Canadian strip canoe project - ID and repair tips?

Jason H

Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hi all,

I’ve been working away (slowly) on a purported 1940s Canadian-made cedar strip canoe since May; I’ve almost got the old varnish and many layers of resin removed, and am about to move on to replicating some missing thwarts, as well as fixing a few small issues. No clear maker marks - no plaques or serial numbers in any of the usual locations.

The canoe itself is 16’ 3” in length, 38” in beam, and 12” in depth. Ribs are not round - most are square, and a few have a slight bevel. Any thoughts on an ID would be appreciated!

There are two areas of particular concern - one splice in the gunwhale has come apart, it appears as though the screw that held it together has either been removed or disintegrated (while the nails in to the ribs are copper, all other fasteners are steel - nails in the keel, and Robertson screws elsewhere). Photo attached - my plan is to attempt to drive a new screw in, with a through-bolt and nut as a back up should that fail. If i am missing an obvious fix, please let me know!

The keel runs along the length of the bottom, and two gaps have developed on either end of the centre section - I was wondering if anyone had every attempted a dutchmen—style repair by adding a small section to these gaps, rather than replacing the entire middle section of keel. Is filling the gap absolutely necessary, performance wise?

A few progress photos and issue-specific images attached - thanks in advance for any insights!


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Last edited:
Jason, no advice just encouragement. Never worked on a similar one yet but look forward to your progress.
My Canadian Canoe Co. board and batten has similar flat ribs rather than the more common half round

The thwart blocks appear similar but all the screws were brass. Mine is fastened to the boards with nails and also has screws from the outside through the block and into the thwarts. These were covered with name plate tags.



On your gunnel, I’d clean out the joint as well as possible then glue the joint and get a screw in through the rib from the inside. I think scarfing a piece into the keel would be no problem.
Thanks Todd and Sam!

A bit of progress today - I managed to clean out the splice in the gunwhale and glue it back together, replacing the screw. Nice and tight now! I also made and installed replacement thwarts, which pulled the canoe back into shape.

Next up is getting the decks off, which will involve wrestling with multiple stripped screws.


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Work continues! Boat soup went on as per the excellent video instructions of Geoffrey Burke. I’ve had the canoe into the shop and so far have three coats of varnish on - is there a general consensus as to the minimum number of coats?

I’ve also been working on a couple of seat frames in mahogany - the first is almost finished with caning, while the second will begin shortly. My first time caning anything, so please forgive the obvious-to-me mistakes!

Can’t wait to get this canoe into the water!


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Getting closer to a first launch - six external coats on, two on the interior, one on the decks. Stern seat almost finished, just working out placement, given I want to keep all three thwarts.


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And she floats! A bit of work still left to do (including another round or two of boat soup on the interior to deal with a very minor leak), but it was extremely satisfying to have it out on the water.


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