First Restoration


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hey All-

For better or worse, I just got my first wood canvase canoe home--it's an 18' 1942 HW with sponsons. Overall it's in great shape. I initially thought it was fiberglassed as it had what appeared to be resin coming up through the sheeting, but on further exam, I believe it is the original canvas which was painted over. I think the epoxy (or whatever it is) is an odd attempt to seal a leak.

I have a few questions for the forum--the first is how long can you leave a canoe without the outer gunwhales? Do I have to worry about the canoe losing it's shape if they are off for an extended period of time? I have read The Wood and Canvas Canoe by Thurlow, and he states that he screws batting to the inside to maintain it's shape. The inner gunwhales are in good shape and I would leave the thwarts in it for now.

I'm hoping to finish it by next year, but have a lot going on this year and will likely to do the restoration in stages. For now, I was going to strip the canvas, strip the varnish from the interior, bleach the wood, and see if there are any other broken ribs or other hidden damage.

Thanks for any advice. I'll post some pictures later.

Steve Ambrose

Nut in a Canoe
As long as the inwales are structurally sound you should be able to remove the outwales without any danger of the hull losing shape. The inwales, decks, and thwarts define the shape of the hull. The battens that Rollin refers to in his book come into play if you have several broken ribs that need to be replaced.