Construction problem


New Member
I finished stripping an 18.5 White Guide this summer. A friend was good enough to let me use a portion of his garage for the project. I was able to get the outside of the canoe fiberglassed and epoxied before I had to remove the canoe from the molds and strongback and store it in my own garage for the winter. It never occurred to me that the unfinished cedar on the inside would dry and contract in the heated garage where it is now stored.

The canoe has "closed in" substantially so that it is only about 18" abeam at the center when it should be nearly twice that. I've tried to insert spreaders, but I'm afraid I'll damage the hull.

Does anyone have any suggestions for restoring this to it's proper dimentions so I can fiberglass the inside and complete the woodworking (gunwhales, thwarts, seats, etc.)? I'm thinking of setting it outside on sawhorses, covered with tarps, in hope that the outside humidity will permeat the bare wood. I live in central Indiana.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Going back and forth from warm to cold might not be a great idea. I think I'd try leaving it inside (right side up and well supported) and putting a pan in the bottom with about 1/2" of water and a big sponge in it. Then cover the boat with a tarp and give it a few days to see what happens. Keep in mind that adding a lot of humidity to wood which will soon be coated with epoxy isn't such a great idea, but in this case you may not have much choice. The spreader thing is indeed a bit risky on a boat without gunwales, though it might be possible to clamp on some temporary ones to spread the load. I don't know what would happen if you were to lightly mist the inside with a spray bottle, but I think it might be pretty risky. Adding a humidifier to rhe room is always another possible option. In any case, this narrowing didn't happen overnight and it will probably take a while to get it spread back out.
If you weren't going to glass the inside soon, it certainly might not be a bad idea. Since station molds, other than a center one, are smaller than the hull until you get them into position, you might be able to insert them near the middle and slowly, collectively move or tap them toward the ends a bit at a time, slowly widening the hull until they're all the way down to their normal positions. It might be another option that wouldn't require adding as much humidity.
Thanks for the tips. I've tried re-inserting a couple of the stations molds, but the hull began to creak and make other unhealthy noises. I agree that the cedar is going to have to absorb some degree of moisture before that, or any other method of restoring the hull to it's original shape can be accomplished. I'm going to try putting a humidifier in the garage and see if that makes any difference after a week or so.

Again, I appreciate the tips and advice.

a little at a time.

I have some stems that are not rotted but badly twisted. I am weighting them down a little at a time until they get back to plumb. Maybe you can insert the station molds a little at a time and let things move slowly until you arrive at proper shape. Eventually.