16' Square Stern Wood and Fiberglass Canoe Restoration HELP NEEDED


New Member

I have a square stern wood and fiberglass canoe that I'd like to repair. The keel is rotted near the bow and I think that the rot has spread to a couple for the panels that are in contact with the rotten part of the keel. There is one thin crack about 8 inches long between to boards which extends through the fiberglass and paint (I could see daylight through it when I was transporting the canoe on the top of my car). There are also a couple of spots about the size of a toonie where the fiberglass has peeled away. All the ribs look good but the gunwales are completely rotted and have begun to fall off the boat. The board on the stern was a bit soft on the outside but it seems okay. I think it would be a good idea to replace the bow deck as well but that's not completely necessary. The thwart, ribs, and seats all look good.

I don't even know where to begin. I would appreciate if a few people could make a step-by-step list on how to fix the problems that I listed.

Thanks in advance for your responses.
Have you found any serial numbers or other identifying marks that might help identify the maker of the canoe? Try looking along the front stem on the inside and along the inwales.

AS far as a step by step plan I think I can give a basic overview:
1. Dissassemble- remove the parts that come off easy, outwales, seats, decks, etc.
2. Assess- figure out just what you've got, condition-wise.
3. Decide- decide how extensive the repairs need to be. ie. Do I patch the 'glass or remove it and recanvas?
4. Gather and/or make the replacement materials.
5. Reassemble.
It's like eating an elephant; one bite at a time.
As above, but also you should get, or at least look at, "The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration, and Maintenance" by Rollin Thurlow and Jerry Stelmok, often called the "bible" of canoe repair, restoration, and maintenance. It's available through the WCHA online store, Amazon, and often used on eBay. It gives detailed information on just how to do many of the steps -- wood replacement, wood rot issues, etc. -- that may be required. If rot has spread from the keel to the planking, you are probably going to have to get the 'glass off -- there are some videos that show how to do it -- use the search function, or search on Youtube.

Of course, there is lots of help available on these forums, and people will be more than happy to help with any particular problem that might arise. Just post some pictures, and ask.
I haven't found the make of the canoe printed anywhere on the canoe, I'll look in the spots that you suggested. Thanks for the advice, I'll take a look at the book that was suggested an move forward with the restoration. I'll let you know how I fair.

Thanks again.