closed gunwale question

chris pearson

Michigan Canoe Nut
I'm going to be building a closed gunwale Gerrish model and need to know how the heck the ribs were put on the mold if they were tapered to nothing. 3 or 4 inches below the gunwales, they tapered off to nothing, so there was no gap between the inwale and outwale. Were the ribs pre cut and applied? If so, that would mean they needed to be bent pefectly on center so they would end up in the correct place on the gunwale. I know the gunwales werent notched at all like Morris' were. I'm confused!:confused:
OK, so Rollin gave me the details, thats why nobody makes closed gunwales anymore!!!!! How labor intensive, thats probably why you guys are staying away from this post!!!!:D
Our Gerrish is open gunnel so I doubt it would help but I'd be happy to go look and take a photo or two for you. Kathy is in contact with a fellow that has a couple of Gerrishes and I'll ask her to ask him. I'll have to wait till she gets home though. Perhaps Dave M. might be able to tell you. Pam Wedd makes a absolutely stunning copy of Dave's 14 footer so she might be able to tell you too. Let me know if you want me to take photos.
Thanks Denis, I have to really think about what I want to do. It would be a nice model if I could figure out how to reproduce it closed, however not sure it would be appreciated enough to justify the labor involved. Just would be great to try making a model with that much degree of difficulty.
Hi Chris--

Would it work to construct the gunwales on the Gerrish model in a similar manner to the way gunwales are made on a quality birch bark model? I'm thinking that the very early Gerrish canoes were modeled on the birch bark-- although I know the w/c is actually constructed in reverse-order... but it took Eve Gerrish some experimentation to work that out. Wooden Canoe issue 126 (December 2004) has interesting pictures of a very early Gerrish-- and maybe the construction details of the gunwales on that canoe are what Rollin discussed with you.

Chris I don't know about the Gerrish but I just finished replacing 36 ribs in a 1909 closed gunnel Old Town. At first I looked at them and said how am I going to do that. Found out it was actually pretty simple but time consuming. Made my ribs as usual and then bent them around my old canoe and clamped the ribs. The next day when dry I removed the rib and took a small dowel saw and sliced the ends at an angle with the tips of my ribs being almost paper thin and attached them to my inwhale with two short ring nails. Originally thought I'd only have about a dozen but then found after stripping that the majority all had at least one and sometimes two hair line cracks. Good luck.