Cracked Ribs on a 1923 OTCA


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Recently my 1923 OTCA wood canvas canoe took a spill. It cracked 13 ribs along the front left side, hairline fractures. A couple significant, some barely noticeable. The canoe bounced on impact and the ribs all received these hairline fractures (but are still broken all the way through). The canoe however maintains it's original shape and does not appear weakened at all. The canvas is still in tact and shows no damage except for a little discoloring. The integrity of the canoe still seems to be maintained however I have not tried it out in the water.

I know I can replace the ribs however I would rather not if I don't have to. I am concerned with making changes to the original 1923 structure.

Can a canoe be operational with cracked ribs? What if I were to seal them or glue them back together?

I am aware that I can try just about anything and see how it turns out however I would like to leverage any WCHA forum member experiences if possible.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.



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Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
I've seen repairs involving metal flashing, which I don't recommend. And I've seen large wood blocks shaped to fit, which I also don't recommend. I've also seen thin laminations of hardwood, like ash or white oak glued/epoxied over the injury. About a 6" long patch, more or less. Sometimes short screws were used. By thin, I mean about 1/8" thick and as wide as the rib so that it curves easily. The ribs will have to be replaced at some point. The area is going to deform I think if you don't do something. It's got to be weaker now than it was.