I bet.
    Any other thoughts? I certainly wouldn't replace or cut into the existing rail.
    20180509_130156.jpg 20180509_130151.jpg
  2. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Attach an outwale to keep the section fair. Cut the inwale on an 8:1 ratio in both directions from the crack. Take a piece of spruce an cut it to fit the inwale opening. the opening in the inwale is a very, very, relaxed "V" . Epoxy the new piece in place. Sand if needed to fair it into the rest of the inwale. Forget using anything in the crack as it is now. There isn't enough surface to hold.

    You could also simply use a piece of angle iron and screw it into the existing inwale.( I have seen it)
  3. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Yeah... I've gone that way once, and it works. But I wanted to retain the look of an unbroken rail. Besides, if what I did doesn't work I can always redo it as you suggest. What I did was 2) & 3) above. Using c-clamps & a think chunk of wood I straightened the rail to where it matched the curve on the other side, then glued in a 3/16" thick piece of ash on the underside of the rail that spanned the distance between the seat holes. I bet it'll work - there's a lot of surface area there. Tomorrow will tell... And yes, virtually none of the glue got into the crack, but I figure it'll help hide the crack later.
  4. johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I too find that Crocs are good shoes for working on a canoe. My wife got me wearing them 15 years ago. I have several pairs of them now. Yeah... I know that doesn't have anything to do with your initial question, but my wife thought it was neat that you wear Crocs too. She has the same color.


  5. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    That crack is perpendicular to the rail, I'm with Gil, scarf in a proper joint.
  6. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    What, John? No comment about the green paint drips nor the varnish dribbles? Wait 'till I mud in a few weeks!
    Actually, the thing we must agree on is that Crocs are excellent for finding any tack or nail you drop on the floor. The only problem is that they don't immediately alert you to their presence - they wait a few days before poking the bottom of your feet. And by that time the tacks are so well embedded that you need pliers to dig the suckers out.
    Say hi to your wife for me.
  7. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I'm happy with the result. I'm not saying I'd want to suspend the whole canoe from this area but I think it'll hold its shape over time.
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  8. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    Say you have a canoe with a suspect inwale, as Howie does. Maybe some partial rot or squirrel chews or cracks not all the way through, but you would like to save the original. Has anyone considered epoxying a strip, maybe oak for strength, full length but less than 1/4" thick to the underside of the inwale? Might also be a way to strengthen the inwale of a closed gunwale canoe by epoxying the reinforcing to the inside face, then making the rail cap wide enough to cover over the strip.
  9. johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Looks great! And that's no Croc!
  10. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Yes...seen it, hated it! Howie has contrived a more elegant piece of angle iron....... it's a step above..or is it?
  11. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Howie's method could be expanded upon by using a Dremel and chisel on the underside of the rail to cut a 1/2" or so, deep channel. Either ash or oak epoxied into the channel would make a stronger joint.
  12. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    i think Steve Lapey has a nifty router bit or some such for that task, cant remember entirely but as Gil mentions you can spline along the length.
    MGC likes this.
  13. Steve Lapey

    Steve Lapey LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Yes, that is a MLCS #5371 router bit - take the bearing off for a deeper cut. We have saved many cracked inwales with this bit and a shop made fixture.
    The spline is made from ash and glued in with epoxy glue. Make sure to remove all fasteners in the affected area before cutting the groove.

    Rice Morris 12-21 2017 005.jpg Rice Morris 12-21 2017 006.jpg Rice Morris 12-21 2017 008.jpg Rice Morris 12-21 2017 009.jpg Rice Morris 12-21 2017 010.jpg
  14. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I once restored an old rocking chair for a woman and the one rocker on the bottom was held on with a rusty old can opener and bent over nails. The old can opener that cut the V hole in the top of cans. That's how her grandfather fixed it. She remembers it being there since she was a child. She had me restore the hole chair like new and then put the same can opener back on with the rusty nails. It was sentimental and reminded her of her grandfather. Every time I leave a visible flaw a crack in a rib on a canoe I think of that chair.
  15. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder


    I like that repair,
    have you done any testing to see how strong it might be relative to a undamaged rail?

  16. Steve Lapey

    Steve Lapey LOVES Wooden Canoes

    No way to do accurate testing, but, we have not had one come back yet.
  17. Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    I don't know. Looks like it wasn't cracked all the way through and not even deformed. I would have tried to drill a hole in middle of crack not all the way through the wood and drizzled epoxy into the hole. Once the outwale is on might be strong enough. I think your first thought was right on. The splice should work too!
  18. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Steve's repair technique works really well on those typical Morris kinked gunnels. Pull it back into shape, route the groove, and glue in the splint. Works slick.
  19. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    What about a simple comparison test of a splint repair and normal rail?
    Doesn't seem like it would take much to make to samples and apply a load to them.

    As an engineer, I'm cautious with any structural repair that goes from full thickness to roughly 1/3 thickness that is placed in the center of the member, it just isn't as strong. But is it strong enough, I don't know, depends on the use.

    If the crack was only part way through, say maybe 1/3, I wouldn't be too concerned about this repair,
    BUT with a crack that is most of the way through, as the one Howie shows in the 1st pic, I'd be very concerned.

    BTW, trying to get resin to hold in a dirty joint just isn't going to make it.

  20. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Well, the router does a nice job of exposing clean, "new" wood surfaces for gluing. I doubt I could break that ash splint across my knee! I use a coat of epoxy and then seat the splint with thickened epoxy. I have also used the splint where thwarts and carriage bolts were involved and like Steve said, the canoe hasn't come back yet. In fact the thwart broke first! I think it is a good, invisible fix for the most part and like I said it gets rid of kinked gunwales too. I am sure there are plenty of individual cases where a better fix (eg. new inwales) might be required.



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