Canoe Thwarts


New Member
I have a question about the number of thwarts needed to control the shape and provide the required support for a 16 to 18 foot wood and canvas canoe. This length of canoe is ussually designed with three thwarts. However, I have seen pictures of these canoes (Chestnuts and Atkinson Travelers to name two) with either the bow or stern thwart removed; presumably for more room. How much strength is lost by removing a thwart? Will the shape of the canoe change without all the thwarts (assuming the seats are bolted in)?
Wood canvas canoes are already minimalist. Don't crowd the line, the stress on the ribs is such that they need the support of the rails which in turn depend on the thwarts. Having had thwarts out of a lot of boats to work on them, its always quite noticable when you go to put them back in . Go with the design, they ain't there just for show.