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Replace Strips, Glue and Re-glass, or torch?

Discussion in 'Strippers, Stitch-n-Glue, and Other Wood Composite' started by HLSTD, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. HLSTD

    HLSTD Curious about Wooden Canoes

  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Torch.... build a new one.
  3. OP

    HLSTD Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I built this 17 foot strip canoe about 3 years ago and have put about 150 miles on it. As you can see, I don't baby it. It was meant to be used and about half of hte miles are form multi-day trips with 700 pounds of people and gear.

    The most recent trip found us below a damn that was generating its max allotment of water. No big deal, as we have dealt with worse, but the volume created extremely strong currents. Around a turn, we got pulled under some branches, tipped, and the boat go sucked under a large downed tree. It came out with the hole / cracks you can see in the images.

    The canoe is made out of white oak bead and cove strips with bi-directional glass on interior and exterior.

    My idea for repair, but would like some advice from you all.

    1) Remove a significant section of glass on the inside and out, re-glue the wood, then re-glass
    2) Remove a significant section of glass on the inside and out, remove / replace a horizontal and vertical chunk of the wood, then re-glass
    3) Make shelves

  4. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Your answer lies in your first sentence !" I built it " !
    I believe it would be a challenge ! Will it look as good as new ? Probably not. Can you do it ? Yes ! You built it !

    Me ? I'd at least attempt to rebuild it !!!
    Just think of the feeling that would swell up inside of you, as you placed that hull back in the water !

    White Oak ? That alone had to be a challenge !
    4) Remove glass inside. Epoxy an extra thin layer of White oak over the broken strips. Double layer glass inside over patch. Sand the outside, add an extra layer of cloth to the outside. (Prefer 6 0z S-glass) up to about the 3" waterline, or more if needed.

    If you lived close by, and I liked the design, I'd take it off your hands ! How close to Iowa do you live ?

    Your call !

  5. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    If somebody brought that boat to my shop, asking how much it would cost to repair it, I'd say "at least twice what it costs to buy a new one." But you built it, so you get to decide whether you want to fix this, or make bookshelves out of it, and build a new one.
  6. OP

    HLSTD Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the comments so far.

    Jim. I'm in southern Arkansas, so a good ways from your bend in the river.

    Another idea I had based on your comments is to put carbon on the inside for reinforcement / strength. Put the wood, as it is, sand and eyeglass the exterior....keeping it smooth for reduced friction on the water.
  7. OP

    HLSTD Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Pklonowski...and others against repair.

    I have read several posts where most with ships are against repair, saying it would cost less fir a new one.

    I am confused by that.

    Taking labor costs and time out of the equation, as I am not going to pay for the work to be done and time will be at my own opportunity.

    I am not looking to make it look perfect, but to be functional with its structural integrity build back.

    Are you implying that there is no way, that is less costly than than the cost of the original material to build from scratch, to get a damaged boat back to its original strength?
  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    If you built it then you have the experience and skills necessary to repair it. The two limitations are that it is not likely to ever be as pretty or as light as it was originally. If this doesn't bother you then go ahead with the repairs which are likely to be less expensive then starting over.

    Many forums like this one are frequently bombarded by people who have just gotten a fiberglassed strip built canoe in terrible condition and want detailed instructions on how to make it 'like new again' with minimal time and expense. This is why the most common answer is to just start over. The wooden boat forum has a similar problem with larger free boats and the information at is an eloquent description of the issues involved. Good luck with your project,

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  9. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    2 thoughts,
    this must weight a lot
    and 2, white oak is notorious for not taking resin well.

    why did you use white oak for the strips?

    as for repairing it, why not. cut out the bad wood, glue in new sections, (you likely have scrap left over form the build, 3 years is a very short time)
    and reglass the patches, with at least 2 layer in and out.


    "white oak bead and cove strips with bi-directional glass on interior and exterior."
  10. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    It is quite possible to cut out a fairly large section around the damage (maybe diamond-shaped, for example) then stick some temporary forms behind it, lay up a new area of strips, sand them smooth on the outside and feather the glass around the hole for a few inches. Then you lay up new glass layers overlapping onto the old glass a few inches and eventually feather it out to yield a smooth exterior. Then you flip the hull, sand the inner wood smooth and do the same sort of tapered glass patching on the inside. It would probably be worth adding an additional new layer to the inside patch, just for a bit more strength, but most of the hull's strength comes from the glass sandwich, not from having a continuous core. Fancy composite materials are not needed.

