Brass Stem Bands? Anybody ever use stem bands wider than 3/8"?


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Well, I'm in the process of filling the canvas on my OTCA and it sure seems like the little brass stem band is going to have a hard time covering up the seam/staples along the stems. I'm sure my inexperience is coming in to play here, but I was curious if anybody ever uses a slightly wider stem band to cover the seam more thoroughly? My boat originally had outside stems and a keel and I've been planning on leaving both off--but it does seem like the outside stems (being tapered in cross section) are much wider where they contact the hull than the brass stem bands:confused: Thoughts?


Attached is a picture of an E.M. White with a wide stem band. I think the early builders in particular did a lot of experimentation, and the way canoes are built now comes from what was learned from them... but you can also experiment and maybe someone else here has as well.


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    em white stem band.jpg
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I have a Mullins canoe that has 1/2" wide stems. They almost appear to be 1/2" copper tube cut in half length wise. I don't think I would try this approach on a nice restoration.
Both the E.M. White and Mullins stem bands, while correct for each as described, are entirely different solutions. Your issue is that Old Town left the inside stems fatter when installing an outside stem. The outside stem tapers sufficiently to install the usual 3/8" stem band. If you are leaving off the outside stem, you will have to deal with the greater stem width. !/2" stem band stock is available from sources such as Jamestown Distributors, but it is considerably heavier than the usual 3/8" stock, and will not have a hollow back.
The Willits has a 1/2 inch flat back stem band.

Macky M you bring up a good question about the Mullins.

I'm in the process of restoring a Mullins and wonder how to reproduce the original stem bands, or keep it simple and put on the normal 3/8 hollow back.

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The OS stems were tapered from the hull width down to 3/8" ,the stem band width. I have installed outside stems without a keel on a St. Louis canoe years ago. They actually worked out better than expected. The os stems were faired into the hull in both height and width and did not extend onto the flat section of the hull. I simply bedded and screwed them, but If you don't think the ends are secure enough epoxy them to the canvas.

This is my first restoration, so I haven't seen lots of other stems. I've already canvassed and done 3 coats of Ekofill, and my stems are between 5/8" and 11/16" thick or wide--seems a little wide for the 3/16" stem band. What width would you expect to see on a canvassed and filled stem that was not intended for outside stems? The added weight of wider stems might not be too bad (seems the outside stems and all their hardware would add some weight anyway), but that hollow back sure seems like a nice helpful feature.


When you bedded and screwed the faired outside stems, did you do that before or after filling the canvas? Would you epoxy the stem ends to filled canvas?

thanks all,

The os stems were attached after canvassing, filling, drying, and painting. If need be, I would epoxy them to the filled canvas.
Wide Stem Bands. I am restoring a very old Peterborough vertical strip canoe. The old stem bands were 1/2 inch and hollow backed. I am tempted to use 3/8 inch bands as they seem to be the new standard. Any thoughts?
Hi Jim,

Stem bands on all wood canoes are a different topic.

Just about all the All wood canoes I've seen or worked on have stembands that are as wide as the width of the outside edge of the outside stem. So if the outside edge is 1/2 inch, I'd stick to 1/2 inch. Flat back is fine on outside stems even if on a wood canvas canoe because the surface of the stem is flat. I prefer flat back stem bands on outside stems.

my 2 cents,


P.S. I'm working on an old Peterborough cedar rib as well. I'd like to see some pictures of your progress.