Chestnut Help! Did I buy a Canoe or decoration


New Member
Hi there,

I Just purchased a 17' Chestnut Prospector circa 1957. Unortunately, it has been fibre-glassed. The wood, shape, ribs etc look great. Can the glass be taken off? Repaired? Recanvas. Or did I get decoration for my living room. A beautiful canoe, but I don't know what to do with it? I would like to restore it to original. Is it gone? An y advice would be greatly appreciated. PS I gave $150 for the canoe.

Thanks in aqdvance.

Depends on the type of fibreglass used .Ive peeled the glass off a couple.One canoe was fully glassed the other had patches of fibreglass under a new duralite canvas job. It doesnt seem to bind at least the ones Ive done havnt been a problem.Have to look and make sure that the resin isnt coming through the seams at the planking edges because that will rip the planking off when you remove the fibreglass.
Others on here (these forums ) havent been so lucky.Ive read about heat guns ,soaking in swimming pools and other techniques that have worked
.Also some have had their canoe glassed over the canvas and it isnt a problem at all
This topic comes up reasonably often so others will give their views lets hope
removing fiberglass

A big factor will be if the fiberglass was applied with polyester resin or epoxy resin. Most full boat jobs were done with polyester resin as that came into use sooner and always was (is) cheaper. Polyester resin usually comes off easier and is less likely to rip off some planking in removal. Epoxy resin is used more in patch jobs as it's expensive. It tends to hold more tenaciously and pulls off more planking in removal.

The first canoe I ever had was fiberglassed. Not knowing any better, I actually chipped the glass off with a putty knife, maybe an eighth of an inch at a time. Sure, I lost a little wood, but after sanding and new canvas, it turned out ok. Try to go with the grain of the planking. Took a while, and some elbow grease, but I had the time to do it that way.
I've done quite a few canoes that were fiberglassed and even one that had all the plank gaps filled with auto body filler. With care the glass usually peels off without too much damage. Where you run into problems use a heat gun and putty knife. A good heat gun will soften the epoxy. Have some water [wet rag] available just in case you get carried away and start a fire.
At last years Assembly, Bill Miller (Miller Canoes, Nictau, New Brunswick) demonstrated his method for removal, using a broadaxe! Seriously, he removed the fibreglass in about 20 minutes with virtually zero damage to the wood. Of course, as Dave said, that depends partly on what type of resin was used and whether it was done "wet" or "dry" -with respect to the applying resin to the wood before sheathing in glass.