    On the other hand, to do it well is a lot of work on a beat up boat which was built from just about the worst possible wood for a stripper in the first place. It might well be worth putting that time and energy into building a new one.

    Do be aware though, that aside from being somewhat ugly, all those scratches are places which are wide open to UV damage of the resin, especially if the boat sits outside upside down - and it takes surprisingly little sun-time for deterioration to begin. If you want your boats to last, it is well worth the trouble to periodically give the scratched areas a good coat of UV filtering varnish - even if the scars aren't filled, sanded or otherwise cleaned up beforehand.
  11. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    It's your boat... do whatever you want with it. You built it, you can fix it. People here will be willing to help with suggestions, as needed. For me, I won't be doing that again.

    I fixed my stripper, after cracking it up during a river rescue class, but it gained 15-20lbs in the process (re-trimming it in mahogany didn't help with weight).

    Prior to getting cracked up, it was my primary, go-to boat. Now it gets out on the water maybe 3-4 times a year, and then only on a quiet pond.
  12. OP

    HLSTD Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I went back through my notes to try and remember why I used white oak...and... it is white cedar, not white oak. Hopefully that will clear up a few questions. The boat weights about 55 pounds.

    The boat is kept in a garage when not in use, so UV should be minimal.

    At this point, I think I am going to attempt a repair. I'll report back.
  13. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I would repair the hole with a wooden patch but then I saw where the hole is and thought what if you could put a piece of clear acrylic in the bottom cut to a nice eye shape and make her into a glass bottomed boat?? Then you could watch the fish beneath you and the patch would look more intentional :)
    I'm not sure how you would go about it but I'm sure it could be done and of course you would need to look after the bottom or make it easy to replace once it gets scratched.:)

  14. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    That's actually possible. :) I had an old wooden Star Class sailboat with a small Lexan window in the bottom, so that you could see if there were weeds snagged on the keel. There was a hole cut in the bottom and a wooden "frame" around it on the inside with a recess next to the hole so that the window sat flush with the bottom. The Lexan panel was installed with marine calk and countersunk stainless screws into the frame. If you want to see well though, you need some sort of hood over the window. If you have clear water and can seal out the light from above, the view is pretty cool. It would maybe be a bit strange on a canoe, but I'm sure stranger things have been done.
  15. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Todd
    I like the idea on a boat that has a big hole like HLSTD's :) Maybe if I hole one of my strip canoes one day I will try it.;)
  16. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Just to clear up any confusion. I've 23 strippers, 2 Kevlars, and one Carbon Fiber under my belt, not to mention hands on helping build 20 other strippers.


  17. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder


    Have you developed a taste for wood/canvas or all wood yet, or are sticking with strippers?
    And with all those canoes built, what is your most advanced layup?
    (just curious, for background check out George Roberts)

  18. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I've looked very hard at W/C canoes, and nearly bought a used mold. They are works of art, and consume a lot of time to build. Pleasing to the eye for sure.

    As a strip builder, I've slipped a little into the Dark side, having built two Kevlar's, and a Carbon Fiber/ Kevlar canoe. Using my strippers as molds. This old boy appreciates the light weigh !
    I'd consider my best lay up for a stripper, to consist of bead and cove strips. 1/4" WRC for anything above 15'. Stemless construction, with staples.
    6 oz E-glass, inside and out, with an extra 6 oz S-glass lay up to about the 3" waterline on the outside. Two bias strips on the leading edge of the stems. Flotation chambers. Ash for all my trim work.
    I've found the above combination to serve me very well, unless I'm really hitting the rocks hard, and then I will add Graphite powder to the last fill coats, up to about the 3" waterline. If you look closely at the photos above, you can see the graphited bottoms on a few canoes.

    My last two canoes. Nokomis on the left, and Vader, the Carbon/ Kevlar copy on the right. Both at 16' 4".

  19. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder


    I agree completely. At one point I was looking hard at a Kevlar, but decided I didn't like playing with resin. If I ever get a Kevlar, I'll just buy one.
    I much prefer playing with wood, and especially EWC, it just smells so good. :)

    I also like those curved seats, they look very comfortable.


    "I've slipped a little into the Dark side, having built two Kevlar's, and a Carbon Fiber/ Kevlar canoe. Using my strippers as molds. This old boy appreciates the light weigh !"
  20. Kent E. Nord

    Kent E. Nord Curious about Wooden Canoes

    This is an older thread , I know, but am curious what the outcome is on the repair? Any update?


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